Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fire Engines and Animal Crackers

Oh LWK, you never cease to amaze me with what you suddenly become obsessed with!  He recently discovered some of the books that cousin Joel gave him for his first Christmas and he is enthralled with The Fire Engine Book from the classic Little Golden Books like what we had as kids.  The artwork is amazing and so fun for him to look at and find the clock or the dog or the bell or the hat.........

He also is in love with the animal crackers that he got at cousin James' first birthday party last weekend.  One of these days we will tell him they are actually animal shapes, but he is too busy stuffing them in his mouth any chance he gets to notice right now!

Mmmmm, these are good!  Must double fist the animal crackers!
Making silly faces ala Aunt Julie.
What mom, no more????

Monday, February 25, 2013

Full of Beans

So there is a lot of talk in the Mom Blog world and on Pinterest about sensory boxes.  I hadn't ever heard of them before I had LWK, but the idea seemed kind of neat:  find a box with low sides, fill it up with interesting things and let the kid go at it.  There is a bit more to it I guess and I was intimidated by trying to have a "theme" like a certain number or letter or color or holiday....  

As I was digging through my pantry to find some flour, I found some old beans that I had bought to use as weights for doorstops that I had planned to make when we moved into our house almost 6 years ago.  This was where I found my inspiration, along with the desperate need to unload and reload the dishwasher without the extra help that LWK likes to provide by closing the door every time I open it.

I went super basic with this first sensory box:  a clear shoe box, red and white dried beans, cups and scoops.  And LWK played for a good half hour, which is eons in toddler world  He kept bringing handfuls of beans over to show me and then yelling "beans" before running back to his table, leaving a little trail between the kitchen and his table.  He did try to eat one and then spit it back out.  By far, however, he LOVED filling up the cups with his spoon, hand or a smaller scoop and then dumping the beans back out in the box with a squeal of delight and the exclamation of "BEANS!"  It was a little messy, but nothing that a quick sweep or the dustbuster can't handle.  I just put the lid back on the box and hid it out of LWK's sight for another day of play, maybe with some other things to play with in it like cars or his little dump truck.

So now I am excited about this and thinking of fun things to put in the bin.  I don't think I am ready to graduate to a messier filler like rice, oatmeal or, heaven help me, cornmeal.  I can't even cook with cornmeal without cursing about the mess I make, much less the insanity that would ensue for an almost 2 year old given free reign.  That might be a summertime, outside exploration!  But some ideas for the upcoming future:  green things for St. Patrick's Day, Things that begin with the letter "L,"  2 of everything for his upcoming birthday.  I will take any suggestions for inspiration!


In the end, LWK was thrilled and busy.  I think this look says it all:

Friday, February 22, 2013

Playdate!

We ended a busy week with a playdate with the Mork girls.  LWK and AGM are 5 months apart in age and are starting really play well together.  They were so funny with the dimmer lights, the shopping cart and stroller, playing with the art easel, reading and playing with Legos!

LWK isn't quite sure about AGM kissing him!
Rolling the ball back and forth was super fun.
LWK found the fun rocking scooter!
Sharing speed shopping cart duties.
Practicing his letters!
Sharing a book.
Sweet ERM.
LWK's new meme:  "LWK is not impressed."
For the Morks' take on the day and more cute pics, check out B's blog!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Dentist

LWK had his second visit to the dentist today (the last one was in August).  He did a great job for both Dr. McDonald and his assistant.  The most invasive thing they did were see if they could feel his final set of molars coming in.  They couldn't, but I swear they are starting to work their way up since LWK has been trying to stick his whole hand in his mouth for the last week.

The dentist's office has this scary looking dinosaur with fake teeth that LWK LOVES!  He did a great job brushing the dino's teeth.  I wish he was happy to have his teeth brushed by us instead of getting a case of lockjaw that appears only twice a day!

Here dino, open your mouth so I can get in there with the toothbrush!
Nice and wide, like this!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Another Park!

We met up with our friends Kathy and A. from parent/baby class today.  A and LWK were destined to be friends because they were the only boys in our class!  After lamenting how they aren't really babies anymore, we enjoyed visiting when the boys were playing at the park!

Love the Elephant hat!
Trying to go UP the slide.
This is a FAST slide!
He liked the rocking dinosaurs to match his shoes!
Pure bliss in the swing!
Buddies!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Tussle

Today was the actual first day of my "break" for President's Week.  It was nice to spend it with LWK - we even had a chance to have lunch with J!  When we got home, LWK wanted to go for a ride in the stroller to the park.  Big first here - it was the first time he ASKED to go to the park.  He looked at his stroller and started to try and crawl in while saying "Park!  Park!" so it might have been more of a command...

We headed down to that great little toddler park near our grocery store and there was another boy and his dad there already.  The boy was older than LWK, 3 1/2 according to the dad.  They played together pretty nicely, taking turns on the slide and racing each other.  LWK decided that he needed to go down the slide headfirst, which is fine because it has a gentle slope and he slows down before reaching the end.  The comical part is when he has to figure out how to get off the slide.  He inched himself down so that he was on the ground and this is when the "playing nicely" took a turn for the worse....

BEWARE RANT TO FOLLOW:

This bigger, older kid started to throw the playground dirt and woodchips in LWK's face as he was laying on his belly.  The way the other bigger, older kid was standing made it so LWK couldn't stand up and that bigger, older kid just kept throwing woodchips and dirt and laughing.  LWK just looked stunned and kept wiping his face off after every attack.  The dad and I were watching what was going on, and he just kept yammering away at me about how his kid gets special one-on-one time with a special teacher in preschool to work on his motor skills, blah, blah, blah.  He did NOTHING to stop his bigger, older kid from taking advantage of LWK's predicament.  I just kept moving closer to the kids and when I got there, I helped LWK up, brushed him off and said to both of them "let's go down the slide again."  They both happily went back to the top of the slide to go down.  No harm, no foul I guess from the kids' point of view.  When I walked back over to the dad, he started telling me that he had watched some documentary in which he learned that parents are too quick to "swoop in" and "save" kids when there is conflict.  That we need to just let kids "work it out."

Yes, I know I am a bit protective of LWK in some ways, but by no means did I (or do I) "swoop in" to "save" him.  There was no conflict to solve, they weren't fighting over a toy.  It was a perfect example of one kid being mean and taking advantage of another kid.  I am furious that this dad didn't see anything wrong with this situation and wasn't a teaching moment for his son about how to behave appropriately in general.  I wonder how he would have felt if the roles had been reversed.....

RANT CONCLUDED

So, aside from that little "issue," LWK had a fun time going down the slide head first, walking on the wobbly bridge and pushing his Tonka truck everywhere.  I love that his moose hat (that he requested to wear) is askew in pretty much every photo!
Must carry truck...
Moose hat is adorably askew.
Taking on the challenge of the wobbly bridge.
Running up the sidewalk with his truck, dangerously close to oncoming traffic in my opinion.

Seeing how well it offroads.
If we spent all day pushing our toys around like this, we would have LWK's abs of steel.
Truck!
LWK leads the way!
When we got home and were having dinner, I noticed that LWK has a bit of a battle scar from today on his elbow.  I'm not sure when he got it.  During his tussle at the bottom of the slide?  One of the many times he took a spill when he was pushing his truck???  Maybe LWK could have held his own today, I think this look is priceless:

I think this is his "don't mess with me, I'm tough" look.

The Photo Album

LWK has started reading books with REAL pages, not just board books.  I had been looking at the photo album I made of his first 7 months for his first Christmas and now it is his FAVORITE book.  He loves to point out all the people who love him and he points to himself and says "Baby!"  Also, he chose these moose jammies to wear the night before.  I gave him the choice between elephants (ga-gos, we still don't know where that came from) and moose and being the Canadian he is, he went with the moose!


Monday, February 18, 2013

Portlandia!

This weekend was a big challenge for us as parents - 4 nights away from LWK.  We missed him terribly and whenever we saw a cute blonde little boy, our hearts ached.  I had a music teacher conference in Portland.  I was thrilled to go since it is usually held in Eastern Washington and I avoid going due to the possibility of snow.  We thought this weekend would be a perfect getaway to experience our own "Portlandia."

The conference was a bit "meh" for me.  I just didn't choose the right sessions or something, but it was great to make some connections with other teachers and teachers I haven't seen in a while.

We stayed at The Kennedy School - A McMenamin's property and it was so fun.  It is an old school (built in the early 1900s) that has been converted into a hotel with many pubs!  We were in the new part of the building which kind of bummed me out.  I wanted to stay in an old classroom with the chalk boards and history of the school,  but we were able to walk around the school and check out the eclectic artwork and have yummy food for breakfast in the dining room.  If we stay again, I will be sure to ask to stay in an older room to get the full experience!

We had our Valentine's dinner on the 15th at a place called Three Doors Down Cafe and had a wonderful dinner.  While I attended conference sessions, J went to the zoo to check out the new baby elephant.  He realized how much he missed LWK with all the kiddos around!  We had sushi the following night at Samurai Blue Sushi - I loved the Mango Tango roll. Yum!

The line was a little crazy for doughnuts....
On Sunday I decided to skip the morning sessions that didn't really appeal to me and we had a fun day together in Portland.  We went to Voodoo Doughnut Too thinking that the line wouldn't be as long as when we stood in like 2 1/2 years ago at the original and we were sorely mistaken.  We did meet a really neat couple in line behind us who were both music teachers.  They just moved to southern Oregon from North Carolina for him to teach Jazz Studies at the college down there and she was teaching K-6 general music.  Visiting with them made the time fly!

After waiting in line for an hour to get doughnuts (totally worth it, by the way), we headed to check out a food truck lot that had grilled cheese!  The Grilled Cheese Grill hit the spot on a chilly and drizzly Portland Day.  I had the Sour Apple and J had The Jersey.  I am certain I can recreate the Sour Apple at home, but I also know that a grilled cheese made by someone else is far better than any grilled cheese that I make at home!

Mmmmm, grilled cheese!
This is where we got to eat grilled cheese!  Yes, we were in the top of the double decker!
Going "Old School" for some grilled cheese.
Our final stop of the day was the Japanese Garden at Washington Park.  It was so green and tranquil.  Well, aside from people who felt the need to talk REALLY LOUD.  It was a nice stop before heading back home.  I would love to go back in the summer or fall when the colors are out - and then we can go to the International Rose Test Garden as well.  

The water falls were beautiful.

It was fun to have a little taste of Portlandia even without visiting the Vegan Strip Club or reenacting a Steam Punk scene!  Now that we are home, we are having new windows installed and I am counting the seconds until I can go get LWK from Grandma and Grandpa's house to hug and kiss on him!



Friday, February 15, 2013

AWE-SOME

LWK's new word for today is "Awe-Some."  And yes, he puts that little space between with "awe" and the "some."  I never realized how often I say "awesome" to him.  Maybe I should be happy that he hasn't picked up one of the less desirable words that I say.  Yet.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Valentines

I had a bit of a mommy fail for Valentine's Day.  I knew that daycare was having a party and I had already planned to make a healthy snack of strawberries halved and a yogurt dip,  but I didn't think about my 22 month old needing to actually have Valentines for all the kids.  Whoops.  There was nothing at our little grocery store here in town, but I thought I could cut out hearts and have LWK draw on them.  I had forgotten that my kiddo isn't really crafty (yet... I am working on it).

These look fun!
They make some marks when I scribble!
Hey, I can put the cap back on the bottom....
I'll just keep taking the cap on and off, I don't need to do these silly heart things.....
This was a bit of a Valentine's fail, thank goodness that J was able to stop at a store and buy some boxed car Valentines.  Maybe next year I will be more on the ball.  My halved strawberries and dip turned out beautifully though!

The next day, after his Valentine's Day party, he knew what this whole heart thing was all about.  We came in the back door and LWK saw all the hearts on this table.  He started grabbing them and saying "hearts!"  And then he took them to his kitchen to wash them.  I wonder what goes through his little mind....

Hearts!
"Happy Day!"  We didn't get the word "Valentine" learned.
Must wash hearts......  Future heart surgeon????
I can't get enough of these blurry close ups. with a sly little look!  It's real life.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Again?

Gosh, our weekends seem to be flying by with no photos to remember them by.  I had an orchestra solo and ensemble contest on Saturday that took up much of the day and then we all met at my parents' house for dinner with my nephew and his wife.  LWK had fun showing off for them and warning them about the kind of energy they will need in a couple of years when their son, who is due in June, will be running around crazy!

Sunday was a day of preparing for a busy week and it is Monday again.  Wow, time is flying.

Today when I picked LWK up from daycare his daycare mom told me that he slept on a cot along with the big kids for naptime today!  I guess he was trying to chat with the infants when he was sleeping in the room with the pack and plays!  What is most astonishing, however, is that he actually stayed on his cot AND slept for 2 hours!

The amount of time LWK spends playing with this race track amazes me.  It's like it is his zen space!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Park


They weather ended up being beautiful this afternoon, especially for February!  I couldn't wait to get out in it, so I was out the door of school at 3:31 and picked LWK up from daycare across the street.  Since the first time I was at the daycare, I noticed there is a small toddler park at the end of their cul-de-sac and today was a perfect day to check it out.

So nice to be out in the sunshine!

He went right for the slide!

He isn't even scared to go down a slide anymore.

He found a little climbing wall and mastered that quickly!

There were cars, trucks and birds to point out.

There aren't too many photos of him crawling anymore.

He decided to go down the climbing tube.  Head first...

Practicing his driving skills.

Totally my kid with those squinty-eyed smiles!
Such  fun afternoon together!  Maybe a little too fun since once we got home, he had what I think was his first real tantrum (and although it started as a "Little Nero" it spiraled into the full blown thing).

I was making dinner and he wanted me to read to him.  I asked him to be patient for a few more moments and he had a little fit followed the hiccups and then no amount of holding him or talking to him would help.  He was laying on the rug on the kitchen floor just sobbing.  Once I got to a stopping place, I picked him up and sat with him on the couch.  I wrapped him up tightly in a blanket on my lap.  He whispered, "cozy" and fell asleep for an hour and that is how J found us when he got home.  The cuddling is becoming less and less frequent, so even though I am not happy how this cuddle session started, I loved holding him, kissing his fine hair and listening to him snore.  All I could think as I held him and dozed a bit myself was "I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."