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 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

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.