Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Could his smile be any bigger?

I'm thinking... Nope.

Halloween will be interesting this year, as he waffles between Angry Birds & Spidy.

Obviously, this is a Mr. M purchase...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dancing to his own toon!

On Saturday, I had a bit of a meltdown.  Working full-time plus, in addition to being primary care taker of our home & child is a lot of work.  Our dog is due for her shots, tags need to be purchased by the end of March, J has his activities, etc...

Life is busy.  Life is fun, but busy.

Mr. M decided I derserved a shower & few minutes by myself to fold laundry, put it away, and did I mention shower.  Sigh.  It was delightful. 

The two boys hit the grocery store & I got a chance to breathe.

J was on fire about it.  He LOVES his guys outings.  He gets to dress in miss matching sports gear.  He gets to wear his crocs with socks.  He gets to just be silly without Mommy constantly insisting he "listen & follow directions" so we can go faster.

He also gets to score junk with daddy that mommy would never permit.

All in all, it was a win.

Except for that candy. 

J was so excited, that on his way out the door he was dancing.  Mixing up lyrics from "Leave it all to Me" and "Just Can't Get Enough".  He had me laughing.

He is just so much fun.

Just dancing to his own tune...

Love him so much it hurts some days!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekend Fun!

I always make sure J eats breakfast.  School days are easier when he has a shower before school, as opposed to the night before, simply because he eats more quickly.  It is not impossible to get him to eat without a shower, it's just easier to get him to eat on my time schedule when he does.

As a result, weekends are generally more laid back these days... If he doesn't eat before church, bummer, but he'll survive the hour.

Before swimming on Saturday though, I've become kind of a stick in the mud he has to eat, and it has to be full of whole grain, protein, fibrous goodness... I don't mind him having sugar, but I ensure it is sustainable for all those laps in the pool.

This Saturday we mixed whole grain bread with no sugar added jelly and natural peanut butter, trimmed in a peach slice, marshmallows, chocolate chips & M&Ms to J's delight.
He ate every bite, minus the marshmallow eyes, with the request for a strawberry hook next time. 

I do believe, I will become an expert at making Mater faces... I realized, I forgot his headlight... Silly mommy!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Party Pictures

Here are some pictures from J's party.
 Toy Story birthday cake.  Double layer chocolate, filled with mousse, topped with butter cream frosting.  So yummy!
 Birthday Boy in his chair!
 J & his school buddy Maddi!  J & Maddi pal around so much together & J just loves her. 
Sincere Thank You to Mr M's Aunt Joan for the pictures!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Goodbye 3's, Hello 4's

Monkey -

You turned 4.  And I would be lying if I didn't sigh with relief we made it through the horrific 3's.  Honestly, they were my hardest, but most rewarding year since becoming your mother.

We had so many changes. 

Your new bed...
...And you move to where you actually slept...
 Sigh... the night you surprised us with learning how to open your gate & joining us was so bittersweet.  Daddy & I loved having your snuggles each & every night.  Even though some nights, Daddy was less excited by turning out the lights & shutting the TV down by 8:30.  And the first night of successfully getting you to fall asleep in your own bed by yourself was celebrated with bittersweet tears as well...
This year, you also made a snuggle sleep buddy!  We call him Chauncer, but his real name, per the now closed Borders Book Store, Chaucer.  We've read the book about his first winter so many times, I can recite it in my sleep.

You love it every.single.time.

We had our first real snow storm, Mommy & Daddy even got snow days!
 On Easter, we celebrated Daddy's 40th birthday.  You helped pick out the White Sox cake decoration, in honor of your being on the White Sox t-ball team through the YMCA...

You've really come into your own with sports this year.  You played t-ball, basketball, soccer & lots of swimming.  You've even started doing gymnastics around the house.  You love to be active & we love to watch you.  You are so funny when you ask us to play, and then expect us to focus & watch you constantly as well.  You shocked us all when you spent the entire summer swimming on your own without even a life jacket.  We used the life jacket at the lake & around home as needed to prolong your energy, but for the most part you really just enjoyed swimming on your own.  Even to the point of having us push you under or using the stair case to pull yourself under to swim to the bottom in search of some dive toy you'd thrown in to retrieve. 

Trips this year were not nearly as exotic as last year, when you earned your passport stamp, but in your eyes - they were even better.

We spent Spring Break with Grandma & Grandpa P on Marco.  We even snuck in a trip to Disney, allowing you to meet Miss Minny.
Then we did the family trip back there for Christmas, seeing both sets of Grandparents at once.  Mr. M & I decided it was really hard vacationing to Disney with family.  If we do a group vacation like that again, it will be on a beach.  There was just so much to do, and truly not enough time to do it all...  But you did earn your first driving license the 2nd time around.  As you had crossed that every so crucial 40 inch benchmark Disney has for rides.

While in Marco, you experienced your first time in the Gulf of Mexico and building sand castles.

However, as Spring came to a close, Mommy had grown exhausted of your temper and her inability to properly parent it... Daddy wasn't have much luck either, however, you were better with him (helped he generally just said yes).

As a result, we started working on 1-2-3 Magic with you.  What I learned was, you were so frustrated with not being able to express your anger, and hole in wall, hitting, etc. were your way to express it.

Thankfully, when you started at Forest Ridge Academy, their method of using Love & Logic fish tailed into what I had learned over the summer.  Love & Logic has truly become our way to resolve your temper tantrums of late.  It is so much fun watching your brain process your actions.  It is really hard not to smile, because I know that would be the wrong message, but I'm just so darn proud of you.

And I love our little sayings.  "I love you to much to argue" and "Oh, that's so sad" are some of our top favorites.  I did have a great belly laugh when you "so sad" Payton because she wouldn't listen to you.  

We cannot forget our famous "It's okay to mad, it's okay to be upset, but it is never okay to hit"

This year I learned having you take 10 deep breaths is a great way to help you get over your upset feelings, be those sad or mad.

Speaking of your buddy... She has become your partner in crime of eating your left overs.  Swimming buddy in the lake.  And snuggle buddy at night.  When daddy is away, Payton has taken to guarding his side of the bed to ensure you don't roll off.  We are starting to see signs of her age, but as of now - she is perfect for you.
Last night she was so good as you climbed over the couch & landed on her... She yelped, but never for a second did she even think about biting you.  For that we are forever grateful.  You on the other hand, were so sorry for landing on her.  You apologized, gave her hugs and kisses, and snuggled up to her after you time out for climbing on the furniture.

The biggest change for you this year has been moving to Forest Ridge Academy.  You've made so many wonderful new friends, and you've learned so much.  Mr. M & I are just amazed at what your little mind has absorbed.  We truly could not be more proud of you, or happier with our decision to enroll you there.

You have such a crush on Mrs. Sandoval, we all have enjoyed your asking her on dates over the past year.  Mrs. Bach loves trying to compete for you attention, but knows she will lose hands down every time.
The educational opportunities were so much more than we could have imagined.  You are learning basics, but also sign language, Spanish, and wood working.  You challenge me to want to learn new things right along with you.

For Halloween, you were Woody.  Toy Story has taken over your Cars love, but Mater & McQueen still rule most days.

Aunt Liz and Grandma M joined us on the Trick or Treat trail.  We had so much fun, as we also spent the day with Skye & Miss Wendy.  Skye was right on our heels as we tricked & treated around our street.  You were so awesome about not wanting as much candy as you could get, coming home to help me hand out some of our own.

One of the things I've seen grow in you this year is your understanding and logic.  With that understanding, you have become more aware of giving, instead of just receiving.

When winter time looked upon us this fall, you had so much fun picking out your winter coat.  I kind of think you picked yellow, because that's Woody's.

Our elf came back to join us again this year.  Oh the fun he had... You named him... Chiminey Pepper.  I think he will eventually become Chimney Pepper, but for now, I'm going with the misspelling because that is exactly how you say it.

Major health updates for year 3...  We have the broken nose & the first cavity.  I still need to get those pictures uploaded & updated.  That said, we survived both with minimal tears, all things considered.

January has kind of flown by in a hurry towards Winter Break, of which you are throughly enjoying this week.  :)

3 was a year of changes.  Up till now, most of the changes have been physical.  This year... This year we saw changes focusing on developmental.  Yes, you got bigger.  Every day you wish to be as big as me and daddy.  Every day I tell you to slow down.  This year we've seen you pick up on sight words, and then apply them.  We've seen you tackle words in your vocabulary that shock us.

Planning & celebrating your party has been a highlight to my 2012 year.  You are such a special boy. 

I received such wonderful compliments on how nice and mature you are for your age.  How you've made such a point to seek out the kids at FRA who are shy and friend them.  How you never want anyone to feel on the side lines of an activity.  How those kids call you their best friend at home.

Jacob Matthew, we are so proud of you and the young gentleman you are becoming.  Daddy & I truly could not have asked for a better kid to call our own.  You are such a little sponge of love & happiness.

We are so looking forward to what 4 will bring next.

Love you all the world & back again -  Mommy

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Let's play ball!

Due to J's birthday being in February, he just squeaks in under the cutoff for age 4/5 t-ball this year.

After our initial reservations regarding his age, Mr. M had me sign him up for the league.  Since then, Mr. M has spoken with coaches & parents who ran the league last year, and we have zero reservations.  J will fit in perfectly.

As a result... This is what J & Daddy did during their guy time this past week.
So often in my pictures he looks so big... That I laughed at this one because he looks so little.  And right now, Mommy thinks he is growing up so fast, I love keeping him little.

Even if it is only because Daddy takes pictures standing straight up & Mommy gets down to J's level.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Birthday Boy

Yesterday we celebrated with a group of kiddos from J's school & few friends from our former mom's group. 


We left the house with J telling me how each one of his 'best friends' was coming to the party.  Matt & I were celebrating in J's happiness, as it was so contagious.
But we were busy little bees getting ready for it... J helped me decorate the gift bags...  We had food allergies to be cautious of in our gift bags, so instead of Dove chocolates like last year, we opted for Starburst, Spree's, Sweetarts and Organic Suckers & Gummi Bears.  A little something for each sweet tooth. 
And loads of fun toys... Glo necklaces, yo-yo's, whistles, bouncy balls, stickers, bubbles, etc... 

J & I loved seeing smiles on his friends faces as they left with their bags turning sad no-more-jumping faces into big smiles.

Thank you to those who joined us for making it such a fun day for Monkey!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dedicated to Mr. M

J cracks me up on a regular basis with things he says.  His ability to comprehend, or at times, totally miss the comprehension will forever mystify me. 

a perfect example of these J-isms is:  Discussing my grandparents being in Heaven.  Out of the clear blue...  J will say...

When I'm big, Grandpa Barger will be my son.

Obviously, what we've said, went so far over his head.


What doesn't go over his head is quality time with both Mr. M & me.  Since moving J back to his own bed to fall asleep, he is very good about not letting my long days at work interrupt or cheat him out of his bedtime story.  The surest way to start the water works is for me to say I'm too tired, I want him to just tell me about his day.

So now, we've started the new routine of him telling me about his day.  Then we do a story (some nights are quicker than others, but there is always a story). 

Mr. M has his own version of quality time with J.  They take off for Jump Zone, or to the bakery.  Mom isn't known for buying the sweets daddy is good at doing.  Mommy also puts strict limits like having a doughnut after a whole grain extra fiber waffle, where daddy says - doughnuts are breakfast.

For the most part, Daddy is fun & I'm strict.  That said, Daddy steps up when he needs to, and J respects that Daddy can make that switch.  Mommy's time outs don't really pull any tears, but if Daddy does it, man oh man... He'll try to stop being upset so I will start his time out, but he is just so upset over Daddy being mad at him that he flounders a few times.

Since I worked on Sunday, Mr. M was in charge all day.  A day that started at a whopping 5:45 AM & did not end until I walked in the door at 7:30 PM.  We lost a much loved co-worker, and as a result had a crash course in all that he did in the midst of it being due.  It was a long hard day.  A truly emotionally draining day.  And I topped it off with a quick trip to Target for Trail Mix supplies for FRA, and of course the Valentine's for Mr. M & J.

Mr. M made my day immensely brighter by texting me this picture:
J would live in this, if he could...

J was so proud & delighted with talking non-stop about his day with Daddy.  Especially since Daddy does not have the nap skillz I've developed over the past 4 years, he was really wound up.

Then yesterday, Mr. M woke up with a massive, knock you back on your bed, migraine.  Since it was his day off, he took meds & went back to sleep... I figured this meant no Valentine's for me...

But I was wrong.  And J & I delighted in how wonderful & thoughtful it was of Daddy to get me flowers.   
J made me smile this morning as he cooed over my flowers again, saying how, tomorrow, for Valentine's Day, he was going to get me pink flowers because he loved me too.

Doesn't get much better than this... Knowing he will keep this all close to his heart as he grows, makes it all the more special. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope everyone's Valentine's Day started out as delightful as mine!

J & I were up a bit late last night, being 9 pm, as I got home from work after his true bedtime & I realized I'd forgotten to ask Miss Cheryl to work with him to finish up signing & stuffing his Valentine's for class today.

But like a champ, he was up and at'em today all smiles for his classroom party.
I wish I knew how to fix camera phone pictures to not white out like this...

I do have to say, signing J's Valentine's with him was a learning experience for me.  A coaching experience for him.  Mr. M & I love all the opportunities it exposes J to, and some of those are not as delightful as diversity, woodshop, Spanish & Sign languages.  Some are experiences dealing with children who face challenges of their own.  And in some cases, kiddos just have bad days.

J repeatedly told me who each Valentine was NOT for in his class.  I repeatedly explained why his thinking was insensitive.  I mean, I get not wanting to give a Valentine to someone (child X) who never wants to play with you, but at the same time, I asked how he'd feel if that person didn't give him a Valentine. 

Or, more realistic, Okay, so you are mad at child Y for hitting you the other day.  I understand that.  But you have to forgive that child.  When J admitted he didn't want to forgive and forget, I asked how he'd feel if I chose to not forgive him for hitting me.  His eyes grew huge and he said, he wouldn't like that at all.

I laughed, when he then boldly stated - Okay child Y gets a Valentine, but not Child X.

Baby steps.  Baby steps.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Monkey!

And with that... Today you are 4!!!!

You started the day out super early with our morning run to Great American Bagel for your snack for the class. 

Frosted Bagels, of course.  Just as you chose.

Mrs. Bach let me know everyone loved them, and you had so much fun telling me all the kids who enjoyed them.  Then with the saddest face a birthday boy should never have, you told me Sofia did not like them at all.

I still have to draft your 4 year marking point, but I'm not ready to do it.  Mommy's have a hard time adjusting to the fact you are 4 already.

You on the other hand, not at all.  You went to your bed last night after Miss Cheryl left, happy to go to sleep on your own.  We had the best few minutes of snuggle time talking about your day.

You started & ended your day telling me "I'm 4, so I can go to J-K now."  I felt so bad having to explain over and over about how you have to finish with Young Scholars, enjoy summer - THEN you can join the kids in J-K...  

Slow down kiddo... You are growing up to fast for this mommy's heart.

Tonight you have the Festival of the Arts provided it doesn't blizzard as forecasters have predicted...

A Crow you will be.

And forever my Golden Prince.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

1st Cavity

At J's 6 month checkup in December, they found his first cavity.  :( 

Mommy was very sad, and honestly worried he may have my cavity prone teeth.  The Dentist said not to worry about it yet, and he was happy to learn J brushes his teeth not only morning & night, but at school for lunch too.

J did great for his first "sugar bug" removal.  He was so worried, but they made it so fun for him, he was able to relax...

Granted, they did give him the bird nose.
But he never felt the shot.  I still remember feeling those shots.
 Dr. talked him the whole way through it.  J always knew what to expect.
 And we left for school smiling like everything was perfect & rosy!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ribs, Ribs & more Ribs...

Mr. M introduced me to a favorite of his.  The Patio.  While we were dating, I sucked it up & ate food I didn't really enjoy in order to not offend this really awesome guy who was trying to introduce me to Chicago's greats in hometown restaurants.

Portillo's would be another, along with Giordano's Pizza.  He tried to sell me on Greek Town, but it is so different than Detroit's I had a really hard time enjoying.  During my tenure at the RenCen working for EDS, I loved my weekly treat to Greek Town, and I was truly sad to realize how different the food was here.

Anyway, back to the point... J has been tasting our ribs since he was eating people food (as opposed to baby/infant food). 

Over the past summer, it has been in supplement to his own meal.

Lately, however, he is taking over 1/2 my slab.  In perfect timing of Mr. M eliminating excess red meat from his diet, J is stepping in to enjoy the 2nd half of my slab. 

Since he is not a potato fan, I've been rounding out his meals with fruits.

We did have to caution him, those bones are not for Payton's enjoyment.  She did get to sneak one in before we stopped him.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Making OJ in 3-simple-steps

We've been introduced to Super Agent Oso during our morning routine while daddy was out of town.  It is a Disney show that teaches kids simple tasks in "3 simple steps" and is all very Charlie Angel's *esk...

J loves it.  This morning he & I did a peanut butter & jelly sandwich in 4 simple steps, had to add in the dinosaur cutout.  :)

As part of becoming 4, J is actively trying to become more independent.  Part of it is his desire to sleep in his own bed, but another part is picking out his clothes has all of the sudden become a big deal.

Whoever would have thought we could argue over his uniform?  Really kiddo?  Choices are black or tan pants, white, gray or maroon polo (short or long-sleeved), black or white shoes.  Really nothing to argue, other than I will not let him wear the same.exact.selection two days in a row.

Oh the tragedies of having me as a mom.  I know.

Anyway... Oso introduced making OJ.  J was so intrigued.  He bugged me afterwards to make it with him.

I'm not sure why I was not excited about it... I love fresh squeezed OJ.  Mr. M had me get oranges upon his return so we had them. 

That said, as a reward for his going to sleep in his own bed all week, J asked to make OJ.  How could I say no?

And so we did. 

Step 1:  Select your oranges

Step 2:  Have an adult cut them in half

Step 3:  Squeeze
He was so focused.  I had so much fun & totally kicked myself for not jumping at this opportunity right away. 

We added ice & happily sipped away. 

I did have to chuckle at J though... As badly as he wanted to really enjoy this juice, like his mommy, he actually asked if he could save it in favor of water.  He enjoyed it a lot more when the ice cubes had melted & it was watered down.  I think the freshness was a bit to strong for his taste buds.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I dare say... We may have sleep changes going in our home...

Prior to the Holiday break, sleep had gotten pretty out of control in our home.  I don't know if it was my going back to work 5 days, working longer days, or what...

But the wheels fell off that bus.

Honestly, for the most part, Matt & I enjoyed this.  We appreciated the snuggle time we were stealing with our little boy.  How quickly he turned 3 & now we were looking towards 4.

Mr. Matt, however, did have a strong desire to get his bed back.  While he loved the snuggles, he was not so fond of Mommy's issuances of death looks over turning the bedroom light on after 8:30, or even worse - having the desire to do anything but sleep.  Books - Nope.  TV or Movie - Not on your life.  And if you get your iPad out, I just might break it.

Yeah, that didn't work so well.

Mr. M's solution was to start talking to J about how being 4 is such a *big boy* age.  I would roll my eyes, and just settle into sleep.

In the mean time, Miss Cheryl tackled the fun job of putting J to sleep on his own during mommy's late nights at work.  Never easy or fun, the process got easier over time.  I think October's business plan season offered up consistency that allowed her to succeed at this task.

On Monday, J informed Miss Cheryl that when he was 4, he would start sleeping in his big boy bed all on his own every night.

Well, alrighty then...

And I must say, he's working on it...

We have had no fight, no fuss, no muss... He has gone off to sleep in his own bed as early as 7:30, as late as 8:20 every night this week.
 I still wake up to this little snuggler, but progress has been made.
And I for one, am not pushing for the last part just yet. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rockbottom - making pizza

J & I took Grandma M out to dinner to celebrate her birthday.  I'm not quite sure which J was more excited about...
Seeing Grandma, Grandpa & Aunt Liz or Making his own pizza?

Regardless, he was a happy boy & it was a ton of family fun!  Great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!