Friday, October 28, 2011

Flashback Friday {Puking Pumpkin}

I tend to live by the motto "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."  Like when I go to a Thai restaurant, I know that I'm going to be happy with pad thai noodles, so I never bother to try anything else.  And when I find a good park that Niall likes, we'll just keep going back there.  So when I came across a winner of a pumpkin carving last year, why would I try anything different this year?

I tried to re-create the exact scene from last year, but naturally some little things were different.  A) I'm pregnant and didn't put nearly as much effort into the details of the pumpkin face, B) I have a very impatient almost-2-year-old so I didn't put nearly as much effort into the details of the pumpkin face, and C) I have a very impatient almost-2-year-old who had no intentions of standing behind the screen door when he could be up close and personal with the puking pumpkin.

Either way, I think I'll call it another success.  Niall even attempted a puking face for me when I showed him what I meant...

Not quite what I was looking for-- more like a constipated Santa face, but a very noble attempt ;)

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Practice Run

I could not be more excited right now.

Back in August, I spotted Halloween costumes at the Old Navy outlet in Rehobeth and decided to be super diligent/ gutsy and choose Niall's fate about 2 months ahead of time.

The only problem was that, as much as he enjoyed pointing to it and shouting "DWAGON!! RAAAAR!!!", he was not thrilled about putting it on.  Terrified is more like it.  "Don't put that thing near me" pretty much sums it up.

So I hung it in his nursery, hoping that the more he saw it and we talked about it ahead of time, he might actually put it on for Halloween.  As of a week ago, all signs were still pointing to 'no'.  I was pretty confident it would remain hanging there until baby Brendan could fit into it about 2 years from now.

But today was different.  It was my mom's group Halloween parade at the local nursing home and he was totally on board once he saw everyone else in their cute little costumes.

We walked around saying hi to everyone (AKA running past all of the friendly old folks and refusing to make eye contact) and collecting candy- except that any time someone tried to slip a piece into his bag, he got this really distressed look on his face and yelled "NO!"

So mommy, being the helpful and understanding person that I am, just took the pieces for him and swiftly ate 75% of it in the car on the way home.  But I did convince Niall to try a couple pieces while we were there.

And on the way home...I don't think he was disappointed ;)

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Thought I should start off the weekend on a happier note.

Yes, there were originally 12.  Niall must have been really hungry ;)

 And what makes these cupcakes even better than I could have hoped for...
  • I took some fellow mom advice and pulled a chair up to the counter to let Niall help and he actually sat through 45 minutes of baking without a single peep of disapproval.
  • I made them into a healthy version by using whole wheat flour, bananas, applesauce, pumpkin and yogurt in the batter, and mixed sugary icing with regular whipped cream cheese to cut back on the sugar overload.
They turned out great!   Couldn't even tell they were healthy.  But I'm not sure eating 5 of them in one day is really that healthy.  Oh well :)

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Things I've Learned in the Last Month

This month has been a really tough one for me.  I don't remember being this flustered since Niall was a newborn, but the feelings came rushing back like I was a scared new mom for the first time all over again.

The constant crying and whining, the throwing of fits over things like me taking my shoes off or a disdain for the shirt I'm wearing, not wanting me to make dinner, not wanting me to put him down... it's just been a bit overwhelming for me because Niall is usually sooo mellow and easygoing.

So while I'm typically the really patient one and I'm the one who has to explain to Matt that this is all normal and it's an important part of development to test the boundaries and exert independence... now I'm starting to crack under pressure and forget my own cool, calm advice and tidbits of wisdom.

Yesterday, Niall woke up at 6am after getting up in the middle of the night for 2 hours and topped it off with a measly 30 minute afternoon nap.  The mood of the house was... let's say "dismal" between the 2 of us.  After a few hours of constant screaming that afternoon, I burst into tears, coincidentally begging him to stop crying (and to eat something for the first time that day).

When I finally got all of our stuff together just to get out the door (which by the way can take up to an hour if your toddler is hanging on your leg crying), I ran into my neighbor/friend, who could tell I'd been crying.  When she asked me what was wrong, I opened my mouth to explain that we were just having a bad day, and uncontrollably burst into tears again.  I felt like a complete lunatic, but she convinced me that it was normal to feel overwhelmed like this- especially when you're pregnant.

And that's when it hit me-- I don't need any added stress in my life right now; things are overwhelming enough as is.  So I decided to write down all of the things that have been stressing me out this month and put a star by the ones that are simply out of my control or not worth getting upset over.  It really helped to just take a deep breath and let go of those things.  Here are the ones I've found are simply not worth an emotional breakdown:
  • clothes bleeding on each other in the wash/ clothes getting ruined while playing
  • leaving the rain boots outside to dry, only for them to continue getting rained on for days on end; ultimately meaning you need to find another pair of shoes to wear in the rain
  • Niall deciding to try the all-milk diet.  No breakfast, lunch or dinner- just a gallon of milk, please (and goldfish in between)
  • Niall refusing to let me brush his teeth
  • managing to hold onto receipts that I'll never need for a year, but losing the only one that I need to return something
  • going a little over budget each month when we don't ever go out or spend money on anything extravagant
  • Niall crying himself to sleep for about an hour each night, when we've just read him 5 stories, covered him in kisses and hugs, and said goodnight to all 25 stuffed animals. 

These are things I can't control and I have to accept that.  Raising a toddler may require me to seek some advice from AA...

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.


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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Truck Touch 2011

For all of the weekends in the last few months that Matt's been stuck at work and couldn't come on any of our fun adventures, I knew that a day would eventually come when he would be able to join us for something that would blow everything else out of the water.  And that day finally came this past Saturday.

Whose idea was it to create an event where kids run around from truck to truck, honking the horn, jumping on the back, and playing with all of the controls?  I don't know, but he/she is clearly a genius.

They had pretty much any kind of truck you could ever imagine-- fire trucks, snow plows, tree cutting trucks, utility trucks, school buses, ambulances, dump trucks, mail trucks, concrete trucks, giant flatbeds, you name it.  And for a kid who goes to sleep holding hard, metal vehicles instead of soft, plushy stuffed animals, it doesn't get much better than this.

Except when your dad can come ;)

And if you're able to leave the premises without ripping your brand new pair of pants/ one of only two pairs that fit right now-- that's the other way it can get better than this.

Looks like mama needs to learn to let some things go... I guess it was worth the snag :)

Born to be a trucker... or at least hardcore.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Hello, Terrible Twos

You know the expression: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"?  Well that's the reason I haven't been on the blog in a few days.  The terrible twos have kicked in full force and it's driving me to the end of my rapidly fraying rope.

Luckily, Niall isn't the 'throw a massive temper tantrum, hit and kick and spit in public' kind of kid.  But he's a 'behind closed doors' kid-- I mean, whenever we're behind closed doors (about 50% of our day).  From the second he gets up at 6:15 until we leave the house around 10...and then again, when I start tidying up and getting ready to make dinner (around 5) until daddy gets home (around 7).

It's a continuous, monotonous fake whine/cry that usually involves the repeating of a word over and over in the hopes that if he says it more than a hundred times, he'll get what he wants (AKA "chooo choo, choo choo!!" means he wants to watch Thomas, "mama, mama, mama, mama!!!" means pick me up and remain standing because you are not allowed to sit down while holding me).

So I'll try to make compromises like "We can read choo choos together, but we're not watching any more TV" or "Mommy can give you a hug, but I'm not holding you right now." Which inevitably turns into a meltdown-- throwing, hitting himself (I don't know what to do about that weird habit), hitting me, screaming, more whining and sprawling out on the floor in a "woe is me" fashion.  It's pretty brutal.  We're up to about 5 or 6 timeouts each day.

This becomes especially intolerable when I'm trying to make dinner and can't walk from one end of the kitchen to another because I have a human leech attached to my leg.  I feel bad for him because I've resorted to leaving him in the pack and play in the guest room with a few toys for a good 45 minutes every night while I make dinner.  But there's really nothing else I can do if I want to get anything done.

It's just a phase.  It's just a phase.  Right?  That's what I'm telling myself.

The solution for now: get out of the house as quickly as possible each morning and stay out until as late as humanly possible.  That can be tricky on rainy days like these, but we've got a few tricks up our sleeves:

Yes, it was worth every penny of the $15 it cost to get into this "playseum"... now I need to figure out some free options for the winter when we're really gonna have trouble finding things to fill our time :)

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Farm

I don't know exactly why it's so different to go to a pumpkin farm in the boonies versus a regular old stand on the side of the road, but it just is. And yes, to my husband who was wondering, it is in fact worth the extra 35 minutes drive.


Even though we didn't go through the field this year and actually pick our pumpkin off the vine, from the ground-- Butler's Orchard is still pretty awesome and totally did the trick.  They put a ton of pumpkins out in front of the market and categorized all of them into different genres:  warty, ugly, albino, small, medium, large and jumbo (at least that's my interpretation).



Small (but mighty heavy for a 2 year old):

Ugly (but hey, they got personality):

And of course, we had to check out the busted ones that got thrown over the cliff:

Niall really liked the warty ones (especially pointing to them and shouting "Yuck!"), but he was also really proud to carry around his special little pumpkin that he picked out, and then we wanted a normal one... so we ended up with a little pumpkin family.  And he was sure to stop and play the bongos on our way out.  We really made the most of this trip.

But my favorite part was probably this:

Homemade apple pie (not made in my home, but somebody's) and local dairy creamery vanilla ice cream.  What could be better?

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