Thursday, August 28, 2008

Loose Ends

We are heading into a busy weekend and I'm afraid if I don't get to this now, it will be quite some time. For those of you holding your breath on the edge of your seats, I don't have any new clues about our next project. You'll have to wait until at least next week for that one. In order to efficiently address everything, bullet points is going to be the name of the game tonight:

-Saturday on the Chair- on Sunday evening, William and I were hanging out outside "riding" his bike. I use the term riding loosely because he calls it riding. I call it more like "sitting on the bike and hoping it will roll a few inches down the driveway". A small difference in vocabulary or possibly I'm already unhip enough to not understand the current trend in toddler slang. Anyhow, we were enjoying the cooler weather and the riding of the bike when something unmistakable happened. Please note, I'm about to embarrass my child and scar him for life by sharing this with you. William's face turned red and he made several noises that are reserved only for when he soils his diaper. At this point, it was clear that we needed to go inside and take care of the dirty diaper. Because it was getting late in the evening, I also made the exectuative decision once we were inside that it was now bathtime (because I'm in charge and I can do that kind of stuff), even if it was a little early. I started running the water and pulling out the things we use for a bath (towels, soaps, TOYS, etc) and put William on the small potty chair that currently lives in the bathroom. Up until this point, William has enjoyed sitting on the chair for an average of .00263546874 seconds per bathroom visits. The rest of the time he spends standing on it, putting toys in it and pulling them out again, and tipping it over. This time, he sat and thoughtfully looked at the ceiling. "Go potty" he commented conversationally. "Yes I replied, go potty please." He sat for a few seconds longer and then stood up and ran over to the bathtub. I sighed and glanced behind me and noticed.....he actually went. He went potty in the potty chair. Wild cheering followed by excited phone calls filled the rest of the evening. A quick note though: it is wise to learn how to empty the potty chair before there is actually anything in it. Also noted: although he has sat on the potty many more times since Sunday, we have not had a repeat performance - which was not expected anyway. But a mama can hope.

-Mom/Daddy: Over the last few weeks there has been a pretty big change in how William addresses us. At first I just assumed it was a fluke, but it appears to be more than that. William has started calling me Mom. Not the sugary sweet "Mommy" of the preschool/kindergarten set, but straight to the adultlike "Mom". John is luckier in that he has moved from the sweet baby-ish Dada to the "Daddy". What brought this on? I don't know - but I sure would like to be Mama again.
* Just for kicks the other day when we were driving to our swimming lessons, I asked William "Where is John?" William looked at me for a brief second and pointed at John saying "Daddy". Like duh, mom.

-Pretend Play- Oh how exciting! One of my very favorite things is starting to show up! Imagination and creative play! Observed in the last week:
1. A piece of corn chugga-chugga-choo-chooing its way around William's plate at dinner.
2. A long piece of play-doh turning into a hissing, slithering snake during our play time.
3. Pretend sleeping complete with actual fake snoring.
4. Pretending to eat plastic food - pretending to put it in his mouth instead of actually putting it in his mouth. I was so excited, I almost cried.
5. More enthusiasm for the little pe0ple and their animals - complete with cute barnyard noises.

-The big Helper- In the last week, William has really worked to become a big helper. He brings thing to me when I ask about 25% of the time - which is a 100% increase from before. He also has really liked helping me unload the top rack of the dishwasher* and holding things for me when we go up the stairs. He is so cute with a very proud look on his face when he knows he is helping! We're working on more ways for him to help around the house - John has vetoed letting him run the weed wacker so far.
*Note to self: William can open the dishwasher door by himself and has "helpfully" unloaded the dirty dishes onto the kitchen floor more than once. Need to rethink how "helpful" teaching him this task actually is.

Tomorrow brings us to our last session of swimming classes. William is hoping they'll let him dive off the high dive or teach him how to scuba dive. Tomorrow evening we are going to take a big adventure to a nearby state park to attempt overnight camping. In a tent. With a baby who doesn't sleep unless he is confined by bars of some kind. Yes, in fact, we are crazy. Friday evening the Grandparents McGarry arrive. So, we will be busy. Pictures/stories/updates will follow at the earliest on Monday evening or Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

19 Months Old!

William is 19 months old today! We celebrated by going to a swimming lesson, and Culver's for dinner (also in support of our church Youth Group).

Proof that there is a bit of engineer's blood in William.
(Lining up the cars, he has had much longer line ups, but we haven't taken a photo of them yet. Also the cars are almost always facing the same way. Daddy must have messed with it and William must not have noticed yet. )

Almost bedtime - playing with his cars.

Where's William?

There he is! Guess what, there's Mango too!

Smiley 19 month old.

Monday, August 25, 2008

One, Two Three..Ah ah Ah!

Warning: Late at night, very tired blogging. Run on sentences and unfunny jokes are probably ahead. Incoherent, incomplete stories are guaranteed. Read on at your own risk.

As the count (Seasame Street people, come on!) would say "One, Two, Three...ah ah ah!"

William is a counting maniac. He has always like to point (with help) at things and count them, but he has really ramped it up this month. I started to notice at the end of July he would say "One...." and look to me to finish counting the objects he was pointing at. The best object for counting? Cars/trucks/buses of course! We've been counting and counting and counting and counting everything around the house for the last few weeks and slowly we built up to "One, two..." This last week though has brought the number three. Which, makes the geeky teacher inside of me all warm and fuzzy. My kids likes to count. I'd love to teach him to kooky Count laugh to use after the number three, but I'm afraid we will never advance beyond to the number four. Imagine the sad day his fourth birthday will be if he thinks he is turning "ah, ah, ah!". So this week around the house has heard a lot of "One, two.......three...."*

Unfortunately, the communication William is using is becoming clearer and clearer. I would estimate he now easily has well over 100 words. However, he really wears out a few of these words every day. Now that he knows how powerful his words can be, he spends at least 25 minutes out of every hour requesting either "Milk" or "Elmo". Both of which are rationed at this time. Milk is currently rationed (for William) because our doctor reprimanded us at his 18 month appointment for giving him too much milk throughout the day. For reference, our doctor recommends between 18-24 ounces of milk a day for a kiddo William's age. William was easily drinking upwards of 30 ounces a day. Which, I didn't think was a problem. It's healthy, has vitamins and it makes him happy. However, then he wasn't eating as well (or gaining weight as well) because so many of his calories were coming from milk. I knew it was going to be hard cutting the milk down from his diet. I was planning for about 3-5 days of tough love with the milk restrictions. Here we are almost a month later and like a broken record I hear "Milk, milk, milk, milk, milk, mo' milk" all day long. The kid has endurance (nicer than stubborn, don't you think?). The funniest part (to me) is that when I tell him "All done milk" or "No more milk", he'll ask "Juice, water?" "Milk? Juice? Water?" in this pitiful little voice that brings to mind someone who hasn't had a drop to drink for days or weeks.

Elmo is the other rationed commodity around our house. We try to only use Elmo (or TV at all) when we absolutely have to. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) reccomends kids William's age watch 0 minutes of TV per day until they are 2 years old. At two years, the reccomendation is to watch less than 30 minutes of TV a day. So, I'm working to follow the guidelines. However, sometimes a girl needs to take a quick shower, go to the bathroom by herself, open the oven door without help or complete another task without the help from the toddler tornado. So, we use the Elmo then. But, William is in love with Elmo and would watch him until the drool ran down his chin and he couldn't support his weight on his chunky little legs any longer. I've never tested this scientifically (and never will), but I suspect William would watch Elmo from the time he wakes up until he topples over from exhuastion 12-14 hours later. Without eating, drinking or having a diaper change. So in between the petitions for "Milk? Juice? Water?" will be "Elmo? Elmo?" "Elmo? Milk? Juice? Water?". LIke a broken record all day long...

When his words fail him or when we fail to follow through with what he commands us, he is starting to get physical. He is not patient enough to try and explain it again to you. When he wants something, he'll sigh and grab your hand (is there a sweeter feeling? A warm little hand in yours that isn't pulling away while squealing like a stuck pig?) and say "C'mon" and drag you to the location he would like you to go (usually the fridge for some of the beloved "Milk".**

And to conclude, here are some pictures of what we've been up to this week.

More swimming lessons - next week is the last week. Here he is trying to pick up weighted easter eggs from the bottom of the pool without getting a hair on his head wet.
Still reaching...I love the facial expression in these!
Can you believe I'm posting a picture of myself on the internet in my swimming suit? Here we are practicing our kicking. For the record, William would like me to note that after we practiced our kicking, we worked on perfecting our swan diving from the platforms and then did some backstroke practice. None of that baby stuff.
Just because it is funny. I pulled out this gigantic dog from a closet this week, thinking William might like to roll around on the floor with it. My class won the dog through some school contest we won - I can't figure out why I didn't pawn it off on some poor kid to take home instead of storing in our closet for the last 3 years. Anyway, although William sort of liked it, the cat has now claimed it as his own sleep buddy.
Last weekend we tiled, this weekend was all about the grout. You can see the tile now has grout and the shower fixtures are installed. You can't see that the sink is also working and more importantly, so is the drain! Very close to completion on the "Grandparents' Suite" portion of the basement.
Backdoor entryway has also been grouted - complete!

Annnnddddd....two more clues about our next project. These are tough ones!
Clue #3: If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you'll see one of the video tapes is labeled "Big Brother"
Clue#4: Our office needs to be moved to the new location in the basement before this can become the future home of William by Januaryish next year...we have a lot of work to do!

*Clarification for those of you who care. The counting is no where near automatic or memorized. It is a laborious process each and every time. The pointing is ridiculously inaccurate. He cannot answer the question how many_______________ do you have and does not really understand what the numbers mean. But he likes the sound of 'em and I think that is cool.

**Enough rambling. Remind me to tell you about the potty chair on Saturday and the evolution of the titles Mom and Daddy at our house, and the beginnings of pretend play.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Next Big Thing Vol 3

Anyone who has spent more than 10 minutes with me knows that I think big. Big plans, big ideas. I'm changing the world from reorganizing the pantry to developing a state wide curriculum for teenage drivers- all inside of my head. It isn't uncommon for me to try and get John to agree to our next vacation destination during takeoff of our current trip. I like big projects and changing things up. There is always at least one or two "Next Big Things" on the horizon at our house. The list of things to do always is longer than the time we actually have to accomplish things. Which is why John is such a perfect fit for me. I am the crazy one who wanted to install a bathroom in our unfinished basement. I was ready to turn off the water and start busting up the concrete when the voice of reason came through. In his quiet way, John recommended researching (gasp!) and not cutting pipes until we had a better plan in place. With my pushing to accomplish and his pushing for perfection it makes for a interesting tug-o-war dynamic at our house from time to time.

This isn't one of those times. John and I have talked through the remaining pieces of the basement finishing and hope to be done by the end of January 2009. With one project coming to a close, how could I resist the temptation to look towards the future? And, we have agreed upon what the next project will be. But, I'm not going to tell you what it is quite yet. I am going to take some pictures over the next week or so and see if you can guess what we are going to do next! Here is your first two clues:

Clue #1: See the Prego Sauce hiding in there?
Clue #2: Don't you see the bun in the oven? You can't see the one in my uterus yet either...

The Next Big Thing Vol 2

I've been quiet this week. There is a lot going on, but it isn't really anything new. This is a post that has brewing for quite some time, only I wasn't sure how to tackle it because it is so big. This was the first week of school here in Missouri and it is hard on me to not go back. This is only the second year that I haven't gone "back to school" since I was 5 years old. Old habits die hard. I miss the kids, I miss my coworkers, I miss the smell of the freshly waxed floors in the hallway, I miss the books and the crazy questions eighth graders think to ask. Earlier this year, I had a post called The Next Big Thing. The Next Big Thing is sort of a family joke around our house. But, that was an important day because that was the day that I resigned my teaching contract with the school district. It was a very difficult decision for me and for us as a family. I didn't write about the specifics that day because I was feeling pretty fragile about my decision and I wasn't sure where I was going next. I haven't even really discussed it with anyone in person either unless they specifically asked about it.

I've been waiting to write about it until I was feeling more comfortable- but I haven't. I had even decided that I wasn't going to write about it here at all. But, this poignant first week of school and the accompanying writer's block have forced the issue. So, I'm not going to say much more. I do have big plans and ideas about what I want to do next. Some things are in the works and many things haven't worked out. I may talk about it here, I may not. We'll have to see how things go.

Now, with that out of the way, I can maybe get out several of the other posts brewing around in my head.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

More swimming, zoo

I have swimming pictures and some zoo pictures to share from this weekend. But, I have a new book that I am almost done reading and I'm tired. Check back later...\


Well, it is later, much later. This week I have been hard pressed to pull myself away from the couch anytime that William is sleeping or stay up past 11pm. I finally figured that I need to get caught up because we close to a week behind and I'm not feeling any more energetic (trying to go without the a/c for a few days will do that to a girl. All I want is to lay on the couch and sweat). Photos from Thursday's swimming lesson with daddy (I figured I need to get these up before tomorrow's lesson! Ack! A week behind!)

At the beginning of the lesson, the kids all have a free play time to splash and play in the water with toys. William spends most of this time trying to empty the entire bucket of toys into the water or taking toys away from kids who are much much younger than him.

Then it is time to practice kicking. We do laps on our bellies and on our backs.
So far, William hasn't been interested in the kicking part much. That was until he figured out how much fun to was to splash his daddy.Jumping off the wall to daddy
Swimming with a smile on
Sliding off the big water slide to daddy
Look how happy the boys are together!
Amazing clouds - look to the right of the stoplight. Half of the entire sky is clouded over.
Cutie carrying around all of his cars
With summer coming to a close, we had to push in a trip to the St Louis Zoo this last weekend. We got there early (totally recommend that) so it wasn't crowded or too hot yet.

The penguin exhibit is amazing - they are so close. William loved watching them and would have stayed in the enclosure for a long time if it wasn't kept so cold in there! Here he is making his "Oooooh!!" face
Mesmerized by the splashing birds
We enjoyed some swimming seals here with Daddy

We caught peeks at a few other animals (seals, birds, monkeys, fish, etc). William also liked watching the other kids a lot!
Walking up the big hill
Watching the monkeys play with daddy

In all, we had a great trip to the zoo and I think we may even try it again before it gets to be cold around here. We even figured out the children's zoo thing (free! before 9am!) for next time. William was WAY better than I thought he would be about being strapped into his stroller and even tried out a few new words: "Look" and "C'mon". Very cute, very fun!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Swimming Time!

My list of things I wanted to do this summer wasn't long.

1. Plant vegetables in our garden (completed) and eat them fresh (still waiting)
2. Sign up William for baby swimming lessons (in progress)
3. Take William to the outdoor swimming pool with kid play area.
4. Take William to the St Louis Zoo
5.Go on a family trip together (completed x2)

Two weeks ago I realized the summer was more than half way over and we needed to get with the program if I wanted to get done the few things left on the list. So, we signed William up for the swimming classes and Tuesday was our first session. The goal of the sessions we signed up for are to get kids comfortable in the water and have a good time. We have struggled on and off with some water issues and I thought this would be a great way to have fun together and hopefully increase his confidence/comfort in the water. So, here are the pictures!

Mama got in the water for the first session. Dada was the photographer - they are going to be taking turns. Dada is getting in on Thursday. Here we are practicing our kicking - I'm supposed to be hanging on to the board and kicking my feet. I was more interested in trying to drink the water and making boat noises. Mama is doing all the work of holding me up.

More kicking time.
Then they had us sit on the edge of the pool and jump in the water to our Mamas and Dadas. Mama was sure I wouldn't do it because as recently as July, I wouldn't willingly jump into the water for any reason. Imagine her surprise when I did it right away! Splash!

I am the only one in my class of 3 that was brave enough to do it (I'm also the oldest in the class by about 6 months)!I got so brave, I didn't even need to look and see where Mama was - I just jumped right in! Look how hard I am laughing!
Here is our little group. We're singing the "Wheels on the Bus" song together and splashing in the water. After singing, we got to go down the yellow slide (about 3 feet of it or less) with the help of our teacher. I loved it and wanted to do it over and over and over again. Mama kept on saying things like "It's not your turn....give the other kids a chance." I wasn't having any of it. I wiggled and squirmed in her arms until I got what I wanted.

In the background you can see the super fun kids play area for little ones. It sprays water (it is turned off during class time) and has a slide to play on. We went last week to play on the slide so I would be comfortable with the pool. Maybe too comfortable soon as we walked into the play area, I would not sit still because I wanted to get in the water. I did not want to wait!
Swimming with Mama is fun! I'm sure next week we'll be covering the big stuff like diving and the backstroke. They just don't want to scare off the babies during the first lesson! Watch for pictures of me and dada this weekend!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Just Keeping Up

This eighteen month stuff is exhausting. We are going going going going going at a rate faster than the speed of.....well, a seventeen month old. However, it is also delightful and funny and exciting and amazing to be a part of it. Here is a taste of what we've been up to:

Experimenting with playdoh for the first time. He likes to roll small balls of it around on the table. What he likes more is to attempt to put it into his mouth and watch my reaction.
Mama playing with camera. William intensely studying playdoh.
Mashing it up
Mama's sculpting talent. Clockwise we have (obviously!) a chicken, a bunny and a fish. I definitely missed my calling...
All done! So far, our playdoh sessions (2 so far) have lasted longer than 15 minutes each. That is AMAZING!
Last week we had our yearly visit with our vet for both of our cats. William got a kick out of the cat carrier. We finally had to put it away so he would leave it alone. The report from the vet was good. Both cats are healthy and have lost weight again (each about half of a pound) this year. I wonder why? The vet actually asked us what we thought the cause was behind the weight loss. Both John and I just pointed at William (he came with to the appointment, not in the carrier). Now that he is mobile, the cats have a lot more physical work to do to avoid him.
A big shout out to our favorite neighbor, Amy who handed William down this Elmo shirt. We had a hard time getting it off of him at bedtime!
In and out. In and out. In and out. The cat carrier was worth at least half of an hour of entertainment.