Monday, September 28, 2009

Alexander A-Z

I love when someone else has a great post on a blog and I can "steal" it. Kudos to Jen for her idea and kick starting my creativity this evening! As a side note, Jen and Rachel are my newest blog friends. Ironically, we all celebrate birthdays in the next two weeks. This means we are all Libra's (only I'm the MUCH older sister) and I do love me a fun-loving Libra! But mostly, I enjoy their blogs and I aspire to write as well as these ladies do as they describe their lives to the blog masses. If you haven't had a chance, check out their blogs!

ANYHOW, Jen's idea...One Letter at a Time. Which is pretty fitting since Alexander wants to watch The Letter Factory 24-7. I'm going to do this about Alexander since this blog is all about him and that is why most people follow it (apparently, not everything is about me!).

A - Age: 2 years and 9 months old (will be 3 in January!)

B - Bed Size: Big boy toddler bed

C - Chore he hates: There is no chore the boy hates. He's mommy's best cleaner.

D - Dog's name: We don't have a dog but we will, once the cats are gone.

E - Essential start your day item: Binky, blankie, and morning cartoons. In that order.

F - Favorite color: Blue. I say that only because his current binky is blue.

G - Gold or Silver or Platinum: His mommy prefers White Gold. Who knows what he likes.

H - Height: 37 inches

I - Instruments you play: Tamborine

J -Job Title: Super Toddler

K - Kid(s): He is the kid

L - Living arrangements: He currently lives at his parents house, rent free. We have discussed the need to charge rent once we need money for the house addition but, for now, his piggy bank is intact.

M - Mom's name: Michelle

N - Nickname(s): Alex. Zander. Pal-ie (my nickname for him). Bug-Boy (Eric's nickname for him).

O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: Nope.

P - Pet Peeve: When the cat, Guybrush, walks through the middle of an activity looking for attention. Or when any of his grandparents has to leave.

Q - Quote from a movie - "A", "B", "C", etc. I told you he liked The Letter Factory

R - Right or Left handed: Right handed. But I'm not above strapping his right arm down to make him a southpaw pitcher.

S - Siblings: Two cats - Schmoo and Guybrush. No siblings for this kid.

T - Time you wake up: Most days it is between 6:30 and 7AM.

U - Underwear: Pampers Cruisers - size 5.

V - Vegetable you dislike: Cucumbers.

W - Ways you run late: We aren't ever late. Mommy HATES being late.

X - X-rays you've had: None but we should have had one when the kid was doing somersaults in my belly and broke my rib during pregnancy.

Y - Yummy food you make: Very picky toddler cooks a mean mac n cheese in his play kitchen

Z - Zoo favorite: Elephants and the goats. Always the goats.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nightly ritual between Mommy and Alexander:

Eskimo noses.
Squishy cheeks (pinch cheeks gently)
Big hug
Mommy: "I love you to the moon."
Alexander: "and back".

One of Those Days

Do you ever have one of those days? When you know you might have been better off staying in bed? Turns out all three of us might have been better off sleeping in...

1. At 7:00 this morning, Mommy heard "emergency staff meeting" over the intercom. A teacher dreads hearing those words and truthfully, I have heard them too many times in fifteen years. I have resigned myself to accept that those words generally lead to this: I will be crying within the next twenty minutes. By 7:10, I had learned that a co-worker had lost a child the night before. Devastating news. And yes, I cried by 7:15.

2. By 10AM, Alexander had puked on Daddy (ok, he didn't really puke ON Daddy but to hear Eric tell the story, Alexander might as well have puked on him). Alexander simply ate too much during his morning walk and experienced toddler bulimia. All over himself and the stroller. Eric doesn't do puke. EVER. But our champion stay-at-home dad channeled the hero inside and stepped up to clean the mess. By the way, Alexander hasn't thrown up since the walk. In fact, if anything, his appetite is stronger than ever. I can't say the same about Eric's.

3. It's now almost 6PM and Alexander wants to do nothing but watch TV. Letter Factory. Talking Words Factory. And now, It's A Bug's Life. I'm dealing with my inadequate parenting feelings by blogging and drinking wine.

The day is almost over. Phew.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Last days of summer

I never truly appreciated the change of seasons until I was in college, on the eastern side of the state. Washington State University is set in the middle of a college town, in the middle of a wheat field. Literally. You couldn't help but notice the pronounced difference in seasons with cobblestone paths lined by trees covered in all shades of autumn colors as summer turned to fall. Winter brought piles of snow outside your door, waiting for you to forge through on your way to class. Bright, sunny spring days with a twinge of warmth led to gorgeous HOT summer days. There really is no other place like least to a faithful Coug.

All of us have different reasons for enjoying the fall. Eric likes that the grass stops growing and the temperatures cool. Alexander likes attending Little Gym for the fall session. And I like that another school year begins because that means I am one year closer to retiring. In all honesty, I love the smell of wood burning in someone's wood stove. Tree leaves turn to beautiful shades of oranges and browns before littering yards. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are available. Comfort food and curling up with blankets are a must during this season, as well. While I am not a huge fan of the change to fall/winter seasons, I admit that a crisp, sunny day in the northwest is a beautiful thing.

With that being said, we celebrate that today is the first day of fall. But the northwest hasn't received the message! Today was 92 and tomorrow is expected to be even warmer. Personally, I love being outside and being sunburned at the end of my work day. We're not sure how much longer these last days of summer will last but we plan to take full advantage of them as long as can! Here are a few pictures of our family outing at the lake yesterday afternoon.

Does this kid EVER tire of digging?

He's up to no good

But you'll never know it from this angel smile!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pull Big Papa House

The beauty of living in the northwest is that one can drive less than hour, pull into a state park, and within minutes, become surrounded by green trees, fresh air, and the peace of nature. With this final destination in mind, Alexander and his grandparents hung out in a thirty foot RV went camping last week. He loves, loves, loves to watch Big Papa's truck pull the "house" and is a big help when Big Papa had to back up by saying "beep-beep over and over again!
Since the weather was predicted to be warm, they decided to drive out a day early and find a spot, leaving Mommy and Daddy to sleep enjoy date night before joining the group a day later.

Alexander and his grandparents played at the river,

ate lots of good food,

and waited for our arrival Friday afternoon.

The weather wasn't quite as nice as we anticipated but I know a toddler who loved every minute of his mini-vacation. And I know a Big Papa and Umma who are counting down days until Alexander will be able to help pull Big Papa's house again.
Thanks Big Papa and Umma for the camping fun!
We certainly enjoyed living in luxury roughing it over the weekend.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Day at the Fair

Everyone loves when the fair comes to town! Free fair tickets are a perk of teaching so this past week, we bundled up on a cloudy day and headed to the fair with Big Papa and Umma.

At first, due to the large crowds, Alexander was content to stay in the stroller as our tour guide.
It didn't take long for him to decide he would rather walk along side us.

As long as he held hands with Umma.

Someone sees the tractors!

Next stop: The baa's, bunnies, and chicks exhibits.

As it turns out, being a year older does not make Alexander any braver when it came to looking at animals at the fair.
Alexander wanted nothing to do with the cows or horses, even with Daddy protective arms around us.

Once we finished with animal exhibits, we walked toward the fair rides and look at what we saw!
Needless to say, Alexander and Big Papa had to take a ride.
Mommy and Daddy took goofy pictures while we waited for them to start the train ride.

Mommy might as well have taken the ride as she ran from point to point along the track, trying to snap pictures of the train ride. (I can only imagine what people were thinking as they watched me frantically chasing this kiddie train...)

Finally, Alexander was hungry so we stopped for Earthquake burgers (our advice: half a burger is MORE than enough!) and topped it off with a fair scone. Before we left, Mommy insisted on a family photo.

Another great day at the fair!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Project Kitchen Remodel

The kitchen remodel at Ho-Ho Papa and Grrma's is 90% complete. There are little jobs that remain like finishing the baseboards, cutting down and placing one cabinet cover, and figuring out what to do to cover the old pantry doors. After a month of take out meals, washing dishes in the bathroom sink, and countless trips to IKEA it's done (for the most part). Eric is pleased with the product. Ho-Ho Papa and Grrma are THRILLED with the product. And Alexander loved every minute that he spent with his grandparents. We suspect the feeling is mutual. It made me realize how lucky I am have a husband who is so talented with remodel projects, enjoys working in the yard, and is totally capable of fixing our cars. And does it all with a toddler under foot.
Eric, you did an amazing job and we are very proud of you!

Next project: Convincing Ho-Ho Papa and Grrma to retire and spend time, whipping up new, healthy recipes for us to enjoy!

Sink side
From start

to fi

Stove side
From start

to finish!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Looking forward

Alexander's Halloween costume arrived today! Normally, Halloween is not my favorite holiday. Not in the slightest. But when that perfect, little costume arrived and Alexander refused to take it off for hours, well, even I couldn't help but be excited and start looking forward to Halloween.

Any guesses as to what the little man is going to be this year?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Latest Obsession

Part of parenting is finding out which toys will work best for a child's age and development. When we started to notice Alexander's latest obsession with trains, it was time to turn to someone with train set experience. Neighbor Ann. Neighbor Ann was my next door neighbor in childhood, Young Life leader in high school and the older sister I never had. Imagine our surprise when Eric and I bought our first house in 1996 to discover Ann and her family living only two houses away. I never would have survived living in that neighborhood if Ann hadn't been there to laugh with me and help me find the humor regarding the crack addicts on my side of the street.

Anyhow, Neighbor Ann is the authority on train sets. Her three children have, by far, the coolest and most extensive train track we've ever seen. Whenever Eric and I returned from a visit to their home, our conversation would inevitably turn to the massive train set that traveled from their living room, through the dining room, and into the sun room (not only was it the coolest kid toy but it was quite the obstacle test when walking through their home!).

Thanks to the advice of Neighbor Ann, we decided to try out an IKEA train track, rather than spending insane amounts of money on a train track for a two-and-a-half year old who may not be ready for it. This weekend, my parents picked up the set when they were buying additional kitchen cabinets and Ho-Ho Papa and Daddy we set it up during Alexander's nap.
From the moment we put the pieces together, we couldn't wait for him to wake up and test it out.

Oh man, the kid loved it! And it was fairly inexpensive so adding to the set will be affordable. Our set may not be as large as Neighbor Ann's but you have to start somewhere! Thanks for the advice, Ann! You're invited to visit and step over our set anytime!

Footnote: it may come as no surprise that with this latest obsession, I've cleaned out his toys (AGAIN) in anticipation of the holiday season. I can't help it. Cleaning is my obsession.