Monday, June 30, 2008

What Makes a Weekend?

Dan and I have been really trying to make the most of the weekends he is able to be home. One of our fave things to do of late is to go to Opry Mills and shop around. It's sort of like a little teeny vacation (especially since it's on the other side of town!) In case you've never been, Opry Mills is much more than just your average shopping mall. It's part shopping mall, part county fair ( a really cheap one) part lesson in cultural diversity.

The first time we went we let Drew ride on the carousel with Dan. He loved it! And he loved waving to me as he whizzed by on horseback. He will "talk" about it from time to time. So, yesterday when he got up from his nap, I said, "Do you want to go shopping with Momma and Daddy?" And he promptly made the noise for a horse!! Good thing we were planning to go to Opry Mills!! As we were shopping around, out of nowhere this little train comes barreling along full of little kids and blowing its' whistle. Drew practically jumped out of his stroller! I think I was as excited as he was!! We found out where the "depot" was and went to wait our turn to ride the train. When I first saw the guy driving the train I thought, "What a great job!" But then, I realized that parents were a little nuts about this whole train thing. If there wasn't room for their child they got a little bit testy. Luckily, Drew and I hopped right on (after I shoved several families out of the way...just kidding!!) This was one of those times that the look on his face was SO fun!! I would've stayed on that train all night-except that I might have incited a riot!

He also did the usual riding the horse with Dad and we went to TGI Fridays to have bite bites. Luckily, so far, he is a good restaurant kid. He ate a GIANT portion of mac and cheese and some mandarin oranges. We got him some "dirt cake" for dessert. It was his first encounter with a gummy worm. He was not impressed!

Here are Drew and Dan on the carousel:

Here's the dirt cake!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Banner Day!

Saturday was Drew's first day without his paci!!! I warned him all week that on Saturday he was going to have to leave his paci in his bed. I was really nervous about how it would go. But, I told him he was a big boy and paci had to stay in his bed. He was mildly disgusted, but left it in there.

As a reward, I took him to the toy store! We had a blast. He was so good to play gently with the toys and to not touch the things he shouldn't. After we played for a while, he picked out a puzzle as a big boy prize (with a little coaxing from me, since he needed a new puzzle! Ha!) He carried it all the way up to the counter and held it up to the cashier. It was too cute! I also bought a tin penny whistle to use during music time with the kids. He LOVES it. Be sure that when you see him, he'll play you a little tune!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Swimming Hole

I took Drew swimming in our neighborhood pool for the first time Wednesday. I know what you're thinking. It's the end of June and the pool's been open for 2 months, so why am I just now taking him to the pool? As a mom you work within the confines of a simple equation: Is the fun to be had going to be more than the time and effort put into the preparation for the fun? To be quite honest, I have had my doubts about whether it was going to be worth it for Drew and I to get our suits on, getting greased up, loading up the wagon and walking down the hill (and therefore, back up the hill!) I could just imagine him refusing to get in the pool, possibly making a big scene.

So what happened on Wednesday? It was about 150 degrees outside and I could not imagine going for our normal afternoon walk without both of us smothering. So, I figured that the amount of energy I would expend getting us ready coupled with hauling nearly thirty pounds in a wagon would suffice for a workout, even if we didn't do any actual swimming.

It turns out Drew loved the pool!! He was not afraid at all and by the end of our swimming time, he was "jumping" off the side to me. This is not so much jumping as it is kind of lunging toward me! There were also some older kids there bobbing around. At one point, they were going under and popping right back up. Drew was dying laughing! They would pop up and he would say, "Boo". Yesterday when we went back, he practiced putting his face in the water and blowing bubbles. This was more like kind of getting his face near the water and blowing raspberries, but he did stick his face all the way in the water a couple of times. He also does a great job kicking his feet while floating in his Spiderman swim ring.

As a little bonus, I had some M&Ms in my pool bag leftover from my girls trip. I wish you could have seen him LOVING the M&Ms all the way to the pool and back.

Here is a picture of him with his swim ring. Hopefully Dan and I will get to the pool together soon so I can get some action shots.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Long Right Back

Drew and I are back from our travels! (Well, we've actually been back since Monday, but I've been regrouping!) Turns out we both had a great vacation!!! I am still amazed at how well Drew did. Despite Grammy's protests to the contrary, I know he wasn't perfect, but he didn't totally flip out. Not even once. For me the trip was EXACTLY what I needed. In truth it is exactly what every mother needs, but most don't ever get the chance. I am more than thankful that I was able to take this trip, and so blessed to have so many people who helped take care of Drew. THANK YOU!!!

When I got back from the trip and went in the door at Kristin's, Drew came around the corner and froze in his tracks. He was in total shock. Quite hilarious. Once he realized what was happening he promptly asked me to put him up on the counter (this is a trick that Big Dan started that makes me nuts!!) Next he started saying, "Right back!" He started repeating this a couple of months ago. For a while just my leaving the room would make him howl, so I started telling him I would be right back. He repeats it sort of like this: "Riiiiiight back". He was sooo sweet to me that night-hugging and kissing me. I really expected that he would totally melt down when we got home, but so far he continues to be a hoot!

I must say I'm pretty proud of him. When I think about how brave he was, I kind of get a little choked up. Ah, the push and pull of letting go...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Monkey See, Monkey Do

On Monday I had one of those awful mom moments-one of those where you realize your child's unfortunate behavior is a direct result of ...YOU. Yep. I've created a monster. Grandad was here for Father's Day and Drew had a great time hanging out with him playing the guitar, etc. At one point Drew was trying to get past Grandad, and went over and pushed on his legs and said, "Move!" Ugh!! I was so embarrassed. How can such a little guy be so rude??? Luckily, Grandad thought it was more funny than rude (I think...) I started thinking about why he would be saying that all the time. He tells me to "move" about 10 times a day. I thought, "I guess it's the only way he can tell me what he wants, so that's what he does." And then...the moment.

We were standing in the laundry room and I needed to get into the dryer and I said, "Drew buddy, move." I stopped dead in my tracks. He is telling people to move all the time because I TELL HIM TO MOVE ALL THE TIME. Ugh. I feel awful! No wonder the kid is rude, his mom is rude!! You'll be happy to know that I've been working on saying a very polite, "Excuse me" when he is under foot.

Later that day I was in the playroom putting some stuff up on the wall. I grabbed one of the little chairs to stand in (because in case you haven't noticed, I don't have much "reach"!) Wouldn't you know that immediately Drew went over to get a chair and stood right up in it. How can I tell him not to stand in chairs when I do it right in front of him??!! He's a little mimic-I'm going to have to become a MUCH better person. Ha!

Speaking of Monkeys...

We went to Monkeys Treehouse yesterday (our local indoor play place). It has been fun taking the kids there over the last several months because it shows me how much they change, and how fast. Every time we go they are more and more able to do more. Drew and Lyla are super into the fake food in the grocery store, along with the grocery carts. My personal fave in the fake food section is the little pasta box labeled "Al Dente's Pasta" Ha! Drew also discovered the magnetic fishing set. He was pretty amazed that the fish would actually stick to the little ball on the end of the string.

This month they are having "Monkey Camp" at Monkeys Treehouse. This means parents can drop off their kids. Like most day camps, this has set up a sort of "Lord of the Flies" moment at the play place. These kids have been there everyday for who knows how many weeks, and clearly think they own the place. They run around in packs and complain about the "babies" being in their space. Luckily, I avoided the urge to grab them up by the collar and lecture them. I might have been writing this blog from a jail cell!

Drew and I are headed out of town today. I'm going on my annual girls' trip, and he is staying with Aunt Kristin and Grammy. I'm sure I'll have lots to fill you in on once we're back!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

18 months!!! The Stats

Today we had Drew's 18 month check-up. It went great!! He's healthy as a horse and almost as big as one!! :) He is 28.8 lbs and 34.5 inches. And, never fear. His head is still quite enormous!! Both his head size and height are in the 95th percentile.

We talked about the weird fever thing he has going on. (For those of you who might not know, Drew has had three rounds of spiking a really high fever with no other symptoms. It has happened about every 6 weeks.) He said, "I don't have anything smart to say about this." I thought that was hilarious!! At least he's honest! So, I will be keeping a journal on these fevers, if they happen again. If it continues over the next 2-3 months we'll talk again. He did say that Drew may just be the kind of kid who gets a fever instead of a runny nose, etc.

He also spent some time "talking" and interacting with Drew and thinks he is doing great. He said the fact that he works so hard to communicate and has such good receptive language skills are a great sign. He seems to think the articulation will come. The goal is for strangers to be able to understand 50% of what he says by age two. I'm really hoping for a big "speech spurt" sometime soon!

I must say, I am really enjoying this age soooooooo much! The kids and I have such a good time, and while we all drop into bed around the same time each night, I wouldn't trade these times for ANYTHING!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Let's Have a Picnic

I had to pull some new tricks out of my bag today. Poor Drew has another weird fever and was definitely not feeling up to snuff today. His grouchy mood was catching, and soon I had two really frustrated toddlers on my hands. So, I decided we would have a picnic in the front yard. On the menu: Cheese sandwiches-cut into heart shapes (no applause, please), snap pea crisps, grapes and milk. It was pretty much a hit. I even packed it all up in a little basket and let them pull it out while they sat on a blanket. We ate our lunch, chatted with the neighbors and waved to the mailman. It was just what we needed to get things back on track.

Here are some pics from our first ever picnic:

Unpacking the basket

Cheese! (literally...)

We hate to eat and run...

Let's All "Go Toddler"

Great news for all of you out there with "eco-angst"! I have solved the nation's energy crisis! (Who says the mom of a toddler can't get anything done??)

Here's the plan. As soon as we can figure out a way to painlessly extract energy from toddlers, we will no longer be dependent on oil-foreign or otherwise. We need to set up a little energy extraction station. It can be like the beloved MARTA stations here in Nashville. A mom drives up and deposits her toddler in the extraction room. This room is FULL of stuff that toddlers should not be touching or playing with. You hook them up to some kind of energy machine and turn them loose. This place should be run by grandparents who think that toddler mischief is HILARIOUS. They would not be stressed by all the running around, and probably would encourage it! While the energy from mom's toddler is being pumped into her car, Mom gets to sit in a sound proof room in a massaging chair.

This is a great plan, no? All those who have raised toddlers already can get a discount on toddler energy. Consider it "time served". Those who have not yet had the pleasure of daily life with a toddler would have to pay a higher price-just helping them think twice before bringing another one of these crazy things into the world!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Happy Birthday, Poppy!!!

Happy Birthday to the best Poppy in the whole wide world!! Wish we were there to hug and kiss you!!

We love you!

Drew and Lyla

Monday, June 9, 2008

Leapin' Lemurs!!

Today was Drew's first trip to the zoo! Katy and I have a little informal play group that includes the two of us, Katy's sister-in-law, Laura and another friend, Tracy. Laura and Tracy both live very north of here and so, I suggested we meet somewhere in the middle so they wouldn't have to empty their savings account to pay for gas to come down here. We decided to meet at the zoo!!

We had a really great time. The Nashville zoo isn't spectacular, but when you're 18 months old, any animal in real life is awesome (this was exhibited today when the kids watched some regular old geese swim in the pond for about 15 minutes-the longest they looked at any animals!!) We saw Gibbons monkeys swinging in the trees, meerkats scampering around, zebras, elands, tigers, lemurs, alligators, elephants, baby camels. goats, and some birds. We ended the day eating lunch in the zoo cafe with fruit punch in an elephant shaped bottle.

Depsite it being about 250 degrees outside, it was really fun. It did make me really anxious to visit the Knoxville Zoo, which is about a zillion times better!! (Katy and I give all the credit to Matt Hinkin and "New at the Zoo") We also all had a good laugh over the fact that all pictures of kids at the zoo are of the backs of their heads. Hope you enjoy the pics. You'll have to imagine the big, goofy grins on their faces!!

All the kids checking out the zebras:

Drew & Lyla hoping the goats will come out of the shade & play:

Drew & the baby camels:

Drew & the Elephants

Double Grrrr...

The title of this blog WAS going to be "Why I Love Summer." And it WAS going to contain pictures of beautiful produce at the Farmer's Market, Drew playing in the fountains downtown and Drew and Daniel having lunch together. Well. Not so much.

Friday I had the big plan that we would go downtown to the Farmer's Market. I love veggies and fruit in the summer, and I really like to buy them from Farmers from around here, when I can. There is also a "splashground" at Bicentennial Park which is walking distance from the Farmer's Market. I thought it would be so much fun for Drew since the weather is so stinkin' hot. Last, I made sure Daniel kept lunch free so we could all have lunch together. Almost none of this plan happened.

First, for some reason the produce at the Farmer's Market was not at all inspiring. And I kept seeing vendors with things like pineapple, which, call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure they didn't grow it on their farm in Cheatham County!! I didn't buy one single thing. And, as a side note, in case you go to the Farmer's Market looking for the advertised "artisans" you might be shocked to find booth after booth of knock-off purses and off-beat t-shirts.

Second, the "splashground" was UNDER CONSTRUCTION!!!!! Poor Drew was drenched in mixture of sweat and sunscreen and the place was bone dry. As we were walking down the path towards the area I said, "Look, Drew!! There's a big fountain with water!" Yeah, it was a mirage. It was actually a big fountain covered in construction grade plastic, blowing gracefully in the wind.

We did manage to sneak in lunch with Dan. However, I (once again) left Drew's lunch box at home. I have some weird mental block that prevents me from actually putting the packed lunch box in the car. The Farmer's Market food court is home to gyros, po'boys, meat & 3 and asian food. Not a chicken nugget in sight. Needless to say, it wasn't a great time. Drew was much more interested in playing with the construction cone (yes, the food court was under construction-why not??) than eating lunch.

For the final act, Drew slept for 20 minutes in the car and that was all the nap he took that day. I demand a re-do!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Russian Roulette of Parenting

So. I've been taking the kiddos to story time at the library for several weeks now. To be honest, it's a very treacherous situation. Taking two toddlers to a LIBRARY seems just plain stupid if you think about it. And our library is about as big as a double-wide, so there's not exactly room for a double stroller. This means that two toddlers are free to roam around until Ms. Donna starts playing her drum and we're allowed inside the magical story room. How do you explain to an 18 month old that the books in the bins on the carpet are fine to touch, but the ones on the shelves are not? And, why wouldn't it be fun to climb to the top of the step stools and stand there like king on the mountain??

I was a nervous wreck the first time we went to story time. And this is LAPSIT story time-all the kids are under the age of 3! You would expect some inherent chaos from a situation like this, but it is no consolation when your kids are the ones creating it. I have found that we are working on an every other week rotation of good behavior. And, it seems every other child is, too. I think this is to prevent any parent from getting too puffed up about how well their child behaved at story time. And, believe me, in motherhood you don't get props very often for all of your hard work, so you'll take it where you can get it-even if it's from yourself! Ha!

Two weeks ago at story time Drew and Lyla were amazing. They sat and listened. They sang songs and did motions. Drew even caught on to saying "Duh, duh, duh" for the sound of a "D". (Which he does now anytime he sees any letter!) I was feeling proud. Especially when the kid beside us stood up and completely took his pants off. Just standing there in his Thomas the Tank Engine undies. Well, I thought, at least my kids don't take their pants off!!

It is exactly this kind of thinking that gets a mom into trouble. Skip to yesterday. Oh boy. It was the start of the summer program and as a special event they invited the guy from the main library who works with the deaf and hard of hearing. He brought in a giant structure of an ear and proceeded to try to explain to this wily bunch why people are deaf. Now, I'm not making excuses, but is it any wonder he lost the crowd with this one??? Drew and Lyla can point to their ears, but past that...nada. Things started unraveling fast as Lyla took her shoes off and tried to climb underneath the table cloth on a nearby table. Shortly thereafter I tried to move Drew back on to my lap. He got mad and chucked one of Lyla's shoes right at the kid behind us. Oh. My. Gosh. Talk about humiliated!! It's amazing how many things can go through your mind at once. "Didhereallyjustdothat/I'mgonnakillhim/Iamsoembarrassed/WhatdoIdo?" I profusely apologized to the mom behind me.
I'm pretty sure she was sitting there thinking, "Well at least my kids don't throw shoes!" Good luck, lady. We'll see next week!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Big Slides and Bear Hugs

We had such a fun day today! Sometime in the last few days the weather has gone from warm to blazing hot, so all of my plans about being outside all the time have had to be paired down quite a bit. Today I took the kids to a little playground nearby. This is a recent find. Well, I've known it was there for a while, but just took Drew for the first time last Friday (I always do a dry run of new places with just Drew, making sure I can handle both kids there). This place is great for a couple of reasons. First, it is very rarely ever crowded, which makes me feel better about keeping my eyes on them. Second, there is a huge play structure, but they can both navigate the whole thing on their own. Which means I avoid the awkward "mommy on the play equipment" moments. And what's not to love about a big plastic slide so staticky (it's a word-I looked it up!) that it makes your hair stand up?!

Lyla went down the slide about 782 times, at least. Drew kept getting hung up by his crocs (ugh-a flaw in the crocs!) but he had a great time just climbing around. I pushed them on the swings forever, and now they are big enough that I can REALLY push them. They were both belly laughing!

When we got home, Drew was in a grumpy mood and was whining around and crying. Lyla kept going over and giving him big hugs. So sweet. They were super into each other today. If one was in one room, and one the other, they would be concerned about the other one. The sweetest moment was on the playground. Drew was climbing around on the structure and Lyla was over by the swings. She kind of got upset saying, "Dew, Dew". Drew popped his little head through the opening on one of the slides and said, "Hi". Lyla got a big grin on her face and went running over to him. Awwwwww.

Monday, June 2, 2008

An Elephant Never Forgets...

...and apparently neither does Drew!! I really think we would all be amazed at just exactly what all he remembers if he could tell us with more than just grunts and gestures!!

Here are a few things that he has "mentioned" that have caught me off guard. Anytime we drive by Toys R Us, he points and says "baseball" (which happens to be one of his most understandable words...) because Toys R Us is where we bought his t-ball set. Of course anytime we go through the drive through at McDonald's he squawks like a chicken-how dare we go to McDonald's and not get chicken nuggets?? I think he will never, ever forget that Grandad plays the guitar. We talk about every time we go up or down the stairs and he sees the guitar. He remembers that we got his balloon at a restaurant-he points to it and says, "bite bites". And today, the most hilarious/amazing of all--I have been listening to an Alicia Keys CD (thanks to Uncle Sam-who owes me a fun, summer pop playlist by the way!!). I'm particularly fond of one song that has this in it's chorus-->"No on, no one, no o-o-one..." Drew has learned to hold his finger up to say "one". Today we got in the car and he was pointing up front, grunting and holding up one finger, saying "Bobba" (how he says momma!) I finally got what he was saying. I said, "Do you want to hear Momma's song that says one in it??" He said, "Yeah". When I turned the song on he started laughing and patting his legs!!! I laughed all the way to the bank. (Literally)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Reflux Update

Just thought I would give you guys the latest info in regards to Drew's reflux. As of yesterday, he has been completely off of his Prevacid for 2 months!! This is such great news for me! I used the weaning process that another mom I know used. We used 1/2 dose for 1 month, 1/4 dose for 1 month and crumbs until they were gone. =)

I know that a lot of kids who are medicated for reflux as long as Drew was often have problems down the road. But, I'm so glad that he gets a reprieve from the medicine for now. There are still days that he seems "refluxy" but he doesn't seem bothered by it at all. In fact, for the last month he is eating pretty much all day long. Next week we go for his 18 month appointment. I'll keep you posted on all of his stats.