One Full Week of Autumn

Friday, September 30, 2011 No comments
Eventhough fall is fabulous and one of the best seasons in the northeast, I have been reminded daily of some not so fabulous things about fall....

This accumulated on the floors not even 24 hours after the last time I swept. Dog hair I expected, but the pile of evergreen needles!!?? LOTS of pine needles, and that's just the beginning. The first leaves are starting to drop. That means that the broom and the vaccuum will be daily items for the next 2 months.

Happy fall. 

The 27-month Update: Oliver

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 1 comment
I haven't done one in a while and the little man is growing and changing daily. I felt I had to post an update on his progress.

As of September 16th, Oliver is 27-months old (I have been meaning to post this update for some time but someone was a little uncooperative when it came to measuring his height, so I just skipped that in this update. If I am able to get his measurements I will add them in the post). The director at the nursery school where Oliver and I take Mommy & Me described him best when she said, "He has a BIG personality!". Oliver doesn't do small. It's go big or go home. Having a temper-tantrum? It's full on, no holds barred. Happy? He's really happy.

The screaming/shrieking has subsided (knock on wood) and is only pulled out in cases of extreme emergency (i.e. he didn't get his way). We rarely get blind-sided with a shriek that will make you jump out of your skin.

Oliver is independent. He can entertain himself, playing with his cars, but he likes to have Mom race the Matchbox cars with him on the carpet race track. He's started to of cars of course. He likes to tell you that he is two, as he holds up one finger. He likes to give big, bear hugs, especially to Daddy.

Current Stage: He loves Daddy. He tolerates Mommy but she comes in useful when there is a boo-boo. Chloe is his idol.

Language: He's a parrot, so be very careful what you say around him. He's picking up words, phrases and making sentences every minute. He's a regular chatterbox. Right now, his favorite things to ask/say are:
  • "Where'd Shakey go?", which is Deanna & John's dog. Oliver asks this question at least 10 times a day.
  • "PaPaw went home." Another favorite. This is told to me at least twice a day.
  • "I don't like it" or "I don't want it." I hear this A LOT, even when he really does want it and even if he really does like it.
  • "Money honey." This is randomly said and oftentimes sang throughout the day. He learned this from PaPaw. It's a Willie Nelson song, If You've Got the Money, I've Got the Time. Apparently Oliver wants to go honkey-tonking.
  • "Bye, see ya!" and followed by blowing a kiss. This is his farewell to the ice cream man, the postman or any other person, known or unknown, that we encounter each day.
  • "Daddy go race car." Oliver believes Matt leaves each morning to go race cars. I once corrected him and told him that Daddy takes the bus into the big city and works in a big office tower. Oliver's reply was, "Yuck!" He prefers to believe Daddy races cars.
  • "Uh-oh, Bwoke it!" (Broke It) I hear this one A LOT too. Oliver's good at breaking things. Real good.
  • "Oooh, cool, like it!" This often is said as we run errands and a car that Oliver thinks is nice drives by. The louder and shinier the better, though we are noticing that he has taken a fancy to BMWs. And is it any surprise that at 27 months old he can spot a Porsche?
Pre-School: Oliver is doing well at pre-school two days a week. Lately at drop-off he wails and grabs hold of me and will sometimes chunk his sippy cup at me in protest but as soon as I walk out and close the door its all over. I know,  I stayed and watched after I was upset that he got so upset. It took him all of 2 seconds to regain composure after I left the room and to begin playing. He likes to put on a show for Mom.

Favorites: Oliver still loves cars. We have an entire Matchbox collection. His favorite is a Morris Minor. He has two of those. He also likes planes and trains. His favorite tv show is Bubble Guppies which he gets to watch before nap time. He also likes to play with the Talking Tom app on my iPhone. In an attempt to regain my phone, I purchased him a hamster that will repeat what you say when you press his hand. He calls him "Puppy" and its his favorite. He goes everywhere with us. I did catch him trying to give Puppy a bath in the sink the other day and now Puppy sputters a bit when he repeats. He loves it so much I had to purchase a back up.

His favorite food is yogurt, chicken nuggets, fries, strawberries and grapes. He also requests "cookies" and "bagels" frequently. Neither of which is actually a cookie or a bagel. It took several hours and a giant temper tantrum from Oliver to finally decipher that when he requests a "cookie" or a "bagel" he is actually requesting donut holes (Hey, we live in the land of Dun*kin D*onuts. Every kid event has DD. People even bring it to potlucks as dessert.  There is NO escape).

Oliver's F1 car he uses to scoot all over the house.

Oliver "feeding" Puppy.

Bubble Guppies--an Oliver favorite, along with Chuck, the dumptruck.

Yogurt. Ollie loves yogurt from the tube. I have to put these things on lock-down otherwise a certain big sister and little brother will eat an entire carton when Mom is busy folding clothes.

The Pit Crew

Sunday, September 25, 2011 No comments

Matt did some work on the race car this weekend. We've had a lot of work done on the race car lately (cha-ching) and Matt wanted to save some $$$$ and do the work himself. Luckily, he has his own pit crew. Its just unlucky that they have a small attention span and are easily distracted.

Ooohh! Gloves!

Crew chief Chloe inspects the work being done.

Where the real work happens.

Looking over the situation. Unfortunately, one of the crew is all about the camera.

Oliver loves to mess up look at Daddy's tools.

Doing some repair work on the toy scooter.

Mommy & Me

Thursday, September 22, 2011 No comments
Oliver, playing in the Oatmeal with his craft project hat on his head, at Mommy & Me.

I must admit, there was trepidation. Lots of trepidation. I haven't had too much success in Mommy & Me styled classes with Oliver and I had just signed us up for the wildly popular Mommy & Me class at a very strict, very religious local nursery school.

First, there was G&ymb*oree classes. He ran like a wild man mowing the other children down and swatted at me or had a general meltdown when I reigned him in. The G&ym*bor*ee solution was to keep moving Oliver up in classes until he was in a class of kids one year older and of a size that he couldn't trample as easily. The trampling was solved, but Ollie soon discovered he could use the play equipment for unintended purposes, like climbing to the top where he could make a running leap and into a splat on the mats. I had to hover over him on everything, which he did not like and led to tantrums.

Then, there was music class. He liked dancing to the music and making his own in the forms of he attempted to shove items in the electrical sockets, remove all the tap and dance shoes and open and close the bathroom door of the not-so toddler friendly dance studio where the class was held.

I had been advised by a "child professional" that Mommy & Me wasn't a good idea. She recommended I put him in nursery school, without me, for another day a week. I just couldn't. I did the same Mommy & Me with Chloe, I felt too much guilt not doing it with Oliver. So, I signed up.

As the first day of class approached, I have to admit that I was nervous and kicking myself for paying for the entire year of Mommy & Me in advance. I fully expected things to go the way of the other Mommy & Me classes---I expected him to run wild, not participate in circle time and for us to "lock-heads".

But, Oliver proved me wrong. He participated, he listened and he did quite well with the 10 other kids in class. He sat on my lap during circle time, though he got a little bored with storytime and made an attempt to snatch the children's Bible for himself. He enjoyed free-play (what two year old doesn't?) and he and I made a craft together (see his hat). He even attempted to play with the play-doh, which he always declares as "Ooooh, ucky! Gwoss! I don't yike it."

He even stood at the door at the end of class while I gathered my purse and our coats and told the other kids, "Bye, baby!", as each one walked out (apparently they are babies because he is the oldest child in the class--I guess he just knows that).

Here's to a good year of Mommy & Me and lots of fun crafts and songs with my little man.

The Added Bonus of Having a Pre-Schooler...Colds

Monday, September 19, 2011 No comments
The chill of fall has arrived. Its dark in the mornings when we wake and the air is crisp and cool. I'm switching my closet over and am preparing to say goodbye to my shorts and summer skirts.

Also with the cooler air came our first round of colds. Oliver was super grouchy Wednesday and as I heard him coughing through the baby monitor, I knew why. On Thursday he was cranky and clingy and was sporting a full-on runny nose. No fever though. On Friday, I blew off that I felt like I could go back to bed and sleep for hours and the irritating, scratchy throat I had. I told myself I had allergies until Friday night Chloe told me her throat felt dry and scratchy. Saturday morning she woke up to a runny nose and cough. I still told myself it was allergies until Matt declared he had a cold too.

Oliver and I are on the mend, Chloe is carrying around a box of tissues and Matt never has time to be sick, the man has colds for minutes, not days.

It's Official, I'm a Swim Mom

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 No comments

Chloe will be spending about 4.5 hours per week in the pool. She was accepted on a local dive team and practices once a week for 90 minutes with that group. She's the only elementary school student in her group. The others are in middle school. I was worried that she was intimidated by the older girls, who patted her on the head and kept telling her she's cute. After dive practice last night I told Chloe she shouldn't be intimidated. Her response, "I'm not! I'm just as good as they are and when I am their age, I'll be doing hard dives and not in a beginner group like they are!". Geez. I guess she told me.

Chloe also made our local YMCA swim team and will be swimming with them three nights a week for an hour each night. The tryouts were a little nerve wracking (well, they were for me anyway). About 70 kids competed for the few spots open in the age 8 and under group. Chloe was selected. We are so proud of her!

Chloe P.I.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 No comments
Got to love the prizes in the orthodontist's office....

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Halloween Costumes

Monday, September 12, 2011 1 comment
For the last two years, Chloe has dressed as a Star Wars character and she believed for a while that she wanted to be *Dar*th V*ad*er this year. That was until a new catalog came in the mail. She then had lots of choices and she couldn't pick one.

We spent Saturday morning looking on-line for Halloween costumes. I would rather gouge my eyes out than go to a Halloween superstore to buy a costume. Buying on-line is easier, quieter, and I don't have to dig for sizes. I do however go to a big box retailer after Halloween to snatch up some deep-discount dress-up outfits for the kids dress up chest. But that's after all the hype and excitement is over.

Chloe always gets really excited at the prospect of getting a new costume and she loves to scroll through the choices. Oliver even joined in on the fun. It became quickly apparent what Oliver wanted. Two guesses. Do you need that many? Hint: Perhaps it has something to do with CARS. Of course, when it comes to automobiles we don't do anything half-a*s---I wouldn't think of buying Ollie a basic race car driver costume. No, I had to troll the UK websites and UK Ebay to find this costume.

Looks plain, right? Well, if you are familiar with the BBC show, T*op G*ear, of which we are big fans, then you will recognize that this is the costume of the "tame racing driver" on the show, The Stig. Identity Unknown---until now. It's Oliver!

That was easy. Now, on to Chloe.

First, let me lament at some of the trampy Halloween costumes that are out there for girls. Unbelievable. But, I should note that after searching for Oliver's costume on UK costume sites that the trampy costumes for young girls seemed to be unique to the U.S. I didn't see one inappropriate costume for pre-pubescent children on those sites. Perhaps because Halloween is bigger business in the U.S. or the Brits are just more reserved? Who knows, but score one for the U.K.

When searching for a Halloween costume for Chloe, you NEVER look in the girls section. Don't even think about it. If I would rather gouge my eyes out than go to a Halloween superstore, then Chloe would rather gouge her eyes out than think of dressing as a princess, fairy or anything remotely girly for Halloween.

After throwing around different choices---ninja, Pow*erR*anger, monster, bandido, Star Wars, etc., it was determined that she favors a costume that requires you not see her face. I don't get this as she can't wear the mask during school on the day of the big Halloween parade. Whatever.

Here were two choices from her top three:

Really? I had to nix the creepy evil skeleton costume. What's with that!? No way. And, the Red P*ower*Ra*nger? She says she likes them, but I couldn't take it. Have you seen their show? It is possibly the worst thing I have ever seen---silly story lines and ridiculous monsters popping out of the ground. I think we both lost IQ points after we watched it.

So, this was Chloe's final pick. It is actually the first one she picked when the very first Halloween costume catalog arrived in the mail two months ago and it meets her selection criteria---it's not girly, it's got cool props and her face is covered. What more could you ask for?

A side note: After Chloe discovered that Oliver was to be The Stig for Halloween, guess what she decided she wanted to be too? After I ordered the above outfit. Grrrrr.


Saturday, September 10, 2011 No comments
One of the best things about Back to School is that I have some time to purge the clutter that seems to accumulate in our house. I took the opportunity on a rainy day to go through the kids toys that seem to be taking over the house and purge the unwanteds.

Of course, this could never be done under the watchful eye of two children. I would hear protests that they love the Light Brite that is missing every peg or the remote control car that is covered in dust & is missing every tire. No, I took this morning to sort through the piles of toys and games that are no longer loved and are no longer played with. They simply sit, discarded and gathering dust. After a quick call to the local charity, they will find new homes.

Sad thing is, Chloe & Oliver probably won't miss one of the toys I donated. They won't even know its gone, with the exception of this toy.

Not because they play it, but because it makes noise--CONSTANTLY. It has NO OFF SWITCH!! Who makes a game where the batteries are encased behind screws and doesn't make an off switch? The slightest movement sets this thing off into a quacking furry. Oh, how excited I was to place you in the box and donate you! Of course, you were quacking when I handed you over. Fare the well, you won't be missed.

Oliver's First Day of Pre-School

Friday, September 09, 2011 No comments
Obviously school makes him very thirsty.
Oliver started pre-school today. He will be going twice a week for 2.5 hours. We thought about it long and hard, consulted our pediatrician and a child psychologist. Eventhough he's only twenty-six months old, everyone thought he was ready for pre-school. Oliver is bright, smart, inquisitive, very independent and has tons of energy. He also hangs mostly with his momma and seven-year olds. It was time to socialize him with other two-year olds in a structured fashion. He will also be starting a Mommy & Me class once a week with me which will start in another week. But, today was pre-school sans Mom.

Once we arrived at pre-school he was so excited that he ran straight to the room and told everyone, "Hi!",  waving with a giant smile. Oliver explored the room while I spoke with his teacher. When it was time to go, Oliver was too busy for a proper goodbye. He gave me an inquisitive look and then continued playing. My baby was in pre-school. I thought I would be excited and happy at the possibility of 2.5 hours by myself but instead I burst into tears and cried all the way back to the parking lot where I really "lost it" once I was inside the car.

Once I composed myself, I set out to run errands. I kept checking my phone, waiting for the school to call to tell me Oliver spit on someone or hit another child. The call never came. I arrived at pick-up eager to hear how he did. Ms. Dawn, Oliver's teacher, told me he did fantastic and "had the best first day of any two-year old in the history of the pre-school!". Wow! To say I was surprised would be an understatement. I had anticipated some tantrum or some report of not sharing, refusing to participate ("Don't like it!") or general unruliness. Apparently that is just reserved for home.

I then turned to Oliver who was sticking his finger in a fellow classmates peas and carrots saying, "Eat!". (Some of the children stay for a full day and they are served lunch during the pre-schoo pick-up.)

"Oliver, great job today buddy!" I told him. "Lets go have lunch."

"No!" Oliver yelled. "I don't want go," he exclaimed, pushing me away.

Fabulous. He's been in pre-school for 1 day and he's learned a new sentence and he doesn't want to leave with me. And I cried when I dropped him off?!

Seriously, I am glad that Oliver had fun and a great first day. He feels very "big boy" as he goes to school like sissy. Here's to a great year little man!

Perhaps We Were Over-Zealous

Thursday, September 08, 2011 No comments
...but we didn't complete all that was on our "Summer To Do List" before school started. It isn't because we had a bad summer, but because this summer was so chalked full of fun activities. It was one of the best summers!

A Recap of Summer Activities:

JUNE: school gets out  & diving lesson & swim team begins; Chloe gets her tongue-thrust device; Chinese Dance recital in NYC.

JULY: First swim meet; Camping for 4th of July; annual summer BBQ; Oliver becomes a U.S. Citizen; Shannon's 20th high school reunion in Dallas; visit BeBe & PaPaw; boating

AUGUST: Grandad & Marie visit; Finger Lakes; boating; Lake Sunapee vacation; Hurricane Irene; Land of Make Believe; Back to School shopping

But, of course, there was A LOT more than that....

First Day of Second Grade

Tuesday, September 06, 2011 No comments
It was a wet and cool first day of school. Chloe's elementary has MAJOR parking issues and it is located on a busy thoroughfare which made for some first day drop-off nightmares. It's always nice to arrive for the first day of school with horns honking and people yelling at others to "MOVE!" from out their car windows.

Since the rain was coming down, we drove and had to park on a side street. I made the wrong shoe choice--sandals--and my feet were slipping and sliding as I pushed Oliver in the stroller, who was soaking wet because he didn't want the umbrella over him.

We made it to the classroom after having a photo made with the school mascot and wandering aimlessly through the halls searching for Chloe's classroom. Side note: Strike one for Chloe's teacher---no name on her door. I hear great things about her but she teaches elementary school----put your name outside your door so the kids and parents can find your classroom. She didn't make a great first impression for me.

Chloe also had "try-outs" for a local diving team. Chloe loves diving after her lessons this summer so we found a local diving team. I believe Chloe is the youngest on the team. She was the youngest last night by five years. I think she was a little intimidated that the older kids were doing flips and pikes into the water but she did well and listened to the coach. I told her that if she sticks with diving that she will be able to do the same dives as the older kids.

Chloe, preparing to dive as the coach looks on.

An Upgrade

Monday, September 05, 2011 No comments
Chloe's moved up to a bicycle with gears!

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Random Photos from the Week

Friday, September 02, 2011 1 comment
1. Matt & Chloe wash the car just after the hurricane blew through. 2. Oliver goes for a wagon ride to assess the hurricane damage. 3. Oliver peeks from the bathroom. 4. John helps prepare dinner for the family. 5. Chloe and Oliver enjoy a ride at the Land of Make Believe. 6. Oliver and PaPaw play basketball.