Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Turkey Day!

We had a great Thanksgiving and not just one! My sister had to work on Thursday so we celebrated a little early. The Saturday before we hosted 9 people at our house. This was my first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner. After a lot of planning and a few days of work it all came together. I have to say it came out pretty great! I was really pleased with everything and look forward to hosting for many years to come! We had lots of food and wine and enjoyed each others company!

On Thursday we went to my Aunt's house and spent some time with my Mom's side of the family. It is always a large crowd but that is what makes it special. I have so many fond memories of our holidays as a child. My Mom's seven brothers and sisters would gather at our house for dinner, with their children in tow. Often there would be thirty people in one house. Although, it could be chaotic at times I remember visiting, eating great food, sitting in front of the fire watching football, and playing with my cousins. I know it was a lot of work for my Mom but I greatly appreciate the sacrifice she made for the sake of family and memories. The location may have changed as my Mom passed the baton to her younger siblings but I am still able to experience this fabulous tradition and now can include Thomas. I hope he too will look back on these times fondly. He did have a fabulous time. I didn't see him the whole night. He played with his cousins (who are older but still fascinated with him) and chased the dog! I'm not even sure he took two minutes to eat!

The rest of our weekend was spent as a family. We didn't do much, got out some Christmas decorations, went to swim lessons, and watched lots of movies, leaving us with lots to catch up on. The holidays are quickly approaching and I feel myself scrambling already! I can't believe we only have three weeks till Christmas! T can't wait!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fall 2009

Pile of Pumpkins

Taking Them Out

Putting Them In Someone Else's Wheel Barrel

My Bed

We have moved from the chair to the bed, my bed. He is almost two and half after all. I guess I can't expect him to sit on my lap forever. I have to admit it was becoming a tight fit. He is picking out more and more books and there just isn't room for the two of us and all that reading material! Now, books are read under the covers in my bed. I don't mind, it allows me to snuggle better. Most nights our heads are touching we are so close and I find myself in less of a hurry. I don't mind when he point to EVERY object on the page waiting for me to tell him what it is even though he already knows. After we have gone through the pile (and he knows if you miss one) I beg him to sleep with me in my bed. He always laughs and says "No Thomas' bed". Within seconds he is off and running, so proud that he can climb the rails of the crib and dive head first into the bed, literally. I give him a head start and then always ask how he got in. He grins from ear to ear. It's amazing how the little things give both of us so much pleasure.

I figure it's preparation for his big boy bed. Eventually, that is where we will read at night and this just gives him one less thing to adjust to. Hopefully, Santa will bring him a new room! As much as I hate to admit it, it may be time :) I just cannot believe he is growing up so fast. I hope to be laying next to him reading books for many many years to come.

Friday, August 28, 2009

First Day Of School

Today was Thomas' first day of preschool. Actually, it more like orientation but I wasn't allowed to stay so I think it counts. It was an abbreviated schedule, next week will be for a full two and a half hours. We have been talking about it for a few weeks now. Every time I'd ask him if he wanted to go to school he would say "no" so we stopped asking and started telling. We would talk about his teacher, how fun school is, the new friends that would be there, and all the toys that would be waiting. I went to the library and got a few books about preschool. Guess it did the trick because this morning he was so excited to wear his backpack and go to school.

On the way there he said "Mommy, bus, school". I smiled to myself as I realized he wanted to know why he wasn't taking a bus to school. I told him he was right, kids do go to school on the bus but Mommy wanted to take him today. He told me that was ok. I appreciated his understanding.

We got there a little early so I was just going to sit in the car with him for a few minutes but he was too anxious. He said "Mommy, park, keys." He was ready to get out. We walked across the parking lot holding hands, backpack securely strapped across his shoulders.

As we walked down the hall with the dark blue carpet on the floors, passing offices and other classrooms, I explained this was his school and it looked like a really fun place. He responded with "Mommy, hold you." I could tell he was getting a little nervous so I reminded him that I was holding his hand, we'd go to his classroom and meet his teacher together and he was doing a great job.

We got to the classroom and within a matter of seconds he had discovered the sand table with diggers in it. I put his backpack on the hook. Stayed for another minute then bent down to tell him I was leaving and to have a good time. Following expert advice (I did some research on separation so I would be prepared for any situation) I told him I would be back to get him as soon as school was over. He didn't even blink. Didn't even really want a kiss. He was busy.

I left and sat in the parking lot. I watched from the car as he played on the playground during outside play. I was so proud of him. It was the first time I had left him with total strangers. He was in a new environment and didn't have any friends yet seemed to be doing just fine. He climbed the equipment and discovered some toys to push around the perimeter (all of which he parked in the same area). He amazed me.

All of the children were sitting on the circle when the door open. Most of the kids ran to the door but T stayed in his spot with his legs crossed. I walked over to him and said "How was your day? I missed you?" He said "Mom, come". He took my hand walked me over to the door leading to the playground. I told him school was over and we couldn't go out there. This led to utter devastation. He was so upset that he couldn't play out there tears started streaming down his face and he laid on the floor. I picked up him and he quickly recovered. We said goodbye to Mrs. Mallon and told her we would see her next week!

I am thrilled he loved it as much as he did. I am surprised it went so smoothly and definitely didn't expect a tantrum over leaving but I'm pretty sure that is a good sign.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Little Bug!

The house hasn't changed a bit, inside at least. We haven't had much time to get stuff done. Although, Brent managed to cut the front bushes and tackled a few trees in our backyard. We pulled weeds and sprayed enough for a landscaper to come and put wood chips under the playground. It looks ten times better and allows T to play there safely. Inside, well, we need to start tackling some projects after vacation. We have picked out some furniture and hope to have that ordered soon. It's time to get the TV's off the floor and make it feel like a home.

For the past eleven days we have been showing Grandma Donna around. We took a tour of the Naval Academy, went to Oregan Ridge Beach, played in Aunt Jen's pool, went to Kinder Farms playground, the National Aquarium, Thomas' little friend Annie's party, shopped for T's birthday, drove over the Bay Bridge, and celebrated my favorite boy's second birthday. In between we ate out at a few great places and played at our house. We have had a lot of fun and T has gotten to spend some good quality time with her.

T had a great second birthday! The celebration started early in the week and I think it has finally come to an end. We have known for a few weeks that we would be making a trip to the aquarium while Grandma was here. He is pretty interested in fish. We allowed him to watch bits and pieces of Nemo in anticipation and over night it became his greatest love. He asks to watch it first thing in the morning, throughout the day, and before he goes to bed (it's limited to 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes before bed, much to his dismay). A Nemo birthday was only appropriate! The cake was darling and he loved it. We had Nemo plates, napkins and a special Nemo cup just for him. He even saw "Nemo" and "Dori" at the aquarium and love the sharks.

I cannot believe that he is two. Time has truly flown. Each day I love him more. I am constantly shaking my head in amazement that he has accomplished a new task, learned to say something new, and is more animated. He is my greatest gift and I am thankful everyday.

We are off to the beach on Saturday for two weeks. We can't wait to put our feet in the sand and listen to the waves crash. I know Brent and I won't have much time to relax since T is so active but it will be fun to see how much he loves it this year.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Happy 4th!

We had a great 4th this year! We took Thomas to his very first baseball game on Friday night. Sitting only a few rows away from the field T had a great view. He watched pretty intently as the players would swing and round the bases. He had his own seat in between Mommy and Daddy and that too provided entertainment. We all had a ballpark hot dog, a long standing tradition that needed to be introduced to Thomas, even if they are horrible for you! With no one next to us, it allowed T to run up and down our row with a little freedom and lured in the people around him. He is so personable and loves getting the attention.

Bottom of the 6th called for a little freedom so we may our way up to the "kids playground". It's a small area with a merry go round, a few carnival games and a moon bounce. Thomas said he wanted to ride so we stood in line and waited for our turn. Brent placed him on a horse and Thomas wasn't so sure riding was a good idea. Daddy managed to reassure him and after it started he was hooked! I shouted his name with every loop and waved. He was all smiles, you could see he was proud of himself!

Saturday morning my parents came over early and we went to the Severna Park Parade. We found a shady spot and parked ourselves on the curb. It was an impressive parade for a small town and long! Lots of fire engines (T's favorite), fancy cars, a few floats with bands, bikes, animals, and The Lone Ranger even lead his horse right up to T and let him pet it.

There was a field filled with activity booths and food. We spent some time checking everything out. Thomas had a really hard time getting off the tractors. I have to say the tractors were fun, they were huge. It took two of to get him up on the seat and back down. He was also able to drive a fire truck too which was a huge hit and visit with real firefighters!

After a long nap for T (which was super rare) we hit my sisters pool. T jumped off the diving board for the first time and was thrown from person to person in the water, literally. He just kept asking for more!

The day was capped off with a wonderful meal. Flank steak, corn on the cob, scalloped potatoes, cole slaw and two amazing strawberry pies for dessert.

It was awesome. We didn't feel rushed or pressured. We just relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful weather as a family. Although, we didn't go to the fireworks that night we caught a few glimpses from our front porch! It was such a great day and the perfect way to celebrate our first 4th!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Home Sweet Home

It's like we slipped right back into an old pair of soft, molded shoes. It's a different state and the exterior of our home does not resemble what you would see in Arizona but inside it feels the same. The past year seems like a distance memory and all of the sacrifices well worth it. We love our new home. Everything about it.

Thomas and I have been so happy to have Daddy home at 5 o' clock everyday. Although, I am sure no one is happier than Brent. He leaves the house at a reasonable hour in the morning, has a 30 minute commute and gets three or four more hours at night with T.

Our backyard backs up to the Baltimore Annapolis Trail. It is one of the primary reasons we picked this house and one of our favorite features. It is an amazing path that is used by so many people; bikers, runners, and walkers, old and young. The landscaping is beautiful. We are out there everyday. I take T in the morning and we often go nightly for a run as a family as well. My sister and I went for a ride other day and it was so nice to be back on my bike. I haven't ridden in three years (BT-Before Thomas)! We did sixteen miles and I can't wait to go again!

We have been going to into Annapolis on Friday nights. It's less than 10 minutes away and we love walking around the quaint town, trying new restaurants with fresh seafood, and eating ice cream by the water as we watch all the boats. T really enjoys it and being near the water is so refreshing.

Thomas and I have been discovering new parks in the area during the day. There is one less than 2 miles down the road and it's our favorite so far. The playground is three levels but the pigs, cows, goats, chickens and sheep win T's attention. They have a small farm that is kid friendly but touching isn't recommended. The fences allow the kids to see through and get close to the animals. When we aren't at the park we are swimming in my sisters pool. He obviously has swimming in his blood! He jumps off the side with no hesitation, kicks and will float on his back with help. If he is in a place where he can stand he will squat down under the water, hold his breath until he needs to come up for air. He is too much! Brent and I plan to get him back into lessons in September.

We love being so close to my sister and her husband (1.5 miles). We see each other a lot and have dinner together at least once a week if not more.

T seems to be having a harder time adjusting. Not only was he was uprooted from his house but from my parents too. He misses them desperately and asks for them all of the time. We have tried to have weekly visits but I'm not sure it's enough right now. He went from getting four peoples attention to two! Who would like that?? He was a wonderful sleeper now I can hardly say he sleeps. He has been getting up several times a night. Three hour naps have been reduced to one if I'm lucky. I know it will take time but I sure hope this doesn't become the new norm. We both need more sleep!

Brent and I have a lot of work ahead of us. We hope to paint the inside of the house, get the backyard cleaned up (the forest is creeping in), buy some new furniture and fix little odds and ends. I'm sure the weekends will never be be long enough!

Overall, we are thrilled to be here. Together as a family. Exploring our new city. We miss our family and friends in Arizona but this was a great choice for us and we couldn't be happier!

Here are some pictures! I will be sending out our new address in a personal email!

We Are In!
Our Backyard

Talking to Aunt Jen

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Over The Moon

This is one of Thomas' favorite books. He knows where to find the mouse on each page and before doing so he always poses the question "Where'd it go?" and delights that he knows the answer. It's a simple pleasure.

Needless to say he was memorized by the scene, the puppets, the narration and music. He sat motionless on Brent's lap with eyes wide open. I would ask, "Thomas, do you see the mouse?" and a small nod was all he could offer. It was his first theatrical debut and I have to assume he was quite impressed. Our local theater house offered this production based on the book by Margaret Wise Brown. They did a fabulous job, both with the set and telling the story. It was the perfect length and the kids didn't have to be quiet. We had a great afternoon, the three of us, experiencing yet another "first" in Thomas' life.

It makes me so happy to introduce T to different things; a new park, puddles after a big rain storm, books, a live production, music, and yes, even bugs. It's amazing to see him learn and find excitement. I am trying to be present in every moment and appreciate every feeling because time passes too quickly. My little boy is growing up.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

All In A Days Work

Thomas loves his lawn mower. We don't limit it's use to the yard, in comes in the house, is driven on the street and even goes to playgroups. He jumps at the chance to help Pop mow. Together they fill their noisy machines with gas, press the buttons and pull on the cords to make them start. Thomas takes his position behind my Dad and they make their tracks across the yard. T works so hard to maneuver his, as it's a little too low to the ground and gets stuck in the grass. I wonder if the engineer at Fisher Price was napping the day the product passed inspection because it doesn't work great when it's used in it's intended environment. Oh well, I try to keep his frustration to a minimum with a little guidance.

He watches my Dad and turns around (even if he is in the middle of the yard) just as he does. Mimicking the tilt back on the handle, lifting the front of the mower off of the ground and proceeds to spin it (almost one handed) like he has been doing it for years.

He completes the whole front yard, backyard and one side and then tuckers out. Leaving a very small portion for Dad to finish without a shadow.

The smell of fresh cut grass in the air and distinctive lines are markers of a job well done and my two landscapers wait anxiously for days to pass so they can do it all over again.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Oh Whata Night...

Bed time is not a quite time in our house. It usually involves a naked baby running down the hall escaping rushing waters and bubbles encased in an oh so inviting porcelain lagoon. Although, a long soak whispers my name, it has yet to lure my son. Upon capture and the confines of four walls, objects not glued down are thrown into the tub. I wondered tonight as I tried to duck and intercept where did this behavior come from? Sure, Brent and I are partly to blame but I am not sure I am willing to claim full responsibility. Of course, we encourage throwing, dunking, and kicking but only when a ball is present. Perhaps, it's the sound or the splash that makes it so appealing but I am more inclined to attribute it to the snakes and snails that this little boy is made of.

I am quickly accepting the expression "He is a boy". I always thought that was a ridiculous statement. "He's a boy", well, obviously! Does that make the spiting, climbing, throwing ok? Does that phrase help me tolerate, ignore or foster the energetic behavior of my son?

The answer is no. However, I have come to appreciate there may be some truth in it. There just is something in his genetic make up that makes him want to play with ants, climb as high as he can get, and jump in puddles till he is soaking wet. I personally, call for reinforcements when a bug needs to be disposed of, crawl back in bed when it's raining and try to keep both feet on the ground in attempts to avoid injuries. Where else would he learn such things?

Often when his actions can be interpreted, by others, as unruly I am relishing the moment. Even if I am soaking wet. I love that he is learning by doing, testing the limits and can't sit still. He is amazing. I love that he wants to be outside twenty four hours a day, likes to run down hills as fast as little feet will go, and tries to throw golf balls into the gutters. After all, aren't the best lessons learned from experience?

Who wouldn't love puppy dog tails when you hear your son try to say I Love You for the first time or when he grabs your hand so you can help him uncover uncharted territory, or when he sits on your lap to watch Bob The Builder. Our life isn't dull and I don't anticipate having a quite house but that is ok because there are moments with my little guy that are filled with sugar and spice.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What a difference a year makes...

It's amazing that we are doing things for the second time as a family, a whole year later. This year was different from last, as it should be. This year, the stroller was no match for a 21 month old little boy filled with determination and wonder. He could hardly contain himself, there were too many temptations calling him and by no means was he going to experience this amazing place inside a carriage. He needed to be free to see where his little feet would lead him. We needed to be close by to narrow and navigate his path.

His eyes conveyed all that we needed to know. He was taking it all in. Silent at first, absorbing all that was before him. Learning through observation (this tends to be his style). Eventually, a sign language "more" with the word quickly following. He was tickled that these "things" we read about every night exist. In real life. Shrieks and bouncing reinforced our hunch. We spent most of our time watching a 5,000 pound Elephant get a bath. I think T could relate to the daily scrub down, minus a big hard brush and strong spray from a hose. Although, there are times after a long day outside I could use them!

What could be better than a tickled pink little boy, thinking he is much bigger than he is, at the zoo? A tickled pink little boy, at zoo, watching his most favorite thing (right now), diggers. They are doing a little or rather large remodel. The Elephants are getting a new home. We had a birds eye view (pun intended) from up above as the bulldozers, cranes and diggers moved large amounts of dirt. Workers in yellow hard hats built concrete steps using tools. This scene (straight from a Bob The Builder) was memorizing. T had seen them before but actually working, moving dirt, was a whole new concept. I think all these struggling home builders should start charging admission to watch them construct a house. I am sure they would make a small fortune off of toddler boys and their love of big yellow equipment. We certainly weren't the only parents at the fence.

We moved onto the monkeys. Swinging from ropes, best friends entertained themselves. He was interested but the statues won his affection. Hugs and kisses. Gentle pats to the baby cradled in his mother's arms. T was quick to share that the gorilla even had eyes and a month. Imagine that! We could have spent hours in the bamboo cave that held these two gentle creatures.

We visited the little farm, the lions, the tigers and even the prairie dogs. We fit in the all the good stuff on a beautiful day. Nothing makes me happier than spending time with my two guys. They fill my heart and make me smile.