Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pockets are Amazing

One of the aspects of being a mother that I truly love is watching Michael discover all of the complex things that seem so simple to grownups. Things like his endless wonder with bubbles or how many times he will pick up a cup with a straw in it and dump it on himself.

This evening, he finally figured out pockets.

He thought he had figured out pockets months ago. It was all very clear to him. A pocket is the fun hole in the neck of mommy's shirt. You take a ball, pull on mommy's collar, drop the ball in, and then laugh when the ball falls out the bottom of mommy's shirt. Repeat five thousand times until you have mastered pockets. Move on to cups with straws.

Today he finally realized that his jeans have pockets. We were outside playing with the helicopter seeds from the maple tree. We tossed them in the air for a while. Next, we picked them up off the road and put them in a pile. That's when the light bulb went off over Michael's head. He could put the entire pile in his pocket!

I sat and watched him for several minutes as he sat on the curb and stuffed seeds into his very squished pocket. He was so determined to get them all that I had to help him pick up a few extra ones that fell off the curb. I was so impressed that the idea had finally clicked for him.

Then, he stood up. The seeds remained firmly in his pocket. He looked down at his leg in complete confusion. Then, he bent over and started to pull at them hem of his pants. When he didn't find anything there, he started to pull up his pant leg. It was my turn for confusion. What on earth is he doing?

That's when it hit me. He was expecting the seeds to fall through the pocket and come out his pant leg when he stood up. I stifled a laugh and showed him that the seeds were still in the pocket, and that's when he finally got it. Pockets are for storing things. What will they think of next?

"Come on, let's go show daddy your helicopters," I said. He happily ran for the door so he could show Andy the seeds he was storing in the amazing little pouch attached to his pants.

*****

How much do you want to bet that I forget all about this and run his jeans through the laundry without remembering to take the seeds out?

Thank you SO much!

I want to thank you all for the thoughtful responses you provided to yesterday's post. I'm feeling a good bit better about things today. I have gone from OMG WHAT DO WE DO to how do we make this work. I called several centers yesterday, and have schedule a meeting with one of them tomorrow. So far, I'm happy with what I've heard and seen. I'm hoping that the visit goes well. I'm forming a list of questions I want to ask, but I have a strong feeling that it will be the intangibles that make the decision for me. It will be interesting to watch Michael make the transition to daycare. I am starting to see some of the positives that this new plan may hold. I do think it will be good for Michael to spend more time around other children. Watching him play with the neighbors last night made me realize he really enjoys being around other children...and that he could stand to learn a little more about sharing. I'm also interested to see how he'll take to eating with other children. The few times he's done it, he's been willing to try foods he would not try for me. I also think that having him in daycare will provide a little more flexibility to our time off. With my mom, any time she needs off, we have to take off. Which means our vacation must correspond with her's. Now, we will know exactly when he is off, and it will be easier to plan for coverage. My mom did get in to see her doctor yesterday. The doctor prescribed her some effective painkillers, so she is able to get comfortable for the first time in several days. She also sent my mom to have an MRI done on her knee. She seems pretty convinced that my mom tore something important. Once they get the results, I expect that she will send my mom to a specialist. I think it's pretty likely that my mom is going to require a surgical fix, and time for rehab before she's back on her feet again. Once my mom has recovered, well look into doing part time daycare so Michael can still spend some time with my mom. But, first and foremost is my mom's health.

Monday, September 29, 2008

It Was Too Good to Last

I'd like to say that this caught me completely off-guard, but that wouldn't be the truth. The writing has been on the wall for several weeks, but I just didn't want to face up to it.

On Saturday evening my mom called. My mom, who hates the phone and only ever picks it up to make a call if she absolutely has to. I knew it couldn't be good news. So, I wasn't surprised when she asked me to do some grocery shopping because she was in so much pain that she could hardly walk.

It's hard to explain all of the thoughts that immediately started to whirl around my mind. First and foremost, is my concern about my mom. She has a pretty high tolerance for pain, so when she complains about it, it hurts. The next thing that crosses my mind is who will do daycare for Michael. Having to worry about one of the two is bad enough, but when you mix it together...well, honestly, it's a little overwhelming.

I did some grocery shopping for her on Saturday night and she seemed to be in good spirits when I saw her. I cleaned up a little for her, and then headed home for the evening. This is where I get myself into trouble. I'm a big old wimp when it comes to pain. I whine and moan about it and make sure the entire world knows just how miserable I am. I forget that my mom does the exact opposite. So, I guess I was still a little surprised when I called to check up on her on yesterday and she broke down in tears. She was in so much pain that she didn't think she could walk down the hall to get to the elevator, let alone make it to the ER.

So here she is, in excruciating pain in her hip and the knee she hurt in August, and it finally hits me. There is no way she can do daycare for me. Not just for a few days while she gets the hip problem worked out, but until she takes care of her knee and has time to really heal. She's going to need weeks, probably months to recover. And I am completely unprepared for this.

I know that I should have started to look for a daycare when she first hurt her knee, but I really wanted to believe that she was ok. There are so many reasons that I would rather have her do daycare than send Michael to a center. Not only is it cheaper, but I like the fact that the money I do pay goes to my mom. She could use a little help. Also, the flexibility is great. How many daycare centers allow 5:45 am drop off? This lets me get on the highway before the traffic gets too bad. Then there is the one-on-one attention that Michael gets. I know that every minute of the day, Michael is with someone who loves him just as much as Andy and I do. And finally, limiting Michael's exposure to so many other children has really reduced his exposure to colds. Michael handles colds pretty well, but I don't. I get every cold that comes along, and as I said, I'm a wimp.

Of course, to top it off, Andy and I both are working important projects this week. I have a management review this morning and Andy needs to get working on a very high visibility project. Neither of us can afford to take today off, much less a week or two while my mom get's help. Sigh, what to do?

Short term, my brother is helping my mom watch Michael today. I hate to impose. He has enough going on in his life. I never would have called him, but my mom did. I feel bad for pulling him away for a day, but I'm also very grateful that he is willing to do this for us. Andy is going to take tomorrow off, and I'm going to take Wednesday off.

Long term, I'm going to start making calls this morning to see if I can get Michael into daycare ASAP. I hate that I have done no research and that I won't be able to visit a number of centers before I choose one for him. I've spoken with one of my friends who has done a lot of research on the local centers and networks extensively, and she has helped me narrow down my search. I need to start making calls while some how juggling work meetings and a doctor's appointment this afternoon.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

While I was lying awake at 4:00 am this morning, it finally hit me. My mom is getting older. Even if this is just a temporary setback and she makes a full recovery in a few months, this will not be the last health crisis. Both of my parents are aging, and more and more, they will need my brother, sister and I to care for them. I'm having trouble even putting into words how this makes me feel. If I keep mulling over it right now, I'm pretty sure I'm going to find myself in the ladies room wiping away "allergy" tears.

If any of you are wondering what you could possibly say to make me feel better, there is actually something you can help me with. Can you point out some of the benefits of daycare? I'm not opposed to daycare in theory, but right now I'm just not feeling it. I think hearing some of the upsides to it would give me a better perspective on things.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Son of a…

One of the extra special lessons I’ve learned as a mom is that anything that already sucks, sucks even more with a two year old.

I have my morning routine down to a science. Andy, Michael and I manage to all get ready and leave the house in about 43 minutes. I do the same things everyday. It gets us going and prevents me from forgetting anything. Right before we walk out the door, I call my mom and let her know we are coming. She heads outside to meet us. Andy and I pull out at the same time. Smooth sailing.

Monday morning I ticked off Michael by forcing him to wear a jacket, so he wasn’t very cooperative about getting into his car seat as revenge. I finally fought him into it, and came around to start the car. I turned the key. Nothing. I turned it again. NOTHING. Then, because I could not believe that a three year old Honda wouldn’t start, I turned the key again. The dash board lights flickered on for a moment and then went out again. I look up, Andy has just pulled away. Son of a…

So, here I am. It’s 5:43 in the morning. I’ve been on vacation for a week, and MUST get to work. My mom is standing outside, with no phone, waiting for me. Andy is gone. I did my best Winnie the Pooh impression and decided to “Think, think, think” really fast.

I called Andy, who actually had his phone on him, and he turned around to pick us up. When I went to switch Michael to Andy’s car, he threw a fit. The first of many fits that were soon to follow. At my mom’s I begged her to let me borrow her car. And wonderful mom that she is, she did.

My mom drives an old Ford Escort wagon with a standard transmission. And, it turns out that she also needs to put the seat so far forward that her face is touching the windshield. I opened the car door and folded all 5 feet 8 inches of myself plus the three inch heals into her tiny little car. Then, I spent about 5 minutes trying to untangle myself from the steering wheel. I managed to back out and get on the road without stalling the car.

(Ok, that's a lie. I stalled it once. But it's been 5 years since I drove a stick shift. And I was wearing heals!)

On the way to work, my mind is churning. What’s wrong with the car? Where are my jumper cables? How much is this going to cost? What are we going to do if this takes several days to fix? Holy crap this car is loud! Am I really only going 55? My mind finally settled down enough that I noticed singing in the background. I tune into it just in time to hear, “Save a horse, ride a cowboy.” What on earth is my mother listening too?

After work, Andy and I decided to try and jump the car. If you have never done this before, you simply connect the dead battery to the good battery in another car and then start them both. It requires two people. It should take about 10 minutes. Unless, of course, you have a two year old.

Michael was a nightmare. He screamed and cried the entire time. His friends were out, but he decided that he MUST have me hold him while I’m hooking cables up to a live battery. When I wouldn't lift him up, he got so angry that he threw his stupid train whistle into Andy’s engine compartment. OMG! I had to reach in and get it out before his little head blew up. By the time we finally got my car started, Michael was red and splotchy with snot all over. Just the thing I needed.

I ran my car for a while to let the battery charge. Michael climbed in my car with me and played around while Andy went in to do the dishes. That’s when I realized I was trapped. I couldn’t get Michael out, I couldn’t turn the car off, and I couldn’t leave him in the car to go get Andy. So I had a brilliant idea. I’ll put Michael in his car seat and drive the car around to charge it up.

I drove up to the park. I don’t know what I was thinking. “PARK! I want to go to the park! PARK! PARK! PARK!” That’s when the check engine light came on. I turned around. Michael screamed and wailed. Thank goodness I made it back to my parking spot before the car died. I cannot imagine what would have happened if I had to carry Michael the half mile home kicking and screaming. I shudder to think.

Hmm, maybe I can get in touch with the shop. What time is it? 6:01. The shop is opened until 6:00. Maybe I can catch them. I rush in and dial the phone. Michael kicks the tantrum up a notch and starts hitting Andy. Somehow, over the screaming, I can hear the voice mail message telling me their business hours. Sigh.

Since there wasn’t anything I could do about it, I figured I would take Michael outside to calm him down. It didn’t work. He fought me the entire time, and kept whining and pulling. I know that my comment to him about how “I’d rather shot myself in the head multiple times with a nail gun” was inappropriate. Really, I do. But I don’t feel bad about it at all. Right at that moment, I meant it.

At 6:30 I gave up and plopped him in front of the TV and put on Curious George for him. He slumped down, looking pathetic with his red eyes and scowl. But at least he wasn’t screaming. I gave up and called AAA to have my car towed.

Everything turned out ok. The tow truck was there in under an hour. The shop was able to fix my car the next day. Turns out my battery was just so dead that it couldn’t hold a charge. Things got right back to normal, and it didn’t cost too much. It’s all good.

But I swear, I don’t ever want to go through the two hour screaming tantrum while trying to do something that should only take 10 minutes again. I just may be forced to buy a nail gun.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stop Hovering

Last week, while we were on vacation, we managed to make it down to the shore to visit my dad. I made the mistake of telling Michael that we were going to see the ocean before we left, so he asked us about the ocean a number of times on the drive down. The two and a half year old version of “Are we there yet?” He continued to ask about going to the ocean even after we got to my dad’s house. So finally, my dad and I decided to walk him up to see the ocean.

The weather wasn’t that great. The air temperature was about 72 plus the added chill of the ocean breeze. The water temperature was about 69, which is not bad for the Jersey shore, but not exactly balmy either. However, I insisted on changing Michael into his bathing suit. I thought about it for, oh say a nanosecond, and decided I should put my suit on too. My dad told me I didn’t need to, he had his suit on and that would be good enough. I know better than that.

The walk up to the beach isn’t that far, however we do have to walk in the road and cross the two main roads on the island. And, even though it’s after Memorial Day, there was still a good bit of traffic. So, I stayed pretty close to Michael to make sure he didn’t get hurt.

That’s when my dad started in on the stop hovering comments. During the quarter mile walk, he must have said it five or six times. It ticked me off a little, but I just looked away and rolled my eyes.

(I really wanted to point out that his constant admonishment about hovering might be considered hovering by some. I’m patting myself on the back for actually biting my tongue for once.)

When we hit the sand, I stopped Michael and took off his sandals. Well, if that wasn’t the most thrilling sensation. He was fascinated by the sand, and started to play right there in the walkway. I did my best to encourage him to come up over the dunes, but he wasn’t buying it. Once again, my dad told me to stop hovering. Great.

“Hey Michael, do you want to see the ocean? It’s right over there” I said and pointed. And Michael was off. Up the dunes and over the sand, with my dad and I right behind. As he neared the water, I pulled off the shirt I had over my bathing suit and flipped it over to my dad. He looked startled, but I knew what was about to happen.

SPLASH! Michael ran straight into the ocean. He didn’t even blink, just ran right in. The first wave hit him and down he went in the surf. The good mommy that I am, I was right there to catch him. The bad mommy in me was loving the look of surprise on his face.

“Where’s his fear?” my dad asked.

“He doesn’t have any dad.” I replied out loud.

In my mind I was saying, “SEE! DO YOU SEE NOW? THAT’S WHY I WAS HOVERING!” But I know my dad. He didn’t need to hear it. He kindly refrained from telling me to stop hovering for the remainder of the visit. Never question the mommy instincts.

Here's the little devil. Please note that the waves are really tiny. I didn't let my kid run into a hurricane storm surge.

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Here is the big devil after taking a dip.

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And one more of Michael. Just because I can.


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Michael loved the beach so much that I had to pick him up and carry him off the beach when his lips started to turn blue from the cold.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Back from Vacation and tagged.

Well, after a nice relaxing week off, I'm back to work, and back to my blog. I have some stories to tell, but they will have to wait until I've caught up with my email. Instead, I'm going to give you my responses to being tagged by Laura.

First, post a picture of you and your kid(s):

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1. How many children do you have? One

2. What are their ages?
2 years and 4 months

3. What time do you start your day?
5:00 am on weekdays. 9:00 am on Saturday and between 6:30 and 7:30 on Sunday

4. What do you eat for breakfast?
A Sesame bagel with strawberry cream cheese and a large fountain Diet Coke

5. Do your kids watch TV?
Yes.

6. What are their favorite activities?
Current favorites are playing with his trains or with his letter.

7. Do you get a break during the day for some you time?
Michael goes to bed at 7:30 so I normally end up on the exercise bike by 8:00. I read while I’m on the bike, so that sort of counts as me time. Most nights I get from 9:00 – 10:00 to relax. As long as I don’t have bills to pay, dinner to prep for the next day, laundry that needs to be done…Sigh.

8. How do you end your day?
See number 7 above. Just add collapsing into bed exhausted at 10:00 pm.

9. What is your best parenting advice or tip? I have two tips. 1) Outside is almost always better. It’s the best place to calm a temper tantrum, keep a bored child occupied, wear a child out, get fresh air, you name it. 2) No one, not your mom, your pediatrician, or that mom who has been there done that, knows your child better than you do. Trust that.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Our Outback Adventure

Ha! No, we didn't secretly sneak off to Australia for our vacation. Instead, we finally decided to take Michael out to dinner at our local Outback Steakhouse. For all the trouble, we should have just gone to Australia.

We have taken Michael out to dinner plenty of times, but Outback is a logistical nightmare for us. Our area has a shortage of cookie cutter, chain restaurants and has a large population of people that are willing to wait for over an hour to eat a less than amazing steak. The thought of waiting outside a restaurant for an hour with a curious two year old is about as appealing and shooting myself in the head with a staple gun. I can't even imagine what kind of hell would await us when we did finally get a seat.

Well, last evening, Michael woke up from his nap early enough for us to head over and give it a try. Trains? Check! iTouch? Check! I think we are good to go.

We timed it perfectly. We were able to get a seat right away. Michael has been pretty good sitting in a both, so we decided to pass on the high chair. That was not one of the better decisions I've ever made.

I was impressed with the service. Our waiter was very prompt, and he acknowledged Michael from the beginning (and the special issues that parents of toddlers have). He made sure to get our drinks for us right away. I routinely bribe Michael with sweet drinks at restaurants to buy us a little time, so I didn't think anything of ordering him fruit punch, until I saw that the lid to the toddler cup wasn't like the one's at the other restaurants we've gone to. It was one of those thin, soda cup type tops. Andy asked me, "Did you bring the sippy cup?"

No. No I did not. And I will never do that again. And, you all know why. Because, the first thing that Michael did was picked it up and spilled it all over himself. And the seat. And my butt. If he had been in a highchair, it would have spilled on the floor. But he wasn't in the highchair, so I got it all.

I wiped him up, blotted my tush, and acted like nothing had happened. I then battled with him through out the meal to keep him from tilting that stupid cup up again. I really wish he would figure out the whole straw concept.

The waiter was great. He even asked if we wanted Michael's food fast to keep him happy. We said no. Why bother. He may eat a few fries and take a bite of the grilled cheese, so no real distraction there.

Now, the women sitting in the booth behind us, that was a distraction. I had to wrestle him back into his seat about 50 million times, and he still managed to grab a hold of the cord for the blinds at one point. Another time he managed to drop one of his trains IN the woman's hair. At which point we considered slinking out of the restaurant. So, when Michael crawled under the table to play for a few minutes we just left him there.

He did not even acknowledge his food when it arrived. I don't even know why we waste the money. I guess I'm still hoping that one day he will actually eat. He did, however, engage me in several wrestling matches while I was trying to eat my food. It was awesome.

Oh, but we did figure out how to end things on a good note. Carrot Cake. Very yummy carrot cake. Which Michael just about pounced on when the waiter brought it out. Yes, the child that didn't even seem to notice that food was on our table during dinner, was all over the cake. Little stinker.

As soon as the cake was gone, I escaped with Michael...fruit punch covered butts and all. Andy paid and we got out of there as quickly as we could. As we were driving home, Andy said, "That didn't go too badly." And sadly, I had to agree, because I know it could have been much worse.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Vacation

I'm getting ready to leave work for a week of vacation. While I was setting up my out of office notice on my inbox and recording my out of office message for my voicemail I realized that I should probably mention something about it on here as well.

We don't have any wild and extravagant plans for the week. We are going to head down the shore to visit my dad for a few days. (For anyone that doesn't go to the Jersey Shore, that means we are going to the beach.) I'm also hoping that I can finally get around to Michael proofing Michael's nursery so that we can switch him to a toddler bed. And, that's about it. How's that for setting low expectations?

I'm hoping to get on a little during the week, but if not, I promise to be back the following week with pictures.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Man of Letters

I’ve been working hard to figure out things that we can do this winter to keep Michael occupied and active while trapped in the house. We had such a nice summer that most days he was able to get outside at least once, if not more. He’s so used to playing outside that being forced to stay inside is going to be a difficult change for him.

Tuesday was rainy, so I decided to try out one of the activities I had picked up for Michael. However, I need to give a little background for it to make sense.

Michael has a thing for letters. By “thing” I don’t mean he likes to teethe on them, or leave them on the floor so I step on them in the dark and squeal loudly. I mean he really likes them. Okay, even that is an understatement. My kid has a serious letter problem. You know how some kids become obsessed with princesses, or cars? They spend hours playing with them, point them out whenever they see one, and treat them like friends? Well, that’s what letters are to Michael.

It’s not something I talk about much because people react very strongly to discovering that a toddler knows all his letters, both upper and lower case, all of their sounds, and several versions of the alphabet song. I had a very awkward encounter with the hairdresser that cut Michael’s hair when he was about 20 months old. He was reading off letters from the signs and she kept asking me, “How does he do that?” Lady, I have no clue. I’m dyslexic and I still mix up my lower case ps and bs. Your guess is as good as mine.

But, I’ve decided that I really do need to blog about it because it’s such a big part of who Michael is. He’s spent the past year playing with letters, and it’s the one thing above all others that he loves.

So, when I was at the bookstore the other day, I saw a kid's baking book that comes with letter cookie cutters and just had to buy it. Michael went nuts when he saw the package, and insisted that I open it for him RIGHT NOW. He had been playing with them since Friday, but I couldn’t find the time I needed to make the dough. I ended up taking the day off on Tuesday to get our A/C fixed, and since it was raining, I decided to give the cookies a try.

It was a huge success. I rolled out the dough and pulled the step stool over for Michael. I used one cutter to make a cookie, and that was all Michael needed to see before he went to town. He made quite a mess, and I needed to roll the dough out about 5 times just so we could get about 25 cookies made, but it was well worth getting flour all over my kitchen. Believe it or not, the cookies turned out pretty good too. Michael was in heaven, not only did he get to eat cookies, but they were LETTER cookies.

It worked great, but I think I’m going to let him use Playdoh the next time I get the cookie cutters out. It’s not the mess I’m worried about, it’s all the reject cookie dough that I ended up eating. Oh my.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A moment of peace, and then...

Yesterday after work, I was able to relax for a few minutes and do some Sudukos before my mom brought Michael home. It was a nice warm day, so I sat out on our front steps and listened to the crickets chirp and soaked up some of the last summer rays.

And then, Michael came home. He was in a good mood until my mom informed me that she had forgotten Michael's Shirt. His Shirt is not a shirt that he wears, it's his security blanket. He's very attached to Shirt, and even though he didn't seem to know that Shirt was missing until my mom mentioned it, he immediately decided that he must have Shirt !

I hate to make my mom drive all the way home and bring Shirt back. She already delivers him to my door 4 days a week. She certainly goes above and beyond. So normally when Shirt gets left behind, I go and get it. But yesterday my mom volunteered to do it for me.

That's one problem solved, however, I still have a crying child that MUST HAVE SHIRT NOW. I carried him inside, plopped him on the sofa, and tried to distract him from the tantrum he was throwing. And, being the overachiever that I am, I decided to get dinner started as well.

I was trying out a new fish product that I had picked up at the market. Andy's pretty fussy about his fish, he prefers it breaded and fried, so I was really going out on a limb trying something that was neither breaded or fried. To balance it out, I decided to make his favorite rice dish. But, it was going to make timing everything difficult.

The oven was preheated, Michael was having some milk in the living room, and Andy was just finishing up cleaning up after exercising. Perfect timing.

Until Andy came down and informed me that there was water leaking in the basement. Son of a bitch.

I ran down to the basement and saw several small water spots on the ceiling tiles that made no sense. Hmm...The toilet is over there, that's were the shower is. The kitchen sink and dishwasher are over on that side and the outside faucet is along the wall. How is this happening?

Whatever it was, it was a very slow leak, so I decided to tackle it after dinner.

I pulled dinner off just fine, and Andy even liked the fish. But something didn't seem right. "Andy, is it warm in here?" Sigh.

So, I finished my dinner quickly and headed back down to the basement. After removing a bunch of ceiling tiles and tracking the water drops I finally figured out what it was. Condensation on the A/C's refrigerant line. I checked the outside unit and there was frost developing on it. Time to call the repairman. At this point Michael was out of his booster seat and wanted to follow Andy down to the basement to see what was going on. I walked by to get the phone book, and Michael freaked. You know, the foot stomping, lung blasting kind of temper tantrum that makes you want to go hide under a rock. I'm sure the woman taking my call thought I was murdering him.

So, that was my evening. Tantruming child, leaks in the basement, broken A/C. Oh, and did I mention that Michael ran into my toe and pulled off part of my toenail? And the best part of it? Yesterday was the last day of summer heat. The cold front that will cool off our evenings into comfortable sleeping weather isn't coming through until today. So, we had a nice warm, sticky night to look forward to.

Now where is that darn repair man?

Monday, September 8, 2008

As summer draws to a close

We are entering the last few weeks of summer here in the Philadelphia area. Our weather is cooling off, and we are enjoying the comfortable evenings, even if they are broken up with the occasional tropical storm blowing through.

Friday evening it was still a little hot out, so we decided to head out for the evening. The only problem was that Andy and I couldn't figure out where to go. In the midst of our debate, Michael piped up with, "I want to got to the bookstore." Oh, music to my ears. How can you turn down a child that wants to go to the bookstore?

Ok, I realize he's not going for the books. In fact, I'm not even sure if he knows there are books there. All those rows and rows of books look like heaven to me, but I suspect they just look like an annoying maze of obstacles that keep him from his one true love, the train table. He loves that thing so much that Andy and I are trying very hard to figure out just where we could put one. We could shove the love seat in front of the fireplace again and open up some room in the living room. But we have done that before and it makes the room really tight. We could put it in the basement, but it gets kind of chilly down there in the winter.

I have a feeling that we'll find a solution to this problem about a week after it starts getting dark too early to get Michael outside after dinner.

Saturday, Hanna blew through. We got a lot of much needed rain, and managed to miss most of the wind. It was a prefect day for visitors. My mother in law came up to visit in the morning. Honestly, she's far from my favorite person, and I don't really look forward to seeing her. However, she loves Michael and I will not deny them time together. They really did seem to have a great time playing with Matchbox cars. Michael was genuinely happy to see her, and the visit went really well. It also wore him out, so that he went down easily for his nap. (and I got to sneak one in as well.)

After his nap, Andy's sister and her fiance came up for dinner. It was nice to see them, and also nice to have some adult conversation over dinner. Of course, Michael loved having all the attention.

Yesterday, we went over to the small fair our township holds every fall. The fire department brings several engines and does demonstrations for the crowd. We got there early, and one of the firemen gave Michael the grand tour of two fire engines. Michael actually got to sit in the big fire truck and pretend to drive it. The fireman even adjusted the seat and steering wheel for him. Oh, if only you could have seen the look of pure joy on Michael's face. That's when Andy and I realized that neither of us had grabbed the camera.

After the fire engines, we went over to the playground and ran into several other little boys that we know. I think they were both in need of either a nap or some food. Both boys were fighting their moms over every little thing. For once, Michael was actually the most well behaved child on the playground. It was a huge relief.

All in all, it was a great weekend, but the best part of it didn't happen until after dinner last night. One of my neighbors, J's mommy, just had a baby boy last week. Last night I finally got to meet him. He is just the sweetest, cutest, most precious little baby. His hair is full and soft. I could probably just pet him for hours. He kept peaking at me with one eye, and I melted every time. Oh, and the noises he makes. He squawks like a baby bird. He clearly knows what he wants and how to get it. Isn't it amazing how one tiny little baby can just turn a cynical, grown woman into a pile of mush? But, he's just so itty bittty...

And oh my god if he doesn't make Michael seem huge!

There are two things that concern me about the end of summer. The first is what on earth am I going to do with Michael all winter long? I'm not sure my house, or my nerves are going to survive. We are planning set play dates with J and M, but still I'm going to have a bouncy two year old running loose in my house for months on end.

The other concern is that this is the time of year that critters move inside. A few years ago, the camel crickets moved in and we haven't been able to get rid of them since. This year, a mouse moved in. Mr. Fuzzy, MF for short, finally bit the dust on Friday night, but I've never known a mouse that travelled alone, so I'm expecting more. So, not only will I have a bouncy two year old loose in the house, but I'm going to have mouse traps set up too. That's going to be fun.

And by fun, I mean it's going to be like keeping a monkey from climbing a tree, or a cat from scratching up the furniture.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Updates

I wanted to take a few minutes and update everyone on some of the things I've mentioned on my blog.

First, my mom's knee has improved a good bit. She was able to get out and about on Saturday, and started watching Michael again on Tuesday. Unfortunately, she is still experiencing some pain, and her range of motion is still limited. She's going to give it a little more time, and if it doesn't improve, she will see a specialist.

Second, Michael's boo boo finger has completely healed. Once the nail fell off, the finger never really seemed to bother him much. I'm actually impressed by how quickly the nail grew back. This past weekend I realized it was actually getting too long, and had to trim it along with the other 9.

Third, on Monday I bribed Michael with a green lollipop to get him to show me his teeth. That last molar is sitting right under the surface and should come through at any time. Based on Michael's eating the past few days, I think it may have started to come through. I'll bribe him again in a few days to check. I can't wait for teething to be over.

-A funny thing about the lollipop. Michael asks for them based on color, not flavor. It turns out that he doesn't like green. -

And finally, the hitting and pushing thing. He has only hit once in the last week even though he has spent many hours playing with various kids. I'm very proud of him. He and M even behaved themselves so well, that K a very shy little girl, decided to join them during a pool "party" this past weekend. She was so interested in playing with them that she got into the pool fully dressed! Of course, Michael and M were fully dressed too, but who has time for swim suits and swim diapers when there is a big tub full of water RIGHT THERE?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Who's Blog is This Anyway?

Now, here is a picture you probably wouldn't expect to see on my blog.




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You might expect to see it here on Laura's blog, so how did it end up on my blog?

Well, I could actually be that creepy, middle age man that I've joked about being on Babycenter. You know, the kind that goes around stealing pictures from other people's photo accounts.

Or, I just may have been lucky enough to actually get to meet Laura and Jon as they blew through town on their whirlwind trip to the Poconos this past weekend.

Oh, you don't believe that I'm not a creepy guy? Well, here's the proof!


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Yes, that's Laura and me. So, now do you believe me?

What I can't believe is how much Laura and Jon managed to do this weekend. I only found out that they would be coming my way last week, and once I found at what their plans were, I really didn't think they would have time to squeeze in a visit with me. Then again, I should have realized that the parents of twin boys would 1) be organized enough to pull off plans that included flying to Philly, meeting two different blog friends, attending a friend's wedding, and manage to find some time to relax by the pool all in three days, and 2) be flexible enough to make changes at the last minute. So, with just a few days to spare before their trip, Laura gave me a call, and we worked out a meeting time and location.

If you read Laura's blog, you know that she's a very intelligent, upbeat kind of person. Well, in real life, she really is just that. I was amazed at how much she really comes through in her blog. We sat down in the cafe at B&N and chatted like we were just picking up a conversation that we had left off on a few days before. And Jon? Well, you have to figure that he must be an extra special husband if he goes along with his wife's plans to met up with two perfect strangers on a really rushed weekend trip, and he is. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting both of them, and I was sad that they could only stay for an hour.

Which, really highlights the advantages and disadvantages of the Internet. I love the fact that I have gotten to know some really wonderful friends through Babycenter and my blog. For someone who's a bit of an introvert and who works with mostly middle aged men, it's been hard for me to find and connect with women that I can relate to. The Internet has provided me a wonderful opportunity to get to know some amazing women. But, the down side is that you all live all over the country, and I can't just throw a dinner party and expect anyone to show up. Based on my meet up with Laura and Jon, not being able to meet more of you is a major disappointment.

Oh, and Laura, if you ever make it back up my way, you and Jon have a standing invitation. Maybe next time, we could find more time. You bring the wine, and I'll make something yummy from The Pioneer Woman's recipe list.