Wednesday, April 28, 2010

He went away without us

My mom came to stay with us for a few days last week. For the past few months, she has been wanting Michael to come spend a few days with her and my dad at their house. I have really been hesitant since Michael has seen either Todd or I every single day of his life. I knew the day was coming though and after some discussion between Todd and I, we decided to let Michael go back to spend a few days at my parents.

They left on Friday afternoon. I picked Michael up from school and asked him if he wanted to spend a few days at Grandee and Pop-Pop's house. He asked me if I could drive him there and then turn around and go back home. I told him my mom would take him and bring him back next week. He said OK. We got home, he packed up his suitcase of cars and declared "I'm ready. Let's leave." Just like that. I think him leaving was harder on Todd and I than it was for him. He got in the car and off they went.

We talked to him every night and stayed busy here while he was gone. Katie was here and she was sure to keep us busy. I actually think that she helped to keep my mind from focusing on the fact that Michael wasn't here with us. I can't imagine if he was gone and he was an only child. I probably would have lost it.

When I picked him up on Tuesday, I was so excited to see him. Todd couldn't wait to show him what he was working on when he got home. The playhouse is almost done and he had the sandbox all filled with sand, ready for playing.

Michael had a fun time at my parents' house. They played outside several times a day, which is Michael's favorite thing to do. He played some golf with my dad and they also played some baseball. They went to the playground, ate out and just spent some quality one-on-one time. These memories are the ones that Michael will cherish for years to come. He is so lucky to have 2 sets of grandparents who want to spend time with him.

I think it was good to let him go, even though I really had a hard time with the thought of it. Once he was gone and I knew that he was having a good time, I felt better, even though both Todd and I missed him like crazy.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Playhouse in Progress - Part IV

The playhouse is almost done. Todd and one of his friends put the walls up this past weekend. This really changed the look of the playhouse. Now you can go inside and be shielded by the walls. The windows just have to be cut out. We have one done but have drilled the holes to take the other two out.

Underneath the playhouse, Todd has built a sandbox. It is complete with doors that can close over the sand, as well as wood around the side that can serve as a bench for the kids to sit on as they play. And since it's shielded from the sun, that will be a nice place to play on hot, sunny summer days.

It's really coming along. I know that this will be something fun for the kids to play with for years to come. And I know that Todd has had a lot of fun building, even though I know it was hard work. I admire his initiative to just get in there and roll his sleeves up, even though he never built anything from the ground up. I am so proud of him for building it and happy that my kids have a dad who wants to do things for them. What more could we ask for?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Our New Garden

Every spring, we head to the plant show at the local farmers' market to get plants for our garden. We get a mix of vegetable plants and herbs. Then we bring them home and plant them in our garden. In approximately 60 days, we usually get some results.

We picked out the plants last weekend and came home to plan them in the garden. Since we had our old garden for several years, the landscape timbers were starting to rot and the dirt was full of roots. Todd decided to make a new garden box and also relocate it to a different part of our yard that doesn't get quite as much sun during the day.

Todd and Michael worked on the garden box one night and filled it halfway with organic topsoil after lining it with plastic and newspapers. A few days later, we got another truckload of dirt. The vegetables and herbs were ready to be planted. Todd and Michael worked together to plant peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, dill, hot and spicy oregano and Thai basil. After they finished planting, they watered the garden.

Can't wait to see what our new garden produces this year!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's the little things

My mom is visiting us for a few days this week. So this afternoon, Michael and I headed out just the two of us to run some errands and spend some one-on-one time together.

We went to AC Moore to get a white t-shirt for his class at preschool but they didn't have his size. We then headed to Michael's to get the icing colors for his birthday cake, which is going to be Scooby Doo. After that, we went to get his hair cut at SportClips. He did pretty well there up until the very end because he is not a big fan of the clippers. Right next to SportClips is Bruster's Ice Cream. They have free kids' cones for anyone under 40 inches tall. Since Michael was fairly cooperative, he got a chocolate cone with sprinkles.

Some city employees were working on the road right next to Bruster's. They had torn up the asphalt and done some digging and were now filling it back in. We sat down at the tables and just watched the road repair taking place. We sat together at the table for about 30 minutes. We saw the dump truck put the asphalt in the spreader and watched it be put on the road. Then the workers used shovels and rakes to spread it out. They did this throughout the entire stretch of road, moving slowly along. At one point, one of the workers came up to talk to Michael to ask him if he wanted to help pave the road! They started to roll and smooth the asphalt as we were leaving.

It was just amazing to me to be able to see that through Michael's eyes. We were able to just take some time and watch the paving process unfold. We weren't rushing off to the next destination and it was just the two of us there. Something as simple as the road being paved held his attention for all that time. He asked questions and I even learned something about paving a road. It's moments like this that I love being a mom and am so thankful to be able to share that with him!

Monday, April 19, 2010

I felt like a little kid

For the past week or so, my ear has really been hurting me. I thought that maybe it just got irritated or had wax buildup. After complaining about it for a few days, Todd thought that maybe I should head to the doctor today. So I called and made an appointment for early this afternoon.

I headed in and saw the doctor. He let me know that I did have an outer ear infection, also known as swimmers' ear. I haven't been swimming recently but maybe some water got in my ear in the shower. He prescribed some antibiotic ear drops to take 2 times a day for the next 7 days. Luckily, this was the same ear drop that Michael had taken so I was able to use the rest of his bottle.

I very rarely get sick (thankfully) and felt like a kid when I was diagnosed with an ear infection. It's an illness that I associate mainly with kids. In talking with the nurse, she let me know that it was more common among adults than you would imagine. It's still a bit strange to think of having an ear infection. What's even more strange is that I have only been sick 3 or 4 times in the past 10 years or so and I have had 2 ear infections!

So now I know how Michael felt last week when I had to put the drops in his ears. And he even gave me a washcloth to hold on my ear like I did for him. Wasn't that sweet?

Friday, April 16, 2010

13 months old

Since Katie turned one last month, she has really started changing. It's so much fun to watch the changes and transformation as she discovers new things and explores every day.

Katie was taking a few steps at a time when she turned one. Over the past week, she has really taken off! We go outside and she just walks, falls down, gets back up and starts the whole process over again. She isn't afraid to crawl in the yard, on the driveway or walk in the grass barefoot. Inside she is just as fearless. Michael has put up a "wall" of furniture and toys to keep Katie away from his table. Katie doesn't let that stop her and she just climbs right over the back of the chair to get to what she wants!

Two more teeth have emerged over the past few days. They are the top molars on each side. What's so funny is that she still only has 2 teeth on the bottom. People always comment about her 2 little teeth. If she would open her mouth, they could see the rest of the teeth! These teeth haven't been quite as rough as the first few, thankfully.

Katie still loves water and had her first visit to the beach over Easter weekend. She loved crawling around in the sand and even tried to eat some. I think the water was a bit too cold for her but she enjoyed the heated pool much better back in my parents' neighborhood. She let me pull her around the pool on her stomach and her back and was just so relaxed.

Katie is eating pretty well now and eats almost every single thing that we put on her tray. It's funny because she is now getting to the point where she will throw food off the side if she is full. And then she always runs her hands through her hair. Wonder what it is that makes babies do that?

She continues to babble away and has a few words now. She says mama, dada, no and something that sounds like "what's up?". We have conversations where she "talks" to you but you have no idea what exactly she is saying even though she looks so determined to get her point across. If you ask Katie for a kiss, she will lean in and give you one with her mouth open. She also understands when you ask her to sit down and come over to you. And she even tries to brush her teeth when she sees Michael doing it too.

Here are a few recent pics of Katie:

Looking forward to watching Katie grow over the next few months. This is such an exciting age!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Visit to the Eye Doctor

On Tuesday we headed to the opthalmologist for Katie's 1 year eye checkup. This was her second appointment as she had her first appointment at 3 months old. The appointment was originally supposed to be a few weeks ago but we had to reschedule. This resulted in taking both kids to the appointment. Considering we were there for about 2 hours, they did pretty well until the very end.

The doctor examined Katie's eyes and was concerned with how much her vision had changed since the first appointment. Then he asked if her eyes were dilated and I told him no. The nurse came in to dilate the eyes and we had to wait for a bit longer until they were ready. Once he examined her eyes when they were dilated, he said that the change wasn't as great. But he still did recommend glasses for Katie if we thought that she would wear them.

Michael got his glasses when he was 2 years old and we really struggled with getting him to wear them the first month or so. But he could understand what we were saying to him and I think he could see so much better with the glasses.

I worry about Katie not being able to see but I do wonder if a 1 year old will wear glasses without taking them off and leaving them behind. They have glasses that are virtually unbreakable and could go around her head with a band. The doctor said that what happened with Michael could very well happen with Katie. She may see so much better with the glasses that she will wear them.

It's hard for me to understand what it's like not to be able to see. The doctor gave me the lenses that he was using to check Katie's eyes and put them in front of my eyes. He asked me to look at the TV on the opposite wall. It was hard for me to see it clearly. He said that's how Katie sees it without the glasses. Up close, I could see a bit better.

So now to make the decision on when to get her the glasses. I think we will probably get them sooner rather than later to get her used to them but Todd and I still have to weigh the pros and cons.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Playhouse in Progress - Part III

Work on the playhouse has halted for the past 2 weekends. The first weekend, it was cold one day and then rained on Sunday. The following weekend was Easter and we were out of town. Todd had gotten the supplies to do the roof so he planned to work on it this weekend.

Todd's dad came over to help him put the boards on the roof and nail them down. They finished this step on Friday. Saturday Todd put the tar paper up as the base for the roof. Yesterday and today, Todd worked on putting the shingles on the roof.

It's really coming together now. The next step will be putting the walls up and then the playhouse can be used, even though there will be a few finishing touches.

This is the first big thing that Todd has built and I am so proud of him. He really wanted Michael to have a playhouse and wanted to do it himself instead of getting someone else to do it. I think it's looking great so far and can't wait to see the finished product!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A girl after my own heart

Within the first few days of Katie's birth, I knew that she was going to be a good eater. By the time we left from the hospital, she was already latching on and nursing well. We got home and she continued with her good eating. She cluster fed from about 7-10pm most nights for the first 6 weeks or so.

One night when Katie was about 4 months old, I was eating a steak dinner with her on my lap. She grabbed at the plate and tried to get some food. At 5 months old, she had her first rice cereal. And it continued from there with bananas, avocados, beans, and peaches. I made most of her baby food and this was a way to introduce her to even more foods.

As she got a little older and got a few teeth, we started giving her table food. She ate everything that we offered her. On my birthday, we had ice cream cake and she ate some of that. She had also eaten Japanese steakhouse veggies and rice. We couldn't believe it because it seemed like she was never full. The eating continued and she was still nursing several times a day until she turned 1.

On her birthday, we put a mini cake in front of her. Katie wasn't quite sure what to think at first but she took one lick and consumed over half of the cake before deciding she was done.

Now that she is 1, there are very few foods that remain off limits to her. I still haven't given her peanut butter or fish, even though I doubt she is going to have any allergies. This weekend alone, she ate a piece of pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms for the first time and a whole hot dog including the roll (both were broken up into bite size pieces).

We are constantly amazed and entertained at what she will eat. I love to eat but I am a picky eater. I have been hoping that our kids will not be like me and eat a variety of foods. Katie is definitely following that path right now!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It only took a few years....

for Michael to finally warm up to water. That is, outside of a shower or bath.

Over the past 2 years whenever we have taken Michael to a pool or the beach, he has not been too happy. He has had a great fear of the water. I was not sure why, as we continued to expose him to it and made sure that he didn't get dunked or fall under water. When he was 2 1/2 years old, we went to Florida for vacation. He was so scared that he didn't even want to set foot on the beach. Last summer, he did a little better getting into the baby pool as long as Todd or I were in there too. We put him in swimming lessons. When most of the other kids were jumping into the pool, he would only get in the water by grabbing the teacher and letting her guide him around the pool.

This was pretty hard for me to understand. I grew up on the Jersey shore. We had a pool in our backyard at the house I lived in until I was 2 and we later got a pool in the house that we moved to after that. Summers were spent at the beach all day with lunches of sandwiches and juice boxes. When it was time to go home, my mom would have to tear me away from the water. I took swimming lessons for several years and was even on the swim team one year. All I could hope for was that he would eventually come around and learn to love the water like I did!

Since we went to my parents' house for Easter, we decided to go to the beach on Saturday morning. It was in the mid 70's and the water temperature was in the mid 60's. Michael was so excited to go to the beach, which surprised me. Once he got down there, he couldn't wait to dig in the sand and build a castle. Imagine my surprise when he started off for the ocean with my mom. He actually went in the water and was jumping when the waves came in. And he was laughing while he said how much fun it was!

I thought this was a one-time thing but we went to the pool on Monday and he enjoyed himself there too. I almost couldn't believe it and didn't want to get my hopes up after Saturday. I think that some fear of the water is healthy but I just didn't want him to be so scared that it would prevent him from enjoying something that could be so much fun. I am really looking forward to spending some time at the pool and beach together!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Recap

We went to my parents for Easter weekend. They live about 3 hours away in NC, just north of Myrtle Beach. We did several things to celebrate Easter.

Saturday night, Michael dyed 6 Easter eggs. He had fun picking out the colors he wanted to make. This was a fairly quick process this year but he still had fun. There were no spills this year, thankfully.

Waiting for the eggs to change colors:

Here are the finished products:

Sunday afternoon, we had an Easter egg hunt at my parents' house. Before Michael was born, my sister and I, as well as Todd and her husband, used to hunt for eggs. Even though we had fun, it was time to pass the tradition on to the kids. We had the hunt inside my parents' house for Michael's first Easter and ever since it has been outside. Katie didn't participate last year but she was quite enamored with it this year. Michael and I helped her look for the eggs and I took her around the yard.

Our family after the egg hunt:

Finally we went to look at the Easter baskets. Michael loved seeing what the Easter bunny left for him and Katie was enjoying what she got in her basket as well. Michael got puzzles, Scooby Doo dish and cup, harmonica, a Gordon train, crayons and coloring book. Katie got socks, dishes, and a few small books.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Look at My Loot!

Today was the Easter egg hunt at Michael's school. When I picked him up today, he had a Ziploc bag full of candy filled eggs. We got home and he opened each egg to see what candy he had gotten. After assessing his candy situation, it was time for lunch. As I sit here now, I am letting him have some candy from a few of the eggs. He is getting ready to be in a candy coma!

His loot:

Happily eating the candy: