Friday, May 29, 2009

A night in Austin

Yup, still super busy. Had a busy week full of doctor's appointments and errands and tag-making, etc., etc., and so I am finally getting to last weekend. Which is pretty sad considering that last weekend was a huge landmark in my Mommy life and blogging about it should have been at the top of my priority list.

Last weekend, I finally bit the bullet, after almost two years, and separated myself from Alex for a whole
twenty-four hours. More than twenty-four hours, in fact. Grammy and Poppa volunteered to come up to Dallas on Saturday morning and watch Alex so that Timothy and I could go have a night away, so we decided to head to Austin for the night. I thought that it was the perfect opportunity to get my feet wet with this "leaving Alex" situation, since Alex would still be on his home turf, and we would only be three hours away.

Nonetheless, I was a little more than completely freaked out by the prospect of being apart from Mini-Me for two days. Let me clarify - I was in no way, shape, or form, worried about leaving Alex with his Grammy and Poppa. That, in fact, was one of the most comforting factors about this scenario. It made it much easier to leave him knowing that he would be in good hands and that I would have nothing to worry about as far as his care was concerned.


The part I dreaded was simply the "separating" part. And yes, it was as hard as I feared it would be. I pouted and cried as we drove out of town, but fortunately, that sadness was short-lived, and I got over it right about the time I started to doze off and was not awakened by the sound of, "Mom! Mom!!! MOOOOMMM!!!!!!!" coming from my child the very second my eyes closed.

We had planned on doing a lot of window shopping and walking and eating outside in Austin, so we were hoping for beautiful, sunshiny weather to accompany us. Not so. The storm clouds followed us from Dallas to Austin and stayed there for most of Saturday.

Nonetheless, we braved the rain and did some window shopping in Austin's "Soco" neighborhood, which had some great antique shops and vintage clothing stores and a wide variety of...interesting people to gawk at.

I mean that in the most complimentary way. It really was a fun experience. We tried our best to ignore the fact that the weather was icky and we were getting soggy, and when we both began sporting a lovely 'fro as the humidity rose, we politely told the other how wonderful they looked. If that ain't romance, I don't know what is.


Later that afternoon, we checked out some other "hot spots", including the supposedly popular Sixth Street. What we didn't know was that only one end of Sixth Street is "popular", as in, "populated by people who bathe and have no more than three body piercings". We ended up on the other end, in an area that one might describe as, "shady" or perhaps as, "the hubs of hell". We passed by a nightclub where, by the sound of it, Satan was performing one of his greatest hits; meanwhile, his minions waited outside in a long line to see him. Needless to say, the two of us stuck out like a couple of clean and unpierced thumbs. As we nonchalantly sprinted down the block, a gang of homeless hippies was sitting at the corner and one of them stopped us to ask Tim where his "flip-flop" was. We really didn't want to have anything to do with that guy's flip-flop, so we decided to cross the street and hail a cab back to our hotel.

Our view of Austin at that point? Well, here is the city of Austin's motto:

Our response? Congratulations, Austin! Mission accomplished!!

We recovered from our trip to Sixth Street and went to dinner at a nice steak place in a less "shady" part of town. And while the plan was to leave dinner and try to find some live music to jam to until the wee hours of the morning, we were so full of red meat and brownie pie a la mode that we decided to go back to the hotel and sleep it off, instead. I know. We are such lightweights. I am so disappointed in us, too.


But we did stay up long enough to watch the fireworks show taking place on the front lawn of our hotel. Coincidentally, the University of Texas decided to plan their graduation ceremony the very night that we decided to visit Austin, and we happened to be staying in a hotel that is located directly in the heart of UT's campus. It was fun to relive that day 8 years ago that we attended our own graduations, although we felt like old farts standing amongst all of those whippersnappers.

The next morning, we went for a walk through UT's campus, which had a lot of neat sculptures, pretty fountains, and some really aggressive squirrels. I totally thought I was going to become the victim of a killer squirrel attack, or at the very least, come home with a wicked case of rabies. We even ran into an albino squirrel who seemed to be a bit of a loner, and I ended up scolding the other squirrels for avoiding him just because he was different.

We checked out of the hotel, and since we had skipped breakfast, we decided to do brunch at a place on Lake Travis called Oasis. It was about twelve miles from downtown Austin, in the middle of Texas hill country, and I started to hear Dueling Banjos playing in my head as we made our way through the mountains. But we made it there in one piece, and it was so worth the drive. It is a five story restaurant nestled into the side of a hill, where every table has an incredible lake view, with fun, eclectic decor and delicious Tex-Mex fare. We hardly even noticed that it was sprinkling on us as we ate our brunch outside. And you could even have your picture taken with a live steer on the way in (or out). I would have given anything to have a picture of Tim perched atop that big cow, but he refused. Party pooper.

After gorging ourselves on homemade guacamole and seafood crepes, we mosied on back to the car and headed home. It was a much-needed mini-vaycay for the two of us, and I started planning our next excursion on the way home.

Meantime, Alex was having a ball with his Grammy and Poppa, shopping and eating and going to the farmers' market. I'm not sure whether he missed us or not, but at the very least, he acted excited to see us when we got home. And while we were only gone a day, I swear the kid aged a year or two in that period of time. I can't imagine what I will feel like when (if) I ever leave him for a week...eeeeeeekkkkk...

Anyway...big thanks to Grammy and Poppa for spending their Memorial Day weekend with us, or with Alex, rather. We'll be sure to give you a ring as soon as we figure out when our next weekend away will be!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cat in the Hat

One thing (among many) that I forgot to mention in Alex's 22 month post is that he is waaay into drawing on his Magnadoodle; rather, he is waaay into demanding that other people draw on his Magnadoodle. So I spend half of my day drawing random things just so that he can erase them and make me draw something else.

On the occasions that he wants to draw something, it is usually just to modify something that I have drawn because apparently I don't do it right. In this case, I completely forgot that a cat never leaves home without one very important fashion accessory. But never fear, Alex immediately took the pen out of my hand, said "hat!", and drew this little swirly thing on top of my cat's head.

Yeah, we're really into Dr. Suess around here.

He has also been known to draw a face, with a little prompting by me. I'll draw the circle for the head and he'll fill in the rest as I name each part. He gets most of the parts in the right place and they sort of kind of resemble what those parts really look like, although he usually forgets that a face has two ears and eyes and not just one of each. The finished product is...well, let's just say he is giving Picasso a run for his money.

Mom's Day '09

Note: Joy had brought to my attention that a bunch of Mom's Day pictures I thought I had uploaded to Flickr apparently didn't make it. I just added them, so you can take a look if you missed them the first time around. I mean, of course I have pictures of myself looking really rough on Mother's Day morning and Alex doing his Billy Idol impersonation. How could I possibly have forgotten to add those? Thanks Joy!

Umm, yeaaaahh...so I'm just now getting around to posting about our trip to Eldo...on Mother's Day weekend. Like, a week and a half ago. Which means I'm a little shady on the details, so I'll just post a bunch of pics and you'll get the...picture.


One thing I don't have a picture of (thank God) was when we were about an hour outside of Dallas and Alex, who is working on his two-year molars and has a habit of sticking his fingers in the back of his mouth to see how his teeth-growing efforts are coming along, gagged himself and threw up three times, all over himself, his carseat, his blanket, Murphy's pillow, and his mom. Apparently the contents of a two-year old boy's stomach do not fit into the cupped hands of a twenty-nine year old woman.

After a feeble attempt to clean and fumigate the van at the nearest McDonald's, we got back on the road and spent the next four hours marinating in the stench of sour milk and...what was that stuff anyway...chicken nuggets?

Once in Eldo, A was fine and we spent the weekend with family, including Tim's cousin Amber and her husband Brad and four month old Davis. We got to watch Davis on Friday night when Amber and Brad when to cousin Ashley's college graduation, and during that time I realized that I have totally forgotten what to do with a four month old. But he was super sweet and patient with us and Alex loved playing with him.

Besides babysitting, Alex played on the swingset and got to pet Papa's chickens...well, he really preferred poking the chicken to petting it, and I don't know if you know this, but chickens LOVE when toddlers jab at them with their little pointy fingers.

On Saturday he rode the Wonderhorse a little too aggressively and it bucked him headfirst into the doorframe, hence the ugly knot on his forehead in some of the pictures. We had a fun fish fry at Mamaw's house, where A played with his new golf set and and was the co-center of attention (alongside co-star Davis). We left the party for a bit to go watch Rachel and Rebekah's dance recital, which Alex LOVED. Yes, my son has a thing for "dancing girls".

We had a great breakfast Sunday morning, courtesy of Grammy, and Alex showed his appreciation with a handmade Mother's Day gift. Apparently Alex has decided that all of his grandmother's will go by the name "B", which should not surprise anyone considering all the Granny B's and Grammys and Grannies and B's that we throw at him. Alex and his daddy gave me a sweet card and a "gift certificate" for a new cellphone because mine is never in less than three pieces at any given time.

We went to church on Sunday, had lunch, then hit the road back to Dallas. I adjusted Alex's carseat to where he is super reclined, which apparently is how it was supposed to be installed the first time, and he slept FOUR HOURS out of FIVE on the way home. I suppose that was his way of making up for the buckets-of-barf incident on the way there. Son, we appreciate the effort, but that hardly makes us even.

nose goblins

A has recently discovered that his nostrils are finger-sized, and inconveniently, that discovery coincided with the arrival of his most recent ear infection. That means that he is up to his eyeballs in snot and goo, and according to Alex, the best way to remedy that problem is to remove the snot and goo manually. At least twice a day he comes to me with a giant green boogie stuck on the end of his outstretched finger and says, "nose!", to which I reply, "Don't wipe it on me!" and then run away screaming. Which just makes me wonder where all those boogers end up.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

hell hath frozen over

I've gone and done the unspeakable, the unimaginable, the DESPICABLE (but not the unbloggable)...

I've bought my son a pair of Crocs.

Here's the thing. I've had this burden, this albatross, this unbearable pressure weighing on me for some time, and in the interest of not wanting to alienate loyal friends and readers who may be hurt by what I have to say, I have never publicly expressed my point of view on this subject. But I can't hold it in any longer, and if I do, I fear I shall be consumed by it...

I hate Crocs. I think Crocs are the ugliest, dorkiest, most hideous abomination of a "shoe" that has ever (dis)graced the open market, and that's coming from a girl who owns a pair of Uggs (fake ones, at that). I am appalled that these things have become a trend that everyone seems to have blindly embraced, and I say "blindly" because that is the only way someone in their right mind would embrace them. I am praying for the day that they disappear into oblivion, to make themselves at home between tight-rolled jeans and fanny packs.

Now before you go calling me a hypocrite, seeing as how I too have bought into this ridiculous fad, allow me to defend myself and make one important distinction: Alex will only being wearing these shoes for their intended purpose. And that purpose is to clomp around in our muddy backyard, where he can take them off before entering the house, I can hose the mud off, and then leave them on the back porch, where they will remain until the next time we decide to clomp around in the backyard. A backyard which, by the way, is surrounded by a six foot privacy fence, where the only ones that will see Alex in his hideous shoes will be me, his dad, and God, all of whom love him unconditionally, even when he is wearing hideous shoes. THAT'S HOW DEEP OUR LOVE GOES.

I mean, I get it. They are comfortable. They are practical. Like orthopedic shoes. But in some cruel twist of fate, they went from being functional to being fashionable, and it's that leap that disturbs me to my very core. It's one thing if your gardening Granny spends all afternoon in her floppy hat and Crocs, removing weevils from her tomato plants, and while I cringe when I see children running around the park in those unbecoming clod-hoppers, I can control the urge to vomit because that is a marginally acceptable circumstance in which one might wear Crocs. But to the grocery store or the mall or, for the love, to CHURCH on EASTER DAY!!?? If that ain't a sin, I don't know what is.

And now, adults have boarded this bandwagon, and I am totally at a loss. Really. I don't know what to say. Except that, if you are an adult who wears Crocs, I love you, but I think your shoes are ugly. And if your kid wears Crocs, I love your kid, but I think your kid's shoes are ugly.

However...when all of Alex's canvas shoes were lined up on the back porch, caked in mud from our muddy, mud-filled backyard, and I just couldn't keep up with washing them anymore, I started to consider crossing to the dark side and getting him a pair of shoes that would make life a little easier, if not a whole lot uglier. I didn't think I would be capable of doing the deed myself, so I enlisted the help of Alex's Auntie Leah, who is unabashedly Pro-Croc and has been trying to convince me since his conception that Alex needed a pair. So there are currently two pairs of Crocs en route from Eldo. But after yet another morning of shoving Alex's feet into squishy, wet, mud-filled shoes so he could run around in the backyard, I was desperate and decided to make a run to Target and get him a pair of "fake Crocs" to hold him over until Auntie Leah's get here.

And, if you are wondering, I was literally nauseous on the way to the register knowing that people would see me buying those shoes. Then again, those people probably think Crocs are cool because apparently everyone but me thinks Crocs are cool. But I'd so rather be uncool than to be cool for buying Crocs.

That said, my son is now the owner of a pair of fake "camouflage" Crocs. And if anyone could pull off Crocs and make something so dorky look like a fashion statement, it would be Alex. But that challenge proved too much, even for him, as evidenced below.

And here's what Alex thought of them.

I would never have admitted this lapse of judgment to anyone, let alone publish photographic evidence of it on the world wide web, but chances are that I would eventually want to take pictures of Alex playing in the backyard, and I'd prefer if I didn't have to crop his feet out of every shot.

So anyway, that's it. PHEW, I feel so much better after getting that off my chest. And if I've offended any Croc-lovers with my brashness, I'm sorry...that you like ugly shoes. Love ya, mean it!!

manners

A has been really good about saying "thank you" without us having to remind him, and lately he has started to say "thank you" when he gives someone else something, prompting them to be polite like we've always done to him. This morning, after he gave Murphy a third treat for going pee in the backyard (spoiled rotten dog), he said to Murphy, "thank you...you're welcome!" It seems none of us need to have manners because A has got them all covered.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

deep thoughts: seasons

The sad thing about changing your child's wardrobe for the season is that you're not changing it for the season. You are changing it for ETERNITY. Your child will NEVER WEAR THOSE CLOTHES AGAIN. I'm sad because that means my child is growing up and I will never get that time back. I'm even sadder because I really loved that houndstooth sweater vest I found on sale at Baby Gap.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

22

Somehow we've gotten to the 22 month point, and boy am I relieved. For a while there I wasn't sure we'd make it.

Before, Alex was just dabbling in the Terrible Twos - being defiant here, throwing a fit there. Now, not only is he the Terrible Twos Club President, he is also a member. In good standing. He has started to test his boundaries like never before, disobeying with reckless abandon, experimenting with various biting and hitting techniques to determine which ones are most effective and which he can get away with, and the WHINING, ooooohhhhh, the WHINING. My tolerance for whining is...well, I pretty much have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to whining. I CAN'T TAKE THE WHINING. Someone PLEASE STOP THE WHINING.

The tiniest part of me sympathizes with his plight (and the supposed plight of all "Terrible Two-ers"), which is the inability to communicate his thoughts verbally, resulting in awful and oftentimes intolerable behavior. But that's no excuse. My child is perfectly capable of communicating his wants and needs, even with his limited vocabulary. I know this because once he has been threatened with a Time Out or a Spanky Spoon*, Alex suddenly remembers that he can talk.

And boy can he talk. He says a ton of words now, some two word phrases, and even a couple three-worders. He has started to count objects and can count to ten, although he has an odd aversion to the number one and will usually only include it when we remind him to. He can repeat all of the letters of the alphabet, can recognize most of them on a regular basis, and has started to sing his ABC's.

His Words of the Month are "OOOooh noooo!" and "mess!" and "boo-boo". And yes, they are often uttered in succession. The kid is a glutton for sympathy, and everytime something other than air touches his skin, he will thrust the affected area towards us so we can kiss his boo-boo. But we are so onto him, so usually we just tell him to suck it up and he ends up kissing his own boo-boos. Lately, he will even skip the part where he asks us to do it and just kisses himself. Saves us all some trouble.

He loves to sing, and his favorites include Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, If You're Happy and You Know It, and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. Anything that includes gestures typically makes it to the top of his list. In fact, a few weeks ago I started singing Twinkle Twinkle out of the blue, and he started doing the actions that go with it. And that was the first time I discovered that there are actions that go with that song. Apparently he had learned this at school and this was the first opportunity he had had to demonstrate it. Which is so bizarre, to have your child to unveil this big chunk of knowledge that you as his parents didn't teach him. It was a very enlightening experience to be learning something from him for once, and I sat there in awe as he completed every action to the very end of the song with no prompting whatsoever. (This video was taken several days after the initial "unveiling".)

video

In fact, he often does or says things that make no sense at the time, but eventually the right context comes about and we have that "AHA!" moment. It was after the Twinkle Twinkle experience that we started to realize this because he had been doing the "diamond" shape with his hands for weeks and we never connected it with that song. Same with "If You're Happy...", where he kept shouting "hooray!!" for no apparent reason, and we immediately tried to think of a song that contained that word. He was very excited when we finally figured it out, and he proceeded to show us yet another thing he had learned at school.

video

Despite the issues I have with him, the times that he is being terrible are still rarer than the times he is dazzling me (and everyone else) with his charm. Unfortunately, the hard times feel like they last ten times longer than the easy ones, which is why they get so much "air time". But he is really good about saying "thank you" when given something and saying "sorry" when he's been bad. He loves to play with Murphy and go to the park and hit baseballs and golf balls and tennis balls with bats and clubs and rackets.

He's been all about jumping this month and, try as he might, he has the hardest time getting his white-boy self off the ground. His method is to bend his knees and then thrust himself upwards as fast as possible, which should work in theory, but he always ends up looking like his feet have been cemented to the floor. Every once in a while he will catch an inch or two of air, and of course we all cheer as if he has cured cancer.


He loves to spin around in a circle as fast as he can, then he stops and watches the room spin as his googly eyeballs roll around in his head. I plan on getting some video of this soon because it is hilarious.

He has started to undress himself, or rather, he can finish undressing himself if I pull his arms out of his shirt and unbutton his pants. On that note, it seems as if we are on the verge of potty-training-readiness. He will tell us "pee-pee" or "poo-poo" while he is performing the respective acts, and this morning he even "poo-pooed" on the potty for the first time after asking me to put him on the "potty". If we can just get him to start consistently telling us he has to go before the act instead of during, I think we will be ready to officially start the process.

He is a total goofball all of the time and a handful some of the time. We are very excited for this new "talking" phase to continue, and we look forward to all of the crazy things he is sure to say.



*I will be discussing the Spanky Spoon topic at length in a future post because I'd love for y'all to weigh in on the subject. Prepare yourselves.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

yeah, about that...

Supposedly it's been over a week since I blogged last, although I'd like to see proof of that because I just don't believe it. Thing is, I am slowly starting to develop a life outside of Alex, which has moved the blog down my priority list a bit. With my Chachke Designs venture and the fact that I signed my life away to the Junior League of Dallas on Tuesday, things are only bound to get busier. But never fear, the blog will not move off of my list completely. I am still committed to providing you loyal readers with your Alex fix as often as possible. It's just possible that that might not be as often as you might like.

That said, I have several posts in the works, including Alex's 22 month post, our Mother's Day trip to Eldo, and a few other bits and pieces that I've been wanting to share. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Manipulation 101

A couple of weeks ago, Alex cut his finger pretty bad, and while I'd rather not go into detail about how it happened, suffice it to say that my laziness and stupidity might have been involved. Anyway, it bled a lot and we made a really big deal out of it, hugged him and coddled him and oh you poor thinged him. You know, the usual sorts of things a parent does when their child is gushing blood from any part of his body. We kept a Bandaid on it for a few days, despite the fact that it scabbed up overnight, and he pretty much forgot all about it at that point.

The following week, Alex's behavior started to reflect the "terrible" part of the "terrible twos", and thus, we were forced to incorporate the Spanky Spoon into our disciplinary regiment. I was dreading this stage and hoped that the Time Out corner would suffice well into his teen years. Alas, the Time Out corner just wasn't cutting it for such flagrant offenses as biting Mom for saying things like, "Alex, give me that knitting needle before you poke your eye out".

At one such moment last week, Alex had received several Time Out warnings for jabbing his sticky little fingers into my computer screen and was on the verge of reaching Spanky Spoon status. I gave him "the Look" and said, "Alexander Lloyd Evans, do you want a spanking?" He gave me his most pitiful, pouty face, stuck his thumb out at me, and said, "Boo-boo?"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

in over my head

Lord help me, as if I didn't have enough things to keep up with, I am now on Twitter trying to promote my Etsy shop. If you are a "Twitterer" or a "Twit" or whatever such is called, I would be forever indebted if you chose to follow me, which you can do here. Love ya, mean it!

Monday, May 4, 2009

multiple choice

Alex is:
a) possessed by a demon
b) suffering from a severe chemical imbalance
c) up past his bedtime
d) all of the above



p.s. Do you notice how he shushes himself after every shriek? Originally I thought the answer was C, but B is starting to make more sense. If shushing yourself doesn't scream schizophrenia, I don't know what does...