Let the games begin

Boo LOVES daycare now. Some of you who have been reading this blog for a while may remember that Boo started going to a daycare center a few days a week back in October. He didn't talk for the first several weeks there, and I don't think he smiled, both of which are highly unlike his everyday happy & hyper personality. Sometime a couple of months ago something clicked. He now absolutely adores going to "school" and he seems to have the best time there! I love this place. They really care for him, and do a great job of keeping the kids busy doing all sorts of educational activities. Yes, sometimes they give him one cookie too many, but then again sometimes so do I.

This past week we found out his school was holding a fundraiser. His first school fundraiser! I've always been the type to get excited about baking cookies and cupcakes with elaborate decorations for my kid's school functions and getting involved with my kid's activities - at least, it's a sick mom fantasy of mine that I thought I would have to wait years for - but this was even sooner than I thought!

Fundraising is easy. The school's goal was set pretty low, I think because they only gave the kids and moms about four actual days to collect money. We collected almost all of the entire school's goal in a couple of days with our collection alone. I love our friends and family. Thank you if you contributed! So I think that Boo's class will get a pizza party, and he gets a bunch of other stuff. Plus, the money goes to a great cause.

Now that my 25th birthday is just a few days behind me (what? just let me be 25 for a bit in this blog...on second thought, never mind. 30-something is way better than 20-something!), so now it's time to think about my husband and Boo's birthdays, which are a few months away and just four days apart from each other. What to do? It's a little ways off but I either plan now or end up freaking out and throwing things together last minute. And I hate that. Because I'm a planner and an organizational freak. You still love me, right?

For Boo's first birthday we had a barnyard BBQ party. Here are some photos from last year's bash, where I baked a cake in the shape of a tractor (yes, it was a bitch to decorate), we had grilled cheese sandwiches in the shapes of farm animals, had hay bales and decorated the cups with the barnyard theme (you can see the barnyard birthday invite, actually, on my Event Bliss site).

I am SOOOOO excited for his second birthday! But what to do this year? Hubby and I don't want to have an Elmo party... maybe we'll just pick some colors he likes and work around the colors as the theme. Maybe we'll just go to the beach and have a beach party. I would like to be at the beach right now... This is what I do when I need a mental break from work. I blog and dream about theme parties and cute 'n yummy baked goods and blog some more. Guess I should get back to work... please share any ideas you have for cute toddler birthday parties (that do not involve commercial mass-marketed characters, please!:).


Boy Genius

My husband is convinced that our son is Boy Genius. I think he just does a bunch of super cute things that make us smile. And laugh. Oh how he makes us laugh. Maybe he is a genius trapped in a tiny boy body. What do I know?

The main talent that Boo possesses which makes his proud papa believe he should be awarded the Boy Genius medal is his uncanny ability to hum a tune to perfect pitch. Boo loves to sing all day long. I mean, All Day Long. It's beautiful. He has diversified his singing repertoire from just humming the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star/ABC tune to also adding into the mix: Happy Birthday (which he sang to me a few times on my birthday - aaawww), Wheels on the Bus, Old MacDonald, Frere Jacques/Where is Thumbkin, and another song I always forget until he sings it, in addition to whatever song we are singing/making up. All kids hum and sing, yea yea, but here's the thing: he can hum a tune to perfect pitch after hearing it just once. It's a little freaky. He has the tempo and rythm down, the inflection, the pitch. It's all there, and it happens fast. Is this normal? Please feel free to also make my husband happy and smug and confirm that yes, our 21-month-old child is, in fact, a boy genius.


Got Mom Envy?

Are you green with mom envy? There's an interesting/entertaining article in this month's issue of Baby Talk that touches on the subject of moms being envious of other moms. The grass being greener on the other side sort of idea. The article breaks down the envy lines into categories such as the Martha Mom (always has an immaculate house), the Gifted Child's mom, the Bombshell mom, the Know-It-All mom, and then You (as in, other moms are envious of something you have that they don't).

I know moms that fall into all of these stereotypes, and I have to say I'm so tired of the damn cliches. Do I envy them? I don't think it's so much envy as it is curiosity. If their house is cleaner than mine all the time and they have more kids and a crazier schedule, I just wonder how the hell they do it and hope to pick up some secret tips. The Bombshell moms though--should I envy them? The ones who work super hard to get back into marathon-running shape. And when I say super hard, I'm talking about the ones who just work out. Period. I don't consciously work out and I don't beat myself up over it, so I don't have any unrealistic expectations of being a Bombshell mom. I like to think that I feel comfortable enough in my own skin to not be envious of these moms who have fantastic things going for them. I like to think that I'm more supportive of them. Envy seems to breed resentment or anger, and I don't think I like the underlying tone of the article. Aren't there enough mommy wars out there? Do we need another article pitting us against each other, even if only in bringing out the fact that we sometimes covet what someone else has, that we are sometimes -- gasp! -- human?

Hmm. Maybe sometimes I do long for a flatter stomach, or a cleaner house or more super mama knowledge on how to handle things, but I wouldn't call it envy. If I truly wanted something out of envy I would work to get it, right? I love who I am with all the things others would see as "faults" and I know I am the best mama for my son, and that my son is the best child in the world for me. I think all moms feel this way, if they allow themselves to. You do know this, right? That you are perfect the way that you are, and that you are the best mom in the world? If a magazine hasn't told you that lately, let me tell you: you are, and you don't need to be envious of anybody else. Am I envious of you? No. I support you and hope that you flaunt what you've got because girl, we've all got it going on in one way or another.


What's the rush?

Today, my little Boo told me three times that he was going "pee pee." He made that "uh-oh" face and did the funny scrunch-your-knees-together stance. I know that he now knows he's about to go. He knows that he's about to go and that he's supposed to tell me. He has a little potty at home. We go to it when he lets me know at home that he's going and he just sits on it with his clothes and diaper on. At this point, that's all I am ready to do. I think we're taking baby steps with this whole potty training thing. He's 20 months old. Most kids I know these days don't start potty training until they are two and a half and most aren't trained until they're about three or four. We're not supposed to rush them if they're not ready, right? Well, what if I'm not ready? I'm not. He may be, but I'm not.

Unlike the first year of his life, I haven't read any silly books about toddler behavior or development. I delete my Baby Center weekly email updates as soon as they come into my Inbox. I've been going on mama instinct for much of the past year and it's felt really great. This whole potty training thing though...baffles me. I have a theoretic idea of how my husband and I will handle it and teach him, but will it work? There are a lot of other mamas I know that are going through potty training or have just gone through it, so that is very helpful. But now I'm wondering if I should I read up more on the topic. Mama instinct may only take me so far.

Part of it, I know, is that I just can't let go of my baby. I'm having a really hard time saying bye bye baby and hello big kid. I love all of his changes--now is such an exciting time, with him learning new things every minute it seems, with great verbal skills, comprehension skills and growing social skills--but it's all so fast. Too fast. The emotional tug-of-war that goes on within a mother really truly sucks sometimes.


two to midnight

It is two minutes to midnight and I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my dear friend H and her hubby A. They just spent a week in Cabo (welcome back to the cold NW, H!) and are spending the night here before they drive back down to their hometown about four hours south of Portland. We are hosting a brunch tomorrow for them with three of our college gal pals and their boys. I am really excited. As many playdates as I have been to this past month, I still feel like I haven't had any chill time. Playdates are awesome, but I think the energy level is pumped up triple time because of the tots roaming about. I think some solid chill time at home is in order.

I hear a car...is this them? Woohoo! Off I go...



For our first Valentine's Day, I made my now-husband, then-newly-minted-boyfriend a dinner of spaghetti with meat sauce, salad and cake in my college dorm in Boston. We had been dating for about three months. He skipped class that night. He told me he loved me. I was in silly-college-girl heaven.

13 years later, I am still in heaven, and still in love with my husband, who started out as my best friend. We've been through a lot together throughout these 13 years. We've helped each other grow and we've fostered each other's ambitions and dreams. We've cried and agonized together. We've fought. We've made up. We've laughed and danced silly dances to tv theme songs and laughed laughed laughed. We've worked side by side. We've made life-altering decisions together. We've lived in three states together. We've become who we are now, together. What is amazing to me is how he still loves me, even knowing all of my faults and bad habits and annoyances. Even on a day like today, when I am getting sick and tired (literally), feeling beaten down, overstressed and PMSing, he still loves me. We get through days like today, together.

More amazing is how he loves our son. I may have been the one to push, but he and I gave birth to Boo together; I could not have done it without him. He was a true birthing partner, and he has been an absolutely amazing, incredible parenting partner. Watching him now play the role of Daddy, a role that fits his skin so well, often makes me well up with such pride and happiness as I go about my day.

My husband is not perfect, and neither am I, but we are perfectly suited as life partners. He rocks my world, and I can't thank him enough for everything he does and everything he is. Happy Valentine's Day, honey. The Boomeister and I are madly in love with you, and we always will be.


Who is this kid?

Who is this kid in my house? This big kid, with words and ideas of his own, and specific preferences? Boo, in the past two days, has blossomed like crazy. He's seriously talking up a storm, saying words I didn't know he knew how to say, learning colors and shapes, his vowels, numbers. He talks nonstop, and then sings in between his talking. He's more animated than ever, and let me tell ya, he was animated before but now...watch out! He loves the number two, because he now loves to have two of everything. That way, he can hold one of whatever (ball, binky, book, cup) in each hand, look at them back and forth and say "Two!" Now granted, he's not ready for preschool or anything, but he's just mind-boggled me and my hubby. You would watch him and probably say, "yeah, so what? normal kid." We stare at him like he's an alien that invaded our baby's body. It's an incredibly fun and amazing time, but so surreal.

Like my new blog header, by the way? Thanks to my hubby for fixing my mistakes and making it look better. If you look closely, you can see me in one of the itsy bitsy photos.


No Minivan for us!!!

We are NOT getting a minivan!!! I repeat, we are NOT getting a minivan!

We have needed a new second car for quite some time now. We had consigned ourselves to the fact that really, everything we used our vehicle for, the fact that we have a big dog plus a kid, and we'd like to have another kid sometime in the future, that really we needed a minivan to make our lives easier. Plus, they got great gas mileage compared to our gas guzzling SUV. So today, off we went, in search of the right (sigh) minivan. We LOVED the Honda Odyssey. This is THE BEST minivan if you must get one. Super plush, tons of storage, super easy to maneuver the seat configurations. If we got one, this is what we would have bought.

We hated the Chrysler Town & Country. It's a cheap piece of shit. Period. Oh, and their sales people were nuts. The first woman told us four times in the first two minutes "I'm Patti" in the middle of spastic semi-sentences. Uh, yeah, lady, you told us already... (cuckoo!)

We were disappointed by the Toyota Sienna. For the larger price tag, you actually got less options than you did with the Honda Odyssey, plus it just wasn't as plush and comfy as the Odyssey.

And then, after our Sienna disappointment, we saw it: one of the brand new Toyota SUVs. I never would have thought about this as an option because I could only think of the old version of this particular vehicle--small, compact, crappy. The new ones: AWESOME. LOVE IT. Cheaper than a minivan and get this--better gas mileage! And it's an SUV, for goodness' sake! It's also awesomely configured for shorter drivers (aka, me) super comfortable and even more leg room in the back seat than our current SUV. Great cargo room. Drives smoothly. So today, I drove home happy. And NOT in a minivan. Someday we may get one and that will be fine, but not today.

BTW, today also marks the first day that Boo broke a dish at a restaurant. Oops. They were super nice and we tipped VERY well, but still: we were "those" people at the restaurant today. Other than the broken dish, he was fine.

UPDATE NOTE: I'm not totally dissing minivans, mind you. I once drove a Dodge Caravan for work since I was a traveling rep. It was awesome and my friends to this day still talk about how great it was that we could fit all of us in one van. I just don't think that at this time in my life we are in need of one, and just can't see myself driving one right now.

Babies of 2006

And so it begins.

Congratulations to my pal W for giving birth to baby #2, Jonah, yesterday! I had actually just emailed her last night to see what she thought of a new Mama Calling Card design I created in her namesake and then this morning, POOF! An email in my Inbox with photos of the happy family with new baby. She was scheduled for a second C for the 7th. Surprise! Congratulations fellow mama!


Blogger therapy/birthdays coming

WOW. Thank you all so much for your comments/notes of validation for my last post. As much as I am really trying not to care how others view my parenting decisions, I must admit it is nice to know that I am not alone in some of my choices and that there are other moms out there feeling a lot of the same that I am feeling. I often refer to blogging as cheap therapy :) So thanks for making me feel better!

To random life matters...I'm working like a maniac but trying to keep some "balance." My mind is running a zillion miles a minute but my body is slugging behind for lack of sleep. A good night's sleep. What's that? Do you know?

My birthday is this month, as my cousin whose birthday is also this month just reminded me. I am turning 32. I am really indifferent to the whole age thing right now. I'm more concerned that my son is turning two this year. TWO! Where did my baby go?

Do I want a birthday party? Here are a few options:
1. Have the girls over for a silly slumber party the night before and then a HUGE yummy brunch with mimosas the next morning
2. Rent some space in a bar/restaurant and have friends come (no kids)
3. Have a party at our house so everyone can bring their kids
4. Sleep in until 8 a.m. that morning and then not do ONE OUNCE of work the entire day. Stay in my pajamas and watch DVDs with Boo and Hubby. Eat a lot of chocolate. Take the dog for a nice long walk up and down all of the hills in our area. Blog a little. Run around the house with Boo. Go to sleep early, like at 10. Sleep in again until 8 the next morning.

I'm digging option #4 right now, the more I write... we'll see.