Monday, February 25, 2008

Cute or not?

I LOVE shoes. Mat can attest to my obsession with shoes. He just doesn't understand why I would need so many pairs of black shoes. He doesn't get that each pair is different--casual, dressy, high heel or low, sandals, clogs, boots. But then I don't understand why he needs four pairs of sneakers!

And as much as I love shoes I HATE crocs.

I blame Mario Batali for their popularity. Mario and nurses. You can't visit a doctor's office or wander down a hospital hall without seeing those ugly things on the majority of nurses in colors to match their scrubs. They used to just make clogs but now it seems you can buy croc-boots, croc-sandals, croc-flip flops, croc-sheepskin clogs, and croc-ballet flats in every conceivable color.

Crocs make your feet look HUGE. Huge and bulbous like you're wearing clown shoes. Why would any woman purposely choose to do that to her feet? To look like a clown? And the worst part? These hideous things cost upwards of $30! This one with suede straps costs $70!!!

The only exception I'm willing to make to my all-encompassing hatred of crocs is for kids in crocs. The shoes are still ridiculous but they don't look as ridiculous on tiny feet. Maybe it's because you can put a kid in almost anything and they'll look cute. I don't know. A couple of Braeden's friends, namely Matthew and Makena, began wearing crocs to school last summer. Since you can hose them off when they get dirty, they seem like a good choice for little kids. But when I checked online, I found that the kids' crocs cost $25! Who spends that much money on a pair of shoes for a kid who will grow out of them in a few months time?

A couple weeks ago when we were at Target I saw some faux-crocs in the shoe section. I asked Braeden if he wanted a pair of clogs and he corrected me so cutely by saying, "Those aren't clogs, they're crocs!" Funny, right? He decided he liked them, so we bought them for $7.99, a much more appropriate price for kids shoes! All he's done so far is wear them around the house one time. It takes Bray a while to warm up to new shoes. When we bought the crocs, I wasn't sure if he'd ever leave the house in them. I didn't really care, though, because I was actually hoping he'd wear them inside like slippers since he doesn't seem to like to wear socks and I worry about his feet getting too cold.

Don't get me wrong...I still HATE crocs. But my kid looks cute in anything! Even a pair of the ugliest shoes known to man. :)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Baby toys

Braeden has A LOT of toys. Tons. He has toys in the kitchen--play food, pots and pans, a $3.99 lawnmower, his Christmas tool bench, and a bunch of coloring books and stickers. He has more toys in the living room--his ride-on John Deere Buck, doctor's kit, computer, Diego jeep and figures, matchbox cars, Mr. Potatohead, Giants football, and Brown Bear and Bingo games. He has still more toys upstairs in his bedroom--blocks, a helicopter, puzzles, and stuffed animals plus books. It's actually a little embarrassing to Mat and me just how many toys this kid has! In fact, when Braeden behaves badly at school and we take something away as punishment, it has little effect on Braeden because he has so much else to play with.

But even with all these toys, good toys, age-appropriate toys, he LOVES Gage's things! He likes to play with the baby swing (which was Braeden's first) and with the silver rattle Gage got as a gift at my work shower from a member of Elon's Board of Visitors. Braeden loves to shake it and hear it rattle. I've already posted the pictures of Braeden on the play gym. And yesterday I showed off Gage sitting in his new bumbo...

Well, the second Bray walked in the door last night and saw the bumbo he had to sit in it. I didn't think he would fit because I've read message board posts from moms whose babies have gotten too big to fit, but sure enough, Braeden fits fine in the bumbo. See? He couldn't even be bothered to put his sweatshirt away (see it on the floor to his right)and hadn't even washed his hands yet (yuck!).

As I was making dinner last night I heard Braeden messing around behind me. When I finally had a chance to check on him, this is what I found! Braeden sitting in Gage's bumbo on top of Gage's play gym and no Gage in sight!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bray's new game

Braeden has a silly new game he likes to play. Keep in mind this is a kid who is routinely getting into trouble at school for being disruptive during naptime and who won't take a nap for us on the weekends. But for some reason, his new game is to pretend to be asleep then to wake up all refreshed. He lays down and it's especially good if he can be covered up. He scrunches his eyes up tight and tries really hard not to smile. A few minutes later he pops up and sings, "Good morning!" Adorable.

Here's a picture of Braeden "asleep" in our bed with Gage next to him.

Last night I asked Mat to take this picture of Gage and me. I take 9 out of 10 of the photos in this house so there are very few of me. I prefer it this way, always have, but I promised myself when I had Braeden that I would make an effort to be in some of the pictures too. Oh, and for those who have been wondering, my hair looks pretty good. I can't get it as straight or sleek as the stylist but I'm doing okay. In case anyone was wondering, I think it's all thanks to the Paul Mitchell serum I've been using. It smells fantastic and makes my hair shinier. Now if it would just cover up the gray hairs I keep finding...


Spring is coming to North Carolina...look at these crocuses!

Two years ago I went bulb-crazy and planted a few dozen tulips and added a bunch of daffodils to the front bed then planted crocuses in the back around the pillars holding up our deck. Well, by planted I mean Mat dug a couple holes, really deep ones, and we dumped the teensy-tiny crocus bulbs in them. I really never thought much would come of them since the holes were so deep.

My daffodils are starting to pop up in the front, including the handful that never got moved when we dug up the front a couple years ago. I went around back, just to see, and sure enough, there were crocuses! Too funny.
Here's a close-up of the tiny crocuses. They're just so sweet. Since the holes were really deep they're only about two inches tall. And that includes the blooms! Shouldn't have dug those holes so deep. Oh well.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Snow Angel

Out of nowhere last night it started snowing! It had been raining during the day, windy and cold too, but none of the weather guys had been predicting snow. Around 10:00 when Mat was walking around the house with Gage he looked out the window and realized it was snowing. We actually got about two inches of snow, enough to completely cover the ground for the first time this year.

We've had snow this year but for Braeden it was like this was the first snow of his life. He was adorable this morning! I woke up just as Mat was telling Bray it was time to get his shoes on for school. I hopped out of bed, threw my bathrobe on over my pjs and shoved my feet in my boots (no time for socks!). Mat put Gage in his chair and I headed outside with Braeden. He seemed a little concerned when we first got outside, like he wasn't sure what to do.

We went down the stairs and I told him he could touch the snow and throw it around. Bray squatted down at the edge of our sidewalk and wiped his hand across the top of the snow. He giggled but then he realized his hand was wet and cold. He did NOT like this, not one little bit. I told him he could wipe his hand on my bathrobe(what are moms for??) then helped him into his mittens. He went back to his position and began scooping up snow and tossing it around.

When this got old, he tromped through the snow kicking at it and laughing. This was fun until the snow kicked up onto his legs under his pants. He loved stomping on the driveway to knock the snow off his shoes before getting into daddy's car!

All in all, Bray loved the snow this morning! The day care didn't open until 8:00, so Mat and Bray got a late start to their day. Luckily it was Thursday and Mat didn't have a morning class to get to, just an appointment for his allergy shots and an oil change for his Mazda. It was nice, too, because it gave me a few minutes to enjoy the snow with Braeden and capture the moment for everyone else. While I was outside taking these pictures one of our neighbors down the road came out to take pictures of her snow-covered house. It made me think how different this morning would be if we still lived in NY. I still would have taken pictures of Bray enjoying the snow but this would have happened in October or November last year. He would have had a lot MORE snow to play with and more appropriate winter weather gear to wear (his mittens are at least two sizes too big!). If we lived in NY I would have bought him snow boots to wear with his pants tucked in. What's really ironic is that I was talking to my sister last night...she and her husband had the day off from work due to snow. Jeremy was outside shoveling the driveway while we chatted. I laughed and told her how mild it was here and let her know spring was almost here. (My daffodils have started to pop out of the ground!) And then 3 hours later it was snowing here. Karma anyone?

The other big difference between NC snow days and NY snow days? Our snow was almost entirely melted by the end of the day! It's a really good thing I dragged myself out of bed this morning to get these pictures. I would have missed it otherwise.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Things he learned at school

Braeden is famous for mimicking the things he hears people say. He only needs to hear something a few times before he's got it down almost perfect. Occasionally he gets the line a little bit wrong...

He's got a 3-D viewfinder that also has sound. On one of the discs there's a spongebob scene and you hear Spongebob say, "It's all in the technique." Braeden is convinced he says, "It's all in the picnic!" Cracks me up every time!

More often than not, Braeden gets it right and it's especially funny to hear some very adult things come out of his mouth. Here's one of my favorites...

"Mommy, when I call your name, tell me what color this is." Then he flashes a playing card at me or a card from his Thomas card set. We figure his teachers play some kind of learning game with the kids at school and that's where Braeden picked this line up. He's just so sweet!

When the kids are misbehaving at school one of the teachers, Teresa, threatens the kids with her mad face. When we start to get annoyed with him for not listening or talking back, Braeden asks us if we're going to put our mad face on. When we're playing around, I ask to see his mad face and it's adorable! Of course Braeden knows it too.

They're working on teaching the kids manners too. "We don't say gimme" is frequently heard in our house thanks to his teachers at school. "We don't say stupid" is another of the lessons they're learning. Of course, this doesn't apply when we talk about baseball. I taught Braeden that "baseball is stupid" over the summer! :)

Braeden also picks stuff up from us or from the TV or radio. His new thing tonight was to say that Tristan (a friend from school) is Barack Obama. He probably heard Mat and me talking about the election; with all the primaries, it's been a hot topic for us. I guess I'll have to teach him Hillary Clinton!

He thinks it's funny to say say it right, you really have to drawl out the 102 part. It's a local radio station Mat listens to sometimes in the car. The other local station is 96Rock. Lately Braeden's been saying, "Go to 96 and whack the badger." Mat says it's part of an ad for a local Lexus dealer. I have no idea.

Maybe I'll shoot some video of the tell me what color this is game and post it. I'll also keep you posted on future Braeden-isms!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

We are the champions!

I had to go to the Food Lion this afternoon for bacon to make this salmon with lentils recipe from Emeril. I am so not an Emeril fan but this recipe was worth it. If you like salmon and lentils (and who doesn't??), give this a shot sometime.

Anyway, Gage and I were standing in line to buy the bacon (I always forget to buy something crucial for the recipe and have to make that last-minute trip to the store...actually, I usually send Mat!) and I saw they had two helium balloons tied to the register. The balloons were shaped like footballs, one for the Giants and one for that other team. :)

I asked the woman who checked me out and she gave me the Giants balloon. I'm pretty certain this gets me nominated for mother-of-the-year in Braeden's book. He was so excited to see it when he got home from school today.

I brought the balloon home tied to Gage's car seat. He is the Giants number two fan after all!

Braeden did show his team pride Monday by wearing his Giants gear to school. I just didn't get a chance to take a picture that night. Hopefully this will suffice to show that he represents. :)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Everyone's turning three!

Saturday afternoon we were invited to Carson's birthday party. Carson's grandmother Ooma lives on our street (the house at the end with the geese lawn ornaments Braeden likes to sit on). Carson used to go to Braeden's school but his parents switched him to a different one (something we didn't know until the party). Carson was turning three and his party was at the Little Gym so it was similar to Matthew's party at Kidsport. Mat and I didn't think the Little Gym was as fun. The stuff they had out for the kids to do seemed more basic and was more stationary. At Matthew's party, they changed the activities around more setting up different courses for the kids to play on. At the Little Gym, the activities were stationary so the kids spent the whole time doing basically the same things.

The party was at 1:00 and there were about 15 kids there. Aside from Carson and Braeden's favorite neighbor friend Natasha, we didn't know anyone there. Since Carson switched day cares I figured they were kids from his new school. I had assumed Braeden would know a bunch of the kids, so I felt bad for him. And he was not eager to join in or play. He grabbed hold of my leg and wouldn't let go as soon as we walked in the door!

The first 10 minutes or so of the party were devoted to free play. Braeden wouldn't budge from my lap though. Then the instructors led the kids in a fireman game before hauling out a garbage can full of balls. It was the balls that finally got Braeden's attention. After a little encouragement from me, he ran over to get two balls. He, and all the other kids, spent the next 5 minutes throwing balls around and at each other.

After the balls were put away, they pulled out a parachute (just like at Matthew's party) except this time Braeden wanted to join in. Most of the pictures I got were of the parachute instead of the kid holding the parachute, but I got a couple.

The kids are supposed to be jumping on the bubbles, the air pockets on top of the parachute, but Braeden just stood there. It took him a minute or two to get with the program and stomp around. Once he did, he thought the parachute was lots of fun!

After the parachute, they did some more free play on the stuff set up. There were just a few activities that Braeden wanted to do. He would climb up a set of foam stairs to a balance beam, walk across the beam, and jump to the mat below. He would not walk the beam without my hand to hold. Then there were a couple sets of parallel bars that he liked to hang from. I got this great picture of him swinging from the bars.

Mat held Gage during the party and I played with Braeden with Braeden. They finished off the party with cake then Carson opened an INSANE mountain of presents. Gage couldn't wait so I nursed him while the kids ate cake. Mat very nicely agreed to take both boys home so I could get my nails done after the party. When I got home, I made dinner with Gage in the peanut shell sling. I LOVE my sling. I especially love that I got it on ebay for about $15 less than I would have paid on their site. Gage loves the sling too!