Thursday, January 31, 2008

Money, Money, Money....

I am sure I am not alone when I say that money is the one topic in my life right now that makes my stomach turn to knots. Before I stayed home with Z , S and I were very fortunate in that we didn't have too many worries about money. Now that we are missing my salary, have added another mouth to feed and I have all this free time on my is another story!

I also find myself suffering from a lot of guilt lately (as I am sure a lot of SAHM's do). When I think of S out there working so hard everyday and I get this once and a lifetime opportunity to stay home with Z, I feel really bad. It has really done a number on my ego and self-esteem. S is so supportive and constantly says he wouldn't want me anywhere else. Even if we have to cut back for a bit....he wants me to have the chance to be home with Z. My friend C and my sister L were really supportive in helping me to realize how valuable I am to this household. They reminded me of the cost of daycare, a housekeeper and a personal assistant :) I know I am all of these things but no one pays me for my services so sometimes it is very hard to feel like I am pulling my weight.

Tomorrow begins my budget of $42 of spending money per month! To some this may seem like a lot and others probably spend more than this in a day. This $42 is my money for ice coffees, clothes, eating out, haircuts, my amazon addiction, going out for MOMs night outs, anything I want to do or buy for Z....everything! This will be interesting :)

Well I know that I have very little to complain about in life. I am so lucky to have all that I have, that my family is healthy and happy and that I have the chance to be with my son everyday. It is because of all this that I have decided to look at my new budget as a challenge :) My goal is to go out there into the world and find as many free activities and fun things to do as I can (and yes I will share them). I will try to find anything to do to distract us from trips to the store. I also plan to delete my credit card information from all of my favorite websites who so kindly save it for me so that spending money becomes mindless :) Sorry Amazon, Old Navy and Snapfish.....but one of your good customers will be taking a break :)

I want to apologize to S for being so stressed out lately. This is a small bump in the road and I know we can do anything we put our minds too :) I am proud of your business venture and thank you so much for letting me have this opportunity to stay home with Z. I know our lives would be a little easier if I went back to work, so thanks for helping to make my dreams come true.

I also want to apologize to all of my friends and family. I know that I have been complaining a lot about money lately and I am sorry. The new me plans to take it all in stride and save up my pennies so that I can go out for the occasional dinner or drink with you. I know that some of you are in similar situations so I plan to organize some fun free events for us all to partake in ;) Look out I come!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Elmo, Beebo and George....Oh My!

My mother in-law mentioned this weekend that she thinks TV is no good for toddlers. Up until about a year ago my husband and I would have agreed with her whole heartedly. Our original plan was to not let Z watch TV until he was 2 years old. Well life gets crazy and plans have to change sometimes. I do "need" Z to sit down and watch TV on occasion and I think I am okay with that.

Z did not watch any TV until he was over 6 months old. After he turned 3 months, I gave up on daytime TV and so the television was not turned on until 8pm. Once he turned 6 months he would watch an occasional 20 minute Baby Signs (R) DVD. These DVDs are great and they go over 6 signs in a fun and baby friendly way. The videos eventually became a nightly routine and Z even learned a few signs from the movies. The reason I started allowing Z to watch TV was so that I could make dinner.

Now Z spends about 60 minutes watching TV a day (sometimes less, sometimes a little more). He watches about 20-25 min of Elmo's world in the morning so that I can get ready for our day and about 30 min of Curious George (or a Baby Signs (R) DVD) in the evening so I can shower and make dinner. The rest of the day, the TV is turned off.

I can't say that I am proud of all of his television viewing but I am very happy with the programs that he watches. He loves George, Elmo and Beebo from his Baby Signs (R) movies and has learned signs and even words from these programs. With my husband as busy as he is at work and my day as long as it is....I do need those breaks to get dressed, shower and make dinner for the family. I have read many studies that say as long as the programs are educational and that toddlers do not watch over 2 hours of TV a day...they should turn out just fine :) I hope so because I don't think Z and I could give up his favorite three characters!


A friend shared the following link with the moms in our playgroup last week. She wanted to help us stay on our A game :) It is called the 50 best parenting tips ever. Most of these happen automatically everyday but it was nice to review them and think about the ones that we do not do as often as we should.

The 1st on the list is one that we strive to do as much as we can. It says, "Grant a wish. Take an hour or two each week to do exactly what your child desires without interruptions or distractions -- even if she wants to play a game you hate or build block towers and then knock them all down." Well in the toddler world these few hours of Z time are broken up into small 5-20 minute segments throughout the week. We love to use "Time-In's" from Harvey Karp's book, The Happiest Toddler on the Block. "Time-In's" are uninterrupted time to play whatever Z wants (he's in charge). There are no phone calls taken during this time, no chores to be done, no adult is all about Z. We say "Time-In" and he gets so excited and chooses the activity (or activities) to play....we have so much fun!

Z has always been pretty good at independent play (we are very fortunate for this). He loves to play with his toys, read books to himself or explore different objects in the home. Since starting "Time-Ins", Z has become even better at independent play. I think it is because he knows that he plays by himself for a bit (while mommy watches from a far or does a few chores) and then soon it will be time to play together.

So check out the 50 best parenting tips and remember to spend time following your child's lead and granting their wishes. It is so important for their growth and development to have time to control the play. After all, some of the games they come up with are a lot more fun and interesting than the games we come up with ;)

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Every week, like most people, I look forward to Friday! Thursday's are my favorite day of the week because the weekend is almost here :) I have been like this since I was a small child in school and it continued into my adult life. I guess being a teacher helped this to continue :)

Lately I find myself stressed out when the weekends actually come. I love having S home so much but I think I put way too much pressure on him to entertain us or for him to give me a much needed break from the week. S works for a small company and works a lot (at work and at home). I am so proud of him and all that he has accomplished so far and I am so grateful for all that he does so Z and I are able to stay home together.

Because S works so much, it is usually just Z and I during the week. S does come home one or two nights a week so that he can put Z to bed and goes in a little later some days so he can play with him. I am very fortunate that S is so involved in Z's life and loves to do things with him. Many of my friends husbands are not nearly as involved in their kids lives. We are so lucky!!!!

So why is it when the weekends come I get so stressed? I think it is because I struggle with fitting in all that I want to do! I want to spend time as a family, have some me time, give S some downtime from his busy work week, provide S with the time he needs to do his job (yes he works on weekends too) and get projects done around the house (our master bath has been out of order for over a year!). So how do you fit all those things in and also visit family, go to church (well S goes) and whatever else might be on the agenda for the weekend? It is so hard and usually leaves me feeling stressed out and sad.

So what do we do???? I guess I need to stop putting so much pressure on the weekends and stop expecting so much from two days at home as a family. I need to live more in the present and enjoy our time together. I also need to be okay with the fact that we won't get everything done that we need to get done and that is okay as long as Z is smiling. I will try that this weekend and let you know how it goes :) I love you S, Thanks for all that you do!!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I've Been Tagged....

So the other day one of my friends Helena tagged me. I am new to blogging and she is one of the only people who knows about my blog (most other people stumble upon it by mistake as they search for other things ;)). I was honored to be tagged because I now feel a part of the blogging culture ;) When I mentioned being tagged to a few of my friends, they looked at me with blank stares and said "blog???" So I sent them my link and Helena's and hopefully they will quickly learn about the world of blogging.

Here are the rules as I understand them:

1. link to who tagged you

2. put the rules on your blog

3. post six stupid and non relevant things about yourself

4. tag six peeps at random

5. let them know by leaving a comment

Here goes nothing.....

1. I am obsessed with the Brady Bunch. I know there must be a lot of people who are obsessed but here is where I might go over the middle school I built the entire Brady house out of Legos, my friend and I had a memorial service for Robert Reed (Mr. Brady) when he died, I have seen Greg Brady (Barry Williams) in his underware, I only keep my VCR so that I can watch A Very Brady Christmas at least 20 times a year (not just at Christmas) and there are many other examples but I am still on number one and have already taken up so much space :)

2. I love to read children's books. I know that this is not too weird for a teacher but I prefer to read them over adult books. I love the Peter and the Starcatchers, Harry Potter and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe series most of all. I get more excited about the children's section of the library and bookstore than the adults. The only reason I read adult books is so I can stay in my Book Club! Kidding (sort of).

3. One of my favorite activities to do in the fall is chase and catch leaves. It may sound crazy but if you were to drive down my street in the fall, you may see me running around my yard trying to catch the falling leaves. It is so much fun and allows me to feel like such a kid! I love everything about the fall and this is one of my favorite things to do.

4. I hate to dance!!!!! I hate it! I am not good at it and I always start to sweat when dragged to a place where dancing is expected. The only way to get me on the dance floor is to get me really drunk and even then I don't like it. I wish I did because my best friend is a really good dancer and I would love to be able to go out with her and dance!

5. I wish I could wear flip flops all year round. I try every year and by the end of October my toes start to freeze. I always cry as I put my flops away and take out my clogs!

6. I use to play the tuba. Yup...I played the flute from 5th-10th grade and then in 11th grade I switched to Tuba and even played for a year in college (concert band only). When I first told my parents that I was going to switch to tuba my dad told me that "only tubby kids play tuba". Well I am not tubby (I mean I do have that extra 10lbs on me now but I am not tubby). I started playing it anyway. When I decided to play in college, my dad told me that I should wait to tell my new friends that I played the tuba :) He told me to run around the dorm a few times after practice and tell everyone I had been at the gym! He is a funny guy (he really is the best dad ever, even if he gives out strange advice :)).

Well as I said I am new to the blogging world and so I do not have many female friends who blog. I do have Laura and Christina who have been blogging they are who I choose to tag. Sorry I am so pathetic and can't come up with four more people! I will work on it.

Losing Weight With A Toddler....

As I mentioned before, I am now participating in a family/friends "Biggest Loser" competition. I have the last of my baby weight to lose and S and I are trying so hard to get in shape for our upcoming vacation and the three weddings I am in (he is in one of them). The last 10 pounds are always the toughest to come off! I have been sporting them for well over a year now and I am in a vicious cycle where I will lose a few and then gain a is such a struggle.

Because of the competition I have devoted Z's nap time to working out and because of it everything else has gone by the way side. It is hard when you only have 2 hours to yourself during the day (if that) to decide what to do (I feel another blog entry coming on). When you devote an hour to working out, you only have one hour to shower, eat, do laundry, clean, make dinner, write a blog entry etc. I do like focusing on myself though and because I have been working out I have soooo much more energy to play with Z.

Before Z, I was a runner. I loved to race (nothing too long) and was part of a running club. After he was born and I was given the go ahead to was too cold and dark to really get back into it. I did run off and on in the summer, with Z in the BOB stroller, but I found myself always making excuses to not run (too hot, Z was tired, I was tired etc.). So now I have started my FIRM workouts again and try to run at least once a week. I plan to really kick the running into gear in the spring and get back out there and race. I think I might even try to join the local running club....we shall see.

The biggest challenge I find right now is food!!! I have started the Weight Watchers program again. With money being tight, I can't afford to go to meetings right now. I did keep all of my WW stuff from the past and so I am following the program from home. The meetings are one of the best things about WW and with the help of the meetings I earned my lifetime member award back in 2004 :) I plan to return to WW once I get back within two pounds of my goal weight (then it will be free for me).

Food becomes my enemy between 3-7pm. Once I am done with my workout, I am so hungry!!!! I can't stop snacking. It is also so hard to not finish Z's food. I have always been a member of the clean plate club and those last few pieces of chicken nugget call out to me as I go to throw them away! It is such a bad thing to be doing. I snack on his pretzel goldfish, eat some of his animal crackers, take bites of his is out of control. They need to have a support group for people who eat off their toddler's plate.

I have made a vow to get it under control and it has been a little better this week. I compromise and eat one piece of chicken nugget and then throw the rest away (baby steps :)). The fact is I am going to have to do something because before you know it I will be as big as a whale!

So to all you moms out there trying to lose the rest of the baby weight...I am right there with you :) I think all I need is Weight Watchers, the Firm workouts and a little will power to stay away from Z's plate. If I stick with all three of those things I should be able to get to my goal without too much trouble and maybe even win the Biggest Loser competition. I will keep you posted (5 lbs down--the holiday weight......10 more to go)!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Z's First Encounter with a "Bully" :)

Well today was a first for Z and I...Z was attacked by an older child :) We were at a MOMs club event and there were lots of other children (all ages) there. Z was busy shooting hoops and was doing really well with me being across the room. He could see me when he wanted to and that was working just fine.

While I was talking with another mother, I quickly glanced over to the corner of the room to see these two little red shoes sticking out from under a much larger child. I heard this little cry and quickly ran to pull the child off of Z. The child's mother turned to see what was going on (as did the rest of the crowded room) and she immediately pulled her child out of the room and put him in timeout. I looked down at Z who was unsure of what had just happened and was sobbing uncontrollably. I took him into my arms and looked around at the other mothers. I explained that that was his first attack and they said, "Well it won't be his last." Looking for something to calm Z down I noticed a little block. It is my guess that the source of the fight was that little block. I am sure Z saw the little boy holding the block, went to grab it (because that is what 1 year olds do) and the little boy took him to the ground.

The child's mother came back in the room to see if Z was okay and I assured her he was. The incident had shaken us both up a little so I went to find one of the moms in my playgroup for a little comfort (and the "sympathy" that I did not get from the moms in the other room :)).

I know no one is to blame and that this will be the first of many incidents like this. We usually hang around with other children Z's age and in that circle all we have to deal with are little shoves and the occasional bop over the head. I am sure that someday soon I will be pulling Z off some other child......but when I do..... I will make sure that I give that mother the "sympathy" that she needs to get over her child's first attack. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Great Free Outing

Today Z and I went to our public library. It is one of his favorite places to go and I love it because it does not cost a thing! Our library has a wonderful kids section with lots of fun things for him to do. They have puzzles, cars, puppets, trains etc. He also loves to look through all of the board books and sit down to read them. We go once every two weeks and I pick out a few books and a movie for him. They have a great kids DVD selection and this week we got a short movie all about balls! Zachary is obsessed with balls (like most other toddlers his age) and was carrying the DVD case all over the house saying, "ball".

The one downfall of our trips to the library is getting Z to leave. He cries when it is time to go and usually has to be bribed with milk or his toy football. The librarians think it is great that he loves the library so much.

Many libraries have lots of free programs for kids. Ours has a toddler story time which Z will be ready for in a few months. I highly recommend checking out your public library. It is one free and fun activity you can do with your kids for their entire childhood!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Baby Signs and Z

The Baby Signs (R) Program has been a big part of our lives for the past year. Z knows over 60 signs (as well as a lot of words) and is able to easily communicate his needs and thoughts with us. I first heard about the program from my good friend S. I was amazed to see her co-workers 2 year old daughter communicate with both signs and words. At the time she had 200 signs and the communication between her and her mother was flawless. My friend S then started signing with her son when he was born and I knew it was something I wanted to do when I had Z.

I bought the book Baby Signs by Dr. Linda Acredelo and Dr. Susan Goodwyn and read it while I was pregnant. I then started signing with Z when he was 4 months old. This was not only to expose him to the signs but to get myself and my husband in the habit of signing. We started out slowly with mealtime signs, added bedtime and before you know it Z was signing back! He did his first sign at 7 months old with my sister in-law and mother in-law present. He looked up at our bathroom light and signed "light". It was AWESOME! From there he took off....he learned more, all done, milk, fan, hat, dog etc.

I will never forget the night when Z signed love and looked up at my husband. It was incredible and melted both of our hearts! Here was our 10 month old telling us that he loved us!!!! It was such a special moment and one that made all of the work we had put into signing worth it.

I highly recommend the Baby Signs (R) program to any family with children under 2. It makes such a difference in the day to day challenges when you have a child who can ask for specific things or let you know when something is wrong. The signs that I wanted Z to learn the most were the safety signs. He is now very good at signing help, hurt, hot and gentle :)

My advice if you are just starting out is to either buy the Baby Signs (R) book or buy the Complete Starter Kit. Both will help any family to get started with their baby signing journey. The starter kit includes a parent guide, four cute board books, a child DVD with 6 signs (my son loves the DVDs) and a parent DVD with a video glossary of 100 signs and an overview of the program. Another great place to learn more is the Baby Signs (R) website.

My other piece of advice is to start slow! Pick a few signs to start and make sure to use them in your daily routines. Please know that the younger your baby, the longer it will take for them to sign back. Children don't typically start signing until 8-12 months. So be patient and make it is so worth it!!!!

Happy Signing!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Church with a Toddler....

We have been members of our current church for a little over a year. When Z was born we searched for a church community that would help us to raise Z with the values and morals that we were raised with. S had been part of a small church community and I had been part of a large one so we weren't sure what we wanted for our new family. In the end we picked a small friendly and loving community who accepted us with open arms.

S has been very active in the church community. He has joined the choir, attends the regular meetings and is loved by all of the older ladies! Z and I went very regularly in the beginning (back when it was easy to contain him) and the people really enjoyed his "cute" noises and big smiles. We took a break from church during the summer but returned in the fall. Z was mobile at this point (a new challenge) and church also occurred during Z's nap time. We did go the one time and then decided to let daddy go alone until Z moved to one afternoon nap.

Well we made the big return last Sunday! I was so excited to be able to go to church again as a family. I knew Z wouldn't sit for the whole service but I had a shopping bag full of toys, books and snacks and hoped that he would sit for at least part of it and then we would go to the church nursery for the rest. Well we took our seat in the back and all was well....until the choir walked in and Z saw his daddy! From that point on it was Z's mission to get to his daddy! NOTHING distracted him!!!!! He didn't want his toys, books, snacks or the nursery...he wanted his DADDY! He could be heard faintly in the church as he screamed "Daddy" in the nursery. He wailed and cried and wanted to be with his dad.

So we left after 18 minutes. We both sobbed as we walked to the car. He kept crying "daddy" and I was right there with him. We cried all the way to the grocery store where we both were able to gain composure and move on. After church S called us and told us how sorry he was that he was not there to help. I told him that Z and I would not be going back to church for quite awhile! Oh well....we tried! You just can't explain to a one year old why they can't go and be with their daddy when he is singing with the choir.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Old MacDonald Had a Farm....

This website I found called DLTK's Growing Together is awesome!!! I found it the other day when I was looking for directions on how to make a flannel board for Z. Well I decided to go with a magnetic board instead and I found these cute printables on the DLTK website. This is our Old MacDonald had a Farm set :) Z loves them. We sing the song and put each animal on the board around the barn. I am using a cookie sheet right now but I hope to someday upgrade to a real magnetic board (or a $10 easel I found on craigslist ;)). I also printed out the 5 little Snowflake poem and 5 little ducks. I think there are endless possibilities with this project. I printed them out, glued them to cardstock, cut them out and then covered them in clear contact paper. I made sure to cover the magnets that I bought in contact paper too....don't want my little guy swallowing magnets!!! I highly recommend this fun and easy project that will lead to years of fun!

The Move to One Nap

Well I think we have done it (knock on wood)! I think we have successfully switched to one nap. It was a month looooonnnnnnngggggg journey but the new schedule seems to be working. I was really hesitant to give up the two nap schedule because I liked having two separate breaks throughout the day. They were both short breaks but at least I had at least 45 minutes twice a day to do what I needed to do.

The holiday madness forced us to head toward the one nap schedule before we were ready (well I am sure Z was ready but I wasn't). There were many tear filled days as we skipped naps, tried to move nap times around or Z would refuse to sleep. Then finally we fell upon the after lunch nap time and everything has been working out pretty well.

With this new schedule I have a nice long 2 hour chunk to myself (on some days it is as long as 3 1/2 hours)!!! It is great, I can now workout, get dinner started, clean, write my blog entry and get ready for the evening with Z. It also gives us a morning to do what we want with. Some days those long morning chunks seem to last forever (today for example) but for the most part we are out enjoying life. Every day is different and full of new challenges and just when you get into a groove, everything changes! So I know that this schedule won't last forever but for now it works for us ;)

Happy Zzzzz's!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

a little thing called craigslist....

Wow! I am now in love with craigslist!!!! In the past I had used this site once or twice when we had to look for apartments. People had often talked about posting things on craigslist but I had never felt the need to check out all that the list had to offer. That was until last I am an addict.

Last Thursday we started our toddler gym class at the local YMCA. Z is in love with balls and the gym at the Y. Whenever we would go to swim class he would be dragging us down the hall as he frantically signed "ball". He wanted to go to the gym much more than the pool :) Well his dreams came true last week because instead of taking a left into the pool...we walked down the hall to the gym (I walked, he "ran") and his eyes lit up with excitement. When we walked in, there was an employee shooting hoops. He had the rack of basketballs out and Z quickly ran to the rack and hoisted a big basketball into his arms. After the go ahead from the employee....Z was running around the gym with his very large ball :)

One of the b-ball hoops had been lowered and so I lifted him into the air so that he could shoot his first basket. What a joy and a mistake this was....he was elated and full of pride and wanted to do it again and again and again!!!! Just when I thought my back could take no more, it was time for us to go to our class. Z would not put the basketball down! The employee was very nice and let us keep it and we brought it with us to class. Z soon became the envy of all of the other toddlers. He had the biggest ball and soon had a row of children running after him to get this new treasure.

In this new gym the b-ball hoops were not lowered to Z's disappointment. He would stand under them trying to figure out how to shoot his giant ball into the hoop. Coming over to me and whining for me to help him, I lifted him in the air to show him that his 5 ft 8 in mommy could not help him reach the very high basketball hoop :) This was no good!!!

Thank goodness we soon found a Little Tikes basketball hoop and that was when Z became a toddler basketball star. He sunk basket after basket and was a real natural. His teacher came over and commented on his excellent basketball skills :) My friends in class told me that I had to get him a hoop of his own (they told me I had to!). So on the way home I decided that I would find a way to get Z his very own hoop and help to make him the next Larry Bird :)

After Z went down for his nap I "googled" the hoop and found out that it cost $30.00. Now the old me would have gone out after his nap and bought the hoop at whatever store I could have tracked it down at. But the new me was under a spending freeze....what to do? How could I find $30 without making my husband S mad? How could I justify this purchase????

That is when it hit me....craigslist!!! And so I typed "Little Tikes Basketball hoop" into the search bar and what would you know....two had been posted that day and for only $10! Now we were talking. I quickly emailed the first lady on the list and discussed the mint condition of her hoop. Before I knew it I had arranged a pick up of the hoop later that day! what to do. I still was not allowed to spend $. Well I called my sister in desperation and she said that it was fate that two hoops had been posted that day and that $10 was nothing and that if I needed her to...she would buy the coveted hoop.

So I set out on my journey to pick up the hoop, making sure to call my mom, best friend L and my sister to let them know where I was going in case I was never to be seen again. My mom freaked out about me going to a strange person's house with her grandson and demanded that I call her as soon as I was done. Well the pick up was a breeze, the lady seemed very nice and the hoop looked great. Z lit up when he saw me bring it back to the car and when I handed him the ball he clapped with glee. I quickly called mom back and she was relieved to hear that we were all right and that Z was excited about his new toy. She even offered to buy it for him for his Valentines Day present :)

S came home later that night to see Z dunking hoop after hoop (I even had to raise it up one level to give him more of a challenge). He looked at me with a "how much did you spend today?" smirk but I quickly told him that this precious find cost us nothing! He then listened to the story, gave me a kiss, told me how proud he was of me (that I had been so resourceful) and sat down to play b-ball with his son!

Thanks craigslist (and mom), you have helped to bring one of the best toys into our house. The whole family plays with it daily and it is the first thing Z runs to every morning. You have found a new user in me and now I have my eye on a $10 easel for Z, I just have to figure out how to justify it to my hubby.........I will keep you posted!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

And the Letter of the Week is....

I have been reading a lot on child development lately and often wonder and worry if I am giving Z all he needs throughout the day. I want to make sure that I am helping him to grow into a strong and independent person who cares a lot about people and the world around him. I want to make sure I am providing him with enough experiences that will help to stimulate and cultivate his little mind. My reading has been quite interesting and I really like the book Baby Minds by Dr. Linda Acredelo and Dr. Susan Goodwyn. They have so many great ideas and activities for children 0-3 to help with their brain development. One of the activities I was most attracted to was the "Letter of the Week". They say to set your home up like Sesame Street and to introduce a new letter each week. This introduction is not meant to teach them their letters and sounds but meant to be "food for thought". You expose them early so that when they come across letters later they will be familiar (giving them that prior knowledge). I thought Z was a little young for this but felt as long as it was fun and light (no drill and kill, forcing flashcards down his throat).....I would give it a try.

Then I visited my friends daycare center last Friday and as always was blown away :) Her 16 month olds knew letters! They could point to the B, C, G, O and a few others. They recognized the first letter of their classmates name!!!! It was remarkable to see these little guys identifying different letters. I was blown away and planned to start our letter of the week the next week:)

My friend E who owns and operates the daycare center is amazing. It is unbelievable what these kids have already learned at such a young age and she has only been open for 3 1/2 months!!! Last June when trying to figure out a way to stay home with her daughter (and not return to teaching) she decided to open a daycare center. And so 4 months later (after a lot of sweat and tears) a daycare she opened! My friend E is one of the most energetic and enthusiastic people I know and I was not surprised to see her turn one of her rental properties into a cute and adorable daycare center.

The center has 10 children right now (most of them between 13-16 months) and is doing some amazing things. They cook every week, create amazing art projects, have circle every morning (imagine a circle with mostly one year-olds!!!) and all of the children are learning Baby Signs (R) (which I had a small hand in because I trained her staff and did a workshop for the parents of the center).

Now this place is wonderful and if I lived closer to her I would be more willing to return to work and allow my Z to grow up under E's love and care. Z is now an honorary member of the center and we plan to visit at least once a month to see all the amazing things they are up to :)

Well I am happy to report that this week is all about the letter Z (hmmmm I wonder why we started with Z :)). We have Z's hanging all around, pictures of Z items (mostly Z himself), have been singing about the letter Z (mostly songs we make up) and have been making Z's out of cheerios etc. It has been a blast and Z can even say Z and point to it when we ask :) I am having so much fun "teaching" my son and can't wait until next week...maybe it will be M week for mom?????

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thank God For Playgroup!!!

My son was born in the fall of '06 and when winter hit I was going stir crazy!!!! I needed to get out of the house and meet people but what could I do with my four month old lump? All of my friends with children were an hour drive and I needed something..... someone closer to my new town.

So I signed up for a Kindermusik class in January which was great! It gave me a reason to shower, got me out of the house once a week and most importantly gave me 45 minutes of "adult" interaction :) As much as I loved the class it just wasn't enough...I needed something to do the other 4 days of the was an issue so I couldn't sign up for more I kept searching for other things in my community.

I was very excited to find my local MOMS Club advertising in the paper last February. I clipped the ad and called the president the next day. She was very nice and it turned out that she was in my Kindermusik class :) Small world!!! I joined on the spot and was eager to get involved.

Well my journey with the MOMs Club has been a bit of a roller coaster. I did not really feel welcome at the few events I went to and my playgroup disbanded before it ever got started. Just when I was about to give up and look for something new, one of the girls from the club called me and asked me if I wanted to meet up at the park the next week. I was so excited that someone had reached out to me and so I quickly agreed to meet her and a few of the other moms that she had called.

Well it was one of the best thing I have ever done! At the park that day, I met 2 wonderful people who have become close friends. I am so fortunate to have met them and to have them in my life today. They have been very supportive and have helped me to meet and create the wonderful playgroup I am part of today.

I love playgroup!!!! Z and I look forward to it every week. We get together, the kids play and the adults chat :) We chat about the kids, answer each others questions and vent about our lives. It is so nice to be part of a nice group of women who I can count on and also have so much fun with. So my advice to all of you SAHM's....get out there and meet people. Join a MOMs club, find a playgroup, find a class for you and your child.....find people who you can connect with! It is essential for you and your child, because after all....It takes a village to raise a child!


Monday, January 14, 2008

Indoor Snow Play

Here is a picture of our snowmen ;)

Snowy Monday

Well we are all cozy inside on this very snowy day. S decided to work from home and is busy at work upstairs. It is so nice to have him around but a new challenge has been added to our to keep Z distracted so that he does not go and bother daddy :)

So what does one do on a snowy day when it's too cold to go out and play? Bring the snow indoors!!! I went out on our deck, got a container full of snow and brought it inside. I put his mittens on him and we built snowman and dug in the snow with one of his spoons. I had a ball...Z wasn't sure what to make of it but he did like the snowmen we made. It was nice to "play" in the snow without getting cold and wet :)

We also built an obstacle course to pass the time (note to self.....15 month olds do not really know what to do with an obstacle course, they get caught up on one thing and don't want to move onto the next :)). Once again, I had a ball!!! I set up his ball pit, tunnel, my step from step-aerobics and a bunch of other fun things (toy drum, stacking cups, balls etc.). I set up the course to do a loop around the playroom. It was a lot of fun and Z did enjoy climbing on and playing with each piece of the course....he is just too young to understand that you are suppose to do it all in order. Who really cares, we had a lot of fun setting it up and playing with it anyway!

Well Z is asleep so I am off to do my FIRM workout of the day. I love these workouts...they are time efficient, work you really hard and are perfect for when you can't run outside :)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Here We Go.....

Well here we go...I am starting a Blog :) My husband S has been after me to do this and we will see where it goes. I am not sure that anyone cares what I think, what I do or what I have to say but we shall see! So please feel free to sit back, relax and get ready to join me on this wild roller coaster ride called motherhood.

Well we are 13 days into the new year and a lot has already happened. We are participating in a family "Biggest Loser" competition. S and I are teamed up and have already lost a combined 12.6 pounds :) We are working out, eating better and getting ready for our cruise in March (oh no...bathing suits!!!). The new year has also forced us to look once again at our finances. Christmas took its toll and it is time to start saving again. We are in the middle of a spending freeze (so much fun for this shopaholic) and so Z and I are forced to figure out free things to do (thankfully our Kindermusik and YMCA classes are already paid for).

The biggest thing we are facing in 2008 is our sweet little baby boy has started to defy us and is now very good at throwing temper tantrums! It is time to get out Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp and figure out what to do with this new creature living in our home. Thank goodness for Baby Signs (R) at least that has helped to avoid some minor tantrums.

Well it is time for me to get my Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich and sit back and relax before bed. I hope those of you who have read my blog (probably just my hubby) enjoyed it and will check back tomorrow to see what is new with Z and me :)