October 3, 2014

Cheeky Baby

Aaron was dutifully annoying his brother today buy pulling out all of the books from the kids' book shelf and pulling out baskets from tables and cubbies, etc.

Noah was trying his best to put everything back when he suddenly yelled, "STOP IT, you cheeky baby!"

Apparently we've been watching way too much Peppa Pig.

October 2, 2014

The Cost of Nostalgia

I've been working on a long-term project to scan and digitize all of my parent's photos and albums. My mom was exceptionally good about keeping things in order and captioning pictures but there's only one copy of everything. My goal is to scan them, get them on flash drives for each family member and then eventually create a Blurb book with them.

I've looked at these photos for years and years but since my Mom died, I've consciously been soaking in every detail of each photo that she's in or the ones of our home we grew up in.

I came across a photo of my brother and I playing in my childhood room that stirred up some major nostalgia. I was roughly 8 or 9. My dad had built a simple four-room dollhouse for me that I had filled with miniature furniture and animal figurines called the Sylvanian Families. I remember, in detail, playing with them but I cannot remember when they came to be in my possession or where they went. As we've been going thru my mom's stuff and boxes she put away, I'm surprised they haven't been hidden somewhere for us to find. I don't think she kept them anyhow.

It's a shame though because apparently they're collector's items now. If you've frequented a toy store recently, then you've probably seen the new updated, mass-produced version called Calico Critters. But the Sylvanian Families are now only found via eBay, etsy and other resale sites.

After perusing websites, I kept noticing how many "vintage" pieces I actually used to own. Most special was the furniture that had working drawers and teeny tiny books and plates and silverware and kitchen utensils, etc. Even the little bed and couch were wrapped in a tight floral patterned fabric. Of the actual figurines, I know I had a bunny family, some bears and raccoons. Aside from my homemade dollhouse, I had the actual Sylvanian Family schoolhouse and treehouse, both of which had their own special features that I loved.

Today's Calico Critter versions are cute and I would definitely buy them for my niece or if we had a daughter but there's just something about the originals. A couple of weeks after seeing that photo, I still could not get my Sylvanian set off my mind. I began looking online and aside from the outrageous prices for "new in box" sets, I found a couple of options that didn't seen too unreasonable...if I wanted to take forever collecting one piece at a time. There were a few larger collections for sale but even then there happened to be a drawer missing or a small break or a figurine that looked chewed up by a dog. 

Then I hit the jackpot! A collection on eBay that included the Sylanian house, a bear family and 30+ pieces. They were used but everything was in tact and complete for the most part with a price tag of $100. Yikes.

A couple of days later I still couldn't get if off my mind. For some reason it meant so much to me to be able to hold those pieces again, pieces from my childhood that I've been reliving as I go through my mom's photo albums. 

As we've been going through my mom's stuff, the things that have the most meaning to me are things from the past, things I remember from childhood that she miraculously kept. So nostalgia got the best of me. I took a couple more days (a longer version of the "10-minute rule") to think on it and then I bought it!

The set arrived two days ago and I couldn't wait to unwrap every individual piece. I waited until the boys were at their school and I took it all out, examining each piece and setting it up to take a few pics I promised to send to a friend. 

It was a fiscally smart purchase because buying each individual piece would have added up to much more than the overall price I paid. But more than that, having this connection to my childhood, when my mom was there and we had long summers together as a family and quiet times at home, means more than anything to me.

One day I may pass it on, but for now, if I'm honest, I'm happy to have been a little selfish by shelling out for a piece of nostalgia.

September 17, 2014

Happy Shots

During our second year of marriage, we unexpectedly found out that the hubby had Type 1 Diabetes. At the age of 26, you'd think someone would have noticed something by then. In fact, his endocrinologist actually diagnosed him as Type 1.5 since it had surfaced so late in life. 

Needless to say, it would be impossible to count the number of insulin shots he's given himself over the past 7 years. It's so much a part of the breakfast/lunch/dinner/bedtime routine that I barely notice him taking his shot and the same applies for the boys. They just know that Daddy has to take shots and he gets to pull his shirt up and do it on his tummy. 

Obviously when we've taken the boys for any vaccines, etc. they don't appreciate being stuck by a needle, but somehow they don't associate shots at the doctor with the shots Daddy takes. So more often then not, when the hubby is taking his insulin and the boys are nearby, they line up to get their "shots" as well.

Cute to us. Maybe a little frightening to anyone else nearby. Haha!

September 9, 2014

Wedding Shower, Party of One

I've been missing my mom lately. Quite a lot in fact. And as the holidays approach I know it won't get much easier in regards to realizing how much we are missing out on by not having her here.

Still, there seems to be plenty of "firsts" that are not holiday-related. First musical I saw without my mom. My niece's first birthday without my mom. Other birthdays without my mom. The first sneak peak of the new Downton Abbey season without my mom. The list goes on and while some are mostly nostalgic, there are others where I can honestly feel this physical void where she should be. 

Some very special young friends of ours are getting married next month. I have known the groom since he was born and the bride since she was a little girl. Even though we haven't kept in contact as much over the past few years, I was blessed to be invited to the wedding and of course the wedding shower which was held the other week.

Here's where my mom would normally come into play.

You know the cardinal rule that women usually go to the bathroom in pairs? Well it was kind of like that for my mom and I in regards to wedding/baby showers. Not that we'd be afraid to go alone...we always knew all the guests and it's always a friendly reunion...I guess there was comfort in having someone to attend with. We could carpool and not feel awkward being the first to show up or whenever we needed to leave. We'd even pitch in most of the time for one of the bigger registry gifts to give. My mom and I sort of had a buddy system going when it came to those kind of events.

I almost didn't go to this wedding shower. Her absence was a very present reminder that she's not here. We're still living life and life will always continue to move forward for all sorts of celebrations and every day occurrences such as her favorite TV shows. 

Being afraid to go to a wedding shower to see people you love may sound silly but it was another "first" I guess I hadn't been prepared to experience. I'm sure there's still many more to come.

August 31, 2014

The History of the Passy

As a baby, Noah didn't like his pacifier. However, since he was my first baby, I kept trying to give one to him to help with teething and soothing and whatnot. Plus, I didn't figure that not all babies actually need or want pacifiers. So at about 9 months old, he was hooked and it was my fault. He wanted that passy day and night. And again, as a first-time mom, I thought it was the cutest thing to see him attached to a passy.

Fast forward two years later and he still had the passy! We'd been able to whittle it down to only naps and bedtime but God forbid we ever didn't have a passy ready to go! He was definitely not going to forget.

Before I go any further, here's my one disclaimer: I don't have a problem with pacifiers or parents who let their kids have them until their 4 or whatever. Every kid is different and I'm all for whatever floats your boat and for whatever helps the parents get thru the day.

However, I was beginning to stress out at the fact that he would be turning 3 at the end of this year and I wanted to break the passy habit ASAP. Really it was more for my comfort because I knew the longer he kept it, the harder the transition would be. I'm all for making things easier on myself and everyone else involved as much as possible. I know my kid and I knew leaving the passy behind would be difficult. I was imagining sleepless nights and stressful nap times and I just couldn't quite get up the courage to deal with it.

The way I work is I have to be mentally committed to something before starting. That goes with everything: travel, gifts, making dinner, etc. I rarely jump into anything (except for moving Noah into his toddler bed which we were not prepared to do but had to anyway).

Summer was almost over and the new year at Mom's Day Out approaching and I was determined to do it before then. Noah was the only kid in his class last year to have a passy so I was feeling a little pressured. I know, I know...I shouldn't feel pressured. But I was.

I did research on all the different ways that parents have made the jump to being passy-free. Everything from the passy fairy to going cold turkey. I went with a mix of both.

At the last minute, we planned a weeklong getaway to the beach as a family. I decided that week would be the best time to do it. No passy's would be packed and we would be busy and worn out from swimming all week long. We would also be co-sleeping in our condo. My guess was that Noah would be so tired and ready to sleep and with us there by his side, the transition would go even smoother.

We also decided to make a physical act of saying bye to the passy's. The morning of our flight, we woke the boys up and got them changed. Right before we jumped in the car, Noah opened a special box that had a new truck inside and in exchange, we put all his passy's in the box and sent the box off to be "mailed" to other little babies that needed passy's.

And that was it. No tears just an understanding that he got a new truck for his passy's. We did start to talk with him a couple of weeks in advance about needing to pass on the passy's so hopefully he was forewarned enough. 

The trip went so much smoother than I could even have imagined! He asked for his passy a couple of times, sometimes just being silly, and only once broke down over not having it (mainly because he was super tired). 

Now we're passy free!

I'm so thankful that we had the opportunity to take a trip so I could come up with this brilliant plan! Perhaps being with us 24/7 and not being in our normal routine and environment helped the process, but once we got home from vacation it was still smooth sailing and we haven't looked back since.

In case you're wondering, Aaron did not get a passy past a certain age. No way did I want to have another kid to stress over in regards to the passy. There are so many changes during the toddler years that having one less milestone to worry about is a relief.

August 24, 2014

Traveling Toddler

After a week of beach and sun, we are back! I'll post more later about our trip but first I wanted to share a new travel tip for some of my friends that mentioned they'd be flying soon with their littles.

This was our third round of flights with a baby/toddler. We've been trying to do a big family vacation once a year and so far, so good.

2012 - Oregon - Noah was 7 months old and the worst part about flying with a baby was lugging all the needed items around: Car seat, bassinet, etc. Most of all was the car seat situation. I paid $50 for one of those Brica car seat carriers/covers. It has wheels and you can wear as a backpack. Neither function worked comfortably whatsoever. Needless to say, it was a pain.

2013 - New Mexico - Noah was 19 months and Aaron was 6 months. After the Oregon fiasco with the carseat, I decided to RENT a convertible seat thru our car rental company for Noah. We brought Aaron's bucket seat, checked it at the gate, and then carried him around it in. Still lots to lug around but we got through it. However, the rental agency's car seat for Noah was disgusting AND it was the $40 Cosco seat that you can buy at Walmart. So we paid the rental agency double what we could have paid for a brand new seat. The hubby thought we could have just ran to a local Walmart to buy one, but the logistics of making that happen weren't possible. Plus, you can never guarantee that the store will have one in stock.

2014 - South Carolina - Noah is 2 1/2 and Aaron is 19 months. I decided to do a whole lot more research. I did NOT want to rent (because of cost and germ factors). We already owned one Cosco convertible seat that belongs in grandma's car, so I went ahead and purchased another. Then I found this neat little gadget for $14 called the Traveling Toddler. Ordered it using my Amazon Prime account (free two-day shipping), and BINGO! Once you learn how to hook it up and take it apart, it was a cinch using it at the airport. No more having to lug TWO car seats around, just hook up to the carry-ons we had and we were good to go. Plus Aaron was able to ride in one of them the majority of our time getting around the terminals. We had so many positive reactions from other parents and random passengers on how convenient and easy that looked. Such a great idea!

So here's the info to the Traveling Toddler. We loved it! And yes, it came with a little extra finagling, but it cut down on so so so much time and energy we'd always used in getting our car seats to and from the airport.

Traveling Toddler (link)
(Hint: Your car seat must have the three anchors to be able to work...top and sides. Although I'm pretty sure that all seats now have these as regulation.)

Pictures of our Traveling Toddler and suitcase/carseat:

July 31, 2014

Summer Days Drifting Away

Summer is flying by.

Summer is flying by!!!

I'm really enjoying my boys. Aside from the learning curves and temper tantrums, this is the age that I couldn't wait to reach. We're doing things and finding new ways to have fun. Now that Aaron is 18 months old, he will get to start at Mom's Day Out in a few weeks in addition to big brother Noah. It'll be the first time I can drop them both off at the same place, kiss their cheeks, hug and wave goodbye for a few hours.

Now if I can just make it through the rest of summer. If I could bribe my kids to not play outside, I would. This is Texas, people. Until then, a lot of popsicles and sprinkler fun is usually on the menu in the afternoon. In fact, it's such an expectation I should start making my own popsicles. But who has time for that?

Hardly a day goes by that Noah doesn't ask to do poppers or fireworks (obviously, every day should be the 4th of July). Aaron is playing so well as Noah's little sidekick until he doesn't want to play and then Noah gets upset that he can't make his brother do his bidding. And then there is the squealing. They're like little banshees that set one another off. Aaron screams then Noah screams then they both scream. Constantly. It's earsplitting, but a happy earsplitting that we're trying to tone down without squelching their zeal for excitement. My boys love life!

I'm trying to take it all in but the summer heat gets in the way. So for those celebrating Christmas in July...bring on the holidays!