Sunday, August 29, 2010

Parker's 1st trip to Carowinds!

One of the best perks about being a parent is re-living your childhood! Let's be honest, it's a little creepy to hop up on the carousel with all the toddler's without one of your own. Today, Daniel and I took Parker to Carowinds for some much needed family time! We had a BLAST! So much of a blast that we bought season's passes for next year to continue the family fun!

Parker is a DAREDEVIL! He did rides that even I didn't want to do. Granted, he's a little short for 75% of the rides we took him on but it's hard to gauge height when he's sitting on Daniel's shoulders!

How precious is that face?! I find the greatest joy in watching the wonder in his eyes!



We also rode these crazy balloons that Parker liked but I found a but nauseating!



Parker and Daniel rode these CRAZY helicopters that Parker was at least 2 feet too short to ride. You can barely see him. I had a heart attack while they rode this! They were maybe 40ft in the air with a loose fitting seat belt! AHH!



We also hit up Boomerang Bay! What a cute 3 and under area! Parker loved it!



What's a water park without a slide? I think he did this slide at least 20 times. He would run past the 4 year old in tears because he was too scared and throw himself down the slide!



Man, do I love my life! Here's a minute long snippet video of our fun, family day!

video

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Myrtle Beach 2010

As promised, here's a little pictorial of our annual beach trip! I've known these girls since freshman year of college (2003) and I can honestly say we WILL be friends for life. We've shared our highs and lows. We've been with each other for weddings, break ups, babies, sickness, employment and unemployment. We've weathered it all and would do it all again for weekends like this one!

Enjoying the ocean breeze, laying out by the pool.


What is it about a whole in a piece of decorated wood that draws us to put our faces in it and take pictures? I'm not sure but I do know I do it EVERY time I see these things!


I'm not sure why the shortest people slept in the beds and the tallest 3 slept together on the couch... but they did! I suppose we're a snuggly group.


This statue gets me every time we come to this condo. It's like the evolution of dolphins. When a mommy and daddy dolphin love one another, they have a magical evening and a few months later comes baby dolphin! ha ha.


7 friends and 7 years! Here's to many more years of friendship and beach trips!


Champagne toast to kick off our night!


... which ended with Beth getting this awesome henna tattoo on the strip!


You girls mean the world to me! I'm already looking forward to girl's beach weekend 2011!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekend Recap

Good news... Parker is alive and thriving! The annual girl's beach trip was a huge success and Daniel and Parker made due at home for the weekend! I made it the whole weekend without a single shed tear for my little man and managed to keep my phone calls to a reasonable every 4 or 5 hours.

It's super late and I'll revisit this topic tomorrow but here's a few highlights/lowlights:

*Daniel took Parker to church and dressed him all by himself (even though I set out a church outfit). Daniel's outfit of choice for Parker you ask? A Blue and white Polo romper (an outfit in itself), buttoned ALL the way to the neck (how did you breathe little man?), with... wait for it.... brown corduroy pants (uber hot!). I asked Daniel if it felt weird stuffing the legs of the romper into the extremely thick winter pants but he swears he thought it was a onesie. I'm 100% sure Parker hasn't worn a onesie in at least 8 months but hey.... I what do I know. ha ha

*Hot Dogs equate to a balanced meal.... every meal... who needs veggies when you have turkey dogs? Bless Daniel's heart, today Parker ate broccoli, carrots, fiber and blueberries in attempts to offset his massive intake of processed foods and sodium.

*Did you know being a stay at home dad ONLY means playing? It's amazing! I want that job! Apparently cleaning, straightening, laundry, dishes, etc are NOT part of a stay at home dad's tasks. How cool is that.... except if you're the stay at home mom who gets to clean it up. We had to have a little chatsky about that! I love my boys but WHEW are they messy! At least they're supportive of my girl's weekends! I guess a "close to condemnable house" is a small price to pay for a much needed girl's weekend!

*Do people actually take those old timey photos seriously? Umm... yes... the photographer does. Apparently, asking to dress in the rebel flag and lay on a bar with a shotgun is offensive to some. Kidding... we thought it was a super good idea at midnight though.

*I was meant to drive a big ass truck. I rocked the socks off that king cab silverado all weekend stuffed with 7 cuties!

*Staying at home and playing silly games with your girlfriends is WAY more fun than going out... at least it is now... which I believe means we're old. I don't care, it was fun, MONSTER TRUCKERS! (I just love you, Erin Reid)

*Nothing in the WHOLE WORLD beats seeing your child for the 1st time after being away and hearing that sweet sound "MOMM-E!!!" His face was so tasty. I made out with it. Man did I miss him!

Pictures to come... tomorrow (hopefully)! I hope you all enjoyed your weekend!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Testing Parker's Survival Instincts

The time has come..... my 1st trip without my appendage, I mean baby. While, of course, Parker is a baby genius, he has yet to deduct that the suitcase in my bedroom is only filled with MY clothes.... not his. He's so used to coming with me everywhere (or should I say I'm so used to HIM coming everywhere with me)! I can only imagine he's in his crib dreaming little baby dreams of the beach, hot sand, staying up late and torturing me for hours on the car ride. Well this time, he doesn't get to come! It's just me and the girls! 7 of us to be exact!

I should be excited right? Every mom I've told about my impending girl's trip drops her jaw and immediately says, "Aren't you just thrilled?!?! Lucky you!" Lucky, yes... I am. My hubby encourages me to take these trips and I'm blessed to have such wonderful lifelong girlfriends to do this with. Thrilled on the other hand, not really. Sorry ladybugs, I love ya.... but I love my buddy more. I'm kinda fond of him! I know this is good for me. I know I should go. I know I'll have a great time once I get there.... But my life is so much fuller with Parker in it. Every moment is more exciting. Seeing cool things through his eyes is so much more rewarding than seeing them through my own! I sorta feel the need to be medicated. I've literally been dreading this day (well technically my embarkation date... tomorrow at 7am) for a year. Seriously... since last August when we set the date while my pee wee basked in the sun with us at girl's (+Parker) weekend. Since I don't do drugs... wine will have to do.

I wish I could be a fly on the wall this weekend at home. I'm testing Parker's survival skills by leaving him with his daddy. Bless my husband's heart, I love him to death but this toddler stuff isn't natural for him! Lets just say under daddy's watch, Parker's worn jammies in public, church shoes to the park and diapers on backwards a time or two. Daniel tries... this just isn't his forte. SO... I've left him bulleted lists, a schedule, meal ideas, stocked up on easy foods like uncrustables, eggos, nutragrains and buddy fruits, labeled a diaper "front" and "back" and even set out 6 outfit choices and matching shoes. I also packed a diaper bag for him that is less "girly" (who knew blue polka dot ribbon bags weren't manly?). ha ha

Basically, they should be set. Parker should still be alive... possibly even thriving when I come home. Hopefully Daniel will still have his sanity.... and maybe even a greater appreciation for what I do on a day to day basis! And me..... my goal is to come home Sunday having had loads of fun with the girls, feeling, rejuvenated and looking latinoish in color.

If all else fails, I also left a long list of emergency contacts! You're probably on it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Foster Care

Sorry friends... this isn't a funny post. Here's what's on my heart....

3 years ago, around the time that Daniel and I got married, God laid on my heart foster care. I knew it wasn't the right time so I tabled it for a while. For a YEAR everywhere I looked, there were signs, posters, church bulletins and even foster care families! I was like, seriously God, I get it... ONE day you want me to CONSIDER foster care!

2 years ago, Daniel and I made the call to Lancaster County DSS when I saw a job posting I was interested in helping find foster care children homes and also occasionally doing short term fostering. As we were going through the paperwork process, I found out I was pregnant so we decided it wasn't the right time.

So now.... it's on my heart AGAIN!!!! Once again, everywhere I look, there it is! Church the other week talked about it, it was in the church bulletin, I met a precious baby at Target that a family was fostering, a child in Parker's My Gym class is being fostered.... it's haunting me! Haunting is the wrong word... it's on my heart and I'm not sure what it means.

Daniel and I have a great home. Parker is a precious kid and I genuinely believe that we COULD do it. We could provide a baby or toddler a wonderful, safe place to escape to for a while so why am I SOO hesitant? I think it's because I don't want Parker to feel slighted by me having to split my attention. Then again, God has blessed me with a baby that loves company and isn't really jealous. Am I hesitant because it would break my heart to give a baby back to a terrible situation? But then I could give him or her a wonderful few days/weeks/months that he/she wouldn't have otherwise. See my dilemma?

Anyways, these are my thoughts. My heart and mind are torn. I KNOW God is putting this on my heart and I KNOW I keep pushing it to the side but it's SOOO hard to just trust and say "OK, Lord... we're gonna do it!" Basically, I think I need prayers for clarity, wisdom, discernment, strength and whatever else you want to pray for me!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Toddler Takeover

Confession... I am tipsy.... and I need to be. You see, Daniel has been in Canada ALL week (he gets home at 2am tonight.. YIPPEEE!) but he leaves again for another week on Monday and I have been home with Mr. Parkerman who is teething all 4 molars at once. Super fun. I know you're all jealous. Sleep... well that has been non-existent and I've even resorted to drugging my precious teething child at night to sleep with little to no positive results (judge all you want... it had to happen). He's SOO chipper during the day but he SCREAMS at night in pain and thus for both our sakes, I drugged him (with the dr's permission)... anyways... it hasn't worked... and tonight when my love bug went to sleep... I drank... cheap yummy wine.

PS- I'm watching Dateline right now and Anne Curry's lipstick is way too dark.. like Gothic dark...
Back to the actual reason for my blog today....
I invited 15 toddlers and their mommies to my house the other day... crazy... I know... but it worked out pretty well. 12 of the 15 showed up and we had a great and chaotic time! We played in the baby pools and water table, destroyed my house, painted magnets, shattered a few as well, ate my turkey dog octopus macaroni creation, puked it up on my carpet (thank you Brooklyn) and enjoyed each other's company with minimal time outs! Overall, a great success! Check out the pictures of our mayhem!

Miles, Jett and Parker playing with the water table:

My insane den!

Man, this slip n slide water is COLD!

Baby pool fun!
My ocean themed lunch!

WOW! Having friends over is fun but exhausting!
We LOVE our friends and the memories we make with them! When my house finally recovers from our playdate, we'll do it again!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Do you remember the 1st time you....

Get your head out of the gutter..... Do you remember the 1st time you mowed the lawn? According to my husband (and his mother!) the 1st time he mowed the lawn was at age 6!!!! Well.... mine was at age 25.... and it was awesome. Seriously! I really enjoyed it!

Daniel and I had some yard work to do this weekend in preparation for my mega toddler play date (more to come on that this week). We also have a bog/rice patty growing where the A/C water drains so we needed to take care of that.... which we did by digging a whole, planting a tree and hoping our new purple crape myrtle is really really thirsty!

Why did I enjoy cutting the grass?
1. It's something I've never done and always wanted to try
2. I like to exercise in non traditional manners
3. I enjoyed spending time with Daniel while being productive
4. It's instant gratification
5. It's oddly fun to cut patterns in the lawn
6. I like my grass cutting outfit (red tennis skirt and tank)
7. I finally get to wear those "yard work" shoes (old tennis shoes you always keep to do yard work in but then never do yard work)
8. Something about pulling that string and starting the mower just feels sexy
9. It's so loud, even if Parker is whining, I can't hear him ha ha

Anyways, while I don't plan on cutting the grass EVERY week, I do recommend it and plan to do it again. It's therapeutic and fun. I meant to take a picture of the grass but then you'd see my beyond dead (more like decaying) ferns that I haven't exactly replaced yet. Basically, I felt the need to brag about my awesome grass cutting job. if you're my neighbor make sure to come check it out (and trash my ferns if you want to be a super duper neighbor... or at least make me feel really bad about them looking so crappy so I have motivation to toss them!). Look at me defying my love of gender roles! Next thing you know I'll be taking the trash out!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

IMAGINON... My Reader Rabbit in the Making!

Today Parker and I ventured to uptown Charlotte for a little reading fun at IMAGINON with our friends Holly, Brooklyn and Harper. It's a beautiful facility (which I failed to take pictures of!) and the staff was very friendly! We went to a book reading with a super enthusiastic lady who did a great job keeping 50+ toddlers fairly entertained! She did 3 songs and 3 books. She even managed to get Parker clapping his hands and dancing! No worries, if you don't think your kid will be quiet in a library, it isn't like that... it's a kid's library so they get it!



Afterwards we watched some short stories come to life.... ok so... I watched it while Parker played on a big wooden bus! They also have neat touch screen computers that let kids color the story as they read it. I really enjoyed the magnetic light up tangrams table. Parker enjoyed crashing the shapes together and pulling them apart. Whatever floats his boat, right!?!


If you don't go during a scheduled activity time, there are THOUSANDS of precious books to snuggle up and read together. If you're a Mecklenburg County Resident you can check them out. There is also a kid area equiped with a bunch of toys including a train table and gigantic teddy bear.


Overall, I give IMAGINON 1 3/4 thumbs up! It's free, entertaining, uptown (which is fun for us suburban moms who every now and then want to venture outside of suburbia), educational and clean! I'm taking 1/4 thumbs away because uptown itself isn't kid friendly so it's hard to make a day of it and I hate paying to park (so my friend Holly did! ha ha) Apparently there is free parking for 9o minutes but driving around uptown to find it stresses me out. $5 is it!

***FREE STUFF ALERT!*** Check this out! SO... if you live in a poor zip code (such as mine apparently) you can get a free book for your child every month until they're 5!!!! If you don't live in a poor zip code (I didn't think I would but apparently I do!) find a friend who does and have them shipped there. Yes. I am encouraging you to cheat for free books. Go to http://www.imaginationlibrary.com/ and register your child. It takes less than a minute. That's 60 free books if you do it from the time they're born!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Respectful Discipline

How many times have you had to bite your tongue from lashing out at a mom disciplining her child in public in an inappropriate way? I seriously can't count the times! I've seen a mom pull her child out of the cart by her arm and throw her to the ground. I've seen a toddler be slapped (I did say something to the mom about that one). I've heard a mom tell her child she's going to lock her in the car next time they leave the house.... crazy stuff. Believe me... I get it.... kids are tough! They can wear you down in the WORST way and it's easy to snap BUT there is a right way and a wrong way to discipline. The right way is respectfully... and the wrong way is disrespectfully. It's your judgement call as to what type of discipline falls where but I've done some digging for us moms, and here's what I've found (all opinions; however, mostly from doctors... so please no yelling at me... thanks!):

1st background... why am I doing this post?

Well... honestly. this little guy.... he's the love of my life and is generally a great kid....but... he can be booger sometimes and we've gotta nip it now!


When Parker 1st started acting out, we decided to pop his hand and say "no!" firmly. This worked for while but then we noticed him saying "no!" and spanking his toys, food or the dogs when he didn't want them or when he was done. Essentially, it just wasn't effective. AND... to be honest.... I found myself popping him out of anger sometimes and later apologizing because it wasn't necessary or beneficial to him. I'm not against spanking as a whole BUT I've decided I am against it for a toddler in 95% of situations. I don't think they get why you can hit and they can't...simple as that. PLUS I don't think it calms them down which is really what they need to do most of the time!


Next, we tried time out. We're getting results out of this and it's exciting! When he does something I've asked him not to do, he goes to the specified time out chair. It's the same chair every time if we're home and it's in the den. He sits until he's calm and we discuss it. Problem: I'm getting upset when I put him there and it upsets him more because I'm mad which then takes longer for him to calm down. I also usually firmly say NO SIR and tell him why he's in the chair.

Then... I started researching and asking questions AND my savior of a pediatrician told me he had a podcast (which he calls pedcast) on the VERY subject and I LOVE IT! Enough to share it with my other mommy friends! It's all about respectful disciplining so that we raise respectful and well behaved children. How angelic does that sound?


It's so simple!!!! What does yelling teach them to do? YELL! What does hitting teach them to do? HIT! What does shouting NO NO NO over and over teach them to do? YELL NO NO NO back! DUH! (insert tone of bricks hitting yourself here) For them to respect us and learn boundaries we have to 1st respect them.


Listen to the podcast ... but here is an abridged version:


1. When you need to discipline your children put them in a specified location in isolation. They need to be removed from the situation. Not a crib or highchair. Preferably a corner or chair away from toys and TV. Key here is BORING! You place them here calmly and without yelling at them or throwing them on the chair. You simply let them know while they're acting out that they're in time out.


2. It doesn't matter how LONG they sit here... it's about being calm enough to look you in the eye. Wait it out until they can make eye contact.


3. Once you have eye contact. You explain to them calmly why they are in time out. You should lower your tone and rate of speech. (How hard is this when you're totally frazzled and at your breaking point?! I know... but it makes sense so I'm gonna do it!) Example: Parker, you are in time out because you hit the dog. We do not hit the dog because it hurts her and gives her an owie. You do not like owie's do you? No, it hurts. (If there is an offense, an apology is a must) Please go say you're sorry to Ellie.


4. Even if they are too young to apologize, this is still a habit and step that should be included even if you're the one apologizing.


OK... so how easy does that sound? Not hard right? I think the hardest part will be not getting upset and raising my voice when I'm frustrated and at my breaking point... especially if he's being whiny! UGH! BUT... I want to raise a respectful and well behaved child and THIS is going to be how I do it! Wish me luck!


Project Perfectly Precious Parker starts tomorrow morning!