Friday, June 24, 2011


i subscribe to Today's Parent and quite love the magazine. i'm also a fan of TP (unfortunate initials...) on facebook and saw this article yesterday: 21 apps for parents. on the verge of a 6-7 hour roadtrip tomorrow, i clicked over to see what these apps are and whether they would be something for ben to play with.

this app made me shake my head because in the article, they think it's great but in reality, i can't imagine it's that clever. it's called "sit or squat" and it helps you find the nearest bathroom when your toddler has to go. all you do is TYPE IN YOUR POSTAL CODE and the closest bathrooms show up. "what's that, billy? you have to pee really badly? hang on, let me open up this, how do i find a postal code for this intersection that we're at..." doesn't this sound difficult to anyone else? from what i know about kids having to pee, you have about one minute to find a spot.

at least the app is free...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

ben at 2 years: some motherly gushing

a week before ben's birthday party, i started asking him, "how old are you?" and trying to teach him to say "two!" when he heard that question. he mastered it in time for it to be a party trick at his birthday party. he tries to hold up two fingers but his little hand doesn't always co-operate.

it's hard not to be amazed at how quickly two years have gone by. all of a sudden, we're carrying this sleeping boy up the stairs from the car and his head rests on my shoulder and his feet are hanging below my waist. all of a sudden, he takes up most of his crib. all of a sudden, he's climbing up the climbing wall at the park so that he can go down the biggest slide. two years have gone by? unbelieveable.

ben understands so many more things each day and he doesn't seem to forget. once, when we were walking from the car into the mall, i got gum or something sticky on my shoe so i stopped at a bike rack and tried to wipe it off by rubbing my shoe on the metal rails. now, everytime we go to the mall, ben has to stop at the bike rack to scrape his foot along the bars. yesterday, i bought ben a Thomas the Tank Engine book that included 12 little trains and a mat to play with - it was supposed to be a new toy to bring out on a rainy day while we're at the cabin we've rented for next week. even though he was with me while we bought it, i thought i could sneak it away into hiding during his nap. the moment he woke up from his nap, he asked for his "choo choos" and went running into the living room where he'd last been playing with them. today, he pointed at his book when he woke up and said, "mall." yep, that's where we got it.

even though ben hasn't been a big cuddler since he was able to move, lately he's happiest watching curious george or elmo's world if tim or i are sitting with him. he has started climbing up on our laps with books and sitting quietly while listening intently to more complicated storylines than he can possibly understand. sometimes when i take him out of his crib after nap time, he just rests his head on my shoulder for a minute. these are my favourite moments of the day.

ben's talking is increasing every day. he can definitely make his wants and needs known with the words that he has but mostly just to mommy, as i'm the best interpreter of some of the more difficult words. he has started to string a few words together to tell a little story and i fill in the words he's missing. after spending an afternoon in the schoolyard behind our house and learning that kids come out of the school when the bell rings, it has become a favourite story to talk about. at least once a day, we have this conversation:
ben - "cooh"
me - "school?"
ben - "yeah. ring ring"
me - "the bell rings at the school?"
ben - "yeah. kids."
me - " the kids come out of the school when the bell rings!"
ben - "yeah!"
he points out every school that he sees when we're driving, as well as all train tracks that we go over ("choo choo!"), and all diggers that we pass ("ger!"). he's always listening and repeating which makes me realize how often i use the phrases, "oh my goodness!" and "oh man!".

there are many early mornings and lots of times that ben wants to grab my hand and drag me somewhere so that he can sit or play with me. when i feel frustrated at these moments in the day (and some days there are so many!), i try to remember that this time is so short. soon, ben will get up, go watch tv on his own in the morning and i will be left to sleep in without the hugs and smiles that i get every morning when i go and get him out of his crib. soon, he won't want to drag me over to show me what he's working on. and when he's holding my hand as we walk to the park, i try to relish this time that he still wants to hold my hand. like my song says, "their cribs will fill our mornings, but by noon they'll be in school." i'm working on enjoying the little moments everyday and learning to appreciate even the moments that can sometimes be frustrating.

i guess i could go on forever because my days (and nights) are filled with this kid but i digress. my dad has always said that during my first 3 years, "we had so much fun with you," and i was never sure what that could mean. what could be that fun about a kid under 3? i figured he was just being nice. now that we have our own toddler, i totally understand what he meant. we're having so much fun with this kid and enjoying each moment for what it's worth.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

baby's room?

speaking of never having decorated ben's baby room - what about decorating for THIS baby? we're keeping the room yellow but i've been on the hunt for pink and yellow bedding that doesn't cost a zillion dollars. what i learned from the last baby is that we never used the blanket that came with our set so when looking at separates, i don't need to buy one.

last night, i found a set on pottery barn kids! super on sale because they only had the bumper and the bedskirt left. i just added a light pink sheet to my order which will look great with it i think. i can't wait to get it!
Hayden Crib Sheeting

here's one way of getting something on the wall: a wall decal. i think we're going to try this one off of etsy.
Blowing Cherry Blossom Tree - Baby Nursery Wall Decals

we're slowly but surely getting things going in these two kids' rooms!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

to move or not to move

ben's new room is cleaned out (mostly) and fairly ready to be moved into. we're not going to paint as i'd previously thought we would as the new bedding goes fine with the walls. i'd like to add some stripes to the top part of the walls in a couple colours from the bedding in order to tie it together but haven't gotten on that yet. a major regret that we have is that we never really decorated ben's current room - it still has the empty walls that it had from before he was even born. lame. so this time, we want to get some fun things on the walls in the blue room AND in the yellow room for new baby.

now the question is - when to move ben over? the more i read about moving your toddler to a big bed, the more i think we should just wait until he's older. one line from the latest article i read said, "Many parents find out too late that it would have been easier to borrow or buy another crib rather than move their older child to a bed before he was ready." ben doesn't try to get out of his crib AND it could still go another rung lower as well. it makes me think that maybe we'll have baby sleep in her playpen for a few months while ben keeps the crib for awhile. well...maybe we'll try it out the bed and see what happens. we can always go back to the crib if it doesn't work out.

Monday, June 13, 2011

ben's 2nd birthday (party)

ben's been beginning to understand the concept of "birthdays" after watching daddy, uncle matt, and his friend, kainoa, blow out candles and open presents in the past 3 weeks. he has a little phrase what would be unrecognizable to the untrained ear but that i know means "happy birthday" and he sings a little tune with it usually too. when i told him on saturday morning that today was his birthday, he was pretty excited. he watched me ice his birthday cake in the morning but was pretty disappointed that he couldn't eat it right away. i told him we were having a party after he woke up from his nap and that his friends, elias and braedan, would be here. i reiterated that they'd be here "after his nap." when i heard him crying out from his bedroom post-nap around 1pm, the first thing he said to me was, "elias! happy birthday!". oops - sorry...a couple hours AFTER your nap, ben. poor guy - it was a lot of waiting on saturday. but when the party got going, he had a great time with his two friends, their parents, grandparents, and uncle matt and auntie katie.

i organized one wee game of find the eggs which needed parent participation but the kids found the eggs and ate the treats inside them (fruit snacks and m&ms) or stuck the stickers on their arms.

we had traditional bbq fare for dinner - the boys had sliders (aka kid sized burgers) for their dinner which was eaten at ben's new table.
present opening this year was a lot more fun as he knew that the paper should be ripped off and that the things inside were for him.
he read a few pages of each book that he got...
and note to self for next present opening - have scissors ready to free the gifts from their packaging!
ben also got a balance bike and helmet which ended in a few tears but he's ridden it through the house numerous times since saturday and i think he's going to really like it once he understands how to do it on his own.
no 2 year old party is complete without bubbles!
what a fun day!

Friday, June 10, 2011

take it back!

the other day i was in winners and i was at the customer service desk. the woman ahead of me had a t-shirt that she was returning. she gives it to the winners girl and says, "when i washed this, it shrunk about 3 inches so i'd like to return it." i chuckled to myself thinking, "that's your problem - shouldn't have dried it!" the winners girl says, "oh dear, that's not good," and promptly begins refunding her her money. WHAT? WE CAN RETURN THINGS THAT WE SHRINK? this realization may have completely changed my life...

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

101 Things to Do with Your Toddler

seeing that ben and i spend a lot of time at the park (non-rainy days) and going to the mall (rainy days), i saw this link and thought i'd pass it on to any of you moms who also have toddlers and find that days can get a little mundane. :)

Saturday, June 04, 2011

today's highlight: sitting in the warm shade in my adirondack chair with ben resting on my lap while we ate popsicles. what a lovely, sunny day.

unused space

while our house has been feeling FULL of stuff lately, i'm discovering lots of poor use of the space that we have. we are two adults and a toddler living in a 4 bedroom house - we should have tons of room. however, every room seemed full to the max. the idea of emptying out the "guest room" (aka. mess room) to turn it into ben's big boy room seemed daunting. the closet was full to the gills of boxes of ben's baby clothes AND bins of my own clothes that did not currently fit. there was a big bookshelf in that room that had the maximum amount of books that it could hold. where was all this stuff going to go?

re-organizing has been weighing heavy on my mind. i started unpacking all the boxes of ben's clothing and reorganizing it into different categories: save for alyssa's boy (if she has one), give away, sell, and "a girl could wear this". after going through all these boxes, i was feeling like i'd only made more of a mess. now, the boxes were all over the guest room instead of being contained in a couple closets. augh. i closed the door to the guest room and tried not to go in there. "we'll have ben's room ready in time for his birthday", i'd say to give myself an end date that was far in the future.

then may ended. it is june. ben's birthday is a couple weeks away and the guest room was still a mess. where was all this stuff going to go?

so as i looked around my house, i started to find poorly used space. there's a wall-length shelf in our bedroom that was here when we moved in. we hated it because it was way too high. instead of taking it down, we left it to gather dust...for 6 years. yesterday morning, i dusted it off and moved all our books (minus business/teaching/photo albums) out of the guest room and into our bedroom. they fit just perfectly.

then, i clearly labeled all the boxes of ben's clothes and put them all on the shelf in his closet (in his current room). then i had to figure out what to do with these bins of my own clothes. the problem with having been sizes 4 - 12 in the last 3 years is that i have a lot of clothes that don't fit me but are too nice to toss because (fingers crossed) i will be these smaller sizes again one day. but where to keep bins of clothes? why not the closet? because it's full of junk.

i had a shoe shelf under the hanging clothes that had about 6 - 7 shoeboxes on it collecting dust. i had a couple bags beside it where i couldn't even see them and a number of purses that i hadn't used in awhile. i started pulling the boxes off the shelf and realized all but one was EMPTY! all this time, i'd figured there were shoes in there! i guess all my shoes migrated to the front hall closet and left their boxes behind. it occurred to me that i probably don't need this shelf taking up space. i cleaned it all out and now have room for 3 large bins in my closet.

i also have two shelves above where my clothes hang that had some random articles of clothing thrown up there and forgotten about. i pulled those down, emptied out the current bins of clothes and started separate into sizes. now each size has it's own bin so as i lose weight (oh, i can't wait to not be so huge anymore!), it will be easy to figure out where the clothes are. i bought a couple smaller bins to go on the two high shelves as well so that i've maximized the space in my closet. an amazing feat that took hours upon hours.

phew. so we moved the last of the boxes for goodwill out of the guest room this morning and got the single bed upstairs and in the room! we are on our way.