Monday, December 15, 2008

Tis the Season!

I love the holidays but boy am I behind this year. I usually start my shopping late, but this year, who knows when I'll even start. Plus, I am a notoriously bad shopper. I don't really have the patience for it and unless I know exactly what I want, I have a really hard time. So, I have been putting off starting the Christmas shopping. Yes, its true, I haven't bought gift number one. I am not especially proud of this, but I am not completing freaking out...yet. My main worry at the moment is my little neice in Seattle. I need to put her gift in the mail, like tomorrow. Wish me luck and if anyone has any ideas for a 6 year old girl, let me know!

I finally finished decorating the house, mainly. There are still a few finishing touches needed, but the tree is up and decorated, the stairs are done (last year I spent hours decorating the stairs ;-) and the village is lit. I wasn't allowing myself to blog until everything (decoration-wise) was taken care of, although it didn't stop me from reading everyone elses blogs.

Nick seems to be enjoying the season, although I don't think he really understands what is going on. He had a fun time going to get the Christmas tree and he likes looking at the lights. I am trying to get him in the spirit by playing Christmas carols and singing every morning while we get ready for the day and also on the way to school. He likes them, but I think to him they are just another bunch of songs.

We have taken Nick to a couple of Christmas parties with us. We made what I think is a rookie parent mistake of taking him to a very large open house at a friends home. This is an annual party that we have been to for a few years, and is very family friendly so we thought, lets take him. Bad idea. We stayed at this party for about 45 minutes tops. It was pretty much standing room only, so we couldn't really put Nick down. All the kids were upstairs, but there weren't any quite as young as Nick. So, between us Bill and I held him the whole time except for about 5 minutes. We had squirming, flying sippy cups and mini-tantrums before we threw in the towel. Next year, baby sitter.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mainly Pictures

I am going to try to keep the words to a minimum on this post and concentrate mainly on some pictures from some of our recent events.

I'll start with some pictures from our Illinois trip.

Nick with Aunt Peg

Uncle Bruce got a workout once he started playing with Nick!

Nick loved playing with his cousin Ellie

...And cousin Jack, who even got a hug

He taught Granny Jane, Aunt Linda and Aunt Jill the sign for More

Nick got his first hair cut (since being with us) a few weeks ago. I wasn't there, unfortunately, because I had a shower to attend. So I missed the excitement. Bill was going to take him to one of the places with the airplanes that the kids sit in while they get cut, but the wait was too long so it was back to Great Clips. As you can see from the pictures, Nick was leery of the stylist and didn't like the experience one bit! He did look cute when all was said and done.

Here are a few shot of Nick with Aunt Mary and Uncle Dan at Wintergreen. Nick had a great time taking Mary from place to place in the house, and Uncle Dan kept getting hit in the head with the chair, which was really funny to a 19 month old!

Here we are on Thanksgiving Day. We were trying to get a good shot for a Christmas card, or just to have. Alas, we'll have to try again because this is the best of the bunch and Nick isn't really smiling. I suppose its good that we're all looking at the camera.

Thats it for now. I am already way behind on getting ready for Christmas. We got our tree yesterday and hopefully by mid-week it will be in the house and decorated!
Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

OK, where were we?

The last two weeks have pretty much been a blur. I expected this would happen once I returned to work. Its like starting back over with a new routine. And now, we've done it for enough days that Nick realizes it isn't just a temporary thing.

I think the last time I posted, I was kind of upset that Nick wasn't getting upset when I dropped him off in the morning. I know that sounds messed up, its just that he seemed to care less that I was leaving him for 8 hours. That all changed last Thursday morning when Nick was slightly clingy and didn't want me to leave. Friday he cried when I left, and this week on both Monday and Tuesday he became very upset as soon as I took his coat off. His teachers tell me that he calms down after about 5 minutes, but it still breaks my heart. Hopefully, he will quickly move past this stage and come to grips with the reality that I'm going to leave, he will have fun with his teachers and friends for several hours, and then I'll come back to get him and we'll go home and have fun.

That just tells you about drop offs in the morning, we have had equally trying times at pick up. The minute I walk in, Nick starts signing for a snack/drink (I can barely tell the difference between his signs). I asked the teachers about the afternoon snack and they say they get it around 4:30. Maybe he isn't eating it, or it isn't enough, I don't know. I do know that it seems that Nick is starving by the time I get there, usually between 5:30 and 5:45. It took me 3 days to figure out that I need to have a snack to give him in the car because if I don't he is going to fight getting into his carseat. It took me 15 minutes one day last week to get him into his car seat. He is really strong and was really fighting it.

Today, we had our first "sick" call. I got a call from Daycare telling me that Nick had thrown up while playing outside and we needed to pick him up within the hour. I was surprised because Nick had a great morning before Daycare, and didn't seem to be feeling bad at all. In addition, he had never full out thrown up since we've had him. He has spit up, but hasn't thrown up, at least not by my definition. Anyway, I called Bill because I had an afternoon of meetings and a project deadline. Luckily Bill was able to leave work for the afternoon and pick Nick up. Nick seems fine now, and we think something just didn't agree with him, or he may have overdone it on the snack. Hopefully he will be fine tomorrow and for the holiday weekend.

We are really looking forward to our first Thanksgiving with Nick. We have so much to be thankful for this year, and are excited to spend it with both our families. Thanksgiving day we'll go to my sister Jill's house with Carl and our nephews Josh and Sam, and my dad and stepmom, Oma Gretel. On Friday we'll head to Wintergreen where Bill's family and close friends are celebrating, maybe we'll have snow!

Happy Thanksgiving All!

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Routines and Strange Dreams

We are home from our trip and doing well. The trip was really fun, although quite tiring for all of us (Nick, myself and Jill--thanks Jill for all your help!). Now we're back to our day to day lives which changed drastically yesterday when Nick spent his first full day at daycare.

By all accounts, Nick did really well at daycare yesterday. He did not cry when I left him. I struggle with whether I should be concerned about this or not. Do I want him to cry, to demonstrate his attachment to me, or do I want him to wave bye and continue eating his snack? I don't know. I do know that I lost it while I was walking to my car, and called Bill sobbing that I had just dropped him off. It was really hard to leave him. I could see him on the playground and he just looked so little.

The teachers tell me that he was extremely well behaved, he didn't eat much at lunch or snack time, and during nap time he sat on his cot, chatted to himself and signed for More. I hope that soon he will start sleeping during nap time so that we can maybe avoid the meltdown that occurred once I picked him up.

When I picked Nick up he was happy to see me and came to me and gave me a hug. As I was getting his things together he started to get upset, he was signing that he wanted a drink. I told him we would get one at home. He whimpered most of the short drive home and once in the door I immediately gave him apple juice-water. He took a few gulps and chucked the sippy cup. I apparently didn't get it right. So then I thought maybe he had been asking for cheerios (drink and cheerios sign are very similar). He tossed the cheerios and continued to sign urgently. I finally realized that he might want Milk. That seemed to settle him down somewhat, but he still managed to fuss and cry for the next 30 minutes. I guess he was saving up all his unhappiness for home.

We decided that with the lack of a nap, we should put him down for bed earlier than normal. He was fussy and difficult through dinner, which is not normal. He did pretty well during bathtime and went to sleep with no issues. I hope today will go better.

I think I am definitely experiencing some anxiety about all the changes that are in process (daycare, new job). Its not surprising but the way it is manifesting itself is slightly odd. I have been waking up for the past few nights in a row, and even a few times before the trip, looking for Nick in our bed. Two nights ago I woke up and was patting the bed sheets around me, trying to move the dog (yes, all 70 pounds of Abby sleeps with us!), looking for Nick. Bill woke up and asked me what I was doing and I told him that I'm looking for the baby. Bill calmly explains to me that Nick is in his room sleeping in his crib. I say ok and go back to sleep. Then I wake up a second time about 3 hours later and do the same thing. Bill tells me Nick is in his bed and I say he's supposed to be in bed with us. I go back to sleep once I'm sure Nick isn't in bed. Then last night I wake up again expecting Nick to be in bed with us. I can't find him, and I know that I haven't brought him to bed with us, but that doesn't stop me from getting up to check on him. Very strange!

Hopefully later this weekend I'll be able to post some pictures from the trip and also update on how the second day of daycare went.

Have a great Friday everyone!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Visiting Daycare and Developmental Update

Today Nick and I spent a couple of hours at daycare together so that he could begin to acclimate to the new environment. The plan is that he is going to attend a few hours today and tomorrow this week, then he and I go to Illinois to visit relatives with my sister, then next week he will go half a day Wednesday and will start full time next week Thursday.

I thought today went really well, of course I didn't have to leave him, ask me how I feel about this next week. Anyway, when we entered the room and I put Nick on the ground, several of the children swarmed him. Those toddlers have no sense of personal space! They were so excited about having a new friend in class. It was very sweet and borderline creepy. Once the teachers convinced the children to give Nick some room, he checked out the room and took it all in. It was Circle Time so most of the children were listening to the story. Nick was more interested in figuring out the lay of the land. I left the room at one point for a few minutes but Nick didn't cry or have any issues, I think it may have been during snack time, now I can't remember.

The day went really well and the teachers were great with Nick. One of the teachers grew up in Russia and was very excited to hear that Nick had recently come home from there. So far I think this will be easier than I originally thought but I may change my tune next week.

After daycare Nick and I made a stop at my current employer so I could turn in my resignation. Yes, I have found another job and will start the new gig in two weeks. I was due to return to work at my current employer next week on Friday. I think it could be slightly stressful to be experiencing all this change at once, but I really think its for the best and I am very excited about the new job!

I think I am way overdue on an update on Nick's development so here goes.

Sleeping: Nick is still sleeping like a champ. He goes to bed at 8pm, or close to it, and usually wakes up between 7 - 7:30. He generally doesn't wake up in the middle of the night. Sometimes we hear him around 5:30 or 6:00, he may sing or babble, but then goes right back to sleep. He is taking one nap in the afternoon, for 2 - 3 hours. He will wake up occasionally after about 45 minutes of napping. I can usually get him back to sleep, but we have had a few days where he wouldn't go back to sleep.

Eating: Nick has started to reject some foods that he used to devour, specifically peas and green beans. We have tried brocolli and he spit it out. He did like spinach quiche when I made it a few weeks ago so I may have to start making that a daily meal in order to get some green veggies into him. He will now stop eating when he's full, and unless I specifically ask if he is done, he will either spit the food out or throw his spoon, or both, when he is done eating. He still chugs his juice water. He doesn't chug milk and will actually put the cup down before its gone. For a while we were able to get him to drink milk with no Ovaltine, but then he started throwing the cup and wouldn't drink the straight milk so now we're back to chocolate milk, with barely any chocolate. He also won't drink straight water, it has to have a shot of juice before he'll consider it. He can feed himself with a spoon or fork, and does pretty well, but midway through whatever meal it is he will usually throw his spoon. If anyone has any ideas on how to work with him on this I'd love some advice. I try not to make a big deal about it but it is frustrating.

Diapering: Still Hates it, hates it, hates it. The one thing that works sometimes is singing. His favorite is my made up version of "If You're Happy and You Know It". I don't know all the words so I have made my own up where we touch different parts of our faces and feet, etc.

Music: Still LOVES music, loves dancing, now with swaying and little pumping fists have replaced the jazz hands. We often listen to our Music Together CD, and I have gotten him some instruments that he likes to play. We haven't watched the Wiggles much lately at all.

Communication: Nick hasn't really learned any new signs. But, over the past two weeks has started mimicking our words more and more. I have to say, I love this because I feel that it is a breakthrough in his ability to communicate with us and its so cute when he says a new word. So, at this point the words we think he can say are: Mama (not specific to me), Dada (mainly specific to Bill), Da (dog), Abba (we both thought we heard this yesterday when Abby (the dog) came into the room, he pointed to her as he said it, but this was the only time), Tee (teeth), Mou (mouth), Eye and Hi. He can also point to his eyes, ears, mouth, teeth and belly button.

Raspberries: Bill taught Nick how to give raspberries and now I am the primary recipient. At totally random times Nick will tug at my shirt or pant leg to move it so he can give me a raspberry. It is hilarious and if we ever get the video recorder recharged we'll get it on video and post. Nick is very proud of himself after giving an especially good one and gets giddy.

I guess that is about it for now. I probably won't post for a week or so because we'll be out of town. Have a great week all!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

First Sniffles and Happy Halloween!

Early last week Nick came down with his first case of sniffles since we've been together as a family. All in all I think it wasn't too bad, a mild fever (just one day), runny nose, coughing and sneezing. It didn't slow him down at all. The main impact we saw was at nap time when his cough would wake him up prematurely.

I was really worried that this would impact his being able to go to Music Together on Friday where it was costume and picture day, and also that he would have to miss the neighbor's Halloween Party. Luckily his fever only lasted a day and by Friday he was pretty much back to normal.
I have to say that I am the worst photographer. I still haven't completely gotten the hang of my camera and I've had it for a long time. The problem is that Nick moves so fast and in the time between hitting the button and the picture actually being taken, Nick is usually in my face by that time, or out of the picture. Its funny but frustrating. I managed to get one good picture of Nick in his costume. He was a dragon and was ok with the body part of the costume but he hated the hood. So, it didn't stay on his head long and if it was on his head, there were often tears. We didn't push it too much, therefore one picture and he's not even smiling in it...oh well.

We didn't take Nick out trick or treating because he's so young and our neighbors were having a party for the kids and adults after trick or treating, so we thought we would just take him to the party and everyone could see him there. I was also worried about all that time in the costume for him. I'm kind of glad we didn't take him out because he loved watching all the kids that came to our house. He is fascinated with the big kids (anyone older than him)! At the party one of my neighbors gave me a hard time for not bringing him around so they could ooh and aah and say how cute he looked. I didn't know :-)

He did look adorable and we had a fun time at the party. The neighborhood kids are all so sweet to Nick, especially the little girls. There are a bunch of them and they just fawn over Nick. They all want to lead him around and play with him. It is too cute!

Now for a few pictures from the past week!

Nick and Oma Gretel playing the piano

New Monkey PJ's

The Rear View of Nick the Dragon, with Tamborine

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fun Times with New Friends

This Saturday we had plans to meet blogger friends Troy, Rachel and Daniel and Norm, Karyn and Ilya at Round Hill Farm, a local pumpkin farm, for the standard pumpkin farm activities including a petting zoo, hayride, pumpkin patch, and probably many other activities I don't even know about. Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate and due to large amounts of rain we regrouped and went to the Virginia Discovery Museum in Charlottesville.

I was really looking forward to getting the little guys together and spending time with the parents. We had met Troy, Rachel and Daniel while we were in Moscow on our first trip, right before they returned to the states. And, Karyn's blog has long been one of my favorites. It was really nice to get everyone together, see the boys interact, and swap stories with other families who have been through many of the same or similar experiences. I felt extra lucky because both families have been back longer than us so I was able to get alot of advice, particularly about day care and the transition to day care, which is very much on my mind these days.

The Virginia Discovery Museum was really great. There were many activities for the little guys and they all really loved it. Nick was a bit overwhelmed at first, but it didn't take long for him to get comfortable and start exploring. It was hard to get him to leave a few of the stations! I think Nick's favorite part of the museum was the room with the Pirate Ship and slide.

After the museum we stopped for a quick lunch and then everyone headed home. We had a wonderful day with new friends and look forward to future outings!

I am including some pictures from the museum. It was hard to get a good one of all 3 boys together, they are soooo fast, I think I have one.

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Love Fall in Virginia

Fall in Virginia is so beautiful, I love it! This is the best time of year (in my opinion) and I feel so lucky to be able to enjoy it at home with Nick! I think Nick loves it too. It has taken a turn toward the chilly lately (finally) and Nick loves being outside. Its so cute, he will want to go outside first thing in the morning when we let Abby out and he doesn't understand why he can't go out and play at 7am in the 40-50 degree weather.

Two weekends ago we attended a birthday party for Nick's friend Emma. This party was at the Little Gym. The party format was very similar to the Romp and Roll party with high school kids leading the festivities and music, jumping, climbing, balls and balloons. I think Nick loosened up earlier at this party (than the first one) and he really loved the jumpy bouncy thing when they turned on the bubble machine and played music. He hasn't really figured out jumping yet, but he's trying. He also had pizza, again, and also ice cream cake. It was his first encounter with ice cream, and he loved it. Good thing because I love ice cream too.
Bill's parents visited that weekend as well, and this time Nick warmed up to both Bill and Francine much more quickly which I was very happy about. Nick is still slightly standoffish at first but after 10 or 15 minutes he relaxes and starts interacting more and more.
Nick had his 18 month check up one week ago Monday and he did great. He gained a pound and grew almost an inch since our last appointment. He freaked out again when the stethoscope came out. I don't know what it is, he cried harder when the doc listened to his heart than when he got his immunizations. There was an intern with the doctor during the checkup and even though Nick wouldn't smile at our doctor, he kept catching the eye of the intern and smiling, it was pretty funny. And, no surprise but Nick is cutting at least 4 new teeth right now, which is why there are wet spots in all the pictures of him! I can't wait until this round of teething is over!

We got some great news last week regarding day care, we were able to secure a spot at my first choice spot! I am so happy and relieved. In the end, I realized I wasn't sure about my second choice, and although I really like the place where the little boy tried to take Nicks Lightning McQueen shoe off, it wasn't very convenient for us. One more thing I can mark off the list. I go back to work in about 4 weeks and didn't want to be up in the air too much longer.

On Thursday last week Nick met my Dad and Gretel (my stepmom). They live in Richmond for half the year and just returned. It was wonderful to see them and Nick interact. True to form, Nick was a bit shy at first but by the end of the visit was trying to give Gretel Ritz cheese sandwiches. He also dressed up in his extra special pirate outfit that Grandma Francine gave him. Very cute!

This past weekend we had our neighborhood Fall Festival. They do a fabulous job with this and I think as Nick gets older it will only become better and better for him. The petting zoo was the highlight, for sure. Nick actually touched the baby goats, bunny rabbits and horse! YAY! He also picked out a pumpkin to take home. But, of course, the camera battery died after about 5 pictures in the petting zoo so we have none of the pumpkin. Whoops!

And, now for a few random pictures!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Life Got Away from Me

So I've taken a little break from blogging. I had to because I was so far behind on the regular, day to day things that need to be done. Between the week at the beach and the stomach virus (I'm almost recovered :-) I had let things "slide" a bit. I feel much better now as I have spent this week focusing on catching up.

We have been staying pretty busy lately. Nick and I have started a class called Music Together, which is basically a time when we get together with other parents and children and we sing, play instruments and dance around. I think I've mentioned before that Nick loves music, so I thought this would be the perfect activity for us. Not to mention, every other toddler parent I know had suggested it, so it was very highly recommended. We have now been to 3 sessions and Nick seems to relax more and more each time. It has been interesting to see how he reacts to the class. I will say it hasn't been the "hit" that I hoped for, but I also think he is still adjusting. He does like the music, but seems more interested in the other children and watches them intently. Yesterday he participated more than he had in the previous weeks, he actually played the instruments while the music was going on (as opposed to simply holding an instrument and watching the other kids). One nice thing about the program is that they gave us 2 CDs with the music, and a book with all the words and suggestions for playing along with the songs at home. We listen to them at least once a day, which I think is helping him.

Last weekend Nick went to his first birthday party for his friend Brayden. We were a little apprehensive about how it might go for him. The party was held at a place called Romp and Roll, which is like a kids gym with soft structures to climb on, a trampoline and a moon walk kind of thing (I don't know all the names of the stuff). Anyway, the party was led by the workers who appeared to be high school girls. They were very good with the kids and kept things moving along. There was random play time with lots of balloons, balls, the climbing stuff, and music in the background, then there would be a break where they would bring the kids together for some singing, then more play, then they took a break for pizza and cake. It was Nicks first pizza and he really enjoyed it. Its so cute when he eats something he likes he makes an "MMMM" noise that is adorable. After the break there was more play time then at the end they turned down the lights, put on the music and cranked up the bubble machine. This was Nicks favorite part of the party and I could kick myself for being too slow about getting my camera to capture the look on his face when he saw all the bubbles. It was priceless. I think we should get one of those machines and do this at home, he loved it. He just kind of walked around in circles looking up and trying to catch the bubbles, too cute. Nick had a great time at the party and we enjoyed it as well!

Last week Nick and I visited a place called Meadow Farm with our friend Arlett. I had no idea this place existed and it was very cool and free! It has a farm with lots of farm animals, a playground and a duck pond. We spent most of the time checking out the farm animals, some of which we were able to get really close to! We saw chickens, a turkey, sheep, horses and cows. The sheep were just grazing out in the middle of the grass in front of the farm house and Nick wanted to touch one really bad. He would walk toward them, they would all take off, trying to get away from him, and this just made him more intent on "catching" them. Finally, one of the sheep stood its ground and didn't flee when he walked toward it. At the last moment when Nick reached out to touch it, it moved away from him. Needless to say, Nick wasn't happy when I directed him away from chasing the sheep around. He probably would have done it all day had I let him.

I'm going to close with a few pictures of Nick enjoying some of his newest skills such as feeding himself and going up and down the stairs. Have a great weekend all!

Mastering the Spoon

Working on Going Up and Down the Stairs

On the Move

Getting ready for a big Construction Project

Thursday, October 2, 2008


There is a game of tag going around bloggerland and I've just been tagged by my buddy April! So here goes with 6 random facts about me.

1. I grew up in Champaign, Illinois; located in Central Illinois, smack in the middle of farm country. I was ready to get out of dodge by the time I went to college in Virginia, but now I can appreciate what a great place it was to grow up.

2. I had really bad hair in highschool, culminating in a breathtaking mullet my senior year. The hair lives in infamy in both my parents homes, displayed with all the family photos. I cringe every time I see it.

3. I really despise shopping. I am more of a figure out what you want, find out where you can buy it, go buy it, kind of gal.

4. My favorite food is Pizza. I could eat it every day of my life if I had to.

5. My birthday is this Sunday and yesterday Bill asked me how I wanted to spend it and I couldn't answer him.

6. While living in Seattle I climbed Mount St. Helens with 4 of my male co-workers. They totally suckered me into this telling me that it was a regular day hike. 5 hours later, of what felt like walking up steep stairs on snow and ice, I reached the summit. I view that climb as the most challenging physical activity I have ever done.

Now I've got to tag 6 people, so here are the rules!

1. Link to the person that tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random facts about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged.
6. Let the taggers know when your entry is up.

I am tagging:

1) Krista
2) Carey
3) Becky
4) Brandy
5) Sarah
6) Jane

Have fun!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Busy Days!

We're back from the beach and had a really fun time! The only unfortunate thing was that the weather didn't cooperate for us. A big storm blew in Tuesday and hung around until Thursday. There was alot of rain and really strong winds (gusts up to 50 mph at times). Friday was beautiful and we were happy to have one really nice beach day.

Our View showing the dark clouds and big waves, plus how windy it was!

On Tuesday, despite the wind and cool temps, Nick and I actually took a little swim. All I can say is that I would have never gone into that water if Nick hadn't wanted to (really cold but not dangerously cold). Nick loved the pool, although I think he too found it to be a little chilly. He had a little floatee that he could sit in and liked being pulled around. Nick wasn't too happy to get out of the pool and also cried when we left the pool area to warm up. I can't wait to get him in a warmer pool!

On Friday we went down to the beach and Nick seemed to really enjoy it. He played in the sand for quite a while, then we all went down to the ocean where we played in the shallow water when the waves came up. Because of the storm that had just passed we didn't go into the ocean or take Nick in. When we were down by the water Nick would squeal in delight every time the waves came up and got him wet, so cute.

During our week at the beach we transitioned Nick to one nap. I think it went pretty well, all in all. He would get pretty cranky right before lunch and right before dinner but I attribute this to the change. It also seems that he is now sleeping longer at night, almost 12 hours on several nights. I'll take that!

Sleeping Beauty

Since we've been home I've been slightly under the weather, which is part of the reason it has taken me so long to post. I finally went to the doctor today and found that I have a virus that is going around and it lasts 2 weeks! I'm hopeful that mine doesn't last the whole two weeks, it has zapped my energy which is hard when you've got a toddler around. Hopefully Bill and Nick are safe and won't get it, no fun. I am happy to know that its probably just a virus. I had convinced myself that I had picked up a parasite (in Russia) that was just now starting to take its toll on me.

This morning, before we went to the doctor we visited a Day Care. I am starting to get worried about our wait list prospects (we are on three wait lists) of the places we had already decided on. Anyway, we had a funny experience while we were there. We were in the older toddler room and I was holding Nick. A little boy ran up to us and started talking about Nicks shoes, which have Lightning McQueen on them. This little guy was so excited and was going on and on about the shoes, touching them, etc. One of the caregivers called to him and asked him to come to her, which he did briefly, then he came back and started trying to get the shoe off Nicks foot, literally pulling it off and trying to undo the velcro (I'm still holding Nick). It was hilarious. I guess they are pretty cool shoes for a kid. Daddy did good, I would have never picked them out.

We have started working on self feeding with a spoon. Nick is pretty good with acurately placing the food in his mouth. The hard part seems to be picking up the food. He does well with Yogurt and Oatmeal, but things like pasta and peas are harder for him.

With that I've got to go, have a great week all!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

To the Beach!

I thought I should post a quick comment for anyone out there still reading!

Nick and I are in the Outer Banks this week and I'm going to try to post later in the week but I can't promise anything. Bill will come down later in the week and then I will have more time.

I will say that trying to pack for a week long trip, for a toddler and adult, with all the toddler stuff required, while said toddler is awake is not easy! We had about a 3.5 hour drive and Nick did great. It was the first time he fell asleep in his car seat and he didn't get fussy until the very end of the drive! YAY. He's such a great boy.

We are having a great time! We have a gorgeous ocean view from the deck of the house and Nick loves being out there, watching the ocean (huge waves), and feeling the wind (its very windy this week). I don't think there will be any ocean swimming this week, but maybe a dip in the pool, which I think Nick views as one big bathtub. Hopefully it won't be too cold to take him in. I think he's going to love it, despite his feelings about his wading pool (not that excited about it).

Have a great week all!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

First Night Out and Happy Anniversary

First off, thanks to everyone for your advice on the pee and the ride on toys. Things have actually been better with the leakage for sure, I'm still using the Pampers Cruisers but plan on trying the Snug and Dry (I think thats what they are). I continue to get the random pee but it has gone from at least once daily to once every few days. I'm trying to make up my mind about the ride on toy. You would think I was buying a house with the amount of research I have done!

This weekend on Saturday I had to go have my hair taken care of (the works, cut, color, etc.). It had been an extra long time since I had it done due to the uncertainty in timing of our trip to Russia and the difficulty in getting an appointment with Kristy. So, I was gone for about 3 hours Saturday afternoon while Bill and Nick hung out. I think they had a fun time together and its good for Bill to get time alone with Nick since he only gets a few hours each night after work.

On top of being gone most of the day, Bill and I also had our first night out alone since we've had Nick. I know that attachment-wise they say not to go out and leave your child with someone else so soon. However, I'm not sure I'm completely on board with that (for sanity sake). I'm still trying to figure out all the attachment parenting stuff. I might do a separate post on attachment, mainly with my questions and skepticism of some of the suggested parenting techniques.

Back to Saturday, Bill and I attended the wedding of our friends Cathy and David on Saturday evening. I used to work with Cathy and Bill still works at that company as well. There were many dear friends and previous co-workers at the wedding. The wedding was beautiful and we had a great time at the reception seeing friends we hadn't seen in a while and sharing pictures of Nick and tales of our time in Russia. What also made this particular night special is that our 6th anniversary was Sunday, so we secretly celebrated one night early!

We were able to attend because Jill and Carl (sister and brother in law) agreed to stay with Nick. We are so lucky to have family close by, and thankful that Jill and Carl were available to watch Nick. By all accounts Nick did great with Jill and Carl and after the initial tears he settled in with them and had a great time.

We took it easy Sunday with an early trip to Whole Foods which has just opened near by. Bill tried to go there last week and it was a mad house so we thought Sunday morning (early) would be a good time and it was. It is a beautiful store, with great produce, cheeses, meats, prepared foods and bakery! The main drawbacks I see are the prices and the fact that I can't get everything there in one stop, I generally hate grocery shopping and like to do one stop shopping. I will always have to go to another store to fill in the things they don't carry at Whole Foods. I guess the long and short of it is that it isn't going to be our primary shopping place, its more of a place to go for special items. I think we'll go once every few weeks or so.

Sunday afternoon was spent with Bill and Nick watching the Redskins and playing. I am including some really cute (and maybe blurry!) pictures of the two of them in their matching Redskins gear!

Nick also had a visit from Elisa and Doug. Nick is probably starting to think that weekend afternoons are for people to visit him, dote on him, and bring him gifts. Elisa and Doug have recently had the last of their children move out and have been empty-nesters for about the same amount of time that we have been home with Nick. So they are now enjoying going out, spending time together, etc. We've switched lifestyles!

On a more somber note, I need to ask for some prayers, thoughts and good vibes to be sent to my mom who had a very bad fall on Monday night and fractured two bones in her spine. She is going to have to wear a collar for a while, but will not have surgery and has no concussion. She is still in the hospital and we hope she will be able to go home either today or tomorrow.

I hope everyone is having a good week. More later!

Nick helping water plants

Putting the gnome in the pot

I am including a video (please excuse the wandering lens, I'm still learning) of Nick trying to get onto the chair by himself. The range of emotions is quite wide!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Why do I get pee'd on so much?

I get pee'd on daily, pretty much. As hard as I try, as many precautions as I take, I either get pee'd on directly or leaked on. Its like Nick has a second sense about when I am "unprotected" from the pee. So far I have tried Huggies Natural Fit (I think thats what they are) and Pampers Cruisers. The Huggies leaked constantly so I switched to Pampers. They seem better but we still have leaks. When the Pampers leak it is on the front rather than on the legs, odd. I change him all the time as well. Any advice, or is this just part of the drill?

This week has been quiet. We've had two outings. The first was a trip to Stranges, our local Garden Nursery, to buy some flowers for the deck. Due to expecting to travel all summer, I didn't buy any new flowers for the deck because I thought they would die from neglect (even though the plants that we did have out there thrived while my nephew Sam stayed at the house). Now that we're home and spending more time outside I decided it was time to beautify the deck.

So, earlier this week I packed Nick up and we drove over to Stranges. I went to the back of the car to get the stroller and it wasn't there. OOPs! We had gone for a walk the day before and I forgot that the stroller wasn't in the car. We drove back home to get the stroller and then back to the store, I was determined to get the flowers. I thought this additional trip back and forth might not have been the smartest move on my part because I wasn't sure whether Nick would be able to last, turned out that he was fine.

Pushing a stroller around along with one of those large plant carts is not easy. I'm glad they weren't crowded because I would have been running into everyone, not to mention I think it was quite the spectacle (I kept losing control of the cart). I probably should have ditched the stroller for the Ergo carrier, except there is the small issue that I usually get leaked on when Nick is in the carrier, so I have only used it at home!

We picked up a few mums, a bunch of winter-hardy pansies, and a couple decorative cabbages. I had a small issue fitting all the plants in the car with the stroller, I forgot how much room it takes up. After a bit of rearranging I fit everything the car and made it home safe and sound. It only took me the next three days to get everything potted and arranged outside. I am glad though, it is much more pleasant out there with some color!

Our second outing was a trip to my office, to see my coworkers and introduce Nick to everyone, plus I had a bit of business to tend to. My original intent was to try to get in and out in an hour or so. I thought meeting so many people might be hard on Nick and didn't want to overdo it.

We had a great visit and it was so sweet that everyone I contacted (on short notice too) came to meet Nick and say hi! My coworkers were so supportive of me through the process, thanks everyone.

Nick is a bit slow to warm up to new people, but before I knew it he was playing peek-a-boo with Will and James and football with Rick and Disha. I have to thank Disha for keeping an eye on Nick for a while so that I could chat with everyone. Nick was on the move the whole time and I couldn't finish a sentence without him running around a corner or down the opposite hallway.

Our visit ended up lasting 2 hours, much longer than I had planned. By the last 10 minutes I was just trying to get us out of there before Nick went completely ballistic. I definitely overstayed and need to remember that he has his limits.

Other than our little adventures, I have a couple of updates and need some more advice.

Eating: Nick has started showing signs of self-regulation. What I mean by this is that he has started indicating that he is done at meal time. I have tried showing him the sign for All Done. He does this sometimes. The other indicators that he is finished are that he spits out his food (after chewing it up; but sometimes he chews the food, spits it out, and then puts it back in and eats it...nice) or he reaches for the back of the bib where it attaches.

Signing: We are still working on signing with Nick. His signing repetoire consists of More, Drink, Cheerios, GoldFish, All Done (sometimes), Yummy (not really a sign but thats ok) and Hat. He sometime mixes up the sign for Drink and Cheerios. I am going to work on Please next, I don't quite know how I'll get this across.

Advice: I'd like to get Nick a ride on toy and I'm looking for suggestions. I have a couple of ideas but can't seem to narrow it down. Plus there are so many options. I'm looking for something that he will ride and that will keep him occupied for more than one minute.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Sharing lunch with Abby

Preparing to kiss Spike

Hugging Spike Gently

Where's Dinner?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Where Did the Week Go?

I can't believe its already Sunday! I have waited so long to blog that I'm not sure I can remember what we did last week.

Tuesday afternoon we broke out the wading pool for Nick to try. He loves his bath so I thought he would really dig the pool...not so much. He didn't mind standing in the water but did not like sitting in it at all. Maybe it was too chilly for him? We tried it several times since Tuesday and each time Nick seems to like it more and more. He loves splashing the water and throwing the toys out of the pool. He also likes to put his foot on the edge of the pool so that the water runs over the edge of the pool. We'll keep working on this. It stays hot here in Virginia through September so we should have plenty of other opportunities. Unfortunately, our neighborhood pool has closed for the season so we'll have to wait till next spring for that.

On Wednesday afternoon Nick and I went to have his blood drawn for the myriad of tests our doctor ordered. I was very concerned about how this might go. If Nick wiggled and squirmed like he does sometimes when I'm changing his diaper, then this was going to be a very difficult appointment. I was not put any more at ease when the technician said to me upon seeing the test sheet, "Why do these doctors order so many tests on these little babies?".

We waited a few minutes, not long at all really, and then were called back. Nick sat on my lap as the phlebotomist looked at his arm for a good vein. She said she found one so immediately proceeded to put the rubber thing on his arm, tie it up, etc. At this point the crying began, but no struggling, just crying. I thought it might escalate and I was really wishing I had brought the cheerios out before we sat down so that I could distract Nick. To my surprise, he cried steadily but didn't thrash around at all and stayed very still. I was so proud of Nick, what a trooper he was. It went so much better than I imagined it could. We should get our test results back in the next few days.

Thursday we met my friend Heather and her daughter Emmaline at Maymont Park. We visited the Children's Farm and the Nature Center. It was a great way to spend a few hours and I think Nick enjoyed it, but I think he'll enjoy it more when he's a little bit older. The Children's Farm is set up so that the kids can touch/pet some of the animals. The closest Nick came to petting any of the animals was to touch the horn of one of the goats. We did see the two bears playing together, that was probably the highlight, at least for me.

Nick loved the aquariums in the nature center, and even more, loved walking up and down and around the ramps through the exhibits. He had a blast and I can't wait to take him to some of the other aquariums around the area.

On Friday we did a little shopping at Target. So far, the extent of Nick's retail therapy has been in Target and thankfully he seems to love it. We had to go Friday for a shower gift for a friend and we were probably in the store for at least an hour. I think Nick likes Target because it is colorful and there is a lot to look at, there are lots of people and kids to stare at (he loves to check folks out), and lots of people that smile and talk to him.

Saturday morning I had a bridal shower to attend so Bill and Nick hung out together and watched Georgia Tech play Boston College in football. They looked so cute together, both in their Georgia Tech gear. Good thing Georgia Tech won! I don't think Nick was paying much attention to the game, but I'm sure there will be more than enough opportunity to enjoy football with his dad.

Nick met lots of new people Saturday, beginning with our friend Eli, who stopped by to meet him and brought him his new favorite toy. Its a pull toy that looks like a big bug that plays music and also has shape sorting, colors and numbers. Its really cool and Nick loves it!

We had some friends over for dinner Saturday and Nick met a new kid friend, Colby. Colby is 2.5 and was so good and sweet with Nick. It was really cute to see them playing together. Dinner was kind of crazy since Nick's dinner/bedtime routine goes from about 7 - 8 and one of us needed to take care of him, leaving the other to finish dinner. Since Bill is the main cook in the house (yes, I totally lucked out here; I would rather bake!), he did the cooking and I did the bathing and bedtime routine. Our guests pitched in too, setting the table, etc.! After dinner we dusted off the Wii Guitar Hero which hasn't been played since right before we got the call to travel in April.

Today we took it easy. My sister Jill had us over for lunch. Nick loves flirting with his Aunt Jill, and playing peek-a-boo with Uncle Carl and cousin Sam. But, after about 2 hours he was starting to melt down so we hit the road and came home.

That pretty much wraps it up. I'm including some more pictures and hopefully I'll have a slide show one of these days...promises, promises.

Have a great week all!

Nick and Abby Hanging Out

Nick Keeping Tabs on Abby While She Eats

We're working on wearing hats!

Nick on his slide