Monday, September 23, 2013

A Dream Come True

This past weekend, we packed up the car (minus Scarley), and headed up to Greenville (about a 3 hour drive) for the weekend. My mom had made the trip all the way from Ohio (about 9 hours!), to spend the weekend with us and to take Alli and Aiden to see Sesame Street Live! For all of you that know or follow Alli, you know that she has been an Elmo and Sesame Street fan for years. No lie, years. She has loved watching them and singing along with them, and I am pretty sure I have to credit a lot of her potty training excellence to Elmo's Potty Time DVD. Anyway, Aiden has sort of gotten to follow along and watch whatever Alli wants to watch, so he's also gotten into "Mo Mo" as he calls Elmo, and dances along to the Sesame Street theme song. It's adorable, but of course, he's still only 17 months old, so sitting still and watching a 90 minute show was going to be a challenge... at least we all knew that and were prepared.

We got to Greenville Friday evening, with just enough time to visit for a bit and then my mom took the kiddos and kept them in her hotel room while E and I got to go explore downtown Greenville a little bit and get some dinner. The big partiers that we are, we were back to our hotel room by 9:30. Woo hoo. Saturday morning, our lovely lil peanuts came in to wake us up and have breakfast, and then we all got showered and ready for the show. Mom had gotten them Meet & Greet tickets to meet the characters beforehand, and this was the part I was waiting for. Alli had told us for weeks that she was not going to be shy, that she was going to run up to Elmo and hug, kiss, and pet his fur. Ha! She was so shy, barely wanted to go see them, but after she sat with Elmo and after she gave Grover a big hug, you should have SEEN the look and smile on her face. She was over the moon, you could tell. Aiden was trying to photo bomb all the other kids' pictures and ran right up to Elmo to say "hiiii" in his lil southern drawl. We spent some more time in the backstage room just killing time before the show started.

Once the show began, both kids sat, entranced at all the lights, singing, and entertainment right in front of them. And I mean RIGHT in front of them... we were in the second row! After about 10 minutes, Aiden was over it. Ha! So, we all took turns walking him around but once we were walking around checking things out, he was fine to watch the show while we were moving and while he was being held, go figure. Alli sat totally star struck and amazed by it all. Cookie Monster came by her seat and touched Dad-E on the head, and she about flipped out, laughing and carrying on. Then, it happened again when Rosita walked by... this time, touching Alli on the head, and her face and laughter was priceless. I think seeing the expressions on her face made the entire drive worth it for my mom.

She could not stop talking and laughing about the show afterward, and even the next morning, she asked to go see Elmo again. It was so cute and I really think she had the time of her life.

Thanks again mom, we have enough pictures and videos that we'll never let her forget that she got to meet her favorite character of her toddler years.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Save it for Bubby

Aiden turns 17 months old today, and just like when he was first born – the kid can eat. It’s not just that he has big meals or “grazes” all day long… he does both. As long as there is food around, the kid will sniff it out and beg for it. He’ll walk right up to you and hold his hand up and say “More… more,” flashing those big blue doe eyes at you all the while. Even though he only has nine teeth (working on number ten, I believe) that has never stopped him. Or slowed him down, for that matter.

It’s actually become a running joke in the family. Much like his father (and his father’s father many years ago), he’s a walking garbage disposal. I’ve mentioned the fact that I still am cursed with the metabolism of an 8 year-old before and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down any time soon. And I’m sure the constant rigorous exercise only helps the situation. In any case, Aiden and I eat like we’re about to be shipped off for the next season of Survivor – at every meal. Can’t quite finish your plate? Send it Aiden’s way. Need some help polishing off those blueberries? Call Bubby over, he’ll gladly lend a hand… er, stomach.

This situation poses both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that the kid isn’t a picky eater and we can basically throw anything in front of him and he’ll eat it. He never goes hungry, that’s for dang sure. Trust me, he lets us know when he is. However, this can also lead to the unintended ingestion of things he probably shouldn’t have eaten. I’m not talking about marbles or small toys – thank goodness. Here was the situation I found myself in this past weekend:

It was Sunday evening and the kids were sitting down for a lovely dinner that Mommy B had prepared for them. As with most children, our kids love applesauce. We even tried getting them the Cinnamon flavored kind a while back to change things up a bit. Much to our surprise, Alli didn’t care for this “new” flavor and promptly told us so. Aiden didn’t care either way – he ate it anyway (surprise, surprise). Ever since then, we’ve had two jars of applesauce in the refrigerator to appease them both. So while Mommy B ran upstairs to take a shower, I supervised the kiddos chowing down.

I turned around to see Alli take her first bite of applesauce… and the look on her face said it all. I could see that she hadn’t swallowed it and was just holding it in her mouth, much like anyone does when they eat something they don’t like. She gave me this look of disgust and I could tell she was deciding whether to tough it out and swallow it or spit it out. I asked, “Alli, do you not like the applesauce?” She nodded. Curiously I asked, “Is it yucky?” She nodded again. The look of desperation on her face was too much, so I walked over and said “It’s okay baby, you can spit it out.” I held out my hand and she immediately emptied the entire contents of her mouth. My initial thought was that she was just being really picky (which isn’t normally like her, either) and didn’t want cinnamon flavored applesauce that evening. However, she had never had that reaction to it before. To fulfill my curiosity, I leaned down to her plate and smelled her applesauce, just to see if it really was the cinnamon that turned her off.

NOPE, the applesauce had turned. It smelled like someone had mixed it with alcohol – it was horrendous. I said, “Well no wonder you didn’t like it, that smells terrible! You don’t have to eat that Alli.” The first thought that popped into my head was to turn to Aiden’s plate to see if I could prevent him from eating any so he wouldn’t get sick. But I was too late…

It was gone.

I mean gone gone. The little circle portion of the divided plate where his applesauce had been was empty, as if he had almost licked it clean. Wonderful, I thought… this kid is going to get sick after ingesting this bad applesauce. It had obviously started fermenting, and I couldn’t believe neither Mommy B nor I had caught it before serving it to our children. Chalk it up to another lesson learned being a parent – you try to serve your children healthy food and something like this happens. Luckily Aiden didn’t get sick from it. Maybe his fast metabolism worked in his favor in this case by pushing it through his system fast enough so that no damage could be done. I tried to rationalize it as much as I could, but I still felt bad for him. Our children just assume that everything we put in front of them is safe and edible, and in this case it was a little questionable.

I told this story to my parents when we sat down to our weekly Sunday night dinner after the kids were in bed, and they busted out laughing. I’m sure they could relate to it on probably more than one occasion. And as the meal was wrapping up and we noticed there were some leftovers, we all chimed in with the same conclusion – save it for Bubby.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Life is like a camera...

Life is like a camera.

Just focus on what's important. Capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don't turn out, just take another shot.

I found this quote recently and it couldn't have come at a better time. Life is overwhelming right now, to say the very least. School is hard, especially with two kids and working full-time. There is just not enough hours in the day to get everything done, and cutting into my already limited sleep time just isn't an option for me. Anyone that knows me, knows how much I treasure every minute of sleep I can get. I am getting closer and closer to the finish line (next August! less than a year away!), and I just want to keep on full steam ahead... however, it's no easy task.

I want to be there with the kids doing everything they are doing. When Eric takes them away to give me time to work on school projects and papers, I just can't help but think about the silly, funny things they may be doing that I'm missing out on. Capturing those memories and moments in time that won't happen again is something I treasure and cherish. That's why it is so very important to me to get this schooling out of the way before they are even older and I'd be missing things like baseball games or dance recitals.

There are a lot of external distractions recently, too. We live in a particularly interesting area of Charleston where we are considered City of Charleston but Berkeley County. When we first moved to this house, we were told our future children would be able to attend Daniel Island Schools (a wonderful school) due to the No Child Left Behind Act. Fast forward 4 years, now, the NCLB Act is no longer in place and our neighborhood has been re-zoned for a poorly performing school. So, although we have a few years until they are ready for kindergarten, it's still in the back of my mind all the time. Do we move to a better school district (we're talking a home that costs approximately 100K more than our current house for a possibly smaller home than we have now...), or do we look into private schools? We obviously want what's best for the kids, but we have to be practical too. We have been meeting with a financial planner too in hopes that we can figure out some of these frustrating "adult" issues.

Hopefully, I can stay focused on what's important. Take one thing a time, and my biggest issue, try not to get overwhelmed.

These two are my biggest motivation. And seeing them "walking toward their futures" in this picture just makes me even more determined to finish up and continue on trying to provide the absolute best for them.