Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Oh, happy day!

July 25 will mark my third anniversary of blogging. I've never recognized a blogiversary before but as I was putting together my list of 32 things I realized just how long I had been at this. Like I said then, I've never been a good diarist or journalizer. (I knew diarist was a word but had to use dictionary.com to find a word for 'person who keeps a journal'.) Writing about myself is pretty boring. And writing about myself in a small book that noone but me will ever read is even more boring. Blogging is way more fun. Is there a third blog in my future? I could call it "The MellyP". Actually, that sounds like the perfect name for a sailboat. But seriously, before anyone (Emily) stresses about having to check a THIRD blog, I would never do it. Two is enough. Besides, I've been doing better about finding ways to incorporate more of me into the boys' blogs.

Anyway, back to our upcoming blogiversary...the traditional gift for a third wedding anniversary is leather goods, while the modern equivalent is apparently crystal or glass. What, I wonder, is the blogosphere equivalent? Should I do something special to mark our third blogiversary? Or should I just let it slip silently by as I did with the first and second? I need opinions, people!

Let me hear it...how should I mark this special occasion? Is it even special enough to mark? Leave me a comment and let me know.

By the by, the comment-leaving has left a little something to be desired lately. I can always count on my mom, but otherwise, they've been few and far between. Makes me wonder, do I have any readers out there at all?

:(

Oh, and this is too funny not to post. A couple months ago I finally told Braeden about his blog. I wasn't sure if he'd get it, but he always wants to look at photos (of him) so one day I showed him the photos on here. And a new obsession was born. He asks me all the time if he can watch the video of him singing the Wee Why Rocky Rump song.

On the day my dad left and I came upstairs after Braeden's quiet time, I made Gage's bitty blanket. Braeden went in Gage's room and dug out the Elmo phone. We bought that silly phone for Braeden at a yard sale one of our neighbors had back when Bray was just a little older than Gage. So, I'm sewing and Braeden is sitting on the futon talking to Elmo. I'm only half-listening until I hear him say 'blog' and then I perked right up! Here's what he had to say...

"Well, you'll just have to look on the blog, Elmo."

Couldn't you just die? He's probably heard me say that about a hundred times to my mom. But I'm always surprised when he repeats something as grown-up as that.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Trip to the dentist

Tuesday morning Mat took Braeden to the dentist. He's been twice before (you can reread those stories here and here). Our first two trips didn't exactly go swimmingly. But this one, this one was perfect. And wouldn't you know it...I wasn't there. I'm sure it wasn't me. No, it must be that Bray's older now, more mature. Right?

Mat called me as they were leaving the office to give me the update. I was so happy to hear they had done well. And the other night I asked Mat to write up the story of Braeden's dental appointment to post on his blog.

In Mat's words...

So, this past Tuesday was Bray’s dentist appointment, and I must say that I was a little worried. His past experiences with the dentist have not been good ones, and I was taking him by myself to see Dr. Rafael that morning. When we got up, I mentioned to him that he was going to the dentist before school, and he seemed pretty cool with it. He kept talking about getting up in the chair and getting a treat at the end (they have a bin of crappy little toys and things for the kids to take on the way out).

When it was time to go, he announced to (a sleeping) Melly and Gage that he was going to the dentist, and we were off. When we got to the office, he seemed to remember being there before, and much to my surprise, he ran right in to the waiting room. We signed in, and he looked at a car magazine and pointed out the different cars to me. Soon, a hygienist came out and called Bray’s name, and he ran into the examination area and hopped right up into the chair. This surprised both the hygienist and me, and she commented on how eager he seemed to be.

Spongebob (and then later, Dora) was on the TV in the exam room, so Bray was immediately engrossed in his favorite TV shows, and let the dentist and hygienist do their work without a single complaint. Well, OK, there was one complaint. Apparently, he remembered wearing sunglasses there, because he wouldn’t let them work in his mouth until they found a pair of sunglasses for him to wear. But once that was done, he was perfect. All 20 teeth were poked, scraped of plaque, cleaned, and flossed without difficulty. The hygienist tried to take X-rays, but the bulky film turned out to be too much for Bray to handle, he kept choking on it and spitting it out, so she eventually gave up. At the end of the visit, Bray got a new Dora toothbrush, floss, a sticker, and a Darth Vader pencil, so he was a very happy boy.

Me again...I can't believe he remembered the sunglasses. Last fall when I took him they gave him a little pair of sunglasses because that big light they use was so bright. It was shining right in his eyes and he was really uncomfortable. I had forgotten all about it until I read Mat's account.

Speaking of Spongebob...A while back I bought Braeden a new hooded towel. Here's a cute picture of him wearing the towel after his bath.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Just like P-Pa

After my dad's visit we noticed Braeden had picked up a new habit. I guess you could call it a habit. Mat was the first to notice. And once he pointed it out to me, I can't help but notice each time he does it.

When Braeden would ask my dad a question (usually one beginning with every parent's least favorite word, why) or suggest some new activity, dad would say, "Well..."

And now, Braeden says it too! It's not just that he says the word, though. Braeden also draws it out the way my dad does. So it sounds kind of like, "Weelllll". Maybe I can capture it on video for you.

But in the meantime, here's a typical conversation:

Mat: Bray, it's time to pick up your cars so we can go outside.
Braeden: Well, first I need to jump off the couch one more time.

M: No, Braeden. Pick up the cars. It's time to go outside.
B: Well, I have to give Gage a kiss.

M: Braeden. Pick up your cars. We're not going outside until you pick up the cars.
B: Well, I want to go outside.

M: Then pick up your cars. Now.
B: Well, you have to help me.

OK. I think you get the idea. And please don't think I exaggerated that conversation. You can hear that exact scene play out in our house a hundred times each week! Just substitute Target, dinner, or bed for outside and cooking stuff, (play) food, or books for cars. We love that Braeden has gotten better at reasoning, rationalizing, and remembering (the three R's!), but it's also made every conversation, every request, every everything a lot more work and so much more time-consuming.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mommy, I want to stay home with you today.

Nine words that will make a mommy's heart melt every time. :)

Braeden said those words to me Thursday morning. He came in to my bedroom where Gage and I were nursing/sleeping and asked to stay with us instead of going to school. How could I say no? Mat was worried it would start some kind of precedent, but I don't care about that. All I care about is that my baby wanted to stay home with me instead of going to school to play with his friends.

So, Mat went off to work and Braeden snuggled under the covers with me while I finished nursing Gage. Then I turned on the TV in our bedroom so he could watch Curious George and Clifford while I showered and dried my hair. Gage came in with me; he sits in his carseat while I shower and do my hair. It's part of our routine. And I really think he likes it. He's never fussed while I'm in the shower. If he starts up, I just talk to him. But I think he likes the sound of the fan and the water. Plus it's warm and steamy in the bathroom which probably feels nice.

When I was finished, Braeden helped me eat my breakfast. That kid may look small, but he can sure put it away! I decided we should make granola. It's a good project for us, one we've done together before. Braeden likes being my helper. He tells me so on a pretty regular basis. We each made a little mess, but I cleaned them up pretty well.

After the granola had come out of the oven, we heard some commotion outside. I sent Braeden to look and he announced that there was a truck at our neighbor Bill's house. I assumed it was a FedEx truck, but when I looked I saw it was a dump truck delivering mulch. Since it was so sunny and warm out, we headed outside to watch the action. Bill and his girlfriend Megan want to be project people but they have very little follow-through. :) A year ago they drew outlines in their backyard for two large flower beds but never went any further than that. But now they're moving forward, so the dump truck was there to deliver mulch for their front beds and was going to make a second trip with topsoil for the new beds in the back. Braeden was THRILLED! We sat in the driveway and watched Bill work.

I think I've said this before, but we have terrific neighbors! They are all so sweet and patient with Braeden. We really lucked out.

After lunch, Braeden had quiet time upstairs and then we went to the park. He played in the sandbox for a long time. I don't mind him playing in the sand but I wished he had been the only kid in the box. One of the toughest parts of being a parent is watching your kid interact with someone else's kid. It's bad enough worrying your kid will be a bully or do something naughty. But what happens when the other kid is a brat?

On Thursday, Braeden behaved perfectly in the sandbox. Sitting on the edge of the sandbox with a bucket and shovel, he filled the bucket and told me it was cake. Cake for me. The other kids were flinging sand around, jumping into the sand from the edge, trying to knock each other down, and then trying to bury one of the bigger boys in the sand. Where were their parents? Well, there was a group of moms sitting under the shelter about 15-20 feet away. They had brought their own lounge chairs. They had coolers, magazines, and a radio. And they didn't seem at all interested in what their kids were doing in the sandbox leaving me as the only authority figure. And I'm wearing Gage in the Moby so I'm trying to stand back so he doesn't ingest sand or get it in his eyes. When their behavior got particularly bad or dangerous I had to step in and say something. And finally I told Braeden I thought he needed to play with something else until the bigger kids left the sandbox.

We moved on and Braeden climbed the rock wall, slid down the slides, and drove the ambulance. Plus he was in the shade more, so I felt much better! Still annoyed at the way those other moms and their kids behaved, but calmer because my kid wasn't at their mercy any longer.

This morning we took Braeden to the children's museum because there was a special Hot Wheels thing happening. Some people came in and set up a racetrack. The track looked like a ski jump...the kids climbed up three steps and placed their cars at the top. A man lifted a plexiglass panel and the cars rolled down the track towards the finish line. There was a digital thing set up to note which car came in first, second, third, or fourth place and a woman at the end who picked up the cars for the kids. And the best part? You could bring your own cars to race (which we did) but there was also a man who had a bunch of cars in boxes that the kids could pick from.

Braeden wasn't sure he wanted to play at first. He was hell-bent on playing with his usual stuff (the firetruck!) that he pitched a little fit. But on this occasion, I was more determined than he was. He perked up a little when he realized he could get a new car out of the deal. He picked out some kind of old Chevy station wagon which turned out to be a really, REALLY slow car. Not that Braeden cared! We did the first race together, but after that, Braeden was hooked. He would place his new car and one from home in the tracks and watch them start off. Then he would run down to the finish line dodging parents and other kids to get his cars again, then run back to the stairs to start over again. We had to make sure he took his turn nicely and didn't run into anyone, but he was very good.

I think he did 10 or 12 runs before he got bored and wanted to ride the firetruck. All in all, we were at the museum for a little more than an hour before making a quick (to me) trip to JoAnn's. They had patterns on sale for $.99! For less than a buck, I bought a pattern that regularly sells for $15.95! I saved almost $15! My fabric was on sale as was the batting, so all told, I spent just shy of $10. I'm going to tell you what I'm making, but I hope to be done soon and will post all the gory details on Gage's blog. While this isn't my first time using a store-bought pattern, it is the first time I've carefully read the entire set of instructions before beginning. It's also the first time I really understand the steps and the instructions. I feel pretty confident about this.

Famous last words!

Friday, April 11, 2008

A visit from P-Pa

A few weeks ago my dad called to ask if he could fly down on Skybus for a visit. My mom had been down on Skybus at the end of February. It was an easy and quick flight and so easy for us to pick her up at the airport. Plus, Skybus was so cheap! Well, apparently it was too good to last. Skybus shut their doors last Friday, so dad had to rearrange his plans. Instead of flying, he drove down and arrived Tuesday morning around 9:30.

Braeden was so excited to see him! He brought presents and MeMa cookies for everyone. We just hung out at home Tuesday, but we did go to dinner at the Olive Garden that night. P-Pa LOVES the Olive Garden. Braeden likes their macaroni and cheese, and he was so excited to take P-Pa there.

Wednesday we all went to the Schmidt Park. Braeden loves the park. I've got some pictures from a trip Braeden took to the park with MeMa and P-Pa about a year and a half ago. In those pictures Braeden is climbing the climbing wall and so is P-Pa. Bray loves to look at those pictures, so I made sure the two of them climbed the wall again!




Braeden was obsessed with the sandbox, so much so that it was hard to get him out of it to play in other parts of the park. He built sandcastles, dug holes with a shovel, and "painted" the sandbox.


B and P-Pa also played on the swings. I'm not sure who enjoyed it more...what do you think?



P-Pa made us a special birthday dinner (I love how when my birthday stretches on and on)--meatloaf, baked potatoes, and summer squash. We bought a cake at Lowe's but had been looking for an ice cream cake which they didn't sell. So dad said he was going out for coffee but he really went up to the Food Lion to buy me an ice cream cake. Too sweet. So after dinner Braeden stuck candles in the cake, I lit them, and then P-Pa and B sang happy birthday to me. And then we got to eat the cake!

Thursday morning I dragged them to Michael's in search of iron-on letters for Gage's blanket. I couldn't find any I liked there, so I bought a fabric marker and might try to write his name on the blanket. The jury's still out on that one! I did find some great letters online. They're a buck a letter, not bad, but the shipping would have been 6 bucks! I hate paying shipping anyway, but I'm certainly not going to pay more for shipping than I'm paying for the product! And definitely not when the letters probably weigh 2 ounces!

After Michael's we ran over to Target to buy Braeden a new pair of sandals. Braeden being Braeden we bought the same pair he had last summer just in a larger size. And now that we have them home, he's refused to wear them both times I've suggested it. This kid HATES change!

When we finished up there, we went to Chick-fil-A for lunch. P-Pa's choice! He loves their chicken sandwiches and vanilla milkshakes. I've never been to a fast food place like Chick-fil-A. They have staff who come around and ask if you want a drink refill or if they can clear your trash. When we were there, someone was walking around with samples of their new coffee caramel milkshake. Sooo good. While we were eating, a guy came out in the giant cow costume. Fortunately he went right outside to stand by the street and wave to possible customers. Braeden is terrified (I don't think that's too strong a word to use here) of those guys in suits...the bird at Red Robin, the Easter Bunny at the egg hunts, and I'm sure he would have hated the cow if it had gotten close to him. But he loved watching the cow from the safety of the inside dining room when the cow was out by the street!

Then, unfortunately, it was time for P-Pa to leave. But it was a great visit. Really great.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Belties!

Last week Mat was on spring break so we decided to go somewhere for the day. We always felt like we couldn't go too far from home for too long because we were still working on potty training Braeden. But now that he can go to the bathroom wherever we are, it was time to get out of town!

We decided to go to Fearrington Village because I wanted Braeden to see the belted cows and goats. It's about 45 minutes from our house, an easy drive on the highway. I forgot the camera and didn't even think to snap any pics with my camera phone. Braeden loved looking at the cows and goats. There was even a young donkey chasing the baby cows around the pen. Too funny.

The Village is beautiful. Brick paths lined with flowers wind lazily around the shops that sell jewelry, knick-knacks, and books. In a nod to Elon, there were a ton of people weeding and watering the flowerbeds. We went in every shop (much to Mat's complete horror) and even bought a few things (even more upsetting to Mat). The greatest thing we bought was a book for Braeden. It is the sweetest, cutest, most wonderful book ever. I am completely in love with these two little pigs! Toot and Puddle. The drawings are wonderful and so is the writing, especially the friendship between two very different pigs. There are a bunch of books, a DVD, and even a game. I'm planning to get them all, that's how much I love Toot and Puddle.

We had a great lunch at the Belted Goat and just enjoyed the sunshine! Another highlight for me was buying the boys belted cow clothes--Braeden got a blue tee shirt and Gage got a white onesie. Braeden looks very sweet in his shirt and I can't wait for summer when Gage will be able to wear his beltie onesie!

We got home and Mat took advantage of the sun and warmth and washed his car. I brought my old Raggedy Ann and Andy blanket outside so I could sit with the boys and watch Mat work. Fun! It was so sunny Braeden decided he needed his sunglasses. I tried to convince him to wear his baseball cap, but that kid sure is stubborn about that hat. I love that it was warm enough for Gage to lay out in the sun in just his gDiaper. He fell asleep on my lap and I made Mat go in for the camera to capture this oh-so-sweet moment. (And don't worry, mom, I covered him up some after Mat took the picture!)

It was a great day!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Is this the future???


Here's a picture (taken with my camera phone) at Zander's birthday party. This is Braeden and Makena riding in one of those bouncy rides. It's a Jeep. And it cost Makena's mom and me 50 cents per ride! That's outrageous, right?

Makena and Braeden are tight. The bestest of friends. Could they be a couple? Check back with me in about 13 years and I'll let you know!

Of course they'll have to settle the issue of who gets to drive...caused a little fight, but don't most couples fight over who's the better driver? For the record, in the Potter-Gendle household, it's me! Now Mat may tell you otherwise, but who are you going to believe? Besides, Mat doesn't write on the blog so he really doesn't have an outlet to spread his lies, now does he?!

Bowling Party

Saturday afternoon the whole family headed out to the local bowling alley for Zander's birthday party. Zander is probably, hands down, the sweetest kid ever. Every time I've seen him, he has run to me to give me a hug. He has a huge smile and an even bigger heart. He routinely brings toys from home to school, like six balls, and passes them out to his classmates so they can all play together. He has amaazing hair, too. Ringlets all over his head. And I'm not the only one who loves this kid. Zander is one of Braeden's closest friends at school. This was one of those parties we had to attend.

We weren't sure how the kids would do bowling. I knew they could put bumpers in the lane, but I didn't realize they had bowling shoes that small or balls that light. They even have a bunch of metal things that look like slides. You put your ball at the top then push it down the slide. The ball hits the lane with a great thud and then rolls, very slowly, towards the pins bouncing off the bumpers all the way down. And then your kid's ball actually knocks down pins. 67 in all for Braeden!

Bad mommy that I am, I forgot the camera. In the good mommy column, I always carry my cell which actually takes pretty good pictures. These next few posts show the progression of Braeden bowling.

My kid can bowl. And the best part of all this? Bray's MeMa LOVES to bowl. She has her own shoes. And her own ball. And a bag just for the ball and shoes. She bowls once a week with a school league and gets awards at an annual banquet. Now MeMa can take Braeden bowling sometime! And if I get to go too, I promise to remember the real camera.

Anyway, here's Braeden getting his ball off the ball thing. (What is that stupid thing called??)



The girl in the picture is Zander's older sister, Bre.
Here he is carrying the ball, all by himself, to the slide thing. I know, so technical, right?

I had to help him get the ball on to the top of the slide thing because he couldn't lift the ball that high. Aahhh...he still needs me for something. :)

Top notch photographer that I am, I managed to capture quite an action shot!


The funny thing is, none of the kids cared about the ball after it left the slide thing. Each one of them pushed the ball, watched it hit the lane, then hightailed it back to the ball thing to wait for the ball to pop up from under the alley. They LOVED that part. When a ball would pop up, Braeden, Makena, and Zander would screech with laughter.

And that was my favorite part of bowling!