"I love you and want for you all things that make you happiest; and I guess you, not I, are the one who knows best what those things are."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Celebrating Preparedness

Today I’m celebrating preparedness….what does that mean?  Well, it means I’m ready!  Ready, ready, ready.  Let’s stop to evaluate what all I’m ready for…

1.  We’re ready for Chris & Steph’s wedding almost a week ahead of time!  And by ready I mean – I have two boys packed, activities planned for the car, maps of our route courtesy of AAA, my dresses picked out, hotel reservations made including a crib for Nathan, and the car cleaned out (so that it can get trashed during the 12 hour drive to TX).  I’m ready.  Boys are ready.  Matt on the other hand?  He’s on his own!

2.  I’m ready for John’s next meeting with the state.  I’m even ready for his first meeting with the local public school district.  I’ve talked to therapists, service providers, friends and family that have worked through this process of transitioning a child from Early Intervention to Special Ed.  I’ve gotten John’s entire file from the State of Illinois.  I’ve completed some research on his needs and I’ve quizzed his therapists on their thoughts.  Bring on the big guns – I’m ready for this meeting!  (Did I mention that it’s not for a couple weeks?)

3.  We’re ready for summer!  We’ve dug the outside toys out of the basement, kept the grass cut, put the child swings back on the swing set, aired up the bicycle tires and swept out the garage.  I’ve also dug out the boys swim trunks, bought Nathan a baby float for the pool, and checked out stock of sunscreen.  Now we just need consistently warm weather and lots of sun and summer will be ready for us!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Less Than A Month To Go

I can’t believe that in less than one month I’ll have a 1 year old and a 2.5 year old.  Wow!  Where did the last year go?  Plans are well underway for appropriate birthday celebrations for Nathan. 

Yes – I said celebrations (plural). 

Since we’re heading to TX for Chris & Steph’s wedding next week and the whole family (aunts, uncles, cousins, great aunts & uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, and the like) as well as many of our family friends will be in Dallas together – we decide to go ahead and celebrate turning 1 a few weeks early.  Then, when we return to IL, we’ll have another birthday celebration with more family and friends at home.  In other words, my child should be spoiled completely rotten by the time he actually turns 1!

The theme for the party extravaganzas – Chuggington! 


Easier said than done….  Chuggington party supplies have not been released in the US yet.  (At one point in time I seriously considered having them shipped from the UK, but who wants to spend that much money on a birthday that their child won’t even remember?)  So the current, and only, plan is to decorate with the colors of Chuggington’s main characters – Koko, Brewster and Wilson – which are lime green, yellow, blue and red.  Then we’ll toss up some fun Chuggington pictures that I’ve downloaded off the web and stick a toy Chuggington train on top of Nathan’s birthday cake.  Simple enough!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Traveling with a Toddler

Everyone seems to panic when it comes to traveling any length or distance with a toddler.  I’m certainly no exception.  I’ve been diligently “googling” toddler car trip games for months because we’re preparing to embark on a 12-hour drive to Dallas in a few weeks.  Remarkably – the most common suggestions I’ve found for toddler entertainment include a portable DVD player, lots of Disney movies and traveling between the hours of 7PM and 5AM so as to encourage sleeping. 
Our plan right now is to drive several hours in the evening after dinner (hoping the boys will doze off and we can just dump them into bed at a hotel a few hours down the road).  We’ll be taking our portable DVD player and our fair share of Disney movies also, but I wanted something more for the boys.  You know, something that might require some brain power or possibly the use of a muscle (or two).  So I’ve put together some road-trip activity kits for the drive.  My hope is to distribute these kits over the course of the 24! hours we’ll be spending in the car on the way to and from our destination.
I’m hopeful that each activity kit (including the enclosed movie) will by us a minimum of 2-2.5 hours of entertainment.  I’ll have to report back to you on how that goes! You’ll notice that some of the items are more age appropriate for John (2.5 years) and some are more age appropriate for Nathan (11 months).
So here we go!!!!
Bag #1
Bag #1
Bag #2
Bag #2
Bag #3
Bag #3
Bag #4
Bag #4
Bag #5
Bag #5
Bag #6
Bag #6
Each activity bag is packed in a 2.5 gallon ziplock bag and the 6 bags are in a paper shopping bag with a handle.  We’ll also (obviously) have lots of snacks and drinks packed for the kiddos including dry cereal, cookies, granola bars, juice, water, shelf stable milk.  More on the snack side of things in a later post!
Happy Traveling!

See my post-vacation review of these activity bags here....

Monday, May 16, 2011

Color Matching & Hand Strengthening

So as I’ve been looking for car-friendly activities for little ones – I came across this great post on a color matching clothespin activity.  I had to adapt it a little for John and for the car, but I really like the outcome! 

First I headed to the local hardware store and found awesome “mickey” paint chips.  I got two of each color – one for cutting up and one for using to match the clothespins against.  Using the small craft clothespins you find at an art store I cut out two strips of the color and glued them to each side of the clothespin.  John has loved matching up the clothespins to the paint chip cards and remarkably after only a few attempts he developed the fine motor skills to do it all by himself!  Check out the finished product below!


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sharing Other’s Successes

We all know that when you’re busy being a stay-at-home-mom “all the small successes in our days add up to one big triumph.”   So on Thursday of each week Danielle Bean over at Faith and Family Live! reminds us to take a minute to identify those successes.  What a great idea!

It’s been a really busy week.  And the next couple weeks aren’t looking like they are slowing down much.  We’ve had (and shared) a lot of success over the past week.  Let’s see what has been going on…

1.  My baby sister (ok, she’s 22!) graduated college!  College, I tell you!  Since she was, like, in 3rd grade when I left for college and I remember having a minor 'quarter-life crisis’ when I saw her in a bikini (with curves!) for the first time…I have a hard time swallowing the fact that she has now graduated college.  I suppose I should get used to the idea of her being an adult.  She’ll be married in a little over a year!

2.  We’ve had lots of company over during the past week.  Friends for margaritas, kiddos for play dates, and family for dinner have all been on our agenda in the past few days.  The house hasn’t been in perfect shape – but I can honestly say I wasn’t at all embarrassed by it’s state.  Things have been staying relatively clean and when it comes to toys and child-clutter hanging around – I’ve decided to embrace the fact that….wait for it…children live here!  Some of it may be things I could run around and hide in closets or behind closed doors at the last minute if I wanted, but this week I’ve decided to pass on the frantic “my house has to be spotless to have people over” shuffle.  I’m enjoying it.

3.  After my husband and I chatted last night in bed, we both rolled over and got some sleep.  It’s amazing what a little shut-eye can do for everyone’s perspective.  Both of us are feeling better about our conversation, we were able to talk a little more this morning before he headed out to work, and we’ve got a loose plan for addressing the issues at hand.  We realized that this seems to be a matter of transition for everyone and it’s just taking a while to fall into a new groove now that he has started a new job (with practically NO travel time!)

Bonus 4.  Did you read the last sentence of #3?  My husband started a new job, with a new company, and practically no travel time!  Yes, he has to drive to an office everyday and clock in, but he’s home every.single.night...Can’t beat that!  What a blessing!!!!!

Make sure to share your successes over at Faith and Family Live!  We love to celebrate with everyone!