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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Big Boy Bed

If you are ever in dire need of getting your kid to take a nap, I have just the solution. Get them a new bed. When we moved into our house, both of the kids' bed rooms had built in loft beds. We removed the one in Will's room but ended up leaving the one that was in Marcus's room. His toddler bed fit nicely underneath the loft bed so there was really no reason to remove it. At some point I got this genius idea that we could use the loft bed from Will's room to turn the loft bed in Marcus's room into bunk beds. It took weeks of Greg and I bouncing ideas off of each other and shopping around. Finally we were able to find a solution to make the whole family happy.

Marcus was so excited that he was in his bed before I ever got a chance to put the sheets on. We still need to pick up one more set of drawers for under the bed. For now the kids love to crawl under the foot of the bed and come out by the head of the bed like it is a tunnel. They might not be so excited when we finally get that last piece and block off their tunnel.

The bed was finally fully assembled just before nap time. Marcus hasn't been napping much and instead has just been permitted to play with toys in his room during nap time. Not with a new bed. I kept telling him he could play with toys. He kept telling me he just wanted to nap in his new bed. He drove his point home by taking all the toys in his room and putting them in his toy box so I understood completely that nap time would consist of him doing nothing but napping in his new big boy bed.

I'm not sure if he was ever able fall asleep in his big boy bed since he was so excited. Turns out that his big boy bed is excellent for pretending to sleep in.

And some days I am able to tire him out enough that his big boy bed actually does work great for sleeping.

The only negative about his bigger bed is that he has discovered that the wallpaper border is perfect height for picking at. Really, why do kids like to destroy things so much? He is just too cute and lovable for me to care all that much though.

Speaking of cute and lovable sleeping kiddos...


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sleeping Dogs

I don't know if it is a dog thing or just a lab thing, but both of the labs that I have had love to lay on things. They use pillows. Anything soft is great for a bed, even if it quite lumpy. Actually, the lumpier, the better. (Maybe this is why the pup loves laying on my feet.) Of course blankets are quite fabulous to lay on. Personally I prefer to lay under blankets and that is something that the pup and me have in common. She is obsessed with finding her way under this throw we typically have thrown over the arm of our couch.

Maybe sometimes the lights are just too bright for a nap.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Will and his Guys

Ever since Will was a baby, he would get one thing in his head, grab onto it, and hold tight. The first indication I had of this was shortly after he came home. He was cruising like a champ at 11 months but had yet to take his first independent steps. He quickly discovered if he held on to this push toy that we had and pushed it sideways on the linoleum floor, there was enough friction for it to move at a good pace for him. He would spend an hour at a time in our kitchen just pushing his toy around. You couldn't convince him to do anything else and if you physically removed him from his push toy, life got ugly. He learned to walk and eventually abandoned his push toy. Little did I know that all the activities he tried were just in hopes to find his next obsession.

It is really no surprise at this point what that obsession it.


We are working at bringing this kid up right so of course he is well aware that the best team in all of football history is the Steelers. (Yes, I did watch them this season but I am also trying to put that out of my mind.) Everything in Will's world can be reduced to football. We often find ourselves saying things like, "The Steelers eat their vegetables," or "The Steelers use big boy voices to ask for things."

There is really not much in Will's world that doesn't involve football. I assure you, this is his doing. If you give the kid some crayons to draw a picture, he turns them into football players and starts making them tackle each other. Sometimes when he has no toys at all in his hands, his hands begin to tackle each other. Our entire house is actually filled with invisible defensive men who will randomly tackle Will and make him come crashing and rolling onto the floor at any given time, usually without notice. With my very own eyes I have seen Will get tackled by the couch.

It is nice to see that he has something that he clearly enjoys so much. Other times it is frustrating. The whole family will sit down for a mean game of Candyland and Will decides he doesn't want to play because he wants to play with his "guys". Often times no amount of subtle suggestion or near coercion will convince him to try any activity that is not somehow football related. We just hear, "I'm gonna get my guys."

He has several sets of "guys". Most of the time he plays with his "baby Steelers" which is an old electric football game that Greg has. He sets up all his "guys" and then usually yells something about tackling and all his "guys" end up in a pile. Repeat. Over and over and over again. For hours.

"Baby Steelers" are definitely great for playing football, but Will does not discriminate. Football is a game for everyone - race car drivers, construction workers, and even Diego can all play the game. And just one more set of Will's guys line up to show exactly how it is done.




Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Man Marcus

Big things are happening in Marcus's little world. At the top of the list - no more naps. I really don't know for sure how long this has been going on. "Nap time" at our house generally consists of two hours the kids are in their rooms alone. They can take toys to bed and I know neither of them naps for the whole two hours. I need the time alone and I know they can still use the downtime as well. I started noticing that on days when I knew for sure Marcus caught a nap, when we put him to bed at night it was taking him a really long time to fall asleep. I told him a couple months ago that if he wanted to get out of bed at nap and play with toys quietly, he could. He never did, probably afraid he was going to get in trouble. Sometimes that kid is obedient to a fault. About two weeks ago I told him that he could play with toys on the floor during nap time, took in a new assortment of quiet toys for him to play with, and even read him his nap time story while on the floor. He asked me about 10 times if he could really play on the floor. When I left the room he told me he was going to take a nap on the floor and laid down. I think he still thought maybe he was going to get in trouble. All is going well with his quiet alone time. He was a total mess one day so I did tell him he had to take a nap and couldn't get out of bed that day. One other day he was sleeping when I went in to get him. It is working out great.

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that during my parent/teacher conference with Marcus's teacher, she showed me some "self portraits" that Marcus made that looked more like blobs of scribbles. The other night while we were drawing on the easel (a Christmas gift from Aunt Bethany that the kids love) I wanted to see for myself what kind of artistic skills my kid has outside of school. This is what I got when I told him to draw a picture of himself.

I love that there is no body and the arms are coming out of his non-existent ears. I knew he could do more than scribble.

Not just pertaining to Marcus's world, but the world in general in these parts has been slightly less miserable. The sun was out for a day or two and the temperatures even reached the 40's. I was itching to get outside so over the weekend we went for a little walk at Mingo park. We had our one snow. It was cold. I am over winter now and ready for spring.


Sunday, January 17, 2010


It has been a couple weeks now, but I did have a birthday somewhat recently. Greg and I have the same birthday and it is right after Christmas, so typically we don't do too much to celebrate. Plus, we have gotten to the age where birthdays just aren't that much fun anymore.

When I got the kids up in the morning I told them it was my birthday. Marcus shouted out, "We gonna eat cake!!" Marcus's world revolves around cake.

Greg and I don't usually exchange gifts so I was pretty excited that I got a present from him and the boys. I'm not really into the latest fashions or having upscale bags, but I have to say this gift was just so perfect. They went together to get me my very own Coach bag. It is an original design and a very innovative idea that allowed the kids to add their personal touch. Check it out!


Friday, January 15, 2010

Bye Bye Baby

Wow, has it really been that long since I posted? I was reading on a friend's blog that one of her goals for the new year was to be on the computer less. Although I didn't consciously make that a goal of mine, recently I have been doing lots of other stuff other than sitting behind my computer screen. After spending so much time not being able to do anything after having surgery right after Christmas (Did I even mention I had surgery right after Christmas? I think I did. ) it helped to remind me that there is a whole world out there that I love to be a part of that doesn't involve me in some way being connected through technology. I found a time during the day when normally I would be sitting on my butt writing emails or messing around on facebook that I have now transformed into exercise time. And I have also located a time each day when I get a chance to pick up my guitar. Getting to make some music and learn something each day has been really therapeutic and good for my soul. I've also somehow managed to fit more time into my day just being with my kids, really being there 100% for them. I've been working my body, my soul, and being with family. Nothing much better than that.

But it is still January - one of my least favorite months of the year. Cold. Snow. Grey. Cold. Wind. More cold. There just really hasn't been a lot going on worth blogging about. I've been inventing errands to do just to get out of the house. It really is that bad.

I had a parent/teacher conference at Marcus's school this week. It was amusing. It just amazes me what a different person he is at school than he is at home. His teacher showed me his "self portrait" from the first day of school. It was a small red blob and a small blue blob. Then I got to see his self portrait from a week or two ago. It was a giant red blob. I laughed. One of his favorite things to draw right now is people. At least people's faces. He can draw faces pretty good. He draws a big circle and eyes and nose and mouth and hair. Yet at school, he draws a big blob. His teacher was also concerned about his speech and wanted to know if perhaps there was a language barrier. I informed her that no, he has heard nothing but English since he was 7 months old and I am quite certain his language skills are just fine. He just doesn't talk at school. The minute I pick him up from school, he tells me in long rambling paragraphs all about school, the things he did, the kids he played with, the artwork he did. Sometimes I wish he just did all his talking at school and was quiet at home. The kid is just a sponge. He goes to school and listens, learns, absorbs everything around him. Then he gets home and lets out all that he has absorbed.

Will had his 3 year old well visit. I'm always behind with his well visits since his birthday is right before Christmas. All is well. At age 2 he was in the 10th percentile for weight. At 2.5 he had climbed to the 25th percentile. Now he is at the 50th percentile. His doctor said we don't want him to get any higher than that. I really can't believe that he is gaining that much body mass because he is so so skinny. We are talking ribs protruding from his body that could poke an eye out. His appetite has really picked up recently though which has made meal times far more enjoyable.

And so it was time to officially say goodbye to babyhood. I cleaned out the kids' closet and removed all the clothing that ended in the word "months". It has been a long long time since I have seen those 6-9 months clothes outside of boxes in the attic, but I can't believe that the 24 months clothing is really packed away. I also cleared out some of the last "baby gear" that we were holding onto. No more boppy pillows. No more portable changing pads. Will is still wearing diapers at night time and I am in no hurry for that to change. It is the last little bit of baby that we have left in this house. And even though it is sad to see it be carried out of sight, I also am really looking forward to this spring when we can get outside with the kids and do even more things with them as they get older. But not too fast.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Christmas Day

Christmas Day was one of the few days in the history of my household that involved my kids sleeping in. Greg and I were up and ready for the excitement to begin. Everyone had been up late on Christmas Eve. We had the inside scoop that Santa (and perhaps a helper) had taken about an hour and a half to set up a massive Lincoln Log train village. It was a beautiful sight. Marcus in particular, although Will agreed with him, had asked specifically for "choo choos and dinos" and Greg and I were excited to show them Christmas morning that Santa delivered just what they requested.

At about 8:25 am we heard Marcus moving around in his bed. I suggested that we get the kids up at 8:30. At approximately 8:28, the pup brought Greg a ball to throw for her. Greg launched it blindly right into the middle of the giant Lincoln Log train village. Huge crash. I just looked at Greg in shock and said, "What did you do!!" Thankfully a good portion of the village was spared. With a little teamwork, the village was mostly put back together 10 minutes later and we were off to get the kids up.

Marcus was ready to go see if Santa had come. Will, my boy who generally shuns sleep, wasn't so sure that leaving the comfort of his bed was something he was interested in.

(In conjuncture with Santa, we printed up some name labels this year. Each label had a family member's name on it and a picture. All of Marcus's presents had a label with his name and a picture of a stocking on it. All of Will's had snowmen. It made it really easy for the kids to help pass out presents and identify which ones were theirs. Greg had us all wear name tags so the kids could match the pictures on our tags with the presents. Thought I better explain why we were all wearing name tags in the pictures.)

We kept the kids contained so they could make the mad dash to see the presents together.

They were off! And extremely excited about their dinosaurs and trains. Which, despite all the time Santa put into building it and Greg and I took to rebuild it, was pretty much destroyed in a matter of 15 minutes.

Checking to see if Santa and his reindeer ate the treats we left for them.

And then it was time to check out the stockings.

Maya got a great big heavy new bone (that she loves to drop on people's feet). She was more than elated as she threw that heavy thing all over the place. I feared for the fate of my children's heads and my sliding glass door.

Will opened two presents from his stocking and decided he had better things to do. He's always been my guy that likes to do his own thing and shuns the popular decision. The rest of the family pressed onward. Marcus took on the duty of passing out gifts, a duty that he did independently thanks to the labels we made for our gifts.

The kids got their very own digital cameras. Hopefully this will avoid them stealing my camera all the time and putting their fingers on the lens making all my photos appear foggy like pretty much all of Christmas photos are.

Will was getting mad because he kept wanting to play with Marcus's toys, toys that often Will had gotten too but didn't know it since Marcus had opened all his gifts and Will had only opened two. When everyone was done with gifts, Will figured it was a good time to start opening his, like this sports magazine.

After lunch we headed north to spend the rest of the day with Greg's parents and sister. The kids got rested up in the car and were ready for more presents when we arrived. Will was well practiced and did a great job at keeping up with the gift unwrapping. Marcus took over cleaning up the wrapping paper as soon as he realized that once the paper was off the floor, it would be time to open another present.

We had a delicious holiday dinner that my mother-in-law cooked up. There was plenty of time to just be together as a family... and play with our new toys.

I hope everyone had as wonderful of a Christmas as I did!


Monday, January 04, 2010

Christmas Eve

Christmas is such a wonderful season we like to drag it out as long as possible. (And blog about it weeks after the fact.) First we had Christmas with my siblings since my sister, brother, and I were not going to be together on actual Christmas Day. Next up was Christmas Eve. I headed out with the kids to meet up with other women and kids from my family for our traditional Christmas Eve lunch... at the mall. It started out maybe 15 years ago when someone in my family decided that come Christmas Eve, we were going to be done with all our shopping and settle down with a cup of coffee at the mall and laugh at all the shoppers who were not done with their shopping yet. Coffee turned to lunch. Laughing at last minute shoppers turned to ignoring them and socializing. No matter how you look at it, it is a nice time out with some great people.

After the kids (and Greg) caught an afternoon nap, my parents headed over for Christmas Eve dinner. On the menu was a traditional Guatemalan Christmas Eve feast featuring tamales.

We also had pollo en pina (chicken and pineapple), arroz blanco (white rice), corn, and some tres leches (three milks cake) for dessert. My dad had never had tamales before. He ate up a couple of them without complaint but when I asked him later he said he will probably stick to American food.

My parents moved in their stack of presents while the kids got on their fancy clothes.

Then it was time to tear into them! Maya thought they were all for her.

Soon enough, a present that was actually for her was uncovered.

She was very proud.

The kids were free to attack their stockings without the pup sticking her nose in there.

One gift each kid got was a little flashlight. They were a highlight of the evening. So much so that there was fear that no other presents would be opened. Marcus kept shining his flashlight on his gifts for close inspection.

Will mostly ran around the house getting the pup to chase his flashlight beam. The flashlights became such a distraction from gift opening that I resorted to bribery. "You can have your flashlights back after you open all the other presents." Hey, we had more things to do.

There were gifts for some other people too. Like my mom.

And me.

And Greg, although I missed getting a picture of him. And my dad got this fabulous hat.

We headed off to church. We followed that up with some snack's at a neighbor's house in my old neighborhood. Then we headed home to get into our pj's, put out some treats for Santa and his reindeer, and settle down for the reading of "The Night Before Christmas".