Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Countdown Begins....

We leave for our big family vacation in a little over a week and the tornado, that is getting ready for a big vacation, has begun. Our summer clothes are all over the house, suitcases are out of storage and laundry is piling up everywhere. I keep telling myself that it will all fit in the suitcases somehow :)

Packing and trying on summer clothes has been extremely confusing for Z. I asked him to try on his sandals this morning ("beach shoes") and so when we later got in the car he thought that we were headed to the lake to go to the beach. He kept saying the names of his lake friends and couldn't wait to see them all. I had to explain that we just tried on the shoes to see if they fit and that we wouldn't be going to the beach until next week. I also had to explain that we were taking a big airplane to the beach because the beaches around here were covered in snow (I didn't have the heart to tell him that his lake friends would not be at this beach).

No matter how hard I try to save money....getting ready for vacations cost a fortune! Over the last two weeks I have had to buy: swim diapers, sunscreen, a new 3T summer wardrobe for Z (we did inherit some lovely hand-me downs), snacks, toys and books for the plane (one for every hour of flying), a new suitcase, batteries, a few new clothing items for S and I, a new battery for the DVD player, swimsuits for all and a weeks supply of rice milk for Z. This all adds up rather quickly and thus we have already spent a small fortune and we haven't even left yet :)

This trip is truly a family vacation :) My mom, dad, sister, brother in-law, niece, other sister (her hubby has police school so she is going solo), S, Z and I will be headed south for a week. It will be an adventure but with 7 adults and 2 kids...we do hope to each find some time to relax. We stopped at the hotel last year while on our cruise and I know that Z and G will have a blast! Z is already planning out his sandcastles and talking about which stuffed friends he will be bringing. It should be a lot of fun and we are all very excited.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys....

So Z was dragging his coat through the house yesterday as we were trying to get ready to go out. I kept hearing these popping noises and wondered what it could be. When I went to find Z to help him put his coat on, I stumbled upon a trail of little rocks! I bent over to pick them up and realized there were over 20 of them. When I questioned Z about them he grinned up at me and said "Papa's rocks". Without any of us knowing, he had collected them from S's parents driveway over the weekend and put them in his pocket for safe keeping.

Just the first of many treasures I know I will find in this pockets in the years to come :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Z's First Movie

I took Z to the movie theater for the first time this week and it was great! A friend emailed me to let me know that Bob the Builder was on the big screen all month long (she knew what a big fan Z is) and I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to introduce Z to the movies. The show was at 11 AM and so we headed to our local pharmacy to stock up on treats beforehand (yes I am going to be one of those mothers who hides snacks in her purse...especially at those movie prices!). Z picked out potato chips and gummy bears to share, a classic combo :)

We arrived at the theater a little early and bought our $3.50 tickets (a bargain). Our theater was way in the back (I guess they don't want children to disrupt the other patrons) and as we walked I could feel Z's anticipation building. I imagined him saying to himself, "Where are we? What is that good smell? Why is it so dark? This carpet is crazy". As we walked into the theater, Z's eyes were as wide as saucers. I had told him that Bob was going to be on a big screen but I don't know if he could have ever imagined a screen that big. He clutched me in fear of this new experience and we rounded the corner to find our seats.

The theater was stadium style and for the first time in my life....I could sit anywhere I wanted! There was NOBODY there :) In fact for the first 30 minutes we were all alone (a mother and son came in at one point) and it was so cool! The movie started with some short segments from PBS kids which included a Thomas the Tank episode! Z was in movie heaven....Thomas and Bob both up on the big screen!!! It was wonderful.

Bob is showing all month long as a part of the nation wide program Kidtoon Films. Local movie theaters show children's programing, approved by "Dr. Donna" an educator with her PhD. This was a wonderful first movie experience and so worth our $7.00....the programing was appropriate and the time was just right (80 minutes). For all you Barbie fans...there is a Barbie movie coming in March....check out their website for more info and for a theater near you. Z and I highly recommend you trying it out :) We think we will skip the movie for March but can't wait to see what is playing in April!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

First Trip to the Aquarium

"Hi, Bye, Hi, Bye Baby Bewuga"
"Sea Lions!!!!!!!!"
"Fishy, Fishy, Papa...look at that one"

These are the squeals and words that could be heard from Z as we toured the Mystic Aquarium this past weekend with S's parents. It was his first time at an aquarium and his reactions and big eyes helped us to see the aquarium for the "first time" all over again.

The first exhibit that draws you in is the giant outdoor Beluga Whale habitat. They had at least 5 whales living there at the moment (3 are permanent residents) and we got real close so that Z could watch them swim by. This was by far his favorite exhibit and he was in awe every time one of them swam by.....he had never seen anything so big!

The next exhibit was the ray touch tank. Z became very nervous as the rays came very close and would skim the surface. I don't think the shark lurking in the corner helped his nerves any. He was a little anxious when Mimi and Grandpa put their hands in to touch. Despite his nerves he has spent the last few days talking about rays and even asked to see them on YouTube :)

Next we went into the main building and Z quickly found the large fish tank in the middle of the room. He sat and stared, mesmerized by all of the giant fish swimming by (so much cooler than his fish bowl at home). He stood there for a good 10-15 minutes and would have stayed there longer if the adults in the group weren't ready to move on :)

Z loved each and every exhibit! There were lobsters, sharks, eels, frogs, Nemo clown fish and even bats :) At one point Mimi and I were sitting on the bench in the middle of the room when we heard this loud shriek. We quickly realized it was Z and that he had come face to face with his first sea lion. He let out quite a few more as he could not contain his excitement (I mean who could? :)). He had read about sea lions but never seen one up was awesome! We then decided that the sea lion show was a must.

Our last two exhibits were the penguins and then one more trip to see the belugas. Z had missed nap and was getting very sleepy (we all were). We had spent a good 2 1/2 hours at the aquarium and it was worth every penny! Z spent the next few days talking about the "Bewuga's", "rays", "sea lions" and "fishies". We have watched many YouTube clips of these animals but it is just not the same :) It was a great day!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Our Special Valentines Day

S decided to keep our Valentines Day plans a surprise this year :) Early Saturday morning, we headed to his parents house to visit and so that they could watch Z. About 7pm we took off for our special date. As we drove, I kept guessing where we might end up but I never EVER imagined that we would end up at the small Irish Pub that we had our first date at over 10 years ago! It was perfect :)

S's mom had made us a reservation (even though you really don't need one at this place) but we were 3o minutes early (we were anxious to get out). They sat us at an available booth and then S told them they could cross our name off the reservation list. When they realized that we had had a reservation, they told us we could move to a cozier table back by the fire. I said that would be lovely because that is where we had our first date 10 years ago :) They thought that was the greatest!

We ordered our wine and an appetizer and just reminisced about that first date. It was fun to think about our college days and to reflect upon all that has happened since that first dinner at the pub. We decided that we would dine at the pub every 10 years (hopefully it will still be around). After dinner we met up with his sister and her husband at a swanky little bistro. We had dessert and more wine (oh the wine.....too much wine) was fun to catch up with them.

I spent the rest of the long weekend on the couch, sick as a dog! My cold finally caught up to me and knocked me off my feet (the hangover didn't help on Sunday). S did everything for Z and allowed me to rest and get better....I am so appreciative of that!

I am so very lucky to have S as my husband. He is the most caring, thoughtful and kind person I know. We have so much fun together and laugh all of the time. I love him more and more each day and so appreciate all that he does for Z and I. Thanks for being my Valentine S :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

When Is a Playgroup Too Big???

I hosted playgroup last week and it was a bit of a madhouse :) We have 12 kids in our group....10 of them are 2 years old (or almost 2) and then we have 2 babies. Back in the day, the number of children wasn't as noticeable, they were either lumps or mobile beings that didn't interact :) Now they interact, feed off one another and all seem to have meltdowns about 45 minutes into playgroup. The house can get really chaotic, kids are bumping into one another and it is very hard to have conversations like we use to.

I love the girls in my playgroup (and their kids too). We have such a good time together and even get together on a seasonal basis for a MOMS night out to celebrate birthdays. Last time we played "Rock Band" and had such a good time :) I don't want to split up the group but what do you do???? It can be stressful to have that many people in your house at once.

It use to be rare that we would have all 21 of us show up for playgroup. My house last week was the first time that it had happened in a long time. Between our very busy schedules and illnesses, it is usually impossible to get the entire group together. There are also some houses where the children are enclosed in a small space and so some of the moms with older 2 year olds usually skip those weeks. But the weeks when we all do show up are crazy....what do we do???? I know that the weather will soon be getting nicer so having playgroup outside will be much easier on the host. But what do we do in the meantime? Any suggestions would be appreciated :)

Monday, February 9, 2009

My Little "Fireman Sam"

Move over Wendy and Dizzy and make way for Penny and Wooly :) In our house, Bob the Builder seems to be on the way out and quickly taking over is the "Hero Next Door".... Fireman Sam (Bob's hammer is now being used as a fire ax!)

Z is all about everything fire! He dresses up as a fireman, drives his "firetruck" around the house, asks to watch Fireman Sam over and over, must read his Fireman books before bed (this is a favorite), plays with his numerous firetrucks and pretends that his trampoline pole is a firepole. He "slides" down it as he recites pages from his numerous fire books ;) S has even written a song about firefighters for Z. He is all about fighting fires :)

This is soooo the opposite of how I was as a child, I was petrified of anything to do with fires (and still am)! The Happy Days episode where Arnold's burned down was a reoccurring nightmare of mine for months! I was so fearful of my home burning down and wanted nothing to do with fire fighters (they were big and scary and reminded me of Darth Vader). As a child I would not go to sleep at night until I made sure that nothing in my room was touching the electrical outlets!

Now I know Z is a lot younger than I was when I did those crazy things but it is so funny to go through this love of firefighters with him when I feared them for so long. This is not to say that I am over my is still a big one, but I am learning to deal with it better :)

This is one of many phases that Z will go through as a young child.....I know that I went through many myself. It is just so funny to see how truly "BOY" he is. He always gravitates toward the "boy" toys even though toys of both stereotypical gender are offered to him. He is also just like his momma in that he gets totally absorbed in one thing at a time. So for now, Thomas and Bob will have to take a bit of a back seat and let Fireman Sam be the star for awhile :) I know Z still has a fondness for them and he will be back to play with them again soon.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Where Did Mommy Go???

Z: "Mom, Mom......Mom......MOM"

My Inner dialogue: No this can't be happening...where did he hear that word? I am Mommy....I was okay giving up Momma but not Mommy. Maybe if I don't answer him he will stop using that horrible word!

Z: "
Mom....Are you Mom?....Milk MOM.......MOOOOOMMMMM!"

My Inner dialogue: Make it stop...oh please make it stop

Z: "There are you Mom. More Milk please"

Me: "Yes Z, Mommy will get you some more milk. Mommy appreciates that you asked so nicely. Mommy loves you."

Z: after he had his milk "Thanks Mom, See you Later"

Me: a tear ran down my face....where did Mommy go???

Monday, February 2, 2009

Basketball, Beer, Birthdays and the superBowl

B was the letter of the weekend :) It started off with a very fierce Little Tikes Basketball competition on Friday night. S beat me in the tie breaker game of our "Downtown Long Shot" competition. Z played his own version and cheered for both teams as we would make these challenging baskets :)

Once the game was over we decided to celebrate S's victory by breaking open one of his first batch of Home Brew Beers :) This batch was an Irish Red and we couldn't wait to see how it turned out. It had been 4 weeks of waiting to taste this first batch and so we were filled with anticipation. We used all 5 senses while we enjoyed the first beer. It sounded like beer (it made that familiar hiss sound when S popped the tab), it looked like beer (nice red color with a good head), it smelled like beer (just like the beer from our local brewery), it felt like beer (okay we really didn't touch it but we had to get that sense in) and so it was up to the last sense...did it taste like beer? I have to be honest that the first one we opened didn't have much of a kick. It did taste like beer but didn't have that bite that I so love with a good beer. The second was MUCH better and with each day the beer seems to be getting better and better. It really is good and I am so proud of S for all of his hard work :)

On Saturday we were off to S's Grandmother's 88th Birthday! She was glowing as we walked in and couldn't understand why we would drive 2 hours in the "cold" to celebrate her birthday. We told her we would do anything to celebrate her :) She is such a special Amazing! There were 32 people there to celebrate Grandma and if the house had been bigger, I am sure 132 other people would have been there. Grandma is the type of person who makes everyone feel special and loved. She still gardens, does Yoga and LOVES living in her Retirement home. She says she feels like a school girl all over again. She loves getting together with the girls in the lobby and they chit chat all day. Grandma makes everyone feel welcome (does not believe in silly cliques) and was even crowned Queen of the Ball after only living at the home for a few months....she is the greatest!

Her birthday was celebrated in true Italian style (Grandma came over from Italy when she was 8 years old)....the food, the drink, the noise, the song, the endless desserts and of course the LOVE. It was the most perfect, chaotic birthday you could ask for :) Even Z warmed up to all of the crazy people and had a really good time.

Sunday was spent at S's parents farm. Z got to take a snowy walk to see the Bulldozer, tossed sticks in the stream and ate lots of Mimi's pancakes. It was a nice visit and we stopped on our way home to pick up some Superbowl treats that are native to S's homeland ;)

We got home, watched the end of the first half (Z loved it) and then put Z to bed during half-time (we did let him watch Bruce sing one song). We then cuddled up on the couch with two more of S's beers, our food and watched the third quarter. After that we decided to channel surf...we realized we really didn't care about the outcome of the game (sorry Steeler and Cardinal fans). We had had our food, seen a bit of the game and half-time and were ready to move on :)

It was a great weekend!