Monday, December 22, 2008

We're still here!!

I know it's been a while (bad blogger!), but things have been more than a little crazy around here.

Both boys got sick at the same time. That just shouldn't happen. One of them should be considerate enough to wait until the first one is done, right? Well, no. Apparently they didn't get that mommy memo.

Braeden had a bad cold. Lots of coughing and congestion with a sore throat. He coughed so much at school one day he threw up. Gage had a very yucky nose and was running a low temp. I took them both to the doctor (and learned that 2 boys + 1 appointment time = 2 copays or $50!!). Braeden just had a cold. $25 to have that confirmed. Huh. Gage, on the other hand, had his second ear infection in the same ear as last time. It was early, so we weren't seeing any symptoms of it like last time.

Gage finishes up his 10-day course of antibiotics tonight. We used the probiotic again for a few days and he had no yucky side effects from the amoxicillin. Phew.

We told Braeden that being sick meant he could watch lots of cartoons, so we've been hearing that for the last week or so. "Sick kids get to watch a lot of cartoons." You try telling Braeden he's not sick any longer. See how far you get! :)

As the kids were starting to feel better, I got sick. It never fails. Sore throat, headache, and fever. I had to leave early on Thursday after our office holiday luncheon. Came home, changed into my jammies, and took my temp. 103. I felt like such crap I couldn't even bring myself to care. I sat in the dark living room on the couch under a blanket with NCIS on the TV. Whatever I was watching ended, NCIS came on, and I couldn't bring myself to change the channel. If that's not a sign of how sick I was, I don't know what is.

I stayed home Friday as my temp was still high in the morning. I felt a lot better by the end of the day, though.

Saturday we celebrated Christmas at Mark and Jenn's townhouse in Charlotte with Mat's parents. Mark and Jenn did a great job entertaining us and the two kids. They made mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, green beans, and a really nice salad for the grown-ups. I was really impressed with the thought they put into the menu. And they even seemed not to care when Braeden spilled an entire glass of juice on the table or when Gage threw mac and cheese everywhere. :)

The boys got some really good presents, and it was nice to spend the day together. Pete and Carol leave for AZ after Christmas, and we'll be in NY starting tomorrow, so we won't all be together again until the spring. We gave Mark and Jenn a gift card to PF Chang's for Christmas. It's what they asked for, and who are we to disappoint. They laughed when they opened it, then handed me our present. A gift card to PF Chang's. As soon as Mark told his brother that's what they wanted, he groaned remembering they had already bought one for us. Silly.

We'll be leaving around 4:00 tomorrow morning for Rhinebeck. Maybe I'll post from the car. Maybe not. We'll see how the trip goes. Braeden will be great. It's Gage we're worried about. Hopefully he'll do a lot of napping!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Why I don't pump my own gas

So last night I stopped in to get gas on my way home. All the pumps were filled which surprised me. And there at least 12 pumps at my gas station. Gas was the same price it had been that morning. It wasn't Friday, or the start of a long weekend. As far as I knew there was no scare about rising prices.

I waited a few minutes, then pulled up to pump. Pumping gas is kind of a big deal for me. I don't do it that often. Mat and I have an agreement about the cars. He handles maintenance. And to me, that includes getting the gas. But I knew I needed it and I was getting home early, and since I drive right by the gas station on my way home it made sense that I stop.

So, I pull up to the pump and get all my crap together. We use speedpass, but it tends not to work at this station. Maybe it's all stations these days. Whatever. It's a pain in the ass. So I flip the switch to open the gas tank door. Turn off the car. Get my keys with the speedpass. Dig out my back-up credit card. Put my phone in my pocket. Take my gloves off. Realize I've parked awfully close to a post and very carefully ease my way out of the car. Then I watch a white minivan pull in to the pump next to me. My eye is automatically drawn to the front passenger seat.


Can you see?

That's a baby sitting on the lap of the woman in the front seat. Sitting on a pillow, actually. On the lap of the woman in the front seat. And you know what? The woman is wearing her seatbelt. She's buckled in but she's carrying her GodDamn baby on her lap on a pillow. In the front seat.

I had to take a picture. I didn't even hide the fact that I was taking a picture like I usually do. And then I considered calling 911. I honestly did. I was shaking I was so crazed about this.

After all this, I finally get down to business to pump my gas. And found out there was gas all over the handle of my pump. And now it was all over my hand.

And on top of that, the pump is running incredibly slowly. A woman pulls up behind me and I tell her I'm pumping a gallon every minute. The woman at the pump next to me lets me know it's not just my pump that's slow. Then I feel something whack into my leg.


A grasshopper has flown into my leg. And for some reason, he thought this was a good place to camp out. A grasshopper!

He didn't seem at all concerned as I tried not to freak out. The woman at the pump next to me leaned over to see. But the thought of a bug landing on her leg freaked her out and she had to go back to her pump. Me? I took a picture so I could post it on the blog. Then I used the napkin I was using to wipe the gas off my hand to shoo the grasshopper off my leg. And then, because I'm me and can't stand the thought of the little guy getting squished (even though he grossed me out by landing on my leg), I used my napkin to coerce him into hopping onto the platform where the pump is.

So, in case you're having a hard time following...first, there was the baby on the lap. Then my gas hand. And then the grasshopper on the leg. Fast forward 15 minutes, and my tank is now full. With 13.8 gallons. And I have to put the pump back in the holder. And that means getting my hand wet again. Yuck.

Amazingly enough I somehow have a couple wet wipes in my glove box with the Dunkin Donuts napkins. That's the one bright spot of my stop at the gas station.

And that's why I don't pump my own gas!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Snow!

We had our first snow and I dressed Braeden up and sent him out to play. We take what we can get in NC, even if it's a light dusting. I seriously hope Rhinebeck gets walloped with snow while we're there for Christmas. Braeden is used to NC snow. He has no idea!

The most snow was sitting on top of our pine straw, so that's where he went to make his snowballs.


He was happy but cold!


Showing me the snow on his mitten (from the dollar section at Target!!).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My (?) holiday decorations

Two posts in one day? Unbelievable. Or as Braeden would say Un.be.lieve.able.

It's time to post about holiday decorations. Bet you didn't see that one coming! Braeden is really into the holidays this year. And I am so so so excited about it!

Braeden started talking about cornucopias one day. Mat and I weren't sure he even knew what a cornucopia was. When we asked him, he informed us that it was a horn-shaped basket filled with things you're thankful for. We were humbled. And confused. Where did he learn that? At school? Then I caught the Moose A. Moose interlude between episodes of Blue's Clues one morning. Ohhhh, there's the cornucopia! Moose sings songs and does puzzles. He's pretty funny. And those songs get stuck in our heads...we all sing lines from them whenever it seems appropriate. I sometimes catch myself about to do it at work and have to remind myself that none of my coworkers have babies. They totally won't get Moose A. Moose!

So, Braeden and I bought a cornucopia. If it were solely up to me, the cornucopia would live on the dining room table as part of my Thanksgiving centerpiece complete with gourds, pumpkins, baby pumpkins, and my fake fall leaves. Oh, and the adorable stuffed turkey that gobbles that I bought last week at Swoozie's (when I used my coupon). Braeden likes to play turkey field. He can play turkey field for a very, very long time. When I watch him play, I always think this is going to be fun for a few minutes but then 30 minutes later he's still playing.

The other thing the cornucopia is good for?


Yep. It's a hat, too. :)

Today Braeden and I went to the grocery store for a few last-minute Thanksgiving dinner items. We also stopped at Michael's for a basket to hold the rolls I bought at Great Harvest Bread Company when I left work today. Along with the roll basket, Braeden found this gold wire sleigh with accent beads. It was pretty. Pretty tacky. But they did have a much less tacky version that I thought could be a lot of fun. As a Christmas decoration.

Braeden had other ideas.


He's Santa, ho ho ho-ing all around the house and distributing toys to good little girls and boys. With a pretend Santa hat on.

If I can wrestle the sleigh away from Braeden, I've got a bunch of ideas about how to fill it. Surprisingly enough, none of my ideas include Braeden's diggers, the drawers from the dollhouse dresser, the star ornaments from our new Toot & Puddle Christmas book, or the boomerang man. Weird, huh? I'm thinking very prettily wrapped presents. Although to accomplish that I'll need my sister to fly down here and wrap some empty boxes for me. Or pine cones if Mat can find the time to go exploring and find some. I'll post pictures when I get it together. If I get it together. :)

Boss sloth

"I'm the biggest sloth that you see says sloth."

Braeden is always repeating stuff he's heard on the radio or TV (whack the badger, Barack Obama, or the Queen song). Lately he's been saying something really weird. And I had to listen to him say it about a hundred times before I could get it straight. I had no idea where he got it from, but Mat was able to fill in the blanks for me.

He's been repeating (in his own garbled way) a line from a rap song he's heard on the radio while driving with Mat. What's the line?

"I'm the biggest boss that you've seen thus far." It's from a song called the The Boss by Rick Ross. A really bad song. A song about some big guy who sells drugs and makes lots of money. If you're really interested, you can watch the video for yourself at youtube. I honestly debated whether or not to even give you the link, that's how bad I think it is.

Braeden's line is much cuter!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hot cocoa


I forgot I had taken a couple pictures of Braeden at Starbucks! He took his hot chocolate very seriously which I just thought was adorable!

Monday, November 17, 2008

I love mail!

Today was an awesome mail day! No diapers, but maybe Thursday. :)

However, there was still really cool stuff waiting for me when I got home tonight. Unfortunately I can't post about all of it here since some of it will be for Christmas.

I received two packages containing things I ordered from etsy. I LOVE etsy. It's one of my favorite ways to kill a little time and the site of some of my most favorite, most hoped for items. I've got an etsy wish list a mile long!

The first package had some Christmas gift tags, some really cute tags. The second had something that will probably end up as a gift so I can't post the details here. But you can click here to see the shop I bought this something from. I'm thinking I'll keep some and give some as a gift because I really, really love what I bought. That way I can enjoy the something just as much as the person who receives the gift. And if that isn't the spirit of Christmas then I don't know what is! ETA: I did keep some!! YEA!!

Then there was a 20% off coupon at a Greensboro shop that sells personalized things and all kinds of gifts. Just for being a member of the Greensboro Children's Museum I can save 20% shopping there on Thursday. And the museum receives 10% of the proceeds. It's a win-win! Except for Mat. Everyone wins but Mat. Poor guy.

Then there was the envelope from PF Chang's. While I was talking to Mat about it, I remembered that a while back Emily and I had lunch there and our waiter asked us to fill out a survey. And I guess just for filling out the survey I got a 10% off card to use through January 4. Cool, right? I've been wanting their Dan Dan Noodles and now I have the perfect excuse to go there!

I think the universe was kicking on all cylinders today...PF Chang's and Swoozie's (the Greensboro shop) are spitting distance from each other. I can feel it already...Thursday I'll be doing a little Christmas shopping at Swoozie's then picking up takeout from PF Chang's. I can already tell it's going to be a great day!

Friday, November 14, 2008

How sweet!

I have to brag a little...I have the sweetest little boy in the world. Of course, he would be highly insulted to know I called him little!

Yesterday I had to drive to Garland, NC for an alumni luncheon with my boss. Round trip we were in the car for FIVE hours! My boss likes it cold, and since it was raining we were running the defrost. On cold. By the time we arrived, I was very cold and could feel an ache in my neck and shoulders which I figured was from the driving. I had to excuse myself from the table a few minutes into lunch because I felt sure I was going to throw up. I managed to buck up and make it through lunch (without eating anything else). We got back in the car and left Garland around 2:20. We returned the car on campus around 5:10. Then I still had to drive home.

I met the boys in the driveway and helped get them inside. I changed into my comfy clothes and climbed into bed with Gage. I nursed him (since I didn't pump at all yesterday!) then Mat took him out to the kitchen and I fell asleep. I slept until Mat woke me around 8:00 to nurse Gage again. Then I went back to sleep until I woke up at 4:40 this morning feeling so much better! I think I was just really tired and probably a little dehydrated.

Anyway, I'm sorry you had to read through all of that just to get to the part about how sweet my kid is. After I nursed Gage this morning, Mat took him upstairs with him to get Braeden up and dressed. Since I missed Braeden last night, I slipped upstairs while he was brushing his teeth (naked, by the way). He saw me in the mirror and came running to the gate so happy to see me. Then he said, "Are you feeling better, mommy?"

Is that not precious??

He also tells me to drive carefully when I leave for work. In the mornings he asks me if I slept well. And when I come home, he asks if I had a good day. :)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

MORE vacation pictures!

Mom sent a CD of her pictures from our vacation in Virginia Beach...

My dad spent a lot of time sitting just like this with Gage balanced on his lap. The condos are pretty small, so they have mirrors covering a couple walls to make it seem bigger. Sometimes you forget they're there until you catch a glimpse of yourself...makes you want to sit up a little straighter. It's a nightmare for people who try hard not to be in photos. Like me.


MeMa, P-Pa, and Braeden at the Neptune statue.


Gagey and me...aren't we sweet?!


Here's my sister Abi, her husband Jeremy, and Gage.


And a really great picture of Aunt Abi with Gage.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

president elect

Wow. What a night! I hardly know what to say.

I've always felt proud to be a Democrat. I've never shied away from the word liberal or considered it an insult. But I've never been as proud as I am tonight.

Obama was not my guy. I voted for Hillary in the primary like I voted for her when I lived in NY. I was disappointed that she didn't win the nomination. As a woman I felt saddened that this would not be the year I saw another woman run for president. But I have faith.

But even though I came late to his party, I feel overwhelmed with emotion tonight. I'm proud of what he has accomplished and proud of the efforts of the volunteers who devoted themselves to his campaign.

I can't wait to tell Braeden tomorrow morning that Barack Obama won the election and will be our next president.

Historic.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

I met Kay Hagan tonight! Kay is running for the Senate against Elizabeth Dole. I did phone banking for her a couple weeks ago. Anyway, she was on campus tonight encouraging people to vote. When I came out of the university center on my way to the parking deck I saw her and smiled. She smiled and asked if I had voted. I told her I had and that I had voted for her. I also told her about volunteering for her. She thanked me, shook my hand, and asked me my name. It was nice to meet her after spending a few hours making calls for her. And she's so tiny in person.

The kids voted today at school. Barack Obama won. He had Braeden's vote!

One of the times Braeden and I were baking together I let him smell the vanilla and my unsweetened cocoa powder. So after that one time, smelling the vanilla has become one of his favorite things to do when we're working in the kitchen. It's part of the story about how the vanilla got spilled Sunday when we were baking snickerdoodles. So this weekend he started saying he was the flavor man. He had to smell the vanilla, cocoa, and sprinkles (!) because he's the flavor man. He said, "I smell stuff. And I taste stuff." How ridiculous is that?!

Mat and I are watching election coverage tonight. I'll probably post again later since things are certainly going well so far! Oh, and I stopped on my way home from work tonight at Starbucks for my free coffee. Yum.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Artistic ability

Would you look at this?? At not even four, my kid is a better artist than me!!


Here's Braeden tracing his name from dots his teacher made as a guide. He draws B's for us all the time. He's also getting pretty good at M, Z, L, and T.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The weekend

The line was a lot longer than we expected at the Fire House, but the waiting wasn't so bad. There was an antique fire truck outside that Braeden liked looking at. Then there was the man behind us in line who exchanged high fives with him and even did the "too slow" thing that I remember from elementary school. There was a sign (like an upside down V) that Braeden sat under. And then there was this woman in front of us. I looked down to see what he was doing and realized he was standing in front of this woman leaning against her legs. I think he thought he was leaning against me! When I said something to him, he looked up, saw it was another woman, and said, "I like leaning against her." I looked at the woman worried she would be angry, but she just laughed. I was glad we got caught in line with nice people who liked kids!

When we finally got inside, the voting went pretty quickly. Mat held Gage while I took Braeden with me. Our voting is done on touchscreen computers that are set around waist height. Just right for Braeden! He loved pushing the buttons. And in the end he got a sticker which he put on his cheek. He was pretty happy...he didn't even mind not getting to see the big, modern fire trucks.


For lunch today we all had grilled cheese sandwiches. Or grilled trees as Braeden likes to call them. Gage ate almost half a sandwich. And yes, P-Pa, it was potato bread.


I had to reschedule my hair appointment for next weekend but was able to get to my facial after a quick trip home to nurse Gage and eat a yogurt.

This morning Braeden and I made snickerdoodles. I used a recipe I found on a new blog I'm loving. Braeden loves to hold the measuring cups and spoons and add ingredients. He also cracked the eggs and turned the mixer on and off when needed. He managed to spill about a third of my giant, Costco-sized bottle of vanilla on the floor, but we won't talk about that. (Even though it means repainting part of our kitchen wall that's now stained a vanilla color.) He had a hard time making balls out of the cookie dough. I showed him how to roll the ball, but he really just flattened dough. His hands seem a lot warmer than mine too, so that didn't help matters. But he liked to try to roll a ball, then he liked to give me his squished dough in exchange for a nice ball. And when he was done holding the ball, he liked to drop it in the cinnamon sugar. Oh, and he liked eating the cookies when they were done!

And now I'm watching my Giants play the Cowboys. My guys are having a great season! Two weeks in a row I've gotten the game. Amazing, right?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Early voting

I had to reschedule my hair appointment thanks to the long line at the fire house. It took over an hour but we voted! I'll post more about it tomorrow including pictures.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!


What a wonderful Halloween!

This was the first year Braeden really got it. He put his doctor costume on right away and was ready to go. We got Gage dressed in the orange, black, and white striped onesie with the little spider. Then we were off. We must have gone to 10 or 12 houses before heading back to our cul-de-sac. Only two of our neighbors had their lights on. We tried anyway, but they didn't come to the door. Braeden was disappointed for about 4.2 seconds then dragged me off to the next house.

He was great about saying trick-or-treat, happy halloween, and thank you at each house which made me very happy. And if people asked, he would tell them he was a doctor.


When we got back to the house we turned our outside lights on so that the trick-or-treaters would know we were home. The first time the bell rang, I passed out candy to the kids. After that, Braeden decided it was his job to pass out candy. And he was amazing. And so darling. He insisted on giving two pieces of candy to each kid. He would ask kids how old they were (or as he would say it, how many are you). He would tell kids he liked their costumes. He even told two little girls they looked cute. Near the end, when we were running low on candy, I told him he needed to give out just one piece to each kid. So when he handed out the candy, he would tell them he could only give them one piece. He took his job very, very seriously. I was so proud of how grown-up he was.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

At the dentist

Braeden was perfect at the dentist this morning. He got his teeth cleaned then flossed. And he got a fluoride treatment. There were a bunch of flavors to choose from and he picked orange. They tried to do x-rays but his mouth was too small to hold the thing.

The glasses are to shield his eyes from the bright light they use. He liked the chair that moved up and down and reclined back, but he didn't like having to lie so far back on it. I think he was worried he would fall off, but I held his hand and that relaxed him. They also had Spongebob on the TV when he walked in, so he was happy. In fact, that explains the super-intense look on his face.

At the end of the visit he had his pick of toothbrush. He had to decide between Shrek and Diego. Tough choice for a boy who loves both, but ultimately he picked Diego. It well with the Dora toothbrush we already have.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Preschooler food anxiety

Short post tonight...

I asked Braeden what he wanted for dinner tonight and he said macaroni then went to the pantry and pulled out a box of mac and cheese. I agreed to make that and thought we would have hot dogs too. But there was only one hot dog in the freezer. So Mat and I had hamburgers with our mac and cheese. And I steamed broccoli. I told Braeden he had to eat one piece, and he agreed.

We sat down at the table, and he wolfed down his mac and cheese and his hot dog. He drank his chocolate milk but still hadn't touched his broccoli. His one tiny piece of broccoli.

I asked him nicely to eat it. He reminded me that the last time I made him eat broccoli, he threw up. I explained that it wasn't the broccoli that made him throw up, it was the fit he threw. I told him he couldn't leave the table until he ate it. I told him he wouldn't be able to watch cartoons if he didn't eat it. And finally I told him I was taking his plate away and he could get down but I would not turn the TV on. Once I got up, he started acting like he was going to eat it, but he kept messing around with it.

So I took his plate and cleaned off his hands. He began to cry because he finally realized he wasn't going to get to watch cartoons. Mat suggested we dip the broccoli in the cheese sauce and Braeden agreed to eat it.

He was standing up in the kitchen when I fed him the piece and he started to chew it. He coughed a few times and we knew immediately that he was trying to make himself throw up. I told him not to do it, to stop. But instead he threw up on our kitchen floor. We were so, so mad at him!

We cleaned him up and sent him to time-out. Mat cleaned up the floor and I went to check on Braeden. He was doing fine but we made him stay in time-out until it was time for his bath.

I just can't believe he did this again.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Silly boy!

Quick post tonight...Braeden knows how to spell Gage's name now. And tonight I was teaching him to spell Potter.

I told him we were going out to dinner tonight and I asked him where he wanted to go. He said Arbys because we just ate there on our way home from the beach. Then he said Monterreys but I knew Mat was really tired of going there. So then he had to decide between Monterreys and Moe's. When I pushed him for an answer, he said in his most exasperated tone, "Mommy, I have to think about this." We ended up at Moe's.

We've got a busy weekend ahead of us. I wish we could just be lazy but we have tons of errands to do and Mat's parents are visiting on Sunday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pumpkins

A couple weeks ago Braeden came home from the grocery store with a small pumpkin. He was so proud of it he immediately put it on the dining room table. Then last week his class went to the pumpkin patch on a field trip. Isn't that cute?? And he brought home a small, white pumpkin. So that went on the table too.

When I went to the grocery store Tuesday when we got home from the beach, I bought the little gourds I love so much. I got a little bumpy one, an egg-shaped one that has a green base and an orangey-yellow top, and two baby pumpkins.

Braeden was so so excited when he saw them on the table with his two pumpkins. The white one is the momma pumpkin, the orange one is the daddy pumpkin, and the little ones are the babies.

When he eats dinner he likes to have one of the baby pumpkins on the placemat next to his plate. And he always wants one of the gourds to hold while he watches TV. Only he asks me for one of the vegetables. One of the little vegetables.

So cute!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My boys play!

At some point my video of Braeden and Gage playing together will load on youtube and I'll post it here. Until then, just know that there is a really cute video coming of my two boys playing together. This is one of the first times they've played together without one of them freaking out or starting to cry. Sometimes Braeden plays too rough for Gage and sometimes Gage messes with Braeden's toys or knocks down his tower upsetting Braeden. But today they played so nicely together I had to run to get the camera.



I didn't realize turning the camera wouldn't automatically rotate the video I was shooting, so I'm sorry the last 15 seconds are sideways. It's like on Barefoot Contessa when she leaves the top of the cake rounded instead of leveling it off. Rounded cake=homemade and old-fashioned. Leveled-off cake=professional and boring. My videos are liked rounded cakes. :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I just cannot get over how big Braeden looks in this jacket with his hat on backward. It was so windy that Bray's hat blew off a couple of times.

We went down to the beach after lunch to fly the $5 kite Mat bought at one of the stores on the boardwalk. Turns out Braeden doesn't care too much about kites but I think Mat enjoyed it until the string broke.

Friday, October 17, 2008

on the road

We left home around 5:15 snd just got back in the car after a quick dinner at Arby's. Braeden is telling me a story about a tower that is wet and tired. (The "toy" in his kids meal was a pop-up book on the Eiffel Tower.)

Mat says we should be at Virginia Beach around 10:00 tonight. Hopefully Gage will fall asleep now that it's dark and he's nursed and eaten banana. I hope Bray will sleep some too since he'll be awake for a while once we get to the hotel.

The car is stuffed! In my list last night I forgot to mention my pump and the three or four other random bags that I had to add to our load in the few minutes before we left. We have too much stuff!!

Mom and dad are already there, and Abi and Jeremy will drive down tomorrow.

I'm posting with my blackberry so this is all I can manage for now. More tomorrow from the beach!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Packing overload!

Tomorrow we're going to the beach! We've been looking forward to the trip for a while now, especially Braeden.


I just can't believe how much stuff we're bringing with us!! Gage is going to sleep in the pack-n-play and Bray will sleep on an inflatable bed. We've got his suitcase and a bag with Gage's clothes and diapers in it. Mat and I each have a bag packed with clothes. There are a few bags with food and a bag with beach towels, extra wipes, sippy cups, and medicine. Then there's the bag with Mat's rollerblades. And the bag full of toys. And Braeden's dog. And a gift bag with birthday presents for mom and dad. We also need to bring mom and dad's advent calendar. And maybe our kitchen sink. :)

We'll be leaving tomorrow after work and coming back sometime on Tuesday. And how will I live up to the terms of my own blogging challenge? Well, I guess you'll just have to keep coming back to find out. :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Spelling

I promised to post more about Braeden's spelling, and here we go!

I've already told you he can spell mommy, mom, and Bob. He can also spell his name! At first the only time he was spelling his name was when we were snuggling in his bed. Since he has his name on his wall I just figured he was reading the letters, but I covered his eyes and made him spell it again. When he does it he always spells out Braeden Rhys, never just Braeden. :)

He can also spell Dylan, another of his classmates. He hasn't spelled any of his other friends names but he does do something else. He'll tell me that there are two A's in Makena. And one K. Or that Macy has a Y in her name. Or that Matthew has two T's in his name.

Cute, right?

What makes me nuts, though, is that he says Y starts with me meaning his name starts with a Y. I always explain to him that he HAS a Y in his name not that his name STARTS with a Y. But he keeps insisting that his name starts with a Y. He'll get it eventually. I'm just impressed he knows as much as he does!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Cartoons!!

This is hard for me to believe but I've never posted about the cartoons Braeden likes to watch!! Cartoon time is very important in our house. Braeden gets to watch TV after breakfast and after dinner (if he's gotten a green light at school, if he's been a good boy for us, and if he ate all his dinner).

He goes through these phases with cartoons. Like for weeks all he wants to watch is Spongebob. Then suddenly he's over that and wants to watch something else. For a long time after dinner he would watch Baby Looneytunes and Krypto the Superdog. I didn't care for the looneytunes but I did like Krypto and was kind of sad when he got tired of that.

My parents gave him a Blue's Clues DVD this summer so he's been into that now. We're lucky because there are two episodes on in a row in the mornings. While we get ready for work, Bray watches Blue's Clues. And he writes stuff down in his handy-dandy notebook. Or sits in his thinking chair. And if you have no idea what I'm talking about then you obviously need to watch one or one hundred episodes of Blue's.

The schedule is totally different on the weekends which Braeden doesn't understand. Usually we end watching Sprout for the good night show or the sunny side up show. Then he can watch episodes of a bunch of different shows like Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam, or Berenstein Bears. Berenstein Bears was another of his phases. He had to watch it EVERY morning! We've got several of the books and have seen some of the episodes four or five times.

My favorite of the sprout shows is Make Way for Noddy. I can't tell you how much I adore it! Noddy is a little wooden toy who lives in Toyland. He drives around this adorable red and yellow taxi and even flies a little red and yellow plane. And his clothes...his blue jingle bell hat and his yellow scarf with red polka dots just make me smile. Fortunately Braeden likes him too. Noddy isn't his favorite, but he still likes to watch him. The song sticks in my head all day. Make sure you have your speakers turned up if you visit the link above because you'll get to hear the song too! :)

Sometimes Braeden just wants to watch a video. He doesn't care what we try to tempt him with (Dora, Diego, Spongebob), it's a video or nothing else. We don't have too many for him to choose from, so I guess we need to build up our collection. He likes the Disney movies I have, Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty. He also likes Monsters, Inc. He LOVES Shrek especially the third one with the Shrek babies. In fact, I finally got to see the whole movie the other night. We watched it two nights after dinner which is how I finally got to see the end.

And on rare occasions we let Bray watch cartoons in the middle of the day on a weekend. Like if it's raining, or one of us is sick. And sometimes he watches football or tennis with me. Or music videos or autocross or formula one racing with Mat. He likes the funny-looking cars racing around the track. And I like the noise they make.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The things he says

Here's a cute, quick story about Braeden...I made Mat write this one up because he knows the book and was there to have the conversation with Mat.

So Bray has a book (I think it is called “Giggle Giggle Quack”) that he likes very much and he and I have read it many times. Basically, the story centers on a farmer who goes on vacation and leaves his brother in charge of the farm. The farmer leaves the brother handwritten notes describing how to care for the animals. During the story, the brother is fooled by a crafty barnyard duck, who replaces the farmer’s notes with all sorts of silly instructions of his own design (telling the brother to order pizza for the hens, bathe the pigs in the house tub with the farmer’s special bubble bath, etc.). Anyway, before the farmer leaves for his vacation, he (ominously) tells the brother to “Keep an eye on duck, he’s a bad influence on the cows.” In our hallway, we have a nightlight that Gage is a little obsessed with. He always wants to play with it, and Bray enjoys playing sheriff and yelling at him about not screwing around with it. At one point this weekend, Bray told me to “Keep an eye on Gage, he’s a bad influence on the nightlight.”

Friday, September 26, 2008

Silly boy!

Braeden and I were snuggling in his bed tonight after dinner at Monterreys. He's into telling riddles lately. He'll say to me, "Mommy, what swims in the deep ocean and eats fish?" I start guessing random silly things like a butterfly or a kitty cat which makes him giggle. After a few guesses I tell him I don't know. Then he proudly announces it's a shark. Sometimes he gives away the answer in the riddle. Mat and I just look at each and smile.

Tonight he was talking about school and his friends. He told me that he didn't have to eat by himself at lunch time. I asked why he would eat by himself and he explained that's one of the punishments his teachers use when one of the kids acts up too much. Then we talked about who his friends are. He talked about hugging Makena and I asked him if he thought she was pretty. He said she was. Then he said that when his friend Isabella wears a dress he tells her she looks beautiful. Isn't that sweet?

Remember how Braeden picked up saying Barack Obama all the time? Now he say, "Barack Ohhh-bama. To the rescue!" I like to think of that as a good sign for November. :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Our weekend

Mat went whitewater rafting with the Elon Outdoors students on Saturday, so I spent the day with my two boys. Gage and I slept in until 8AM then had breakfast while Braeden watched Beauty and the Beast. We played the morning away building towers, racing cars, and drawing pictures.

At lunch I decided to give Gage some bites of cheese. He didn't seem to understand they were something to eat. He devoured bites of dry toast but mostly just pushed the cheese around the tray. He did a pretty good job drinking apple juice from a sippy. We've only given him a sippy a few times, so he's still learning.


After Braeden finished eating his PB&J, peaches, and bee crackers he wanted to play with play doh. He got into play doh a couple weeks ago when he got a little container of it in the gift bag from Will's birthday party. Then I bought him this Diego play doh thing at Target. And he loves it!


Both boys took naps (YEA!!) then we made crayons. Braeden likes to break his crayons, so we peeled the paper off all the broken pieces and combined different colored pieces in muffin cups. When they came out of the oven we had reese's peanut butter cup shaped crayons. Here they are fresh from the oven...


I got the idea from Martha Stewart (of course!). Braeden liked doing it and loved the idea of crayon muffins. He thought that was really funny.

Then we went to Elon to go exploring while we waited for Mat to get back from Charlotte. We walked over to the lake and fed Gage's cheerios to the ducks. They're so used to people feeding them that they were completely without fear. They climbed out of the word and swarmed around us quacking for cheerios. I stood between the ducks and Gage and Braeden danced around us. I could tell he was a little worried about the ducks, but he was laughing too. We even picked out our favorite ducks.

Braeden had a long stick and pretended to fish. We walked around to the other side of the lake and met a man who was fishing for real. He showed us the little fish and one big fish he had caught then pointed to a huge turtle sunning himself on the bank of the lake. I couldn't believe how big he was!


We met up with Mat and went to Monterreys for dinner. We love Mexican!

On Sunday we went to Target and the grocery store. Mat washed both cars while the boys napped. Braeden and I made chex mix. And Gage pulled himself up to stand every chance he got. I was too busy worrying he would fall forward and bang his face to take any pictures. But he's getting so good at pulling up. And he's so happy to bang on whatever he used to pull up or just to even look around and admire his new view of life. And the Giants won.

Great weekend, right??!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Art

Braeden has been really into writing lately. He loves notebooks to write in (hint, hint to anyone who might be buying him presents). I gave him a notebook someone gave me that had a Monet print on the cover. I love Monet and my family knows it, so over the years I've been given some beautiful things with his works on them. Unfortunately I really have no use for a notebook. I do always need those long, skinny, magnetic pads you put on the fridge for your grocery list. I am not at all subtle, am I?!

Anyway, he uses the notebook to make the grocery list. Or to draw me a map, just like on Dora. Or to let me know I got on green that day. Or just to draw.

For the longest time all he really managed was scribbles or lines. Then we noticed he was able to draw these weird, misshapen ovals that he called circles. And now he's started to write a few numbers and letters. He LOVES the number 100. It's Blue's (from Blue's Clues) favorite number and he says it's his too. He likes me to count to 100 for him. I always count for him at night when we're snuggling in his bed but sometimes I'm just not in the mood. :)

Anyway, he can write 100. One day he wrote the letter z. He's written a 7. It's kind of hit-or-miss with him. But it's also something they work on at day care. Now that school is in session, his teacher, Mrs. Shirley, runs their room like a classroom. He's actually come home with homework twice!

I asked Mat to scan a couple of the things Braeden has done at school so I could post them on the blog. I am ALWAYS thinking about the blog and what to post. Now if only I could get the posts out of my head and onto the internet in a more timely way...

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.


Here they were told to circle the letters that appeared in their name. I love that Braeden knows uppercase and lowercase letters. We have his name on the wall in his bedroom, so he knows all those letters.


And this, this is a masterpiece! From scribbles and lines to people. And you can even tell they're people! He came home with a cow picture he'd drawn yesterday. I'll have to get Mat to scan that one too.


Amazing, right??

We have those magnet letters on the fridge and he loves to string a whole bunch together and ask me if it spells anything. xhdoawtoisenhgtoisngvoiehtoiea Nope. Sorry, honey. Try again.

I've also been trying to teach him to spell some easy words. I started with cat, but he had no interest in that at all. So then I moved on to mom. That one he got. Then mommy. And Bob. For Bob the Builder, of course! Maybe dad should be next.

Poor Mat. I taught Bray to spell Bob before I taught him dad. I'm feeling just a smidge guilty now.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, P-Pa!!

We didn't get to the store to buy a birthday card for P-Pa, and I felt really bad. What's a girl to do?? Get her three-year-old to sing happy birthday so she can film it and post it on her blog, obviously!



Happy birthday, dad!

Braeden's looking forward to going to the beach next month. But ever since he watched Finding Nemo, he's been worried about sharks. I've tried explaining that the sharks are out in the deep part of the ocean. I think it will make more sense when he's there and sees the waves. Hopefully this is the year I can get him to walk in the surf with me. I think he would have so much fun as the waves roll over his feet and he can feel the sand slide out from under him. I love it! And I want him to love it too!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

MIA

It's been a while. Even without Emily's not-so-subtle reminders to post, I knew it had been too long since an update. In our defense, we've been sick. Not Braeden. That is one healthy kid. He never seems to get sick. Knock wood. But the rest of us were sandbagged by a cold Gage brought home with him. For him, it's been mostly just runny noses, fussy attitudes, and wakeful nights. For me, it was a temperature, brutal sore throat, painful cough, and congestion. And poor Mat has almost no voice which is kind of a requirement for his job. Classes started Tuesday!

This was my first year having Labor Day off. What's great is that the day care is always closed and usually either Mat or I have to take the day off. So I was excited to have the day off. But then I was sick. So Braeden and I mostly spent the day cuddling under blankets on my bed watching cartoons and tennis. Not a bad way to spend the day but I would have rather gone for a picnic somewhere or baked something yummy.

In addition to being sick, I've been watching a lot of tennis. A LOT of tennis. I LOVE the US Open. It's my favorite of the slams. Roddick, one of my faves, has been playing amazing tennis. Until tonight. He's sucking wind against Djokovic which is pissing me off. Tonight's tough for me because I'm flipping back and forth between the Open and the Giants' season opener against the Redskins. That's going a whole lot better for my guys who are up 16-7 at the start of the fourth quarter. My dad called tonight and pointed out that the Giants were undefeated in Gage's lifetime. I like that. We think that maybe Gage is like the second coming for the Giants. That ought to get us seats at home games, or a luxury box. :)

Braeden and my parents had a great conversation tonight. He's never really understood that my parents can't see what he's showing to the phone or can't see him when he nods instead of answers a question out loud. But tonight Braeden was answering questions and telling them things. It was nice to watch. And nice for me not to have to do as much work helping to keep the conversation on track.

Mat took Braeden to Barber Dan this morning for a haircut. He was originally worried about taking both boys out Saturday morning since we were in the path for Hanna and they were projecting a lot of rain and wind. I have to work all day Saturday for an alumni board retreat. I'm not happy about it! But now the projections have Hanna hitting further east, so I guess that means no rain and some wind. I don't really pay attention, so I get all my updates from Mat or people at work. And it seems like no matter where I work (Cornell, Ithaca, Elon, or UNCG), people are crazy-stupid about weather. Maybe they all listen to the same crappy, alarmist, "the sky is falling" weatherman. Anyway, Mat took Braeden this morning and Barber Dan wasn't there so another guy cut Bray's hair. It's shorter than usual, but soooo cute. I'll have to take a picture.

Here are another video I just took off the camera. This is from November 2006 which means Braeden is almost two. We've put him to work waxing the car!



In case it's not obvious, I get ranty when I'm annoyed. And I'm incredibly annoyed at the crappy level of play Andy's giving us tonight. He lost the first two sets but might be starting to turn things around in the third which means for him to win, we're in for a long night! But at least I've updated one of the blogs. :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Good times

Oh my gosh. Braeden said the funniest thing today. He was getting ready to go upstairs for some books and his pillow so that he could have quiet time in our bedroom. He wanted one of us to go upstairs to help him carry his things downstairs. I reminded him he had done the exact same thing yesterday all by himself.

He turned to us and said, "I'm not very good at carrying things. I only have two hands after all."

Mat and I cracked up. It's hard to argue with that logic, so Mat went up with him to help with the carrying. :)

We had a great weekend! Mat went down to Charlotte on Saturday to go whitewater rafting with his brother. And I took the boys to Will's first birthday party. We had a great time! Braeden was a little shy around the other kids who were mostly Will's cousins. He has nine on Emily's side alone! I wish Molly could have been there. The two of them had such a great time playing at our house when we had my Elon friends over for a cookout a couple weekends ago. But the party was a ton of fun. Emily and KT have great friends and lots of them have kids, so the party was loud, fun, and relaxed all at the same time. You can see all the pictures on Emily's blog. She also made a sweet montage of photos from Will's first year. It's so hard to believe that an entire year has passed since Will's birth. I remember visiting them in the hospital and holding baby Will for the first time. He was so tiny. And now he's crawling, laughing, eating cake, standing up, and soon he'll be walking. I can't help but think about Gage turning one. It's all happening so fast!

After the party we went to EarthFare to buy more inserts for Gage's gDiapers and fenugreek for the nursing mom. I told Braeden we were buying vitamins which he took to mean vitamin water (or vitamin juice water as he calls it). So of course I had to buy a bottle of that too. Then as we were driving home, I saw it.


Our Dunkin Donuts is FINALLY open! I pointed it out to Braeden and he was so excited. We had to stop! I love that my kid loves Dunkin Donuts like I do!

Tonight we were going to go out to dinner. When I asked Braeden where he wanted to go, he picked the IHOP. I reminded him he'd just had pancakes for breakfast. So he explained that he wanted to go to IHOP because he wanted to see the hot air balloons again. Too sweet.

My mom sent us this set of great pictures of Braeden. He loves to look at himself and is so glad I put the frame on our entertainment center where he can touch the pictures whenever he wants.


I've uploaded a couple more old videos of Braeden to youtube, so expect to see a post in the next couple days with those. Otherwise Mat and I are excited to be able to send both boys off to day care tomorrow. (Well, I'm as excited as I can ever be about sending my kids away for the day.) Gage is finally healthy and Braeden never came down with so much as a sniffle.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Our Saturday

We had such a great day!

While Gage was taking his morning nap, Braeden and I went to the grocery store. He was happy because I let him ride in the car cart, a treat normally reserved for trips with MeMa and P-Pa. Plus he got to eat a few pieces of cheese they put out to sample. And who doesn't love cheese??

After lunch and a short quiet time (on our bed again), we headed to Costco. Actually, Mat dropped Gage and me off at JoAnn's and he went on to Costco with Braeden. They did the shopping and ate the treats while I bought elastic and fabric to make more pairs of pants of Gage. It can get cold in the baby room at daycare and I wanted to make pants in a fabric I wouldn't mind sending to daycare. The pairs I make out of the cute fabrics I buy online seem too special to me for daycare.

We came back home so that I could nurse Gage and change his diaper, then we went to the ridiculously small and out-of-date outlet mall in town. Every year at the end of summer Mat buys a few pairs of nicer khakis to wear when he teaches. It's a ritual. Yesterday he found wrinkle-free, stain-resistant pants at the Van Heusen outlet for just $19. Mat's incredibly traditional when it comes to clothes, especially to the colors of pants and shirts he buys. I'm proud to say that his style has done a complete 180 since we first started dating. Over the years he's even gotten pretty good at picking out his own clothes, but he doesn't like to try new things. It took me a few years to get him to buy khakis instead of just jeans. It took me about five years to get him into his first pair of corduroys. It was a real struggle to get him to wear the salmon colored shirt I bought him. With the last suit he bought I was finally able to convince him (with the help of our very nice, very fashionable salesman) to buy a non-white dress shirt! Anyway, all of his khakis have been some shade of khaki...light tan, darker tan, or olive. This year was no exception. He was prepared to buy those three colors all over again until I suggested replacing the olive pants with navy. I think the main reason he agreed was that he finds it a struggle to find the right color shirt to wear with olive pants. I just find them drab! Even though I could tell he was VERY reluctant, he gave in to my better sense of style and bought the navy. When we got home we spent a few minutes in his closet while I picked out all the different shirts he could wear with his new pants (pale blues, lime green, maroon, the salmon shirt, white, etc.). It's going to be a really big deal the first time he wears them! I'll try to get a picture...if he cooperates, that is. :)

After our pants shopping, we went to the IHOP for dinner. Braeden's choice. He had pancakes and scrambled eggs; Gage had pancakes too. Mat had the popcorn shrimp. When I was a kid we would go to Kingston sometimes for dinner at IHOP. On Fridays they had all-you-can-eat popcorn shrimp. Dad and I loved to get that! Before I could tell Mat the story, he cut me off. Apparently I'd told him the story SEVERAL times!

When we walked out of the restaurant, Braeden and I saw a hot air balloon just taking off from a field across the street. We started to walk over to see it when I realized there were four more balloons still on the ground in the field. We jumped in the car, made an illegal left turn with tires squealing, and parked in the field to get a closer look. It was really amazing! The balloon guys were all from Raleigh and had heard the winds were good over here. They like to fly together, so they hopped in their vans with their balloon trailers and drove an hour to set up shop in the field next to the highway. Weird. A bunch of people had stopped to watch and some even paid to go along for the ride. The woman we spoke to said the winds are best the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. They carry 40 gallons of kerosene and use about half for an hour's ride. They can go anywhere from 3 miles to 18 or so during one hour depending on the winds. The people on the ground follow the ballooners in their vans and pick them up wherever they land. Seeing the balloons take off and watching them float quietly up and away was an amazing end to a really good day. Braeden LOVED seeing them, and I think he and Mat will end up taking a ride one day.

I took these two pictures with Mat's cell phone so the quality isn't that great. In this picture you can see the five balloons.

Here's Mat and Braeden in front of one of the balloons getting ready to take off. You can bet if they do take a ride sometime I'll bring my camera and get some much better pictures of them and the balloon!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

One cute kid

I'm back to seriously considering combining the two boys' blogs into one...I almost always post on Gage's blog neglecting Braeden's blog entirely. It's really more of a mental hurdle than anything else at this point. I never want to do anything that will make Braeden feel he's been supplanted in our hearts. Combining the blogs is a small thing, something he would probably never even know about or see as a slight. That's why I say it's a mental hurdle for me. But since we do so much as a family and the boys get along so well together, it makes sense to make one blog out of two.

Until I decide one way or the other, here are a couple more videos I pulled off our camera today. I recorded these videos one afternoon in November 2006, right around Thanksgiving.





Today Braeden spent his quiet time in our bedroom. It was perfect! He brought a few books downstairs and then shut the door. I needed to change Gage's diaper so I quietly opened my bedroom door and found him asleep with his head on my pillow and the covers tucked up just under his chin. Adorable.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Too silly!

Sometimes I can't help but kick myself...Bray says all kinds of adorable things, things I want to remember forever, but if I don't write them down immediately I forget. So, here's a list of silly things about Braeden--stuff he says, things he does, or just my own observations about him. I hope you enjoy these things as much as I do!

1. Braeden has understood for a while that letters make up words. But here's what he says, "Z starts with zipper. M starts with mommy." But my personal favorite is this one: "B starts with me." I LOVE that.

2. He's getting really good at taking care of Gage. Or, as he says, "dealing" with baby Gage. He brings Gage toys, talks to him, makes silly noises at him, gives him kisses and hugs, "pets" him, and tells me he thinks Gage wants to nurse. Gage watches Braeden when he's in the room, smiles when Braeden talks or does something silly, and seems very happy when Braeden pays attention to him. It's so sweet, somewhat unexpected, and such a help to me.

3. He hears us use adult phrases and then incorporates them into his day-to-day speech. Like what, you ask? Well...a couple he picked up from MeMa are "Holy Cow" and "Let's go outside and enjoy a beautiful day." Another funny one he says a lot is: "Well, that sounds like a pretty good idea to me." He says that one in response to lots of things like going out to eat, reading books, just about anything.

Here's another one, one that makes me very aware of the things I say around Braeden...when we went to see my parents last month and we were almost there I got stuck behind some cars going much too slowly. I was impatient and tired, so I was muttering and complaining about the drivers in front of me saying things like "C'mon...why are you driving so slowly?" Well, the other day Braeden and I were in the car and he started saying some of those same things. It cracked me up! I was glad I had enough sense to complain in a G-rated fashion instead of using the bad words that come so easily to me. :)

4. His pronunciations of certain words just kill me! One of my favorites is the way he says girl. I'll have to get him on video doing it because my writing out his pronunciation isn't going to do it justice.

Me: girl
Braeden: gorl

Another good one is oatmeal. He actually sounds Canadian when he pronounces the word. He does watch the Berenstein Bears every morning, and that show is voiced entirely by Canadian actors...maybe that's where it comes from!

Me: oatmeal
Braeden: otmeal

I'm sure I'll think of more silly things to post but I'm tired of seeing this unfinished post every time I log in to blogger. :)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Happy (half) birthday, Braeden Rhys!

Around the time I was 13 (in middle school, anyway) my friends and I used to celebrate our half-birthdays. It was nothing elaborate, more that we recognized the day. When we had Braeden so close to Christmas, I felt like he was getting the short end of the stick in the celebration department. To compensate, Mat and I promised we would always make a big deal out of his birthday instead of making him feel like it was lumped in with Christmas. And we also agreed to celebrate his half-birthday. And what fun that that day falls on July 4! Who wouldn't want fireworks on their special day?? Not that we've taken Braeden to see fireworks yet...if only they happened during the day and not after his bed time!

We kept it simple, but it was still fun. Bray's new teacher (Mrs. Shirley) has been working with the kids to learn their birthdays. Braeden now knows he was born on January 4. And what's fun for me is that he'll turn four on January 4! My mom will understand that...she was delighted to be exactly double my age one year and double my sister's age another. :)

Mat took Braeden to the pool Friday afternoon and while Gage napped, I wrapped the presents: a Melissa & Doug wood puzzle (except ours has a fire truck, a yacht, an airplane, and a motorcycle), a Berenstein Bears book he wanted, and a couple new caterpillar construction toys. Braeden already had the dump truck and a backhoe; now he has a skid steer and a front-end loader. He loves them--they make construction noises and light up. They are sooo loud, especially when he brings one in the car!

I made cupcakes, then when Braeden got back from the pool we made frosting together. Braeden loves to help and I've been getting better about letting him. He wanted blue frosting, so that's what he got. :)

We grilled hot dogs and ate them with french fries. After dinner, Braeden had a cupcake with three candles (because he's three!).


Getting ready to blow out the candles...


I think he got tired of me taking so many pictures of him, but I have a 1 GB memory card for my camera now. I can take a hundred pictures just to get one good one and not have to worry about running out of room!


After his birthday cupcake, we went into the living room to open presents. After he got back from the pool, Braeden didn't want to get dressed again so he's just wearing his underwear. When he was a baby, he screamed during diaper changes and baths because he HATED being naked. Or maybe he hated being cold. But now it can be a real battle to get him dressed. He loves running around the house with no clothes on. He routinely tells me he'll put his shirt back on but not his shorts (or vice versa).


See how excited he is to open his new skid steer? In this picture you can see his poor, beat-up face. He took a header down our neighbor's driveway scraping up his face, a couple fingers, and his knee and shin. Poor baby.


It was a great day, a lot of fun. And now we're looking forward to tomorrow when MeMa and P-Pa arrive for a visit!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Memories

You guys know Braeden loves looking at photos of himself on my computer. When I'm using my computer, he'll run over and say, "I want to see pictures of Braeden." I love showing him the pictures because I want him to remember the moments captured in those pictures. Like our trip to Charleston. Or our most recent vacation in Virginia Beach with MeMa and P-Pa.

Those are memories I try to keep alive for him. But sometimes he surprises me with what he remembers on his own. I showed him pictures Mat took when we were in the hospital after I had Gage. I reminded him how MeMa and P-Pa brought him to the hospital to see us and how he peeked into the room then ran to me where I was sitting in the chair holding the baby. He climbed up into my lap and looked at Gage. It's a moment I'll never forget.


Anyway. While we were looking at the pictures and talking about that day, Braeden told me how he and I sat on my bed together. And that he pressed the button to make the bed go up and down. I hadn't thought about that until he said it, but he's right. He climbed up into the bed with me, and I thought he would like that the head and foot of my bed went up and down. And he did love playing with the buttons and feeling the bed move under him.

I'm constantly amazed by the way this kid's mind works...the things he says, the connections he makes between things and situations. I'm going to post more of his memories and the crazy things he says because they're things I want to remember. One of Mat's former students (and someone who has babysat for Braeden!) e-mailed me today and said that when Braeden and Gage are older, they'll be so glad I blogged about them. She said she cherishes the baby book her mom kept for her. I think she's right. Braeden will love reading these silly stories one day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

And we're off!

We're headed to MeMa and P-Pa's house tomorrow for a visit. I may be crazy, but I'm driving the 700 miles up and back. By myself. With just a three-year-old and a five-month-old for company.

My parents had wanted to come down for a visit but my dad couldn't get away from work. They won't be able to come down until later in August. I've got time, so why not drive up there? Mat has to work, so it's just me and my boys. For 11 hours in the car.

Wish me luck. :)

I had to include one picture...here's Braeden at the science center. We stumbled upon their special kids area, and it was tough to get Braeden to leave. We wanted him to go see the animals, but all he wanted to do was keep playing house. He loves playing at grocery shopping. It's one of his must-do activities at the children's museum, so he was thrilled to see this little basket and play food at the science center too.


I love this face!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Our Saturday

Today was a LONG day for us. I didn't think we tried to do too much, but it seemed like it was too much for both boys.

The children's museum had a special program today on fire safety. They had a truck outside and a funny little train that ran around the parking lot. Braeden was excited to see the firetruck but didn't want to play in it. It was probably the firefighter that freaked him out. He did ride around the parking lot in the train with Mat once but then he wanted to go right inside to play.

We got him an ID card complete with his fingerprints. I tried to keep the whole experience kind of light but at the end the woman pointed out that there were instructions inside the packet on collecting a DNA sample. I just broke down. I can't even write about it now, so I'll just move on and say that Braeden was very happy to drive the firetruck that's inside the museum. He even brought his fire hat. (The local fire department was at our Lowe's one day and they gave him the hat.) Of course, he wears the hat backwards so it looks more like a plastic baseball cap!

He never likes to leave the museum but we bribed him with lunch out. He ate his entire lunch (pancakes!) but was a little naughty. Gage was awake and fussing because he really hadn't napped at all during the morning. Braeden fell asleep in the car on the way home but Gage was awake and talking the whole way! Poor kids were really hot and sweaty, though. When we got in the car after the museum, the car's thermometer read 110 degrees!!!

When we got back home after lunch, Bray went upstairs for quiet time. Even though he had napped in the car and was obviously very tired, he didn't sleep during quiet time. Then we were off to Lowe's for our grocery shopping. And when we got home from that, I shot a couple little videos of Braeden and Gage.



Braeden didn't like that Mat put away the teddy bear he had taken with him to the museum this morning (the bear stayed in the car while we went in to play, but Bray really likes taking him in the car and I love seeing him snuggling with the bear while we're driving!).



I'm not sure how clear Braeden's words are, so here's a little transcript. First Braeden tells me Gage's hands are juicy. :) Then he goes through a list of things he's going to teach Gage when he grows up...how to grab the bear, to climb up on the white kitchen stool, to turn on the TV, and to push buttons on the camera. What a good big brother he is!

When we were getting ready to leave for the museum this morning we could hear a car alarm going off. It was close but muffled, so we figured the car was in a garage probably at the end of our street (but not in our cul-de-sac). Well, the damn thing is still going off! I guess the owners went on vacation and something set their alarm off. Sitting in my living room, I can hear it pretty clearly. This person's neighbors must want to kill someone! I would probably end up calling the police. Or breaking into the house to shut off the alarm.

I'm off to bed...hopefully I won't be able to hear that damn alarm in the bedroom!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Bed time means go to sleep

When I was a kid, I used to slip out of bed after my parents tucked me in so that I could read my Golden Books. Sometimes I would creep all the way out to the top of our stairs to read by the light from downstairs. And sometimes, if I was feeling less brave, I would sit by my door and read. More than once my parents found me asleep behind the door.

I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree because we're having some issues with Braeden accepting that lights out means bed time. He seems to think it means get out of bed and look out the window. And get out of bed to turn on the light and read books. And get out of bed to ask for a drink of water. And get out of bed to announce to us he needs to go to the bathroom. And get out of bed to...Well, you get the point.

Braeden is in bed with the lights off by 8:00. Tonight the bed time games went on until 8:45 when it finally grew quiet upstairs. Right after Mat came downstairs, we could hear Braeden calling for him. Daddy. Come. Up. Here. Now. He said it over and over, growing more insistent each time he said it. He wanted Mat to say goodnight to his Curious George. (Braeden sleeps with six or seven stuffed animals!) Once Mat came down, things were quiet for a while. By quiet, I mean he was in his room talking and singing to himself. I was sitting down on the couch when I got that weird feeling. That feeling someone was watching me. I turned around to find Braeden standing at the gate looking down at me. He wanted me to come upstairs and cover him up. Then a few minutes later he came out to say he heard a noise. After that he needed to go to the bathroom. And the last time he came out, he told me he had seen a red bird meaning he had been out of bed looking out his window.

I know some of this is happening because it stays lighter later. It throws me off too. By the time it's really dark, it's after 9:00 but in my head it's only 7:30.

But I also think he's afraid to miss something. He's particularly interested in keeping tabs on our neighborhood, especially our two neighbors with LOUD cars. He's always been like this. He was the same way while we were trying to potty train him, afraid to stop playing to go to the bathroom. It was just too easy to pee in his diaper.

Part of me thinks his aversion to bed time is cute. But I can't let him see that. Mat's very serious about bed time. He gets really pissed at Braeden's antics. And I know we need to stay together on this one so that Braeden gets the message. So I do my best to keep the smile off my face and be firm with Braeden. But sometimes I just want to laugh. And scoop Braeden up in my arms. And cover him with kisses.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My helper

Every time I've sewn something, Braeden has asked me if it was for him. He looked at the itty-bitty white shirt I appliqued and asked if it was for him. Friday when he came home from school, he peered down at the small pair of pants I had just finished and asked if they for him. And each time he's asked me, I've had to say no. And I kept telling him that I would make something for him very soon.

It's not like I hadn't been thinking about what to make for him. And it's not as if I didn't have about 10 ideas competing for space in the tiny part of my brain devoted to crafty projects. It was just easier to make bibs, burp cloths, and tiny pants. But today was Braeden's day!

After lunch with Mat Thursday, Gage and I went to Target looking for something. Instead of a canister for flour, I walked out of there with two clearance items--a blue dish towel with a dump truck and the words "Lil Helper" on it and a large blue outdoor tablecloth with cars and trucks on it. I knew right away that the towel would become an apron for Braeden to wear when he cooks with me. The tablecloth might become a picnic blanket or maybe some big pillows for outside seating. I haven't decided yet.

Saturday Mat had to be on campus for Commencement, so in the morning Braeden and I made cupcakes (using a red velvet cake mix!) while Gage napped.


After Braeden's quiet time, I brought the towel upstairs and we got to work. He didn't like modeling the towel but he definitely wanted to help me sew. I let him help me cut the towel and he operated the foot pedal to wind the bobbin. He always wants to push the pedal. He's actually stepped on my foot while I'm sewing and sent the needle flying at a breakneck pace! And he's gotten into trouble for it, too! So he loved winding the bobbin.

The whole thing only took about 20 minutes (not counting the times I was interrupted by Braeden, Gage, or Mat coming home). It's not the best job in the world, but it's cute. And it's big enough that Bray will be able to wear for a couple years, at least.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Into the pool

We took the boys to the pool at our development today for the first time this season. It was a beautiful day, in the low 80s and sunny with a light breeze. The kiddie pool is closed for some reason, so we had been preparing Braeden that he would have to go in the big pool. We also had him try on his ski vest a few times so he would be used to wearing it. Mat got it for him last year at Costco in preparation for the day he would graduate to the big pool.

Here he is in new swim trunks and NO swim diaper! He looks sullen but he was really just being silly and posing for me. He even wore his reef flip-flops for the first time today. He picked them out; I didn't have to twist him arm or force him into them. They're so cute because they're the same pattern as Mat's. :)

We weren't sure how it would go when we got there since Braeden often seems really excited to try something new but then his excitement fizzles when it actually comes time to do it. But not today. Today he was thrilled to be at the pool. He balked briefly when we tried to put the vest on him, but he came around pretty quickly.

Mat wanted him to jump into the pool right away, but Braeden preferred to get his feet wet slowly on the stairs.


But after a couple minutes of this, he asked Mat to pick him up and take him into the water. They walked around a bit and came over to where I was sitting on the edge with Gage. Braeden sat next to us for a few minutes, but we convinced him to get back in so he wouldn't get too cold. And then we convinced him it would be fun to jump in. I think he was worried his head would go below the water. We explained that the vest would keep him above water and Mat promised he would catch him when he jumped. And after a couple minutes, Braeden took the plunge. Over and over and over again.



He's very excited to go back next weekend! I'm already thinking about teaching him to swim...buying him a kickboard to learn to kick, teaching him to put his face in the water to blow bubbles...so much fun. But for now, Braeden wants some kind of inflatable raft or tube, so I'll be making a trip to Target this week in search of something cute.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wildlife

"Mommy, there's an alligator in the garage!"

Yup. That's what I heard Braeden say as I was putting Gage in the car Saturday morning. We were headed out to run errands while Mat was on campus giving a final. I came around the car and saw Braeden crouched over our lizard.

Isn't he cute? The lizard, I mean. Braeden, too, of course.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Yum...Coffee!

This is too sweet not to post.

It's not much of a surprise to say that I LOVE coffee. Growing up in NY means that, at heart, I am a Dunkin' Donuts girl. I was spoiled in college because there was a DD just down the street from campus. I went often, many days more than once, for a medium hazelnut with cream and sugar or (in the summers) an iced coffee. When we moved to Ithaca I learned that the DD had gone out of business the previous year. I was crushed!

But then I found this wonderful cafe just across the street from our apartment complex. Hope's Way catered a lot of events I did at Cornell. They catered our wedding, too! And I went there every morning before work for coffee and a muffin or scone. Then something dangerous happened. I had my first vanilla latte. And suddenly I was one of those people spending upwards of $3 for a cup of coffee. Ithaca Bakery made the best nonfat vanilla lattes but Buzz Coffee was a little bit cheaper AND had a drive-through, so it was a toss-up as to which cup I'd be sporting that day.

Moving to NC, I wasn't sure what I would find. No DDs in our part of the state, that's for sure. Apparently they're coming to Greensboro, though. Can't wait. Down here there's a Starbucks on practically every corner. Since I don't like their regular coffee, I try to limit my visits to once or twice a week. Shelling out $3.63 for coffee grates on me, but I love it. It's my treat to me.

By now you're wondering where the hell I'm going with this...Occasionally when Mat and I both worked at Elon and we would drive together to work, I would insist on stopping at Starbucks for coffee. And sometimes I would decide to make my coffee run before we dropped Braeden off at school. He thought going to Starbucks was a treat, too, and I thought that was just wonderful. I love sharing things with my boy. He knows a lot of stores by their logos, and Starbucks is no exception. When I would take him inside with me, he would tell the barista I wanted a mocha. And they always thought it was so cute that this two-year-old was ordering mochas for his mommy. And at home he would bring me pretend-mochas all the time. If he got on his buck to run errands, his errands always included a trip to Starbucks for me. Such a good boy to want to go get coffee for his mommy.

About a month ago he got a lot more sophisticated in his pretending. He's now got my Starbucks order down pat. Well, almost.

He runs around telling anyone who will listen that I want a "defat grande nonfat no whip mocha" which is exactly right except it's decaf not defat! Today he was making coffee for his teachers and friends at school and telling them that I go to Starbucks every day (in my dreams, maybe). He was also serving penguin cappucino...he has this little penguin that came with a Diego toy set my parents gave him last year at Virginia Beach. He puts the penguin in a cup and pretends to make cappucino out of it. Slightly disturbing if you give it too much thought. But on the whole, totally cute.

And thoroughly sweet that my little boy takes such good care of me!