Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Birthday B!!

In honor of your big day, we ate something in the brown/beige category.


Friday, June 26, 2009

zoos and news

We've had a really busy weekend; however, we had a busy weekend last weekend and I have yet to blog about it. So, first things first.

Leah and Chris were in Eldo and lookin' to get the heck out of dodge, so they headed up to see us on Saturday afternoon. We grabbed dinner at a fun place called Cowboy Chow, and decided that we would play hookey from church on Sunday morning to go to the zoo.

Sunday was Father's Day (happy belated, to those dads I forgot to acknowledge), so Alex and I ran out early and got Dunkin Donuts coffee, a free latte for dad, and donuts for breakfast while Tim slept in, and Alex gave him a handmade card and a guitar magazine when he got up.

After a leisurely breakfast, we got ready and headed to the zoo. A and I go to the zoo all of the time, but there were a lot of animals there that we hadn't seen before. For example, have you ever seen a vulture up close? I don't know if you know this, but vultures are the wierdest, creepiest, and most fascinating birds that ever lived, with their white eyes and wrinkly faces and bizarre, dangly...appendage thingies hanging from their chests. Which is why I took so many pictures of them. That, and my dad was nice enough to lend me his Nikon D70 and zoom lens for a while, and I was pretty much in hog heaven. Between Leah and I, we have about a zillion pictures over two days, and I've tried to narrow it down to the "best" ones, posted below.

And while all of that zoo stuff is very interesting, the real news came a day after Chris and Leah left. They's havin' a baby!!! Yup, Leah and Chris are preggers, and Alex is gonna have a little baby cousin next February. We are so excited!! Time to start your baby blog, Leah!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Once Upon a Time...

My cousin got married near Peoria the Saturday before last, and while we first considered flying, we ultimately decided that spending $300 in gas was much more appealing than the idea of spending $1600 on three plane tickets. Although that meant that we would have to make a fourteen hour road trip instead of hopping a plane and getting there in a few hours. We decided that, as long as we were driving that far, we might as well make it worth our while and plan a week long excursion instead of just a weekend trip.

So...we piled all of our earthly possessions into the van on Thursday morning and headed north, stopping in NWA for the night to break up the trip. We had planned on a Community Group reunion at the new Chuck E. Cheese in Rogers, so all of the kids could run around and the parents could try to catch up.

A loved all of the games, and of course, Chuck E. Cheese. We all know how Alex feels about giant, humanlike creatures in weird, fuzzy, animal costumes with big, bobbly-heads that sing and dance and walk around on two feet. I am ashamed to admit that, more than once, Timothy and I looked at each other and said, "Where is Alex?" followed by, "I thought you had him", followed by, "No, I thought you had him", followed by a frantic search through the arcade to find our little runaway. Luckily, they brand all of the kids and parents with matching tattoos so neither can escape, and we soon found Alex across the room, trying to play a game without any tokens.

When Alex wasn't m.i.a., he was playing air hockey with his friends or stalking Chuck E. Cheese or hugging his birthday buddy. I wish we had had more time to visit with our NWA friends, but after a fun slumber party with the Primms, we had to hit the road for the second leg of our trip.

Alex happens to be a great traveler, thanks in (large) part to the built-in brain-numbing device...er, um...I mean, DVD player that came with our van. I bought two new DVD's for the trip - Finding Nemo and a Thomas the Tank Engine movie starring Alec Baldwin that must have gotten some award, like maybe the Worst Kid's Movie Ever Filmed Award. Naw, it really wasn't that bad. It was much worse. I mean, bleeecccchhhhhh. And of course, Alex preferred that putrid film to Finding Nemo, which actually did win an award for being good. The second that the closing credits started to roll on that stupid "train wreck" of a movie, Alex would start chanting, "Mo' Coo-Coo!! Mo' Coo-coo!!" at which point I had to decide which was more annoying - the mega-lame soundtrack and senseless dialogue of the train movie or Alex screaming, "Coo-Coo!!!!" in my ear.

When we finally decided to cut him off, he read some books and played with the bunny that his Mamaw Meador sent him for Easter. Specifically, he kept holding the bunny by its feet and saying, "bunny upside-down!" I'm thinking Alex won't be getting a pet rabbit anytime soon...

Eight hours later, we got to my parents' house in Peoria. We arrived just in time for Alex's "un-birthday party", complete with banners and balloons and gifts. B went all out and even got A another set of foam letters, which the two of them assembled into boxes on the kitchen floor. He also got a Cubs hat from his Uncle Nick, who lives in Chicago. Apparently it was my un-birthday too, because I went home with a brand new photo printer from my dad, which I am SOOO excited about.

After a delicious dinner of tortellini soup prepared by my dad, aka our resident gourmet chef, we all hit the sack to rest up for the next day's events. We had planned on visiting one of my dad's jobsites in the morning, where he is building a...I don't think "huge" would adequately describe this house. It's a gigantic freakin' beast of a house. Turns out, Alex was privy to the dress code for such an occasion because after we got up, we went downstairs to discover that he and Grampa T were dressed exactly the same.

After the twins shared a breakfast of strawberries and Pop Tarts, we went to see the house, which was in the process of being drywalled, meaning that the structure (and my dad's handiwork) was mostly exposed. And man, it just reminds you how much work goes into building something like that. I realized that most people whose dad's are not builders don't appreciate the effort and skill and craftsmanship that goes into a house like that. Pretty awesome.

Like his Grampa, Alex was a natural on the job site. He tried to scale the sand piles and collected rocks and LOVED to walk up and down the 2 x 12 that was serving as a ramp into the garage. He kept brushing off his dad's helping hand so that he could do it himself, and once he got to the bottom, he turned right back around and headed back up. Finally, it was time to go home and think about getting ready for the wedding that afternoon.

The wedding ceremony started at 2 o'clock, smack in the middle of Alex's naptime, so Tim drew the short straw and stayed at home with him during his nap so he'd be rested up for a late evening. Not that I would have taken my rambuctious almost-two-year-old to a wedding ceremony anyway. So when the ceremony was over, I went home to get my boys dressed and we all headed to the reception. Alex was his usual outgoing self and said hi to all the relatives, ate chicken fingers and mashed potatoes, and danced the night away with whomever was willing to tote him around. I was hoping that he would tear up the dance floor and shake his groove thing as he is apt to do at home, but there were a lot of people on the floor, most of whom were quite a bit taller than he is, and I think he was weary of getting stepped on. So he spent the whole night dancing in someone's arms and loving every second of it.

So A pooped out around 9pm, and once again, Timothy sacrificed himself and took A home to bed so I could stay and dance and chat with my kinfolk. What a good dad and hubby, no?

Mom and I took Alex to an art fair on Sunday, and despite the drizzling rain and foot-deep puddles, we got to see some really cool stuff and meet a lot of mom's artsy-fartsy friends.

The next morning, we packed our stuff up and had an early lunch with mom and dad before heading back home. We had originally planned on staying until Tuesday morning and then making the whole fourteen hour trip in on day, then we realized that that was a really stupid idea. We decided, instead, to leave after lunch on Monday and crashed at the Primms again when we made it to NWA late that night. it worked out really well, actually, because we had time to hang with the Primms some more and have a leisurely breakfast before heading the rest of the way home.

It was an exhausting trip, but fun enough that we have already planned a trip back to NWA next weekend. This time, I think I will leave the "Coo-coo" movie at home...

Monday, June 15, 2009

23 months

Here I go again, being all late with the blogging and stuff. My excuses this time are that we were out of town for a family wedding for a week, then we lost power after a terrible storm the day after we got back and had no internet connection, then we had two events to attend the past two evenings, which is usually the time I reserve for blogging. But I finally got around to Alex's 23 month post, to be followed by the account of our big week in Peoria. Eventually.

Now on to the good stuff.

To best describe this past month with Alex, I would have to borrow a few words from the great Charles Dickens:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

It has been a challenging month in terms of trying to handle Alex's outbursts, which have become more and more frequent now that the Terrible Twos are in full force. He is so full of life and energy and spirit, which makes him the funniest, sweetest, and most entertaining boy on earth. But he also has a wicked temper and is super dramatic, acting as if his life will end because his banana broke in half when he tried to eat it. And it doesn't help that he inherited his mother's patience (or lack thereof). I mean really, Alex, you can't give me thirty seconds to pull the milk out of the fridge and pour it before you throw yourself to the floor and scream, "Miiiilk!! Miiiiiiilk!!"? Pretty soon I am going to start filling your sippy with milk and then downing it right in front of you, as you kick and scream in protest, because apparently that's what you think I am going to do anyway. Then at least your fits won't be in vain.

Thankfully, most of his tantrums are short-lived, and he responds well to Time Outs and spankings (and sometimes threats alone are sufficient). But the process of disciplining a toddler is exhausting in every way, from determining which consequences are appropriate for which offenses, to executing those punishments throughout the day. Especially because so many of his fits are completely unfounded and utterly senseless, and nothing I do seems to solve his problem - whatever it is.

Of course, not every day is bad, and in fact, the greater part of most days I spend laughing at Alex or with him. He is more fun than ever, especially now that he is talking so much, and I am just reveling in all of the new things he learns everyday. He counts to ten regularly and is working on ten to twenty, he can say the alphabet and recognize all of the letters when he sees them, knows his shapes, his animals, parts of his body, speaks in many two and three word phrases, loves to sing songs and dance, love to tickle and be tickled, and loves to chase after his Murphy pup.

He probably thinks his mother is the dumbest person on earth since I spend most of the day asking him what an elephant says or where his eyebrow is. He's got to be thinking, "Geez, woman, I've told you where my eyebrow is twelve times today. Do we really need to go over this again?" I can't help it. I love that he knows the answers to my questions, that he can understand what I'm saying, that he can obey commands, and that we are actually starting to communicate in a "normal" way. His favorite words this month are "apple juice", which he says when he wants apple juice, when referring to apple juice, and often at random times between sips of apple juice. It seems that he really likes the way it sounds.

He has become so bossy this past month, and will tell all of us - Murphy included - what to do. "Mommy, sit!" and "Daddy, draw!" and "Murphy, go!" And of course, he will then tell us where to sit and what to draw and where to go, because clearly, all of us are on this earth to serve His Highness. But to be fair, the bossiness thing goes both ways because I can finally tell him, "Alex, go tell your dad that it's time to eat," then off he goes to find his dad, calling, "Daaaddddy, aaaare you?" until he finds him and tells him, "Daddy, eat!"

He is waaay into trains this month, hollering, "COO-COOOO!!!" everytime he sees something that resembles one, sounds like one, or smells like one. Actually, if something smells, he shouts, "P.U.!!!" and waves his hand in front of his face. That's definitely his second favorite phrase this month. And while I try (and often fail) to limit his TV watching, he has finally seen enough episodes of Sesame Street to know who Elmo is. However, Mr. Noodle is by far his favorite.

He is definitely becoming more independent and has started to express preferences when it comes to what clothes he will wear and how the blankets on his bed should be arranged. He will often entertain himself for long periods of time, reading a book or playing in his playroom or trying to open the locks on the computer cabinet with a set of tiny keys.

Sometimes when I make him a PB&J and crackers for lunch, I will let him eat at his little table in the corner of the living room instead of in his high chair at the table. And every time he goes to his little table and pulls out his little chair and sits by himself in the corner, quietly eating his lunch and enjoying some alone time, I get butterflies thinking about how far we have come in the last 23 months. Things are bound to get better - and worse - over the course of the next month, and I am going to spend that time trying to appreciate those better times and laugh off the worse ones. That, or I will inevitably end up committed to the nearest mental institution. I'm really hoping the former proves true...

Monday, June 1, 2009

22 Months: The Lost Weeks

I try my hardest to keep my vast collection of photos organized, typically by month and then by event within each month, but between months and events and backing my pics up on the hard drive, a group of pictures will occasionally get misplaced. This time, it was a bunch of pics that should have been part of the 22 month post slideshow that I posted a couple of weeks ago. I found them when I was organizing my laptop (which has since bit the dust), and it was one of those exciting EUREKA! moments, like when you find a twenty dollar bill (who am I kidding, a one dollar bill) tucked away in the pocket of your jeans. So anyway, since the last post was short on Alex pics, here are a bunch more. Consider this "22 months, continued"...