Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!



(*Note - Yes, we are partaking in a Christmas pajama theme. It's a lovely tradition that I'm stealing borrowing with permission from a friend. Next year, I may just order adult footy pajamas so that Ryan and I can be as comfy as Ethan!)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankful

I am thankful for so many things. Countless things. But for this post, I'm going to focus on just one...


That guy.

I'm thankful that he's happy and healthy - incredibly thankful that he's happy and healthy.
I'm thankful for the way he shouts, "Mama!" and throws himself into my arms when I get home.
I'm thankful for all of his little quirks, the inflection in his voice, and the silly expressions of his face.
I'm thankful for his amazing sense of humor, and how it's always so easy to make him laugh.
I'm thankful for the time I get to spend watching him grow and learn new things.
I'm thankful for the way he makes my heart melt every time he gives me unsolicited snuggles.

I'm thankful that I get to be his mom.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A November Post (that's actually about Halloween)

Ethan "helped" me carve a pumpkin. His version of helping was digging around in the bowl with his shovel after I scooped out the pumpkin guts. As I predicted, he wanted nothing to do with the scooping process. He was, however, super into playing with the shovel. He was not so into sharing the shovel with me so that I didn't have to use my hands.
Ethan: 1, Mama: 0


Ethan also "helped" me with the actual carving process. Sort of. He really wanted to use the sharp, serrated tools, but with some slight of hand and clever distraction tactics (and a little bit of bold-faced lying), I convinced him that the sharp tools were boring, and that this dull plastic punch was where it's at.
Ethan: 1, Mama: 1


I agonized for weeks and weeks over what to do for Ethan's costume. I was looking for a robot, but struck out on all of my searches. I thought about making a robot costume, but that plan had two fatal flaws: 1) All of my ideas involved things like dryer vent hose for arms and cardboard boxes for the body, which Ethan would probably not keep on (if he even let me put them on in the first place), and 2) As much as I love being crafty, I'm crazy busy right now and simply didn't have enough time. Ethan took matters into his own hands by choosing his Tigger costume on an unrelated outing to Babies R Us. He saw it, shouted, "Tigger!!!" and gave it lots of hugs and kisses. Problem solved. Win-win.
Ethan: 2, Mama: 2


After suiting up in both costume and glow bracelets, we headed out to score some free candy. Our neighborhood was filled with trick-or-treaters, and Ethan seemed confused by all of the ninjas, princesses, and pirates walking down the street. With a bit of hesitation, we were able to get him to walk up to doors, though he usually asked me to knock on them.


Can you see the hesitation on his face? I blame it on the Grim Reaper door knocker that had flashing red eyes and an evil "Mwah ha ha" kind of laugh that we encountered at the first house. Towards the end of our night, Ethan insisted on riding on my back, burying his head in my shoulders whenever a door would open. He'd quickly become brave when he caught sight of the candy bowl, and would dart his hand out to grab some goodies.


We had to work on the "thank you" response to being given a treat - he wanted to eat his candy right away and defaulted to excited shouts of, "Open! Open!" followed quickly by a singsongy, "Bye!" to the person/creature at the door. Learning a lesson from countless other "firsts" we decided to head home while we were still on top (and tantrum-free), and turned around after about five or six houses. Our Tigger became very ♫ Bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun! ♫ after we let him finish all of his non-peanut butter, non-choking hazard pieces of candy before going to bed. And after he went to bed, I may or may not have finished the ones deemed too hazardous for toddler consumption. We both came out on top in the candy department.
Ethan: 3, Mama: 3
By all accounts, Halloween was officially a success.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Halloween Post (that's not about Halloween)

Of course it's not, because in order for the post on Halloween to be about Halloween, I would have to be up to date with my blogging. Which we all know is just not the case. At least this post is about events that happened in the month of October.

Or, as I have renamed it, the month that Sarah was wrong about everything. Allow me to explain.

1) I stated with authority that the San Francisco Giants would not make it to the World Series. Wrong.

2) My dad and I took Ethan to the zoo, sure of the fact that he would love the animals. Wrong. The morning was spent deflecting shouts of, "No [insert animal name here]! Bye bye, [seriously, insert ANY animal name here]!" He did love the petting zoo, so technically I was only half wrong.

3) I thought that Ethan would get a kick out of the planes during Fleet Week. Super wrong. He was terrified. Thankfully, Ethan did get a kick out of splashing in the frigid waters of the Pacific while Ryan and my dad watched the air show, which distracted him from crying every time a plane zoomed and sonic boomed overhead.


Despite being full of failed predictions, October was a really great month! My dad came to visit for a week, and stayed with us for the first time. Ethan was able to wake up to his Pa-Pa every morning and see him until the minute he went to bed. As usual when we have visitors in town, we packed the week full of activities. One of my favorites was a trip to the pumpkin patch. As my long time readers may remember, I've been waiting years for Ethan to be old enough to enjoy Halloween. From dressing him up when he was itty bitty, to taking him to a pumpkin patch when he wasn't even old enough to sit up on his own, and the trick or treating plans that were ruined by a nasty bout of H1N1, Halloween has always been filled with good intentions, most of which just didn't work out for us.

I don't want to jinx it, but this year may be different. The pumpkin patch trip started us off on the right foot. Ethan had a blast "splashing" in a pool full of beans
and running through the hay mazes and tunnels.



Ethan picked his own costume this year, and we're going trick or treating for the first time ever tonight. If we're lucky, all will go well and Ethan will have a fantastic time. If you're lucky, I'll have fodder for another post about Halloween mishaps. No matter how it shakes down, it's kind of a win-win situation.

And unlike the over/under on the Giants winning the World Series, I like those odds.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Lot of Catching Up

Wow. It's been over a month since my last post. Bad blogger. Bad! Can a super cute photo of the boy put me back your good graces?


Excellent. Now that we're pals again, let's get to the catching up part of this post!

You may notice that Ethan is sporting a new, shorter 'do. We took him for his first cut since the hair pulling incident. We've been waiting for the hair to grow back enough to justify a trip to the salon. He hasn't pulled any hair since back in April, and I *think* we're in the clear and successfully broke the habit. Whew!

My new job has me out of the door before Ethan wakes up, and home about an hour before he goes to bed. Well, that is if I put him to bed on time... I've been letting him stay up past his bedtime quite frequently to steal a bit more time with him at night. It's made our weekend time together so precious, and we've been trying to have as many adventures as we can.

One recent adventure was taking Ethan camping for the first time. We went with our amazing friends, the Hokes, who had their little one in tow as well. After setting up camp we took a hike in the woods with the kiddos and the pups. Ethan loved running around in the woods playing with sticks and rocks and dirt and bugs. Though we intended to have him sleep in a tent on his own, we ended up setting up the Pack 'n Play in the back of the SUV due to 1) lots and lots of bedtime protest in a crowded campground, and 2) the fact that it was much warmer and safer in the car than it was in the tent.

The windows were cracked, don't worry.

All in all, it was a pretty fantastic and successful experiment! Exhausting and dirt-caked, but successful!

Another exciting event was Ryan's recent gallery exhibition. He showed pieces from his Tasteful Torment series to a crowd of more than 500 art enthusiasts! It was such a great night, and a wonderful opportunity to catch up with some friends that we haven't seen in way too long. You can read an interview about him and his work here, and check out the full series on his website here.

Coming up this week is a visit from Ethan's Pa-Pa. We've planned a lot of activities, which includes hitting Fleet Week in San Francisco, going to a pumpkin patch, and taking Ethan to the zoo. I'm off from work for the duration of my dad's visit, and am so excited that I'll get to join in on all of the weekday fun!

Now if I can just remember to post about the aforementioned adventures in a timely fashion...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mondays with Ethan

Now that I'm back to work five days a week, Ethan and Ryan have a lot more guy time together. They've been getting into all kinds of trouble adventures.


Days with Dada are SO MUCH FUN!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

- I spent a ton of time with my little family (I only worked a total of TWELVE hours this summer! Not per week - total!)

- I spent not enough time with my extended family (This is due both to being ridiculously far away and being ridiculously busy. Keep reading.)

- I learned that we would be moving to a new house - a beautiful, mid-century modern Eichler house (...and not to a new state, as we discovered in the eleventh hour. Seriously, our bags were practically packed for Texas. Oh, but to that point...)

- I learned that there's no such thing as packing ahead of time when you have a toddler. (Unless your family lives in the area and can spend some QT with the cutie, while you tackle the packing. But I suppose I've already addressed this in an earlier bullet point.)

- I witnessed countless selfless acts from some pretty incredible, super fantastic friends (Friends who will stay up until two in the morning helping you pack and move and paint - several days in a row, friends who will drive over ninety minutes one way to help with heavy lifting and baby wrangling, friends who will wake up early and meet you at your old place at 6am to help you clean before the move-out inspection, and friends who recognize that the process of moving will suck the life out of you and offer to babysit so that you can recharge. I love, love, love each and every one of you!)

- I did more painting than I've ever done, collectively, in my entire life (We painted the entire house a cool-toned gray color, with a great deal of help from the aforementioned amazing friends! It was a lot of work, but definitely worth it. The previous color was a terrible shade of peachy yellow.)

- I did a lot of celebrating (Ryan's grad school graduation, his thirty-somethingth birthday, our sixth wedding anniversary, Ethan's second birthday...)

- I learned how to keep my house immaculately clean and showroom-ready at all times, and I have the pictures to prove it (Or, maybe we did a super duper cleaning job before Ryan took pics of our new place - and staged the dining room table. Guess you'll have to drop by unannounced and see if the table is set when you arrive to find out the truth!)






I start my new job on Monday, marking the end of what I think was a pretty fantastic summer. It was fast and furious, and not always (or hardly ever) relaxing, but it was perfect.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Birthday Boy Turns Two!

“A two-year old is kind of like having a blender, but you don't have a top for it.” ~ Jerry Seinfeld

We put our little blender on full blast today for a cupcake decorating celebration. Luckily, we had the foresight to hold our little fiesta outside, with easy access to hose everything (and everyone...) down after we finished our fun. I thought that if I turned him loose with a few bottles of sprinkles, a plate full of cupcakes, and a tub of frosting, Ethan would decorate all of the cupcakes and then eat one.

Two years into this whole parenting thing, and I still have unrealistic expectations like that? Sheesh. Here's what actually happened:

1) Ethan dumps half a bottle of sprinkles on one cupcake.


2) He begins to make frantic "Ahhhhhhhh, ahhhhhhhh" sounds with his mouth wide open, signaling that he wants to do a little less decorating and a little more eating.

3) Ethan quickly scarfs down a cupcake, and sweetly smiles before asking for another one.


4) Mama of course lets him have another one.


5) After he finishes his second treat, Ethan proceeds to take a bite out of or lick frosting off of each of the remaining cupcakes.

It was the perfect low-key celebration, followed by a lot of running around the yard (and a huge sugar crash before bedtime)!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

New Post: Coming Soon!

No, we haven't dropped off the face of the earth, we've just been super busy moving to a new house. Blog update soon, complete with pictures of our new humble abode, I promise!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Picking Peaches

Where, oh where, oh where is Ethan?

Where, oh where, oh where is Ethan?

Where, oh where, oh where is Ethan?
Way down yonder in the peach tree patch.

Picking up peaches, put 'em in a basket.

Picking up peaches, put 'em in a basket.

Picking up peaches, put 'em in a basket.
Way down yonder in the peach tree patch.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Choo Choo!

One or two weekends per month, the Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society opens their doors to the public for a train show. We've been meaning to go for a while, but just recently got around to it.


Not knowing exactly how to describe what we saw there, I'll let some of the info from their website do the talking. "The Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society is proud to be one of the most mountainous layouts, and one of the largest exclusively HO scale lines in the United States."

(I have no idea what an HO scale line is, but I'm impressed!)

"At our shows we invite you to visit a permanent 54' x 32' layout with over 4,300 feet of hand laid track on 175,000 individual ties with more than 340 turnouts all enclosed in a building specially designed and constructed by the club members. Mountains rise to 10 feet above the lowest track level, and the railroad may be viewed from all sides. Under normal operating conditions it requires about 45 minutes for one train to complete a single circuit of the mainline."


So, in a nutshell, in the world of railroad enthusiasts their setup is a big deal. They had a whole mission control thing going on, with ten or so guys running all of the trains. During the show the sun set, a thunderstorm showered the show floor with actual sprinkles of water from the ceiling, and the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey blared over the speakers when the sun rose again. It's not a hobby for these guys, it's a lifestyle.


Ethan thought it was pretty exciting, and pointed wildly at all of the trains going in and out of tunnels, around corners, and through city streets. He was a bit frustrated when we wouldn't let him pick up the train cars, and the thunderstorm really freaked him out, but all in all it was a good time!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Long Time, No Blog!

Okay, first things first. Let's go through a quick list of everything that's been going on that has kept me from blogging for the past month or so:

Ethan's hair pulling saga
We decided to give the boy a buzz cut after much consultation with his pediatrician. We haven't seen any of the pulling behaviors since, and are very hopeful that it was just a phase. To be thorough, we're scheduling an appointment with Children's Hospital in Oakland to see a specialist and make sure that we've fully attacked the problem.

Ryan's graduation from his Master's program
Finally! Three years of hard work really paid off for him. He walks on Wednesday, and we are looking forward to celebrating the big event with his parents who will be in town for the ceremony.

New job, new house
I've spent the past month or two setting wheels in motion on a new job. After a couple of rounds of interviews, I received the call yesterday that I'd been selected! This is great news - it's a wonderful opportunity, a big promotion, and without this job we would have had to move out of state. Now we're searching for a new house, as our landlord is selling ours. Soon we'll be right in the thick of packing up boxes, trying to keep Ethan from unpacking said boxes, and moving to a new house.

Now that we've got all that out of the way...

It's SUMMERTIME! Well, almost. It feels like summer is just around the corner. Ahhh, the season of backyard barbecues and lounging by the pool. Ethan was all suited up and ready for some swimming, and then we saw this:


Hmm, maybe it's not quite time yet. Guess it's all about running through the sprinkler for the next few weeks.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Big Ol' Bald Spot

Ethan is definitely not an easy toddler. He was a breeze as a baby, but we're paying for it tenfold now that he's in the thick of his terrible twos. Here's his latest behavior: pulling out his own hair. He started this when we were on our trip to Washington, D.C., and would mainly pull out his hair during a tantrum. It makes sense - his schedule was off, he was away from his daddy for the first time, and he heard "no" way more than he wanted to during our flights. I only saw him do it a few times during our vacation, but it's really picked up now that we're back.

As soon as I noticed that his hair was thinning out, I called the pediatrician. She was not at all concerned, and let me know that it's very normal. I asked if there was anything I should be on the lookout for - warning signs that would let me know to bring him in to be checked out. She said that unless I see damage to his scalp (from scratching or picking) that there's no need to bring him in. It's a phase, and he'll grow out of it.

The hardest thing about this (other than looking at a GIANT patch of emptiness where his beautiful hair used to be) - he only pulls when he's in his crib. Where he quietly babbles. Or sleeps. But never screams. So what do I make of that? The behavior has now become a way for him to self-soothe. It's like sucking his thumb. He probably doesn't even realize that he's doing it. And since I can't catch him doing it, I can't address it. I've started documenting the damage on my camera phone, so that I can objectively compare over time to determine whether or not the spot is getting bigger. Today was photo #1.

Here's the bald spot:

Here's what we've tried:
- More calming routines at bedtime (bathing, rocking, singing, etc.)
- Tiring him out before we put him down so that he falls asleep quickly instead of crying or playing in his crib
- Keeping his schedule ├╝ber-consistent (As opposed to our super INconsistent vacation schedule)
- Talking to him about his bald spot ("Owie! No pull - be gentle. *help Ethan softly pat his head* That's right, gentle. No pull, be gentle.")

Here's what we've got left to try:
- Shave his head

That's about it. I really can't think of anything else I can do that will be effective. I need to break the habit, and without being able to give him a replacement behavior for the hair pulling, I'm out of luck. Unless I take away his hair. No hair = no pulling. He'll be forced to kick his habit, cold turkey. By the time his hair grows back to pulling length, he should be over it. Hopefully.

With family visiting soon for Ryan's upcoming grad school graduation, we're holding off a bit longer before we pull out the clippers. That leaves enough time for all of you to share your brilliant ideas for how to solve this little problem of ours. Or to leave a supportive comment, encouraging me that all will be well.

Fix this, please - I'm dying over here!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Think the UN is Hiring?

Dear United Nations,

I realize that I neither hold a degree in linguistics, nor am I fluent in any other language than my native English. However, I believe that real-life experience should not be underestimated, and that I possess the necessary skills and constitution to join your team of translators. What, may you ask, is the impetus for my inquiry into open positions? Well, sir or madam, the inspiration struck yesterday when I was at the park with my toddler. You see, facilitating a play date is a lot like being responsible for conveying the messages of important heads of state. The same sort of language barriers that are seen from country to country are also evident from age group to age group. Though they were speaking the same dialect only a few years prior, children in the 7 to 10 year old age range simply do not understand the language of toddlers. That's where I come in. With my playground interventions, I bring people together. I clear up misunderstandings. I prevent attacks. I spread goodwill. How much more qualified could one person who doesn't speak any language other than English be?

To strengthen my appeal, I submit for your review a few excerpts from my Toddler Translator. It began as an Ethan to English dictionary, but it's proven so helpful that I've decided to release it worldwide. Some of my favorite entries are listed below:

bup
Etymology: from English "help"
1 : to request assistance or support ("Bup, peas." - See entry "peas" for further translation.)
Etymology: from English "up"
2 : to request to be lifted or carried ("Bup, peas." - Very similar to above definition, and therefore quite confusing.)

maho
Etymology: from English "follow"
1 : to request that a person drops what he or she is doing and accompany the toddler to wherever he wants to go ("Maho me!") This is usually paired with an outstretched hand that the toddler expects the requestee to take.
*See, I'm even skilled at nonverbal communication! Hire me!!!*

nana
Etymology: from English "food" or "snack," derived from first learning how to request a favorite fruit, then extending said request to cover all foods
1 : to indicate that one is hungry, or at least that one wants to eat ("Nana?")

nanana
Etymology: from English "banana"
1 : a specific snack request of a sweet and soft yellow fruit ("Nanana? Nanana!")
*Note how the request with a question inflection quickly turns to a shouted demand. It's best not to delay provision of a banana, unless you want to see what the combination of a hungry AND angry toddler looks like. It's not pretty.*

peas
Etymology: from English "please"
1 : a term of politeness that increases the likelihood of request being fulfilled ("Bup, peas." - See entry "bup" for further translation.)
*Clarification - "peas" never actually refers to the vegetable, as my child refuses to eat fresh veggies.*

While still in development, my patent- and copyright-pending Toddler Translator will in its finished form be quite extensive. I hold complete confidence in its destiny to be the "it" reference book for parents to be (after "What to Expect When You're Expecting," of course). I thank you for your time and consideration, as well as your out of the box thinking when looking to hire your next translator. I look forward to speaking with you further about how I could be an invaluable asset to the United Nations translation team.

Respectfully,

Sarah Notch, Ph.T. (Psychologist of Toddlers)

PS - I also posses skills in the area of behavior management. May I suggest assigning a time out to leaders who break UN agreements? Just a thought.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Jelly Bean Boy

Can a season bring on a sense of nostalgia, year after year? Spring always feels so special for me. Perhaps it's the rebirth - green buds on trees, the sound of birds singing, and the crisp smell in the air. It marks the end of dull, dreary, frigid winter, and begins the countdown to summer vacations. When I was a kid, my mom would teach us the names of all of the flowers and trees that were blooming. My sister and I would get all dolled up in our Easter dresses and take pictures amongst the daffodils. We'd pick out patterns and spend all spring sewing bags for our summer adventures - canvas sacks that would hold swimsuits and juice boxes and treasures we'd find in the backyard. Now that Ethan is a toddler, I find myself doing a lot of the same things my mom did with me when I was little. Though I've not yet given him a needle and yarn, we've started doing art projects. I'm reading him some of my favorite childhood books. We're starting our own traditions, heavily influenced by things that I remember and adore from my younger years.

In that spirit, we held our first Easter Egg Hunt this year. Not only was it his first Easter Egg Hunt, it was also the first time he experienced the sweet sugary taste of jelly beans. As you'll see from all of the chewing in the video, he enjoyed searching for his yummy treats!


With summer right around the corner, I'm already planning adventures for us to have. I have no choice about growing older, but having a kid means I never have to grow up!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Our First Flight Without Dada


All my bags are packed I'm ready to go,
I'm standin' here outside the door,
Oh, Dada, Mama's scared to say goodbye.
Cause she's toting a boy, oft forlorn,
(Though mostly calm when a newborn)
Of stress and chaos she will surely die.


So kiss her and smile for me,
Tell her to hang in and see,
If I'll behave when off we go.
Cause we're leavin' on a jet plane,
And soon we'll both be back again,
Unless Mama makes me fly solo.


A surprise grab bag of toys she's found,
So many things to keep me bound
To my seat so I don't cause a big scene.
Every snack she has, she'll give to me,
Countless minutes watching DVDs,
The boss of her for ages I have been.


So kiss her and smile for me,
Tell her to hang in and see,
If I'll behave when off we go.
Cause we're leavin' on a jet plane,
And soon we'll both be back again,
Unless Mama makes me fly solo.
Cause if I scream she'll go bozo,
Best not to tantrum, I'll lay low,
I'll be her ally, not her foe,
When off to DC we do go.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

His Father is an Artist

His father paints with light, apertures and shutter speeds.
Ethan paints with brushes, strokes and colors.

His father mixes talent and hard work to make his masterpieces.
Ethan mixes glue and sparkles and paper scraps to make his.

His father examines his surroundings, searching for beauty.
Ethan examines a beautiful girl as he paints his face.

His father looks at the world, and makes it more spectacular.
Ethan looks at his Pa-Pa, and makes him more handsome.

His father is an artist. And Ethan is, too.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Bite of the Acting Bug

Ethan has a love/hate relationship with our vacuum cleaner. Most of the time it's hate. He used to break into a fit of tears upon hearing the distinct noise. Not wanting him to be in such anguish every time we went on a cleaning spree, we worked really hard to make progress towards mending their relationship. Here's a breakdown of our four-step vacuum fence mending process:

1) Mama makes a big deal of waving to and saying hello to the vacuum.
2) Mama gets down on the floor and actually kisses - yes, kisses - the vacuum.
3) Mama encourages Ethan to show an equal level of enthusiasm towards his nemesis.
4) Mama points out vacuum cleaners in the real world (Target, friend's houses, etc.) and repeats the greeting process. No kissing this time, I have my dignity to preserve. At least while I'm in the company of others.

After a few weeks of this, we saw sweet success! Ethan not only was no longer scared of the vacuum, but actually enjoyed seeing and waving to them! Hurrah! We're brilliant parents! BRILLIANT, I say!

And then, out of the blue one day, he re-developed his fear. Ryan pulled out the vacuum, and Ethan reacted in sheer terror. His jaw dropped, his eyes widened, he threw his arms open, and began to shake. If it wasn't so sad to see him scared, I would have laughed.

Okay, I did laugh. Hey, funny is funny.

It was so funny, in fact, that Ryan recounted this story to his parents one evening over dinner, complete with demonstrative reenactment. Ethan saw the silly pose that his Daddy struck, copied it, and got a big laugh from his adoring fans. And a star was born.

He now regularly puts on "Scared Shows" for us, intermittently pretending to be terrified and giggling at his trick over and over again for minutes at a time. We caught this on film and wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!

video

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Funny Valentine

It's been a sweet, sweet eighteen months since his birth, which means it's time for another Ethan stats update!


- Is impossibly cute, as seen above, but has a new and inexplicable blinding fear of camera equipment and strobe lights. This made our photo shoot quite difficult, as a screaming, crying, blotchy baby wasn't exactly what we were going for. Luckily, Daddy is a professional, and managed to get a few good shots!
- Weighs a whopping 28 pounds. TWENTY EIGHT POUNDS! Sheesh. Do you realize how close 28 is to 30? I'm honestly quite shocked that I don't have more obvious muscle mass from lugging that big lug around for the last year and a half.
- Measures 35 inches tall, unless you (like I do) think that the nurse miscalculated at his last checkup. I'm giving him a credit of one inch and am calling him an even three feet.
- Uses running as his primary mode of transportation, and as a result has recently split open his lip, scraped up his forehead, and incurred countless bruises.
- Has begun to develop manners, and will spontaneously say "thank you" when you give him something, and ask for "help, please" when he's frustrated. It's sounds more like "tae coo" and "bup, peas" but we know what he means and it's good enough for us!
- Has a mouth full of teeth and a head full of hair, and has received three official haircuts to date. We're still waiting on his two year molars... at least I think we are. I would try to feel his gums at the back of his mouth, but he gets all Little Shop of Horrors on you and clamps down now. I've analyzed the risk vs. reward, and have decided I just don't care enough to know for sure whether or not all of his teeth have broken through.
- Loves all vehicles (the bigger, the better), ride-on toys, bathtub crayons, knocking over blocks, playing musical instruments, and reading books. He also likes to pick up toys, place them in a bucket, and then violently shake the bucket until all of the toys fall out. Peek-a-boo, games of chase, and piggy back rides are also big hits in this house.
- Dances to every type of music imaginable, including muzak in the market, hip hop in the mall, and ballads on Kleenex commercials. He likes tunes with a steady, thumping beat, and will turn around, bob his head, bend his knees and shake his booty, and run in place a la Flashdance.
- Is no longer Mama's little baby, though I must admit I still try to cradle and cuddle him like I did when he was a wee thing. I'm learning to embrace the fact that my sweet baby is a little boy now, and am cherishing every minute of his boyhood... because I know that before I know it, he'll be all grown up!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Who's In Charge, Here?

Seven Signs That My Kid Is The Boss of Me

1) I adjust my schedule according to his every need. Think Anne Hathaway's character in "The Devil Wears Prada" - Ethan is my Meryl Streep. If he wants/needs/demands something, I hop to it. (What, you want lunch? But not your lunch - you want my lunch? Well, I was kind of hungry, but what's mine is yours! No, take it, please, I really shouldn't have more than a Diet Coke for a midday meal, anyway. After all, that baby weight isn't going to lose itself!)

2) Six out of the six CDs that my car's stereo changer can have loaded are of the kid's variety. Nursery songs, silly songs, songs that are impossible to get out of your head. (I could serenade you with seven different versions of "If You're Happy and You Know It." Some will end with jazz hands.)

3) I get paid in kisses and hugs, smiles and laughs. And smeared crackers all over my pants. And spilled juice boxes. And an army of soiled diapers... but mostly in kisses and hugs. (Seriously, though, babies are priceless. And broke, apparently. I keep checking the mail for my monthly mommy paycheck, but it never comes.)

4) The vast majority of the sentences I say out loud throughout the day are horribly gramatically incorrect. I have to fight the urge in conversations with adults to simplify my sentences to two or three word utterances. ("Ethan want up? Mama help? Good asking!" can quickly turn into "Ryan hungry? Sarah make meal? Good eating!")

5) Instead of movie theaters, restaurants, and bars, a hot date now consists of trips to the park, Babies R Us, or a kid's play place. Our darling little one is a perpetual third wheel. (Feel free to read this and feel compelled to offer to babysit. Really, feel free!)

6) I have so many job responsibilities, I bring my work home with me. I also bring my work to the grocery store with me, to the post office with me, and sometimes to the bathroom with me. (Labor laws flew out the window the second I went into labor - there's no mandatory 15 minute break and 30 minute lunch in this household!)

7) While watching an episode of "The Wiggles" - not that I let my toddler watch TV, of course - I have been known to exclaim aloud, "Oh, I love this song!" when the fab four start to sing a particular tune. (I'm partial to the Captain Feathersword-related ditties "Captain's Magic Buttons" and "Blow Me Down.")

Though he's taken over my life, he's completely captured my heart, and I wouldn't have it any other way! I'd elaborate on all of the mushy gushy stuff, but I think I hear my boss calling me now. Can't be late - he'll make me pay if I dawdle!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Be Careful What You Teach...

I bet if you have a toddler, or have ever interacted with a toddler, or have even ever seen a toddler, you've wondered how much of what we say gets through to them. For goodness sakes, they barely even speak English, how could they possibly fully comprehend the language?

It's been really interesting to observe little glimpses of understanding over the past few months. Ethan will follow simple commands (i.e. - Get your duck! Take this to Mama! Go find the other sock!) on a daily basis. During our flight to Dallas, we kept Ethan from melting down by recognizing the tantrum warning signs and quickly asking him to "turn on the light" as a preemptive strike. Sure, the constant on and off clicking of the overhead reading light may have bothered other passengers, but probably not more than a screaming baby would have!

We've also focused a lot on stairs safety. We spent a good portion of our holiday vacation trying to keep Ethan from running full steam towards one of the many stairwells at Mima and Poppa's house. The "Backwards Slither" technique wasn't working, so we switched tactics to the "Sit and Scoot" technique. By the end of our vacation, Ethan was automatically dropping to his bottom a few feet before the first stair, and scooting down slowly and safely. Hurrah! However, perhaps we emphasized this a bit too much. What we've seen as a result is a complete over-generalization of his newfound skill. Whenever Ethan encounters two surfaces with even the slightest degree of grade change, he drops to his cute baby bottom and scoots to safety. We're talking carpet to tile, concrete to gravel - you name it, he scoots across it! He eventually does figure out which surfaces are safe to step over/around/onto, but in the learning process he's completely wearing out the seats of all of his pants!

video

Oh well, better safe than sorry!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Snow Bunny

Whew - is anyone else exhausted from a whirlwind of holiday traveling and events? Ryan, Ethan, and I went to Dallas for Christmas, had a day upon our return to readjust to our time zone/unpack/decompress, celebrated my *first annual* 29th birthday (...because no matter what Father Time says, I will not be turning 30. Ever.) the following day, and then woke up the next morning and drove up to our usual spot in the Sierras for a wintery New Year's celebration. I'm tired all over again just writing about it!

Christmas in Dallas was literally a record-setter this year. For the first time since the National Weather Service began recording snowfall in 1898, the area received a measurable amount of snow on Christmas Eve. Three inches, to be exact. Now, yes, I am from the East Coast, and, yes, I am aware of the Great Blizzard of '09 that wreaked havoc on the Mid-Atlantic, but this was big news for Texas! Winds were gusting upwards of 50 mph, the roads iced over after sundown, and there was nary a snow plow to be found since they are never, EVER needed in that area. It made for quite an exciting trip to our candlelight Christmas Eve church service, that's for sure! Luckily, we were in a car driven by an experienced Michiganite-turned-Coloradan who could more than handle himself behind the wheel in a snowstorm, and did not end up in a ditch like several other drivers we passed.

Poor Ethan had a cold for our entire Texas trip, which turned him into quite the crankypants. As a result, we don't really have any photos postable photos of him or our festivities. However, we do have pictures from our New Year's trip. This has been a Notch Family tradition for the past five years, and we absolutely love it. The town we stay in has a population of less than 100 people, is right outside of Lassen Volcanic National Park, and has exactly four commercial buildings (used loosely... very loosely) - a lodge that can accomodate about twenty people, a restaurant that seats about the same, a gift and ski shop, and a general store. All of the buildings are owned and operated by one family. It's tiny, quiet, peaceful, idyllic, and relaxing. When we were there last year Ethan was just a wee little thing, making this the first year that he really got to experience playing in the snow. It took him a few minutes to warm up to the cold crunching under his feet, but he was a pro snow-walker in no time and really enjoyed running around.




From our family to yours, here's to a happy, healthy, and peaceful 2010 filled with laughter and love!