Monthly Archives: February 2010

Making Valentines

What do you do when you are stuck inside for what seems like weeks on end?  Lots of crafts!  I love to do crafts with Jack, but I don’t have a ton of patience.  He is actually pretty artistic and certainly creative.  The problem is, it is a lot of preparation for a little bit of fun.  And we don’t have the best space to do projects.  We have to clean off the table or in good weather we just go outside.  But, Jack was getting antsy and we needed a project.  So, Valentines Day cards we made!

The big craft project turned into an all day affair.  We didn’t have all the supplies we needed, so we made a trip to Target and Michaels.  That took up our whole morning.  We came home, had lunch and the boys napped.  Jack woke up first (Garrett took a HUGE nap!) so we were able to craft without having to entertain G too.  Jack did an excellent job on his special cards.  I cut out heart shaped cards that open up and helped him glue paper doilies to the front.  Then he drew and put stickers all over the inside of each card.  It was super cute because at the beginning of each card he would say who in his class it was for and then create it especially for them.  You could tell which kids he really plays with because of the amount of time he took to put the stickers in and how many stickers he placed.  He didn’t lose his interest even through making 16 cards.  It was a successful craft day!

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The Great Blizzard of 2010

Just the title cracks me up!  Snowmageddon,Snowpocalypse, THE Blizzard…whatever you call it, the mid-atlantic region has gotten walloped with snow over the past week.  All in all, we got about 38 inches at our house over two storms a few days apart.  For some Westerners who long for a good snow every year, our wishes were fulfilled.  What we can do without is the pre-storm hysteria, grocery stores with no food (especially milk, eggs & toilet paper…really people, do you need 6 gallons of milk for the 3 days you might be home bound?!), less than adequate snow removal equipment, inexperienced people providing the snow removal and all the dumbasses who think they can take their 20-year-old, 2 door Geo Prizm through 20 inches of unplowed snow.  And as long as we don’t lose our on its last legs roof, the snow has been pretty awesome.

Jack loves the snow.  He loves to watch it and play in it and talk about it.  It has been hard for us to play in this storm though.  Frankly, the snow was just too deep and too wet for our little guys.  After the first dumping Jack was out with us for a while but he really couldn’t get around.  He is 38 inches tall and we got about 28 inches in that storm.  Basically the snow came up to Jack’s shoulders.  Coupled with the fact that I bought him boots at Goodwill as the storm began that are at least a size and a half too big, wading through the snow wasn’t too easy for the monkey.  Garrett has not been a fan of playing in the snow.  He loves to look at it and informs us immediately when it is snowing “Mama, SNNNOOOWWW!” as he bangs the window.  Because until yesterday I could not find a pair of snow boots anywhere that were small enough for his tiny feet, he was stuck wearing ankle high, water proof Merrells with warm socks, babylegs and snow pants.  No matter how hard we tried he ended up with cold, wet legs.  Who’d like the snow if that was the extent of your experience?  Since G didn’t want to be outside (and by not wanting, I mean he screamed and cried the entire time we were outside and not holding him) we could only go out when he was asleep or both Travis and I were around.  And although all of DC was shutdown for the better part of a week, Travis still had to work.  Apparently when the company you work for is based in New Hampshire, they don’t really care about a mere 2 ft of snow in DC!  With just me able to be out with the kids, it was just too hard to attempt.

Finally on Thursday Travis needed to do some more shoveling.  After what seemed like an hour, I finally had both boys dressed and had found a pair of waterproof hiking boots that were 3 sizes too big for G, but were worth the attempt.  G was excited to have boots like Jack and was able to sort of move in them.  Our neighbors were out with their little boy Campbell who is about 2 weeks older than G.  They were sledding on our street, so we joined in.  Garrett was immediately upset that we put him on the sled with his brother and Cam.  Then after pulling them about two steps, Jack rocked the sled and G face planted in the snow.  Of course, this did not please our anti-snow kid.  I put him back on and made him finish the run, which of course ended with another snow face plant for both Cam and G.  G freaked out, Cam wiped some of the snow off and then ate it.  Can you tell his Mom is from Vermont?!  I made Garrett go down periodically with me, but he never liked it.  I don’t think Jack and Cam got off the sled for over an hour.  Those two had a blast.  Every time they went down Jack would try to rock the sled, usually resulting in a near crash into the snow bank.  The best part was that anytime they slowed down on the sled, Cam would stick his hands down, collect the snow and then eat as much of it as he could before he needed to hold on again.  It was so cute!

Jack is my displaced snow kid and had a blast sledding.  I’d wish I could say Garrett loved it too, but it took about an hour of being outside before he even tolerated it.  It looks like G may just be our beach bum!  Trav brought Denver out to play a little and that was finally the turning point for Garrett.  He LOVES D Dog and was happy to follow her around the street and even into the snow a little.  Even when we took Denver back inside, G was more comfortable and played some more. 

It has been pretty warm here during the day, so the main roads are bone dry and our neighborhood streets are basically a slushy mess during the day and pure ice at night.  We have amazing icicles all around our house and plenty of snow piled up.  We are thankful to have our Highlander which is a beast in the snow and kept us from being homebound.  We made it to two Caps games in the midst of the major storm and out and about to keep from going crazy.  Pre-school has been cancelled for us since January 30th due to either scheduled school holidays or snow.  I think we are all ready to resume some semblance of a normal every day life.  I’m especially pleased that Jack goes back to school on Monday.  I think we need the break from each other.  The other day I was marveling to Travis about how much cleaning I had gotten done recently.  I asked him how I could get so much done even though we were so cooped up.  He told me my tolerance for the kids fighting with each other had increased exponentially with the accumulation of snowfall and number of days stuck indoors.  Huh, apparently all hell broke loose and I wasn’t concerned.  Maybe that explains the bruise on G’s head.

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It worked…

After a year and a half of horrible bedtime issues with Jack, we finally stumbled on a solution.  Or a few contributing factors that added up to a solution.  For the first time since I can remember, Jack put himself to sleep in his bed with no issues at all.  Good Lord it is about time!

So the magical solution you ask?  Well, the first step is that we moved Jack into his own bedroom a week or so ago.  We bought him a loft bed from Ikea and are working on creating a space that can be a bit of a retreat for him.  A place where it is quiet and he can read books or just chill out.  This was significant for two reasons.  First, since it is a loft bed we can’t lay with him at night.  This is key because a good portion of the issues with bedtime were him having a hard time relaxing.  If we are in bed with him then he never really settles down.  The second is that Jack has an abundance of energy and having his own room gives him a place to go to keep himself out of trouble when his energy is getting the best of him.  At night-time it is key because even if he is having a hard time, he can’t bother his brother. 

When we moved Jack into his own room, it quickly decreased the amount of time it was taking to put Jack to bed.  However, he was still having a hard time and not putting himself to sleep without a big fit.  And when we say it decreased the time, I mean it was no longer taking an hour and a half or longer to put him to bed but more like 30 to 45 minutes.  It was an improvement but still exhausting.  Lots of getting out of bed for one reason or another, that would finally culminate in one of us holding the door shut while he threw a fit and then got in bed and went to sleep.  The holding the door method just plain sucks.  You feel terrible, he gets angry and it is way too emotional for everyone.  BUT, it was working in the sense that he would get upset and stomp to bed.  Realizing this is totally a control issue at this point, we decided to try to give Jack a little power over the situation in the form of bribery.

I’m not a fan of bribing your kid to get the results you want.  We tried it briefly with potty training and it was useless.  Frankly, I think you should set expectations and help your kids to learn how to fulfill them.  And honestly, I just don’t have a lot of patience or creativity in this department.  I’m more of a “this is what I expect, you are capable, now get it done” kind of parent.  Travis is much more patient and since he and Jack aren’t exactly alike (as in Jack and I are exactly alike and thus oil and water at times) he is much better at finding solutions to such situations.  This is where the bribery comes in.  He told Jack that if he could put himself to sleep without coming out of his room, throwing a fit or us having to hold the door, then he could pick out a puck at the next Caps game.  This promise started at the beginning of the week and with lots of encouragement and reminders, bedtime has gotten increasingly better every night.  The last two nights he was so close to earning the puck, but just not quite.  Tonight he hit the jackpot.  No crying, no running out of his room at every turn, no excessive talking.  Just the normal kid stuff.  He had to come out once to go to the bathroom and I had to help him with his covers once, but nothing contrived.  So, Jack earned his puck.

I’m doing a jig and hoping this new found independence will last.  I want my nights back.  I want to see my husband in the evening without kids and actually have conversations, not just grunt in his direction as I collapse into bed spent from the kid drama.  Mainly, I want peace for Jack.  It  can’t be good for him to have a huge fit every night before bed.  I know he’s going to feel better all the way around.  And he’s going to be so proud tomorrow morning when he announces to his Dad (who wasn’t home before bedtime tonight) that he earned his puck.  Yea, for Jack. 

Oh, and G puts himself to sleep like a champ.  AND, he would sleep in every morning if we didn’t live in a shoebox and accidentally wake him up most mornings.  Have  I mentioned that Jack is just like me and Garrett is a mini Travis?!  Yep, you get the picture.

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Almost 19 months

Can you believe it?  Our G is almost 19 months!  Time seems to be flying by for us.  Garrett is growing big and strong and changing every day.  So here is the latest on our budding toddler.

Garrett had his 18 month well baby checkup a few weeks ago.  It had the makings to be a disaster but ended up going fine.  We had to cancel his original appointment because we were unexpectantly in CA.  When I rescheduled the only thing they had available for several weeks was a 7am appointment with the nurse practitioner.  This was potentially terrible because G is not a morning person by any means AND we weren’t going to see one of our normal doctors.  Since I’m not exactly main stream with my kids, visits to the pediatrician can be a little dicey.  However, this appointment actually went fine.  The CNP was fine and didn’t bug me about all the normal things I get a hard time for– extended breastfeeding, not giving my kids the flu shot and G’s weight.  The breastfeeding went pretty much ignored…fine by me!  The flu shot was barely questioned.  Phew!  AND, the big news…G finally broke 20 pounds.  He weighed 21lbs .02oz and was 31 inches long.  I think he gained nearly 3lbs and grew an inch in just over 3 months.  We knew he had a growth spurt, as evidenced by his going from 6-9 month pants to 12 & 18 month pants in about 6 weeks time.  I guess when your kid makes it on the growth chart they quit giving you a hard time.  G had the last of his shots until he turns 4.  Thank goodness, I’m so over well baby visits every few months.  And now that he broke the 20lb mark, we can turn his car seat around.  We haven’t done that yet, but the seats are in desperate need of a washing so it is on the list of to dos.

Now the personality update.  Our little baby is growing right into a big boy.  He suddenly has found his personality and apparently feels entitled to an opinion of his own.  I was getting so used to having such an agreeable child.  I should have known it wouldn’t last!  Actually, I had forgotten how fun this age can be.  It does come with some frustrations, but for the most part it is such a time of discovery.  It is amazing to watch him master new words & phrases, conquer new physical tasks like climbing EVERYTHING in sight and actually to have an opinion about things.  Garrett’s vocabulary goes on and on.  He can say lots of words and is beginning to put phrases together.  He is verbally nothing like Jack was at this age, but let’s be honest, not that many 18 month olds speak in full sentences the way Jack did.  People tell us often that he speaks extremely well for his age, but we really have a poor frame of reference.  Some favorite words right now are hockey, airplane, Jack, & NO.  He’s starting to use phrases some too.  The phrases are usually associated with food, “more blueberries please” or “mama, eggs please” or with Jack.  The other day Jack was misbehaving in the car and I told him if he didn’t stop he was going to be in big trouble.  A few minutes later Garrett starting yelling “Mama, Mama” and then he said “Jack, BIG TROUBLE”.  Travis and I cracked up.  Of course he tattled on his brother.  He has all the makings of a middle child!  Another day we were in the car and Jack had fallen asleep.  Garrett really wanted to play with his brother so he started yelling “Jack, Wake Up”.  Luckily it didn’t work, but I would have been so upset if it did.  The FAVORITE word of our littlest monkey is No.  Everything is no, even when it is yes.  I forgot about the “no” stage and how FUN it is.  We are getting through it though.

One fun thing about G right now is that he has incredible coordination.  The kid is pretty amazing for his age.  Actually, I’m pretty sure he is generally more coordinated than Jack.  He eats with a fork and spoon at least as proficiently, if not more, than Jack.  He certainly is not nearly as messy an eater.  He also does a great job with sports related activities.  He can connect perfectly with a puck using the hockey sticks and can throw any ball accurately and hard.  He just started liking to color and use pens, so we have to be careful not to leave anything out for him to use. 

G continues to have a pretty dry sense of humor and to attempt to make jokes regularly.  It cracks us up that he can make jokes at such a young age.  I think he will be our kid that is always flying under the radar but has the potential to get into as much trouble as the next kid. I imagine we will have lots of stories thanks to his cleverness!  So, that’s the Garrett update.  He’s doing well and we are enjoying every minute of him.

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