Tuesday, September 16, 2014

No More School

This week is now the third week of school for my son and well, to be very honest, I hate school. Does my son know how much I don't want him to go - no, he looks forward to each day. Especially certain days with computer lab and gym. And he really enjoys riding the bus, especially in the morning. Even after the eleventh day, I still feel like a little piece of my heart is being ripped at when he walks out the door.

Last week I thought, okay, second week and I'm doing much better than the collapse of a weeping/sobbing mess on the driveway as my husband coaxed, "it'll get easier." For two weeks, I could handle it, I did handle it, but now, I'm ready to be done. For those two weeks, it gave my son something to do, a break from his little sister, he got to meet new friends, and got to do fun things...but I just want it to be over.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Nail Polish

This only shows a little of the mess. 
Baby sister really enjoys dumping, throwing, and pitching items out of a container. Whether that's my purse, a basket, or toy boxes, everything gets removed.

It's actually cute when she throws it out and over her little head. Well it's cute cute the first time, even the second time, but after the fifth time in different rooms, it's not quite so adorable. It gets to be a little exhausting but she thinks it's great and has so much fun.

I have had a bag in the bedroom sitting on the floor that had a variety of things in it: a jump rope, a toothbrush, bottles of nail polish, and kid tub tablets (the ones that change the color of the bath water). Well baby sister loved ripping the items out of the bag whenever she was in my room so I never emptied the bag to put things in their spot. It kept her occupied.

Silly Momma!!!

A couple of days ago my husband and son were fixing something in the master bathroom, I was putting laundry away, and baby sister was emptying the bag. Giggling and throwing things out. Just as I reached into the closet to put towels aways I heard the crack of glass. She took two nail polish bottles and smacked them together with all of her one-year-old might.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Vacation's All I Ever Wanted

In early June we went on vacation, two weeks after the birthday party madness, and in these two weeks our family jumped around singing "...vacation's all I ever wanted..." Well I jumped and sang, my husband, not so much of the jumping. We had a lot of things going on before vacation, the birthday party, my son's preschool graduation, baseball ending with a huge tournament, and we didn't have a lot of time to obsess over the details of vacation...like the biggest decision...when do we leave?

Driving to the Outer Banks and in the car for 10 hours with two kids. Um, when do we start the drive? My husband and I had a huge discussion over this and what we thought was best based on previous experiences that seemed to fail. We eventually decided to leave at 3:30 a.m. and move the kids from their beds to the car in hopes they'd sleep until we needed to stop for breakfast. To say that I worried about the drive is the understatement of the year. My kids typically don't travel well, I don't travel well...I just don't like being in the car for a long period of time...my poor husband. BUT, everyone did amazingly well. I couldn't have asked for a better road trip. The baby girl slept, my son was entertained with The Lego Movie and games, we stopped twice - once for breakfast and once to stretch before arriving in North Carolina. I'm still a little shocked about the traveling. 

As for the actual vacation, our family had such a great time. Our son loved playing in the pool and building sandcastles on the beach and the baby girl loved sitting near the ocean and having the waves splash over her legs. 

Hanging out at the little pool.

Big brother did a really good job pulling baby sister in her boat. 

Stealing brother's sand toys.


A visit from a little friend.

Playing lifeguard.

Building more sandcastles.

Chocolate covered marshmallows from Forbes Candies.

Baby sister in her boat.

Swimming in the big pool. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Birthday Party Fun

I can say that I haven't posted because it's summer and we love to be outside, or that my son is no longer in preschool, or even the baby is getting older and more active but the truth is...I haven't posted because well, I've been lackadaisical about it. I also have been posting pictures on Instagram, which is great because it reminds me to take photos, please consider checking it out.

asvonavec on Instagram!

Our family has actually had a lot going on, at the end of May we had a shared birthday party for the kiddos and I probably went a little overboard. Last year our son turned five but I just had the baby girl so we didn't have a big party. We had some family over for pizza and cake but little friends weren't invited. I actually had planned to have family at our house the weekend I was in the hospital, so we postponed the small celebration. Anyway, I felt a ton of guilt because our son had asked to invite his class and friends, and I couldn't do it. So this year we made up for it. Plus it was the baby girl's first birthday.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Couple of Lessons Learned

As parents, we spend a lot of time teaching our kids. Whether it’s to say “ma-ma" or "da-da” or trying to teach them how to read and how ‘no’ and ‘know’ sound the same but mean something entirely different. Each day they are learning and it’s our job to help them to the best of our ability. But they teach us too!

The top three that I learned the hard way a couple weeks ago were:

1. Mom is completely uncool.
She might show a glimmer of hope to be cool, when we are cruising in the car, with the windows down, sunglasses on, radio turned way up, and listening to Alabama’s Reckless song...
“Let’s roll the windows down turn the radio up
Let the wind blow through our hair
Love is reckless, lets get reckless tonight.”
Well it’s like Fight Club, and everyone knows that the first rule of Fight Club is you do NOT talk about Fight Club. So even though mom may show a smidgen of coolness it all goes out the window when she tells someone else about this car ride. Oh and did I mention my son is only 5 years old?!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Duct Tape 'Em Down

Spring is here - flowers, fresh cut grass, and bike riding.

When my son was 3 years old we purchased a bike with training wheels. We would go outside and ride which meant my son would sit on the seat and hold the handle bars while I pushed him. For whatever reason he kept refusing to keep his feet on the pedals, let alone help by pedaling. Sometimes the pedals would spin by themselves, sometimes they wouldn't, but he would not keep his feet on them, he'd even go as far as to raise his legs and prop them on the front tire fender.

As a baby he had riding toys and we'd push him around the house and he'd prop his feet on the front so he didn't have to do any work and his feet wouldn't brush the carpet. You can see...the baby sister has the same idea, hold her legs up and let momma do the pushing.

Anyway, back to my 3 year old son, I was tired of pushing all the time and more was tired that he wasn't trying to learn to do it himself. SO...I went into the garage in search of duct tape. One way or another he was keeping his feet on those pedals. Yes, I duct taped his feet onto the pedals so he'd learn to bicycle his legs, even if he wasn't pedaling with force, he was going to do the motion. My husband pulled into the driveway and looked at me, looked at my son, looked back up at me shaking his head and asked "what in the world are you doing?" For me it was quite simple, I was fixing the problem. My husband really tried not to laugh and call me crazy. After three days of this, my son learned to keep his feet circling.

Now he's 5 years old and he's been riding his bike as much as he can. About two weeks ago, he asked my husband to take the training wheels off. Without any discussion my husband walked into the garage to get a tool to remove them. Um...my first thought was no, no, no....I can't hold him upright on the bike while he pedals and hold the baby. He loves his bike and it's too soon, I don't want him frustrated with riding. But and here's the big but - I didn't say a word, I kept quiet. Which if you know me well, this was huge! Me, quiet about something I didn't think was a good idea, this was/is rare.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easter Eggs

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter.

My son's break lasts until Friday so he's still in relax and eat all the candy he can mode. He has also continually talked about the Easter Egg Hunt he had at my aunt's. And is constantly telling his baby sister how much better he is at finding eggs than she is - he's 5, she's 10 months.

When my son was almost two, my husband and I took him to a community egg hunt close to where we lived and I had my eyes opened. I had never heard of people just scattering all the eggs on the ground or watched adults race for eggs while knocking over little, tiny kids. They were claiming to help their kids but...well when you are knocking over toddlers, you aren't just helping. My husband tried to stand by one egg and let our son walk to it, however it was quickly picked up by an adult. It looked as if my husband may rip it back out of her hand, but he clenched his jaw and found another egg. Let me mention that because we didn't expect the adults picking up eggs, finding just one was a little harder than you may think. People run! And I'm not referring to the kids. Anyway, he found one egg, brought it close to my son, set it down to let our son "find" it. We cheered for him and then abruptly left. I never wanted to experience that again!

The following years I found much smaller hunts but it was always the same, eggs just scattered on the ground, no hidden eggs while little kids search. I also found ones that adults don't hunt, I mean help. (Unless it's actually helping the little, little kids.) We also hide eggs in our yard for our son to find because he likes searching and then we switch - he hides them for one of us to find.

This year, my aunt invited us to her house for dinner and an egg hunt. I knew he would love this! I knew I would love this.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Photos from the Weekend

Sharing some of our weekend pictures. 

Field trip Friday -  my son got to milk a cow…

…and feed a baby calf.

Riding a bike without training wheels. 

Saturday - Kiddos before the Miracle Bunny Race. 

Baby girl and dad at the race. 

Momma and her two ducks. 

My son racing in the Bunny Hop. 

And instead of doing the 5K after the bunny race he chose to get his face painted and play. (Oh and please disregard all the junk in the garage.)

Baby girl. 

Sunday - Early Easter Basket

"Nana! You want me to wear what?!"

"I am TRYING to look at my book."

"Momma, I don't want this hat on!"

"I'll smile now that I don't have to wear that hat!"

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Around the Block

 Well I was only planning on walking with my mom around the block, but you can go too. 

 You can walk too deer, but you don't need to be so close. 

 You look hungry, I'll feed you. 

 Okay, you want more, I'll have my mom go get more food. 

Hey, hey, I'm out of food. Stay out of my pockets!

My son and I went for a quick walk around the block, as you can see, he found a friend. He actually wanted to bring him inside and keep as a pet, of course I said no. But my son wasn't deterred, he thought of the next best thing - let's bring the dog's crate outside so he can keep the deer and it wouldn't be in the house. 

Nope, nope, nope!

Dentist Waiting Room Book

My son had a dentist appointment on the calendar this week and maybe most parents don't mind going to routine cleanings or even doctor's appointments, but I dread them. I always take both my kids to these 'well child visits' and my son to the dentist but I just can't help but wish we didn't have to go and wait in the waiting room. Now their current pediatrician and the pediatric dentist are phenomenal and I would recommend to anyone, especially the pediatrician but I think from previous experiences, I'm predetermined to cringe when I see the appointments on our calendar. The waiting room can turn very quickly into a stressful meltdown situation.

We arrive at the dentist and my son races to the building as I'm carrying the baby girl in the car seat that she sees as a 5-point harness death trap. She screams, cling to my hair or shirt before I can pull her away and into the seat to go anywhere. I thought, well I had hoped, that maybe, just maybe she'd fall asleep on the drive so she would sleep like a little angel during the dentist check-up. Oh silly momma, such wishful thinking!

Luckily we made it down the steps without running into anyone and walked into the waiting room. Only one person - oh this is great, maybe we'll be next. As I was signing my son in, he had already found a book for me to read.

I sat down beside him and began to read "Listen, Buddy" and as soon as I started the baby girl decided she couldn't stand the car seat a minute longer and needed out immediately. The woman in the waiting room, looked up at the screaming and I imagine thought, 'oh great a screaming baby, and this mom is going to read out loud to her kid.' In my defense, I bounced the baby girl so she would stop fussing and read quietly to my son.

The book he chose was about a rabbit not listening, whose father has a big nose - he is a great sniffer and whose mother has beautiful teeth - she is a great chomper. Buddy, the young rabbit, has beautiful, big ears, but he mishears everything because he doesn't listen, including when they give him directions for his first long hop. Instead of the path to the left and to the pond, he takes the path to the right straight to the cave of Scruffy Varmint. Scruffy directs Buddy to gather ingredients to make soup and put it on the fire. Buddy dumps the soup in the fire and Scruffy Varmint says he's going to have bunny rabbit soup instead! Buddy barely escapes but when he does make it home, he starts to listen to his parents.

Overall, it's a very cute story. However at the end of me reading it to my son, I asked him if he understood. He looks straight up at me and replies, not really, I wasn't really listening. AAAAAHHHH!

The woman sitting in the waiting room, started to laugh, she tried very hard to not let my son see but really, how can you not laugh. I read 30 pages about listening, and how important it is, the bunny almost was soup because he refused to listen, and my son didn't pay a bit of attention.

This is my life! :)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Big Saturday

And the best part, her mouth is closed and his is open!

I was invited to do a girl's day on Saturday with my mother-in-law (her birthday weekend) and sister-in-law and as excited as I was about it, I also was a little apprehensive because it meant dad would have both kids for the majority of the day and this would be the first time that we had a babysitter watch the baby girl for a little while while my husband took our son to baseball. I know this may not sound like a lot but it would be my first time away for the majority of the day and the very first time with a babysitter that wasn't a grandparent.

I knew the kids would be fine, I knew the babysitter would be fine, I worried about my husband's stress level but knew he'd be fine, and as for me, well that was up in the air for the week leading up to my time away. As much as I was looking forward to the girl's day, I had some anxiety about leaving. Okay, a lot of anxiety about leaving but when I was invited to join them for a spa day, I was thrilled to even be asked.

Before you read the next paragraph let me first tell you, that I've been having cell phone problems - who doesn't, right - but even though it had been shutting off and refusing to power itself back up, in the last week, it was working better than the recent 'normal.' I made sure it was working before I left the house in case my husband needed something or I needed to check in and see how everyone was doing. Okay maybe needed isn't the correct word and I should replace with wanted.

Well…murphy's law with the phone. Um, not exactly the ideal time to have the phone power down. I did use my sister-in-law's phone to call home before I left but I didn't want to be the crazy mom that is constantly texting, "are you okay, how are the kid's, what is everyone eating, did the baby drink the milk from the cup, don't forget to check her diaper, etc" with someone else's phone. Maybe the phone shutting off was a blessing in disguise for everyone.

I was able to spend an absolutely wonderful day with the girls, and felt very much like a princess.

When I left the resort, which was the same time my husband and son left for baseball, I did drive faster than normal to get home because I was worried that the little baby girl might have had a harder day than normal and then she was having a babysitter for the first time. I also didn't want the sitter to have a bad experience; I want her to come back. I couldn't have been more wrong, when I walked into the house and up the steps, the sitter and baby were playing - no cries, no whines, playing. AND right before the babysitter was getting ready to leave, my baby girl reached for her! She doesn't reach for anyone! I mean obviously she reaches for me and my husband but it's rare that she'll reach for anyone else. I was absolutely overjoyed, she reached for her! Now, the sitter is such a sweet and great girl and that's a huge part of it, but my daughter is a tough critic right now.

Soon after I arrived home, my husband and son arrived and we all were able to hang out before bedtime with my son casually telling me, "I know you got to do something fun, and dad said sometimes you need to do fun stuff too, but next time I think I'll go too."

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spy Gear

Old spy watch.
Mission - Picture with the baby sister. 
The other day my son received a couple new toys, more specifically a spy gear watch, a motion alarm, and two distraction alarm spheres. He's really into the spy thing and plays a ton at home and now plays at preschool with the other boys. The boys like to spy on the girls.

He had a watch that he pretended worked so he could receive his missions prior to the new deluxe watch. The new spy stuff beeps, makes all kinds of distracting noises, and lights up. Trust me, it works really well. He has set the motion alarm up so when his baby sister crawls past it, the thing screams with noise. He also jumps over top of the laser so his sister crawls after him and continually sets it off.

The new spy stuff!
Even before these new toys, he had asked to take the old watch to school so the boys could all receive the mission. I had told him unless it's 'show and tell day' he couldn't take toys to school, in part because I don't want him to get in trouble and also because I'm afraid he'd lose them. I normally double check the backpack each morning before school to make sure everything is together…lunch is in there, the homework and folder are included, and any projects are kept at home. Plus we don't have toys in the pockets. My son knows I get it ready each school day.

On this particular morning, we had our normal routine and went to school. We are in the car line for the drop off and he hugs his little sister, jumps out, my window goes down so I can tell him to have a good day and quietly say "I love you," because evidently, even at 5 years-old it's embarrassing for your mom to say this in front of friends. Anyway, he mouths something to me. I told him that I wasn't sure what he was saying, thinking maybe he was saying he loved me too. A huge grin spread across his face, he excitedly yelled, "my new spy gear watch is in my pocket," turns around and runs for the school door.
I'm in a car line with tons of people behind me, the baby is in the car, and he's running. Yep, my son - 1, mom - 0.

When I picked him up later that day, I asked if he left the watch in his locker. He very softly told me the teacher told him he needed to stop playing with it and eventually it went in the locker for the remainder of school. I mentioned that from now on he has to let spy stuff at home, he can receive his mission before he gets in the car. He smiled and said, "at least I got to take it today!" Not sure if that's another point for him, but I know I'm still losing.

Baby sister wants to play too, not just set off the motion alarm. 

Letting her borrow the sphere for the picture. 

"Oh please let me play brother, puhlease!"

"Forget it, I'll make mom push me in my new swing!"

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Baseball and Little Kids

So when my husband and I had a little boy we immediately thought ‘of course he’ll play sports. We played sports, we love playing sports, we love watching sports, and although unspoken at the time, we both thought it would come easily and naturally for our son.’ 

Picture last year’s first practice, our four-year old son at the time, running out onto the field and stopping around second base, taking his glove off and putting it on his head and spinning round and round. Yep, this momma could barely hold back from yelling, ‘pay attention, put your glove back on your hand, and pay attention!’ Okay, so maybe I didn’t hold back the whole practice; I had to pull him aside once, alright, maybe three times. By the time the hour and a half was up, I was sweating through my shirt and couldn’t wait to just get home. I kept thinking, if he’s going to act like this every practice, I can’t take him. I’m not calm enough to take him and if I do, I may end up being “one of those parents” that can’t quit yelling at their kids.  

In the week before the next team practice, we played a lot more in the yard, trying to teach him just a few things. One of the main things, to try to pay attention. Many of you reading this may be thinking, he’s only four, he’s young, and maybe, just maybe you have a son or daughter that did the same thing. A couple parent’s told me, it’s normal, he’ll grow out of it. And I figured they were right, or at least a little right, but it didn’t help at the time. I went to the next team practice thinking I have to stay calm, if he’s having fun so what, right? 

My husband gave the rule, don’t take your glove off your hand. That statement to my husband meant: when you are in the field, you keep your glove on your hand and when you come in to bat, you take the glove off to bat. That statement to our son meant: do not under any circumstance take your glove off your hand. So when he want to bat he tried to explain to the coach that dad told him not to take the glove off. Needless to say, momma had to come over and say it’s okay, daddy meant in the field. After promising that daddy would want him to bat without his glove, he finally relented and took it off. Two practices down and how many more?!

The season went on and he did get better, he learned a lot, he had a lot of fun, and momma calmed down. We still had those practices when a rainbow was in the sky and practice stopped for every kid to examine the rainbow, when my child decided to throw his glove up in the outfield as high as he could get it, and once monsters had to chase him to first after he hit the ball. 

We all survived and you guessed it, we’re signed up for baseball this year! 

Look Mom…a trophy!

Hitting the ball with his eyes CLOSED!

Project Motherhood

Monday, March 10, 2014

Family Friendly Restaurants

Close your eyes, wait no no no, then you can’t read this! Okay, think of a restaurant that you would consider going out to eat dinner and taking your child(ren) and feel comfortable, dare I say relaxed. The adults have a nice meal, the kids have a nice selection, and if the kids get a little loud it’s okay because no one is going to give you the dreaded ‘hey lady, control your kids’ stare. 

We live in Washington, PA less than one hour outside of Pittsburgh and I haven’t found many options for family friendly restaurants. Oh and another little thing...you can’t stand in line to order; think of sitting down and giving your order to a server, yes, that eliminates McDonalds, Panera Bread, or any other fast food. 

There are many great places to eat in our town, actually lots, but just not a ton that seem to be focused on families. 

However, the top three that I would recommend:

  1. Red Robin - They have game machines when you enter, a television built into the floor and a large waiting area in case you have to wait a short time for a table. There mascot is a huge red robin for the kids to point out and the most important part, a kids menu - with a pizza option. The pizza option is pretty crucial in our family. Also the atmosphere is fun, it’s a little noisy but in a good family way, and people are relaxed. The servers are friendly and the kids can receive a balloon when they leave. A special bonus for our son is when we are driving there, he does the little slogan - “Reeed Robin...DING!” I actually think it’s “Reeed Robin, YUM” but he likes the DING at the top of his lungs much better.
  2. Eat-n-Park - Maybe it’s because I loved this place growing up because my pap would now and then take my cousin and me for breakfast when his ham-radio club met once a month. We didn’t always go, but when we did my pap was so awesome he would let us cool 8-year-olds sit at a table by ourselves. Yes, it was right next to his, but it was separate, and for us, cool kids, it was the best! My son loves this place too - he can get a meal AND pick items off the soup and salad bar. He enjoys picking and choosing exactly what he wants on his plate - a space for cheese, a space for tomatoes, a space for sunflower seeds, and etc. Don’t worry he orders a meal off the kids menu too. Plus you get the free smiley cookie.
  3. Applebees - While this isn’t exactly approved by our son it’s a nice atmosphere for families. They have a large kids menu; my son’s groan is that they don’t have regular pizza, it’s a cheesy bread stick item. The restaurant has a ton of pictures and items on the wall for kids to look at and talk about. The servers are friendly and always try to take the time to talk to our son, asking him if he likes his dinner or his drink. 

These three are by no means the only family friendly restaurants, just the ones that seem to work best for our family. Do you have a go-to family friendly restaurant that you visit? If so, please let me know in the comments. Or do you have one that my family should try? 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Our Annual Family 5K - 2014

If you follow my blog or have read previous posts (thank you very much if you have!) you know that each year our family tries to do a 5K race together. It also seems to be that we end up doing a different race every year, and while I'd like to stick with one, it just doesn't work out that way.

This year though, I remembered early enough about the Miracle Bunny Trail that happens around Easter. My cousin has helped with this race each year and from what I've heard, it's a great family race event. They even have a MINI-Kid's Hop that is only a half mile for the little legs and they get a certificate. If you have little kids, you know how big of a deal that certificate is; it's HUGE for my 5-year-old. They also will have activities for the kids that include an Easter egg hunt, a visit from the Easter Bunny, and other fun stuff.

My husband, the baby girl, and I will do the 5K walk while my son does the fun activities. My son wasn't concerned at all with the half mile distance - his only concern…does he have to hop for the entire half mile? I love how his mind works, it's so sweet and innocent.

And if you are wondering, no, they don't have to hop at all.

If you are interested in registering visit www.miracle5k.org

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dr. Seuss Books at Bedtime

Each night I read my son a story before he goes to bed, well unless it waaay past bedtime, and this week we are only reading Dr. Seuss books. Last night was my turn to choose the book - "Green Eggs and Ham," and tonight he picked - "The Foot Book." He decided that we'd only read Dr. Seuss this week since his birthday was yesterday (March 2nd) and because of the special week at school featuring everything Seuss.

Anyway, I chose "Green Eggs and Ham" thinking when I asked him what he'd like for breakfast he'd say green eggs. He won't eat eggs at home unless they're green and he wouldn't eat them at all until he went to school last year and the teacher made them for the class. Keep in mind that her toast was better than mine, her ham was great, and "the green eggs were really green, Mom." He was so excited to have eaten green eggs. I offered the next day to make him eggs that were green too; mine didn't even taste the same. Please don't read this and think I'm complaining, I'm definitely not...we just have a hard time determining what will be served at breakfast and I thought I'd make it easy on myself. So much for that! :)

Have you ever read "The Foot Book" and do you remember any of it? Well lots of opposites and of course, rhyming. Even though my little guy can't read yet, he liked being able to guess/read/infer parts of the story. "….small feet (mom reads), big feet (son reads)…" After finishing the story, he asked me if he could pick this book again on his turn so he can read and I could pick "The Lorax" tomorrow night because he likes that one too.

Do you have a favorite Dr. Seuss book? If so, please let me a note in the comments section.

5 Lessons in Life from Dr. Seuss

1. Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You. 
2. Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
3. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. 
4. Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. 
5. Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered.