Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Here Comes Science - Product Review

Here Comes Science is the third Children's CD/DVD in They Might Be Giants Here Comes series. It follows up Here Come the 123s and Here Come the ABCs. Both of which I have recommended on my blog before. In fact, I thought so highly of them, that I rushed out to buy Here Comes Science as soon as it was available. They Might Be Giants did not disappoint.

There is a lot to like about Here Comes Science. The big selling point from a parent's perspective is that the music is enjoyable (You know, as much as anything is enjoyable after you have listened to it five bazillion times in a row.) There is none of that sappy, happy, so cute you want to puke kind of music on it. There are no silly dances for your child to force you to dance to. In fact, if you changed the words to the songs, you would NEVER know it's kids music. In other words, it's a rockin' album even for adults.

There are a lot of selling points for kids.

The music is fun and upbeat. While it may be interesting music for adults, it's still energetic and quirky enough for kids to enjoy. Songs like "I am a Paleontologist" and "Electric Car" will have your kids (and you) dancing and bouncing along. The little verbal incongruaties that helped make They Might Be Giants popular with the college crowd is excellent with the young crowd as well.

The videos on the DVD are artistically diverse and entertaining. They use a number of different animation techniques which keeps things fresh from song to song as well as exposing your child to some very interesting creative approachs. Additionally, the graphics really add to the educational aspect of the songs by providing simple images that support and enhance the ideas covered in the songs. My favorite video is for "What is a shooting Star?" It really is very beautiful. Michael has really responded to the video for "Blood Mobile". It's amazing how giving different types of blood cells faces can help a child grasp the purpose of each cell. (White blood cells are COOL!)

And finally, the coolest part of Here Comes Science is the science itself. Kids are really just little scientists. They spend a significant amount of time exploring and repeating as they learn about the world. Here Comes Science really plays into that sense of adventure in kids and makes learning about how things work interesting and fun. They go into topics like why the sun shines (with the lyric "the sun is a miasma of incandescent plasma" sqeee!), the order of the planets (addressing the demotion of Pluto to a dwarf star), and good old Roy G. Biv. The science is correct, up to date, and presented in a simple manner for young minds. It follows in the School House Rock tradition, and it does it very well.

On a more practical note, the DVD is 45 minutes long and will automatically replay if you don't shut it off after it returns to the main menu. You can play the DVD with the story that goes along, or simply alphabetically by song. And, while the subject matter is educational, this really is just pure fun and any learning happens because it is fun, not because you are trying to shove facts into a little mind.

So, I recommend Here Comes Science for all of the kids out there*. It's fun, it's educational, and you probably won't want to blow your brains out when you are listening to it for the 100th time in one day. And when I say all kids, I mean girls too. This is a great way to show your daughter that science is interesting, pretty and completely accessible to girls.

Michael recommends it too. How could he not. There is a song called "I am a Paleontologist". I think he thinks they wrote the song just for him.


* So, this is probably obvious, but no I was not paid to promote this CD/DVD. I'm doing this simply because I love Here Comes Science and I can't help but encourage the geekification of America.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Silver Lining

Michael was in a decent mood when I picked him up yesterday. (And my mom had survived the day. Bonus!) He allowed me to put his shoes on and even got into his car seat without any problems. At a minimum, I could at least contain any tantrums to our house, instead of the entire township.

We got home early enough that Michael and I were able to go outside and play. We played some basketball, then baseball, climbed on the rocks and finally blew some bubbles. Michael is getting pretty decent at basket ball and baseball. It's nice to see him enjoying some physical activities outside of the pool.

We were finally chased inside by a swarm of gnats and I threw together a quick dinner. Michael insisted that he was not hungry, and based on his recent mood swings I decided not to push him on it. He played quietly in the living room while Andy and I ate.

As soon as Michael heard me push my chair back he called me to come sit with him in the living room. I picked up Larry and Hannah (Hannah is a stuffed Brachiosaurus that has become a close friend of Michael and Larry. It's sweet, but I keep saying Harry and Lannah instead of Larry and Hannah.), lifted Michael on my lap, and we cuddled for a half hour on the sofa.

I know Michael is moody and struggling right now. The tanturms are not fun. The night waking is not fun. But snuggling with him when he's feeling a little insecure feels abosolutely wonderful. I wish that part of being little could last forever.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thank god it's Monday

Yes, I just said that. I am glad that it's Monday and that I was able to drop Michael off at my mom's and come into work. No, we aren't having a big party or anything. It's just that things were a little crazy this weekend.

Ha, a little crazy. That's an understatement. Things were a lot crazy this weekend. It had been building all week, but by Saturday morning, Michael pretty much just came unglued.

It started when he woke up around 5:45 and refused to play in his room for even one second. Thankfully, Andy handled getting up with Michael, so I didn't have to suffer the day while also being completely sleep deprived. (Which means that Andy did.)

The first tantrum started around 10:30. Andy had been trying to get Michael to let him change his diaper for a while, but by 10:30 it was so full it was practically falling off his tush. So, I decided to try and get Michael to submit to the diaper change. And I was rebuffed. Loudly. With tears and screaming and toy throwing. You know, the 3-year-old's "big guns". Tears are fine. Screaming is fine. Throwing and hitting are not. Over the course of the next 40 minutes Michael had two time outs and I had to leave him alone to calm down several times. By the time it was over, I don't even think Michael knew what he was upset about.

In the afternoon, I decided to try out a playground that I had heard was good, so all three of use headed out for some fun. Michael had a nice time and played happily for over an hour. Next we went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to pick up a new pillow. I let Michael walk instead of making him ride in the cart and he was fine.

But, when dinner time rolled around, Michael flew out of control again. I don't even know what started it, but once he got started, there was no turning back. He cried, screamed, and started throwing things again. We removed him to his bedroom where he cried, screamed and threw stuff. (But hey, it was his stuff.) He did finally calm down, but we were done dinner and he had lost his ice cream privileges by that point.

He had another crazy tantrum over getting ready for bed.

Sunday morning started off well. I was up with him at 6:45, which sucks, but is still better than 5:45. We had a great time playing with letters and he was fine letting me go up stairs to get ready once Andy got up. He even agreed to a diaper change and getting dressed so that he could go grocery shopping with me.

At the grocery store, things started off well. Michael was helping me pick out oranges and would put them in the bag gently. We shopped up and down the aisles without any problem...until we hit the dairy aisle. I have no idea what happened. One minute we were shopping, the next he was insisting that I take him to the "play room so we can find letter toys". I tried to humor him at first, but his demands were becoming ridiculous. When I realized that a tantrum was unavoidable, I just let it happened and finished up my shopping as quickly as possible. Michael just sat in the cart and cried and screamed.

I just let him have at it. I headed for the registers, where I discovered that only two lanes where open. And the lines were long. And my kid was screaming and yelling. I have to hand it to the folks around me. I didn't get a single nasty look. Instead, I got a few sympathetic smiles and some "oh, I remember those days."

After waiting for about 30 seconds, a woman came up and tugged on the front of my cart. She pointed at a lane and said she would take me there. I felt bad because the guy in front of me ended up behind me, but he just smiled and added to the chorus of "I remember those days." He actually commented that he was impressed that I was standing my ground, staying calm, and not giving in to Michael. I was very touched by the compliment even though I would have given in and bought Michael a candy bar in a second if that's all it would have taken to calm him down. The only reason I wasn't giving in was because there was nothing to give in to. Michael was just upset over existing.

The rest of the day went well, but Michael did get in a final F You. I awoke to him calling for me at 11:45 at night. I dreaded going to him, but figured it was worth a try to calm him down before letting him got too worked up. He did go back to sleep after about 10 minutes, but I'm sure he has energy for more of the same for later.

It was a very long, stressful weekend for all of us. We have seen some of this crazy behavior before, but never with this intensity. It's hard to stay calm through so many tantrums, but it's also concerning because Michael is clearly distressed over something that I don't even think he understands. I know that this is expected of kids his age. I know that he'll go in and out of difficult developmental stages. But that doesn't make it any easier to watch him go through the stages, especially when so much of his anguish is directed at Andy and I.

So, for now, I'll just be happy that I like my job, and I'll share a little of the "joy" with my mom.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Phone Photo Friday - By Request

When I packed my bag for the New York trip, I was not able to fit my DSLR camera into my suitcase. However, I decided that it was such an important trip, that I just had to have it. So, I lugged the camera bag with me on my train rides and carried it around the city on my way to the hotel. Then, I never used it. Between the DSLR and my iPhone, I only snapped a total of 10 pictures.

The first three, I snapped with my iPhone at the wonderful sushi restaurant that we went to on Friday night. The service was excellent, the sushi was amazing, and then there was this.


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Lindsay was the first to encounter this little device, and was so fascinated that she had to tell us all about it. Some of the more sophisticated among us had encountered it...


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Talk about a control panel. It has as many buttons as our HDTV does at home. Which, in my book, is too many buttons. One of the perks of being married is that I don't have to be involved with complex equipment like this. It really helps simplify my life. So, for this reason, I don't plan on ever upgrading to this particular model.

I'm sure most of you know what this control panel is for, but for those how don't here is a picture of what it controls.



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Yes folks, three of my ten NYC photos are of the toilet at the Sushi Restaurant. I'm a classy gal, aren't I?

*****************************

So, while on on such a desirable topic, I might as well keep going.

I used to be the manager of a book store, and I was in charge of the children's section of the store for several years. This was back in my "I'm never going to have children" days, so it wasn't the best match. I didn't always appreciate some aspects of children's literature. I got books like Good Night Moon and Curious George, they are fun. But, I didn't get books like the potty training books. Of the seemingly very silly selection of potty books, the one that always made me giggle the most was Everyone Poops. I'm not sure I ever managed to keep a stright face when a parent came in asking for the book.

Serioulsy, Everyone Poops? You have got to be kidding me.

So...

Michael is still very resistant to potty training. He will now climb up on the big potty and pee pee all by himself, but he will only do it right before bed, and only if I coerce him. So, he will use the potty once a day.

We have talked with him about the reward will be for pooping in the potty five times, and he understands what it is. He has repeated the bride to my mom. "If I poopy in the potty five times, mommy and daddy will buy me my own laptop." He get's the idea, but he still refuses to do it. Not even for a laptop.

I stopped at the bookstore on the way home yesterday. I wandered over to the potty training section. And, I sucked it up and I bought a copy of Everyone Poops. Then, as karma seems to enjoy, Michael made me read it to him several times before bed, and then he talked all about the book first thing this morning. I guess it made an impact.

Anyone want to bet that it doesn't make a damn bit of difference?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Realignment Needed

As anyone with a child knows, balancing your life with a child involved is not an easy task. What makes it even harder is that every few months they grow and change and their different needs throw even the best laid schedule out of wack. Add in the change of seasons, new classes, and the normal changes of life; and most parents find themselves adjusting and readjusting things all the time. Normally, a tweak here and a twist there does the job, but right now I'm looking at a full scale overhaul of how I/we do things. It's a bit overwhelming and I'm having trouble getting it all into focus.

First, there is the job. It sucks up a significant portion of my time. It's also not very flexible. I can change my shift time, but they are pretty adamant about that 40 hours a week thing.

Then there is family. We all have different needs. Michael needs one on one time, Andy needs one on one time, we need full on family time, and after the job, there isn't much time left over for all of that. Plus, I need me time so that I can be completely there for the family time. However, me time often takes the backseat, which makes me cranky and unpleasant to be around, which defeats the purpose of giving up the me time to begin with.

Next comes in the whole people need to eat thing. Can I just say that I hate walking in the door after a long day of work and instead of playing with Michael or chatting with Andy, I have to make dinner. Recently, Michael has been making it even harder by physically grabbing me and trying to drag me into the living room to sit down with him. I've also been getting very frustrated with the small number of meals that I can prepare in under 30 minutes that are healthy, not loaded with fat and calories, and don't have onions in them. Oh yeah, and there's the problem of forgetting to get crock pot meals ready the night before, or pulling meat from the freezer so that it has time to thaw for dinner. So far, the only solution I can find is fast food, but if I do that, we'll all gain about 500 pounds. (I have a Quarter Pounder problem.) I'm willing to pay cash for convenience, but not with the health of my family.

Oh, and then there is the exercise problem. Not only do I enjoy exercising (seriously, I have no idea when that happened, but it did) but I also have the slight problem of grandfathers dropping dead from heart problems that I need to keep in mind. Both sides of my family have a history of heart disease, high blood pressure and type II diabetes. I'm well aware that I have a lot of control over many of the factors that contribute to those problems, and staying active is one way to delay or prevent problems that other family members have encountered. 45 - 50 minutes a day doesn't seem like much in exchange for hopefully holding a grandchild in my arms one day.

But, it's never really 45-50 minutes. If I'm going to keep working on running, I'll need to get a gym membership. That means extra time traveling and dealing with gym stuff. I could keep using the bike at home, but I started running because the bike wasn't providing everything I was looking for in a workout.

And then there are all those other little things. You know, cleaning the house, spending time with friends, keeping up with Netflix and TiVo. And don't even get me started on all the books I want to read and crafts I want to do.

So far, I've identified the problem, but I'm having trouble figuring out what I need to do to realign everything to work as best as possible. Right now, it's all just swirling around in my head, but no solid ideas are taking hold. It's a bit frustrating.

I guess it's time to sit down and make a list.

Blah...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Words left unsaid...

I don't think I used the word "Dude" once over the weekend. I don't know how it happened, but it did. I don't think anyone was disappointed though.

Monday, September 21, 2009

There’s also an often-overlooked good side to the internet

I stole the title for today's post from the Pioneer Woman. I thought it was interesting that the topic of her post today is the same as it is for those of us who did the meet-up in New York City this weekend. It's about the good side of the internet. The side that brings together people who might otherwise not meet. Relationships that can become so meaningful that I almost hate to say "I met her on the internet" because that implies that it might not be as meaningful as "real" relationships.

I lugged my good camera all the way up to NYC on the train, but unfortunately, you'll have to check out Laura's blog for pictures. I was so busy having a great time that I only took a few pictures. It's probably a good thing though. Laura takes much better pictures than I do. She really captured each of us very well. (Not only did I have to do rabbit ears in some of Laura's pictures, I also couldn't resist popping a few bunny ears into the pictures of perfect strangers in Time's Square.)

I'd like to echo the experience that Laura had in regards to being an introvert. I love spending time with other people, but typically I need breaks to recharge and stay fresh. This past weekend I was perfectly content to spend every moment with these ladies. I did take a few quiet moments to just wander and soak up the city, but that was all I needed. The entire weekend just flowed so naturally, that I felt at home the entire time.

The women, oh, how do I even start to describe what they are like? They were everything that their blogs hinted about, but they are so much more than that. I loved talking with everyone as a group, and I loved every chance I got to break off and just talk with one or two of the ladies. There is just no way to sum up everything I discovered about them over a 48 hour period.

Bridget is a wonderful mix of strong woman and Southern charm. At a glance, you expect her to be a sweet little thing, but take a moment to go deeper and you find a sophisticated world traveler and shrewd business woman. She's classy and tough and her stories can hold my attention for hours.

Lindsay is just pure lightness. She has the brightest smile, the sweetest voice, and the most comforting hug. The room is a little brighter with her in it, conversations are a little more enthusiastic when she joins in, but don't dismiss her as a cheerleader. She doesn't just add cheer, she adds depth and spirit as well.

Rita is intense and passionate in a very free spirited sort of way. However, instead of crossing over into the range of flaky hippy; she's sharp, grounded, and extremely practical. It's not a mix I've come by often. She's energizing, inspirational, compassionate, creative and thought provoking and she does it REALLY WELL.

Laura is honest, witty, down to earth, and one of the quickest thinkers I've ever met. She may be one to just rip the band-aide off without warning, but you only cringe for a second because she follows it up with just the right words to make everything better again. She also has the same appreciation that I have for high brow humor. (By high brow humor I mean that of a 12-year-old boy.)

Cacey is - oh, she's going to kill me for saying this - she's simply adorable. She's sweet and smart and has the energy of the young woman she is, but she also has a maturity beyond her years. She's everything I wish I was when I was her age. She's also very tolerant to put up with our shenanigans.

But, there was something more than just the six women who showed up for a crazy weekend in NYC. There was this ever shifting synergy of personalities. When Bridget and Rita teamed up, we had the best tour guides ever. I'd follow the two of them anywhere knowing it would be the best trip ever. Mix Rita and Lindsay and the sweetness and compasion make for a welcoming place to reveil who you really are. Mix Lindsay and Laura and you get all the laughter mixed with hugs that you could ever need. Mix Laura and Cacey and you find yourself deep in thought on something serious, only to have them snap you back up with one well placed line. As we walked and ate and talked these little groupings would form, break up, and form again, making every moment more special then the last. No matter the mix, it was always something special. Sort of like Jelly Bellies for the soul.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wait, This is CRAZY

I'm so excited! Tomorrow I will get on a train to go to New York City for a girls weekend...

with Lindsay from Crawford House
and Laura from Laura's Mommy Journal
and Bridget from Equilibrium
and Rita from Blog Soup
and Cacey from London
's Calling

If you would like to read about how exciting this is, and how it happened that six women that meet over the internet ended up planning a weekend in NYC, Laura handles it very well in her Blogger's Paridise post. I'm really looking forward to this weekend and to meeting these wonderful women.

But...

It dawned on me this morning, this is totally crazy! I've made plans to spend the weekend with a bunch of people whom I've never even met (other than Laura for about 45 minutes). Isn't this the kind of thing my mother warned me against? What sane person does this?

Wait, I just called myself crazy, didn't I?

What's truly funny is that I'm not at all concerned about meeting up with people I've never met before. I've spent the better part of the last four years "hanging out" with these ladies. These woman are all friends, great friends.

What am I worried about then? The little things. You know, like the fact that I'm a bit loud. And I say "dude" a lot. And what do I call Cacey/London? I think of her as London because that's who she is on her blog, but in real life, she's not really London...or is she? OMG, why am I worrying about this, I'm just going to call her "dude" anyway.

Really, how awkward is it that I don't even know the names of Linday's boys? Or that I don't know how to pronouce Reagan's name. Is it like the President or the comedian? Granted, I don't know how to pronounce Xaelen either, but I'm pretty sure Rita is used to that. You are used to that, right Rita? Please forgive me ladies! At least I know how to say Batman!

AND...OMG...WHAT IF I SNORE? All it will take is one blog post and the whole internet will know! Ahhh....

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On a serious note, this is so very exciting to me. Not just because I am getting to go to NYC for a weekend for some much needed non-three-year-old oriented fun, but because I really want to meet these incredible woman. I can't wait to hear the different accents we have, see the different styles we have, and learn about the women behind the blogs. It should be one heck of an adventure.

If you are interested, I plan on Twittering during the trip. You can follow me at JoannaGR. (I'll follow you too!)

So, there's nothing left to say excecpt NYC or BUST!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - And it's a good thing too

I'm cheating on this one. There will be no pictures in this thread. Instead, there will be things I thought, but didn't actually say. So, ta da! Wordless!

The days are getting shorter and cooler, signaling an end to enjoyable trips to the farm park. For this reason I've been trying to do as much of my exercising in the park instead of on the exercise equipment in my basement as I can. I see a diverse group of people in the park, and for the most part, I think it's great that so many people take advantage of such an amazing resource. But, you know, somethings may stand out a little. So, here are some of the things I haven't said recently in the park.

  • Wow, look at that dog. Can it blink? How can something so small pull so hard on it's leash that it's front legs are off the ground? Is that normal, or did it drink someone's coffee?
  • I don't think the level of her workout justifies the high tech workout clothing. Then again, if I was built like that, I'd probably spend the money just to look that good too.
  • Yikes! I'm glad that you are getting out to exercise, but um...wow...you might want to wear something a little less clingy. Or, at least wear some panties. Or a longer shirt. Good lord, isn't that uncomfortable!?
  • This is a public park. Kids play here. Pick up after your dog! They even provide free bags for you. Asshole!
  • Aren't they just the cutest couple ever? I hope Andy and I are still going for walks together when we are their age.
  • Dude, why are you in the park in your pajamas? Are they slippers too? Just out for a smoke? Wait, where is everyone else? OMG, OMG, OMG walk fast, walk fast, walk fast.
  • The point of retractable dog leashes is to RETRACT the dog when other people come close. I know you think everyone in the world loves your dog, but that doesn't mean I want to jog into a ditch so I don't trip over the leash.
  • Oh yay, a stroller. I love babies. I wonder what it is, a girl or a boy? Oh, it's a dog. In a stroller. I don't think you understand the concept behind taking your dog for a walk.
I know, not the nicest thoughts. At least I didn't actually say them.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lalalalala! I can't hear you!

My grandfather was an engineer. He held several patents and worked on some impressive jobs jobs like the mail sorting system at one of the big local post offices. He was also a royal pain in the butt.

My uncle is an engineer. He worked for NCR before deciding to teach instead. He can be a bit of a pain in the butt.

I work with a lot of engineers, including a few rocket scientists. They do some really impressive work, but they sure can be pains in the butt.

I should have been an engineer, but I decided to head in a different direction educationally. It didn't work, I still ended up working for an "Engineering" Company. And I'm still a pain in the butt.

As you all know, my mom does daycare for Michael. She sees some of the things he does, and considering her father and brother are engineers, she likes to tell me that Michael is going to be an engineer. I figure she's just taunting me.

About a month ago, the grandfather of one of Michael's friends was watching the two of them play. He knew nothing about Michael and had never watched him play. After watching Michael examine and manipulate the ball popping sprinkler for 15 minutes he turned to me and said, "Looks like he's going to be an engineer." He has no reason to taunt me.

Last week Michael and I took a trip to our local Learning Express toy store. We played with the doll house (meaning we took parts of the house apart and put them together again. The dolls were only involved when they were being pushed out windows to see what would happen to them). Next we moved onto the robo-construction trucks where Michael directed me on which trucks to move and which objects to lift. Finally, we ended up playing with the Zoobs and Magformers. We ended up buying Magformers to add to our set.

The store manager rang us up. "You have a lot of patience with him. He looks like he's going to grow up to be an engineer."

I ran from the store screaming.

What did I do to deserve this?

Monday, September 14, 2009

It's over already?

Why is it that a week of vacation passes by in the blink of an eye, but a week at work can feel like it lasts for months?

In the spring we discussed going on a real vacation this year. We would love to do Disney, I am dying for a trip to Maine, even a week at the beach would be a nice change of pace. After our one night at the beach in July, we were reminded of the fact that Michael just does not sleep well in anything but his crib. We enjoyed the trip to the beach, but the thought of Michael sleeping on my head for a week lead me to agree with Andy that Michael is just not ready yet.

Instead, we did a number of day trips for vacation, and it worked very well. We went to Dutch Wonderland one day. We had a great time, but we were very happy to come home and the end of the day to our own beds. We hit the local zoo with friends another day. It was cool and cloudy, which the animals enjoyed as much as we did. The otters were actually running about, the wolves and foxes were awake (and eying us like we were yummy looking), and I even discovered that the zoo actually has two cougars. I've been taking Michael there for several years and have only ever seen one in the cage.

Michael really wanted to visit the dinosaur museum again so we figured why not. (Because it was pouring rain and I hate driving into the city in the rain, that's why not.) I expected him to rush around like a maniac the way he did the last time we were there, but things have changed a little since then. My little T Rex fan stood in front of the massive T Rex skeleton and all of the sudden realized that WOW that thing is HUGE and it has REALLY BIG TEETH. So, instead of running around the dinosaur exhibit, he spent most of his time in the Outside In room that's designed just for kids. It was much less exhausting for Andy and I, but I was a little sad that some of the magic has gone out of the dinosaur exhibit.

It was really nice to get to spend so much time with Michael. I'm happy that we did spend most of the time at home because it gave us a chance to just be a family without having to plan, or rush around, or worrying about getting Michael to bed at 5:30. It also meant that Michael got to do his favorite activity as well. Yes, that's right, Michael got to go to Ikea. Dutch Wonderland was nice, the zoo was nice, the dinosaur museum was nice...but, Ikea rocks! The cheapest, easiest part of the whole vacation was his favorite part. Typical...

While we enjoyed our little staycation, we would like to eventually go on a real vacation. So, to start preparing for that, Andy converted Michael's crib to a bed. I wasn't sure how it would go. In my mind I figured that the moment Michael realized he was free, I would never get him to sleep in the crib again. The next morning, I expected to find him asleep on the floor next to the gate I had put across the doorway. I expected him to pull everything out of his drawers in the middle of the night. I expected him to be excited.

I was so wrong. It's been a week, but Michael has not embraced his freedom. He will not leave the bed unless I'm there, and he would prefer if I lift him out instead of making him step out. I thought maybe after a few days he would catch on, but instead he informed me that he doesn't like his bed and that he wants his crib back. He even awoke several times and called out for us, which he hasn't done since he was 15 months old. It has not been at all the transition I had expected.

Then again, does anything with kids turn out the way you expect them to?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Phone Photo Friday - Farm Park

One of my favorite aspects of living where we do is the local farm park. We have spent many hours walking in the park, throwing stones in the creek, and just generally goofing around. This is also where I have started to run.

Last week I was playing around with my iPhone while doing my warm up walk. Once I got everything figured out, I looked up and noticed that everyone in the parking lot area was standing still and staring at me. Yikes!

But then I realized what they were really looking at.

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We have several great Blue Herons in the park, but I've never seen this stately white bird around before. From this distance I couldn't get a good view of it's beak and legs to make a positive identification.

This is one of the big problems I have with running in the park. Do I stop and enjoy all of the bits of nature that distract me, or do I focus on exercising? In this case, the bird was such a rare sight that I decided to take a moment and ogle. But, I still wanted to head in the right direction. So, I decided to push my luck and see if I could get closer. I walked slowly and snapped pictures as I went.

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It let me walk right on by. I got to see it's yellow beak and black feet clearly enough to identify it as a Great Egret. I've seen them before, but never in this area. I have a feeling it was heading south.

Aside from that stop, I do try to stay as focused as possible while running. However, last night I decided to take a walk in the park. I should have brought the DSLR, but instead only had my iPhone to snap pictures with. Here is a sampling of what I saw.


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Random weed.
I should pick up a field guide to wild flowers.


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Thistles are pretty...but not friendly.

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They are restoring many of the original farm buildings. Isn't that sky gorgeous?

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According to this Wolly Bear we are going to have a cold winter.
(Or, he's just getting old, but that's not as fun.)



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I came across this field of gold not long before it got to dark for pictures. What a gift to find this kind of scene in the middle of the crowded Philly suburbs.

On a different note, I will be on vacation next week. We are only planning a few day trips, but it's likely that I won't be blogging until I return to work on the 14th. At that time, I'm going to start the build up to the the great blogging mommy meet up in NYC starting on the 18th.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Saving Face

One of the things the authors talk about in "Your 3-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy" is the need to help the kids save face when they disagree with you. I've found this to be very helpful with Michael. It really helps to diffuse his natural contrarian leanings.

Setting: Living room shortly before bedtime.

Michael: Yawn

Me: It's almost bedtime bud.

Michael: I don't want to go to bed. *rubs at red eyes*

Me: um-hum

Two minutes later.

Michael: Mommy, is Larry tired?

Me: Yes. Do you want to take him up to bed?

Michael: *grabs Larry and heads for the stairs*

It's so nice of Michael to sacrifice staying up late just so the very tired Larry can get some sleep.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Let's Clean Things Up a Little

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Confession: It did actually cross my mind to do a Wordless Wednesday post with yesterday's suggested poop theme. I'm proud to say that while, yes, I did think it; that's a line I refuse to cross.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Weak Stomach

What is it about little kids and weak stomachs? I guess their little, growing bodies need more protection from crud than adult stomachs or something. I don't know any adult that just all of the sudden needs to throw up, and then is fine once it's all over. But kids, that's a whole different story.

Michael was fine last evening. We played outside for a little while when we got home. We are having the nicest fall weather right now, and a number of kids were out having fun. Michael was right in there with them, clearly feeling fine.

He was a little cranky at dinner time, but it was pretty mild crankiness compared to some of the crazy 3-year-old behavior we have seen recently. Once I sat down with him after dinner, he cheered right up, and was pretty easy going up until bedtime. We started the routine as usual. He and Andy brushed his teeth, Michael blew kisses to me, and then he jumped up on my lap. We snuggled and started to read his bedtime stories.

Part way through Counting Kisses Michael mentioned that his tummy didn't feel good. I asked him about it, but he said it was OK. Having been down this route before, I didn't trust his judgment. When I noticed he was swallowing a lot, I grabbed a blanket and placed it over his lap. Good timing too. I managed to keep everything contained to items that can be washed in the washing machine. We headed into the bathroom and Michael finished emptying his stomach.

Then, he started jumping around, laughing, and insisting I give him a bath.

I have no idea what happened. It came out of nowhere, and once he was done he was fine. No fever, no complaints, and fortunately no repeats. This morning he was fine. We are keeping a close eye on him, but this seems like an anomaly. Kid's tummies are just weird.

Lets see, yesterday I blogged about boogers, today vomit. I guess I should work on a poop post for tomorrow to stick with the theme.

Then again, maybe not.