Friday, January 29, 2010

They say the darndest things

Thomas, Abby and me were out to dinner tonight with great friends of ours + their kids. As we were waiting for our food to arrive, the kids were busy coloring at the table and we were all busy chatting. We certainly weren't paying any attention to the different people coming into and exiting the restaurant. Well Thomas did.

As he was sitting next to me, I hear him say, "Mommy, look at Santa!" So I start looking over in the general direction that he is pointing at. I assumed he must be pointing at a Santa hat or some kind of leftover Christmas decoration, but I see nothing - so I go back to my conversation with the girls. Thomas is a persistant bugger and is now saying, "Mommy, look at Santa!" loud enough for the 8-10 tables of people in the restaurant to hear and look over. Aughhhh. So, I look up again in the general direction he is pointing at, but this time I lower my glance to where his finger is EXACTLY pointing. And then I see...

... the man who has a white (& a little gray) beard, a round jolly belly and is wearing suspenders with his pants and shirt. OMG is what is now quickly running through my head - Thomas is calling that poor man over there sitting with his friends/family, Santa Claus. My two girlfriends are ready to pee their pants (thank god their backs were to this look-a-like Santa Claus) and were of no help to me as I tried to tell Thomas that it wasn't Santa (in a low quiet voice so as to convince him to lower his voice). Finally, I said to Thomas, "That isn't Santa, that is someone's Grandpop sitting over there" and his reaction was a one of reflection... "oh MaMa" and carried on coloring while he waited for dinner to arrive. No awareness whatsoever that shock was still in my system even after the next 20 minutes. Kids say the darndest things.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wet & Smiley

Yes, poor Abby has to endure tubby bath pictures also just like Thomas did. I know... the kids are probably going to hate me one day when they are teenagers and I "accidently" come across them when their respective girlfriend or boyfriend is over at the house. Oh well... they'll live. I just had to capture her smile afterwards all bundled up in towels for her Daddy. Tell me he isn't going to be wrapped around her little finger when he gets home?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Play All Day!

January is flying by. I'm not sure if it is because we are now past the holiday season, we are in a turning point at school with the end of a semester and the beginning of a new one, or because I have finally let myself look closer to the light at the end of the deployment tunnel. Whatever it is - its all good. I just hope it keeps on roll'in through February & March.

Today was one of those days where we went nowhere and just enjoyed not having to load up and head out. Key word all day was "play." Update for you on Abby - she is really doing well at sitting up by herself (although I always tuck a pillow behind her because inevitably she will tumble over/back); sleeping through the night like a champ (11 hours straight); has finally discovered her feet and toes and loves to hold onto them - they haven't yet made it to her mouth, but I'm sure that is in the near future; she has started to do this funny thing with her tongue... sticks it out, chews on it, and uses it to taste pretty much anything going into her mouth. Not sure if a tooth is trying to come through or not - the drool is certainly there so it won't surprise me at all if we have a 1st tooth before Daddy comes home. Oh yes, and how can I forget, she has started to giggle. I mean the one that just cracks you up because it came from such a petite little thing. The #1 thing that can elicit a laugh from her? Her brother. Period.

Thomas stayed busy outside today with his trucks and hauling lots of my pulled grass. Dead pulled grass was on my sidewalk, the driveway and eventually on me because Thomas decided to make a game where he dumped a truck of it on me and I had to chase him. Huh? Not my idea of true fun but it was hilarious to listen to him scream with delight as I jumped up and chased after him all around the front yard. Not to mention a great workout for my legs, ass and abs for getting up and down a gazillion times.
Funny story for ya - the other night after Thomas' tubby bath, he was combing his hair. He looked over at me and said, "Mommy, let me brush your hair." I said "OK" and instinctively pulled the clip out of my hair so it would fall and he could brush it. Mind you - he is using the little infant/toddler brush (not a normal one). After about a minute of brushing everyside of my head, he stepped back away from me as if he was admiring a great piece of artwork and says with complete satisfaction - "Mommy, you are so pretty now." I quickly kiss him and say thank you. I had to pause for a second though because of the sincerity of his compliment. He really is sweetness in a package. Not a half moment after that, he took a few brushes of his own hair and declared, "my hair is so pretty too!" :) For Daddy's sake - I've introduced Thomas to a new word... "handsome". I'll make sure Thomas knows little boys are handsome and little girls are pretty before Daddy's return. I wouldn't want Brian thinking I turned his little boy into a sissy (like he said to me on the last deployment).

the tongue thing
A messy dinner, but a cutie smile!

Monday, January 18, 2010

No holiday here...running nonstop!

In celebration of MLK today, we had a school holiday. However, today was no relaxing, kickback kind of holiday. It felt like I was go-go all day. The morning started with sweet kisses from Thomas around 6:15am when he came in to tell me it was morning and that his clock was yellow (see post about his new Tot Clock... yellow means it is time to wake up). In my heart, I was melting because he was so sweet and cuddly when he woke me. In my head, I was thinking "Are you kidding me? When am I ever going to be able to sleep until 7am?" But I digress...

I had enough time to get dressed, put the coffee on and get both him and Abby changed with a clean pull-up and diapers before my in-laws arrived at 7am. They were coming over to watch the kids for a short bit while I took Ziggy to the vet to have some "bumps" checked out. They came with all the fix'ins for fresh cooked waffles which Thomas was VERY excited about. As soon as I inhaled two yummy waffles, I was out the door with Zig and afterwards headed to Walmart for some groceries. So before 9am, I had already spent way too much money (vet bill was crazy expensive).
After arriving home and getting some help from my father-in-law to put all the Christmas boxes/stuff up in the attic, they took off and the kids and I took Ziggy on a walk down by the water. It was beautiful today - we are finally done with all of that frigid weather and enjoyed 65 degrees and sunny today! My mom came over shortly before lunch to spend a few hours with the kids. Once down for their naps, I left my mom in charge and I headed out to pick up my mother-in-law and go to Joanne Fabrics in P'cola. She is making the curtains for my living room & dining room, as well as refinishing the seats on my dining room chairs (together the in-laws refinished all of the dining room chairs... are they not so talented?) So... we were on a serious fabric missioin. Check out the goods: stripes are for the chairs; print is for the scarved curtains and the last fabric is the backing to the curtains. They will look awesome!
By the time I got home, Thomas and Abby were both up from their naps and having a snack and playing with Nana. I had enough to get a drink and put socks, shoes and a light jacket on them and we were in the car headed to the children's park to play. I had promised Thomas nearly two weeks ago we could go, but the weather has held us up. Today was a perfect day to cash in on that promise!

He even got Mommy in on all the fun - I went on a lot of slides today!
Abby, on the other hand, just slept and enjoyed the warmer temps (although a little breezy at the water). She is such a snoozer when it comes to being in her carseat!

By the time we had gotten to the swings, he decided there was too much sand in his shoes and he needed them off...
Here he is before I start pushing him. He swung for a short bit and then told me to get on. I asked him if he wanted to sit on my lap while I swung and he said yes. At first try, he sat on my lap but was practically falling off as I pumped my legs and tried to get us going. So, we needed another plan. I picked him up and turned him around so he was facing me. I put his legs up around my waist and told him to hold on tight! We started to swing high and his expression was magical. I don't think I have ever seen him smile that way and scream with excitement the way he did. I only wish I could have taken a picture of him. Too much fun.
Not wanting to go... who could blame him? We had a great day at the park.
With the kids tucked into bed by 7:15pm, it was the first time that I slowed down all day since those sweet kisses early this morning. A day like that though was worth every busy second.

Video Clip - Right after dinner, Thomas is singing "wheels on the bus..." to Abby. I grabbed my camera just at the end with enough time for me to get him to sing the last few verses. Try to make out the different parts of the song... I'm quite sure he could be the next American Idol Jr.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Brotherly Love

The other night Thomas insisted that Abby and me continue to play with him and his trains. When I finally told him I had to cook dinner, he took matters into his own hands and decided to bring Abby back to the toys and play with her. Notice the sweet kiss at the end after he thanks her.

Licks, Coos and Drool

"RHS" Relax Night...

... in this case RHS stands for RED HORSE Spouses Relax Night. Last night was my night with my girlfriends Kim & Marsha and all the kids. It has become our 1x month "escape" night where it is all about catching up with good friends (because we all have insanely busy work/family schedules, we never see each other), wearing the most comfortable clothes possible (we are practically in our 'jammies) and letting the kids have a good time together. It gave us a chance to tell stories about Christmas, start making plans for when the guys come home in a few short months, and vent about life with each other. What do people do with our good friends like this? Anyway, a glimpse at the night...

Abby & Mommy
Thomas seriously into playing with Chris' Thomas-the-Tank-Engine toys. He gets so excited about coming over to see Chris & Nikki and of course playing with ALL of the toys that he doesn't have.
Marsha, Abby and Nikki
Towards then end of the night, Thomas was definately running out of steam and wanted to get cozy with Mommy on the floor. That's always a sure sign that its time to pack everything up and get the kids home to bed. Wouldn't you know it, Thomas was asleep in the car when we got home and we only live 3 miles away from Marsha. He was a pooped puppy!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Clog on the Blogging... sorry!

Oh where to start? I haven't blogged all week in large part because we are in the final week of the semester with exams being given next week and I am up to my ears, no scratch that... eyes, with grading essays. I HATE this time of year - it is go-go-go time and the pile of grading never ends until grades are due. Anyways, my nights have been consumed with that after the kids go down. Unfortunately, based on the size of the stack, you would never know that I have been deligently working all week. Oh well...

New news on the Heck front:
  1. Abby has been sleeping ALL night long this entire week. When I say "all night", I don't mean 6-8 hours. I mean "all night"... she is fast asleep by 6:30pm and hasnt' been waking up for a middle of the night bottle at all. Matter of fact, she hasn't been waking up until I get her up at 5:30am to get her dressed and head out the door to school with both of them. Crazy, I know. On top of that, she is absolutely content at daycare until Ms. Betty gives her her morning bottle at 7:30am. Whoa... I don't remember this happening with Thomas this early? Can I get an Amen? My prayers to the Sleep Gods have been answered. Now if I would just get my butt in bed before 10pm each night (grading and M.Ed classes), I would get even more sleep before the alarm goes off at 4am.
  2. Our better half, who is off traveling the world - not really... just the Middle East - has been jumping locations for the past 2 weeks or so. Few spots in Iraq, Kuwait and now he has unpacked his bags in Afghanistan for probably the remaining part of the deployment. Not happy he now has to be "there," but as Brian has reminded me... it is ALL a war zone and no place is better than the other. That is his opinion... he has been over there at least a dozen times.... he is used to all of that. Me, on the other hand, can only go based on what I see in the media and what he shares with me. Really, I just want him home safe with us. I guess soon enough. Which does lead me to the next thing...
  3. We are 65% done with this stink'in deployment... almost there. Less than 90 days; Really less than 80 days at this point. Problem now is by the final month, things will come to a screeching hault and a day will feel like an entire week. Oh how I hope school continues to keep me busy and mentally occupied.
Ok... I've rambled quite enough at this point so I had better give some pictures. Here is Thomas last weekend waiting for his breakfast on Saturday morning. Facial expressions are a bound with Thomas. Whether he is trying to make Abby laugh or he is being dramatic with his tantrums or he is saying "sorry" for accidently hurting you - his face says it all. Hmmm? Where does he get this from? He is certainly my silly goose...

Thomas and Abbigail
Oh how could I forget? If you haven't tried this series (Playschool Prep) - I highly recommend it. Last Christmas, Nana bought Thomas the "Numbers" DVD and once we watched it (late spring), Thomas knew his 1-10 numbers really in a matter of days. We would just pop it in the car DVD player when we were going somewhere and then of course, we would talk about numbers when we read different books... but wow... what a great enhancer. Well, this Christmas, Nana bought him the "Letters" and "First Sight Words" DVD. We have already seen the "Letters" two times and he seems to like it also. The difference this time is he already knows his letters so this one is now just reinforcing what they are. I'm anxious to see what he thinks of the last one, "First Sight Words". I really do want him to be able to read those kind of words before he heads to kindergarten. I hope I'm not pushing too hard. I'm really not pushing, its more like exposing him to as much as he is interested in. We read books ALL the time and we are always "talking" about the stories as we are going through the book. Like any mom, I just want to give him every opportunity to learn.

Video Clip - She is quite the "busy bee" now that she is practically sitting up by herself. I still put the pillow behind her because eventually she gets tired and will just fall back or be leaning too far to one side to get a toy and will just topple over. Anyway - here is Abby enjoying one of her new Christmas presents that she just LOVES; notice how determined she is to get that one dang toy that just won't fall down...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Adorable, Hilarious & Surprising Moments

Mini-Brian (tools and all). He loves to tell you the types of tools that he has, especially his brand new Black-n-Decker electric "drill" (in his hands). He goes around the house telling me all of the things that he is fixing. Too funny. Thomas is already acting like the man of the house - wait until his Daddy gets back... they will be quite the duo.

Call me adventurous. Call me crazy. Yes, I gave Thomas & Abby their first bath together. It surprisingly went well. I said "well", not "easy". We started with Abby in her bath until I got her clean. I left her in it while I cleaned Thomas. Finally, Thomas dumped out the water of her tubby and while I held her up, I took it out of the big tub. I then held on to her while the 2 of them "played." I guess I was trying to see if it saved time. It did, but I probably got a few more grey hairs doing it. Don't you just love how Abby looks less than thrilled that I'm taking her picture... she really did have a good time.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I also had brought in one of her chairs so that I could set her down when I was getting Thomas out of the tub. She was extremely cozy and just enjoyed watching as he got out and wrapped up in his towel.

Video Clip - Please understand that I didn't post this video clip because I'm an awful mommy. I did it because I couldn't stop laughing after watching this on my camera. 9 out of 10 times, Abby is laughing and smiling at EVERYTHING Thomas does. EVERYTHING! Apparently this is the 1 time when she didn't think this was so funny. Oops.

Hiding Space

Last Sunday is when the weather turned rather chilly... actually down right freezing cold for Florida... and because we couldn't play outside for very long, I decided that I would let Thomas use one of his new Christmas presents. A portable DVD player. This is how focused he was while he watched an old classic, CARS.

Getting even more comfortable. Notice 2 bed pillows, his "baby" bear and a finished cup of hot chocolate with marshmellows. He was completely relaxed and zoned out.

Video Clip - ... here is how things have ended up with his new little portable DVD player. He loves it and he feels like he has his own little hiding space... complete with drinks and snacks. Spoiled. Rotten.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tot Clock

If you follow this blog, you'll remember that I was having some serious issues with Thomas sleeping all night long in his bed this past fall. It started shortly after I went back to work and really became a problem throughout October. When I say "problem," I'm talking about getting up several times throughout the night, coming to my room, when I would bring him back to bed there would be tantrums and tears every night. I was becoming very frustrated (and tired) considering he had always been such a good sleeper.

I put out a "call" to my girlfriends who had kids close in age who might have experienced this same problem and got lots of great advice. I decided to try a reward-system calendar in which Thomas earned a sticker every night he stayed in his own bed all night long until the morning. For every 3 stickers, he earned a "prize" - he LOVED it and took right to it. We called it Operation Night-Night Chart. He really became proud of himself when he saw the stickers start to add up and then he picked a reward. Win-Win situation, right?

Apparently that got old. It's not that we had any more tantrums, but slowly he started to come into my room again early, early in the morning and lay his pillow & blankets down on the floor next to my bed and go to sleep. It doesn't sound like that big of deal, but I really was trying to be consistent and teach Thomas that we all need to sleep in our own beds. As I started to read more about this common toddler problem and what different experts and other mommies/daddies had to say, it became very clear to me that it wasn't an issue of him wanting to get up, he just really didn't know what time it was and when he woke up, he just got up. DUH!!!!!!!!!! Hello Michelle!!!!! Why didn't I realize this? We all know to look at the clock and see what time it is and that tells us if it is time to wake up or time to go to bed. Thomas needed a clock that told him that (even know he can't tell time yet). Thank goodness a mommy had already invented such a thing... "My Tot Clock"

So... I bought it. A little pricey ($59), but it said there is a money back gaurentee that your child will be sleeping MUCH better within 30 days. "My Tot Clock" changes colors to teach little ones when to sleep (blue light) and when it’s okay to wake (yellow light). Matter of fact, when the blue light comes on (preset time by parent), it has a bed time story followed by lullaby songs and when the yellow light comes on (also preset by parent), it has a wake up song. Thomas immediately loved "his clock". It took a few nights, but he is sleeping so much better, which ultimately means that I am sleeping so much better. Mission accomplished!