Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Meeting the Big Man, v4.0

"Two wands - one pink, one purple...oh, OH...and a Star Wars one. Merida doll, Barbies, and two, BIG, FAST, yellow race cars. And maybe some chocolate."

He'd been practicing for weeks, responding to adult prodding on just what he wanted for the season of merry and bright. Together we walked through the drill of seeing Santa, what the place would look like, the red suit, his warm laughter and even contemplated on the realness of his beard, curious as to what would happen if he tried to tug on it. A promise of a candy cane, some strong listening ears from the Big Man himself and a bit of a bribe to wear "handsome clothes" and we were off.

"I don't know - he seems pretty comfortable and excited this year - do you really think he'll do it?" I whisper excitedly to the hubs as we made our way out south toward our favorite Santa site. We giggled at the previous experiences: first, a newborn tucked soundly in Santa's arms, uknowningly having his picture snapped except for our gasps when St. Nick nearly dropped him with the aid of his slippery white gloves. Year two, pretty decent with some curious stares and the distraction of a book. Third year: hell to the no with tears, fears and finally a dog toy in the photo that finally led to the closest thing we could call a shot. To this year:

Perfection. Magic. Joy, Smiles. Interaction. Character. Charm. And so much love.

Shooting across the parking lot, he caught Santa's eye from his marketing poster, marveling that we had found the North Pole and anticipating all that lay behind those glass doors. Heading straight for the line and even avoiding the toys, he danced around with slight patience, taking every chance he could to peek behind the curtain, unphased by the younger ones that shouted their concerns of "where the hell am I and who is this bearded man?!" He talked non-stop, plotting where he was going to perch, what he was going to share, how he was going to smile and more (who says setting expectations doesn't work with 3yos?!). Then, just as his aptitude toward calm for the big moment prepared to cease, his name was called and he walked in with the confidence of a superstar preparing for his opening act.

Up on the lap he went with little instruction from Santa, the two of us disappearing in the background as we choked up at his hilarious antics we get so much of at home as Santa did his best to sort through what it all meant. Ticking through his list perfectly and providing clarifying points for Santa, they read together, chatted and even (gasp) hugged, creating the magic of Christmas you always hear of that exists for young children. We soaked in each little moment, from his expressions, his tumbling words, his relaxed body language and the ease and comfort in which he looked directly at the Big Man himself and shared what was most important to him in the entire world at that point of time in his universe.  Though we had no expectations, desires or push for how this interaction would go, it couldn't have been more perfect.

So maybe three is the magic number for Santa and more? Regardless, Santa v4.0 was the best yet. We can only hope the magic and real reason for the season lives on in his little, precious heart for many more years to come.

Here's to you and yours and finding your own jollies with St. Nick!

Bonus: a sneak preview of his goofy version of his Christmas program content. Goofball!:

PS: One word of warning: if you go this early, prepare to answer 100 times per day the inquiry as to when exactly that Star Wars "wand" will appear under the tree. But use the trick of answering a question with a question? Totally worth it to have the darling photos displayed around your house for the whole season!

For Your Virtual Reading List

It literally brings me to tears each time...and when I say tears I mean laughter-induced ones. Seriously funny stuff, and likely exactly how toddlers think in their mini universes. I'm not sure who the author(s) are, but I'm certain they're either pre-school geniuses or just really smart parents. The latest posts on school and sleeping had me reeling and I've likely scanned them five times each. This from the girl who goes ahead and catches the last few pages of a book first or breaks up with one if the first 10 don't cut it.

Regardless, it's an absolute hoot and entertaining read. Add the blog to your 30-second weekly read list, won't you? Because laugh lines are the best to have anyway. Plus, it will remind you how normal you and your children are just when you begin to doubt it...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Crave It

My heart, our unborn kiddo and my taste buds are very happy.  Not to mention my wallet for paying two-something a box versus one-something for one at those chocolatier places. Or botching the recipe myself because I have an affinity for messing anything up with more than two ingredients...

After picking these up at 1 a.m. during a Black Friday binge, the box is nearly halfway gone.

Crave! Consider keeping these full-time, won't you Nabisco?!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Naming Baby

"Mommy -is the baby coming TU-DAY?!" he said with a slight huff in his voice, the whisk of his padded feet hitting the shag carpet a welcome sound to our mornings together.

"Not yet buddy - we have to wait until nearly Easter," I said, using our benchmark of holidays as the passage of time versus numbers and hands. It's a bit like women and directions...keep it to landmarks instead of that whole east west thing...

"Well, can we at least name...wait a second. Mom. Is it a boy or a girl?"

"We'll find out in three weeks buddy - are you excited?"

He dapples in another topic for awhile, sprinkled in with requests for waffles and Oswald the cartoon, then reverts back to baby. Since I won't give him the gender, he goes with:

"Let's do the baby's name then, okay Mom?"

We exchange dialogue as I grow more excited as to what will stumble out of his mouth, anticipating a favorite teacher name, friend in class or Elmo. Instead, he firmly insists on:

"Sunshine" and "Princess."

And in case you were wondering, Sunshine is the girl and Princess is the boy. You know, because this is the same little dude that desires a purple and pink wand and Merida for Christmas. Done. Wrapped. Because that's how Santa rolls. I gotta admit I like his free spirit and the warmth associated with each, despite it may just be because it's the same tune I sing him nightly and Disney's latest focus for marketing.

So, since we have no list of names we can agree on at all and it's pure torture waiting another few weeks until the gender reveal, Sunshine and Princess it is. After all, they make for killer backups. And won't it be fun when we have to explain our yuppie vs. hippie selves to others when they ask the origin and we say it was the first born's idea?

They'll totally get it then.

What are your favorite baby names right now?

This Year's Contribution to the Feast

That and a whole lotta love for the ones we'll share the table with and the hubs' endless talent in the kitchen. It's every preggo's dream.

Yum, yum, gimme some!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gender, Revealed!

I don't know about you, but I'm totally digging this trend to really hoop it up about one's baby to be and it's gender. Seriously, I almost, ALMOST created a board just for gender reveal ideas,  but then got tired of my husband showing his scroogedness of these fun events. I mean, the man doesn't even have a Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest account - what fun is he anyway?! Here's a look at his cousin's big reveal last weekend:

The welcome entrance that illustrated her symptoms and you grabbed your voting
 clothespin  to let others know where you stand

Yum! And how cute are those plates?

The answer is inside!

It's a boy!
How fun is that?! Congratulations Erin and Zach! We can't wait to celebrate and support you on your journey ahead.

We may have a little something up our sleeves Dec. 12 ourselves (thank you Wise family!). Though nothing as elaborate and delicious as this, we're pretty darn excited.

So what do you think, are you into the gender trend? I'm guessing ultrasound techs aren't so much as they've had to add cake ordering, envelope stuffing and professional photography to their job descriptions with no title or pay advancements. If only they saw all the pinteresting ideas we have and the joy it brings afterward...totally worth it.

Head Shots

First, my apologies for the super un-stellar pictures of pictures and my still inability to figure out how to rotate the damn things.

Second, how BIG is he?!

Love you Superman...happy headshots, pre-school November 2012.

Dog Gone Mad

"Don't get me wrong, I love her dearly, but some days I just want to throw open that screen and let her wander out to another loving family," I said with exhaustion in my voice, clutching my stomach, balancing a tray of cheese and apples and dragging a pre-schooler with the opposite leg.

We watched as our six-year-old Golden stared longingly at her food bowl from across the wood floors, her salivating mouth indicated she wanted it more than anything, but her shaking limbs telling a different story.  She stood near an invisible line she created, never to be crossed, for the fear of what I'm unsure, but it's definitely bad because that dog doesn't pass up morsels of anything. Like, ever. (note T. Swift reference here.) Her hair wild, her eyes intense and a low groaning whine constantly stuck in her throat, Miss Ellie was in serious need of some doggie Zanax. Too bad all we have is Benadryl in the house. Maybe the Epi Pen would work. Or one of those Unisoms...

It's been nearly a month since her entrance into lunacy, our efforts to switch food bowls, change the location of her dining spot or moving the spooky, evil trash can and nothing has worked. Suddenly her water possesses that of a zombie fit to audition on the "Walking Dead" and her food bowl so full of fear it must be that abyss the main character on "666" slipped into last week. I mean, the hound even left ham...straight up deli ham...in her bowl she was so nervous to cross the threshold.

She? Is a hot mess.

The only thing we can think of that may have caused her to slip into this downward spiral of anxiety is we added a leaf to our dining table in anticipation of girls' night, Thanksgiving and Christmas. And we all know how deadly table leaves can be...

I don't know just when the fear will pass but I do find myself oscillating between deep bouts of sympathy to complete intolerance of everyone but me, the crazy preggo lady, falling apart around me. Maybe this could be a good job for our fat, lazy cat Sully - it's about time he started developing others.

If you have any tips for this dog gone mad, pass 'em along. Because there's just not enough Zanax to go around this household right now and I can't drink wine.

So tips, please. Yes, tips. And don't try to blame that innocent face on the left and my growing belly for all this. Hmmmm....

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Because You Asked...

Yes, I voted today.

I'm 16 weeks preggo.

And no, I didn't bother doing my hair or makeup as it seemed really hard at 4 a.m. 

Happy election 2012! 
And first belly shot of "Sprout..."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Becoming Big Brother

Twenty eight years ago, it's hard to recall what it felt like becoming a big sister - the memories foggy besides all the laughter, tiffs, bribes, shennanigans, joy and what seemed to be a minimal change in love and affection from our parents. And then there was the "Glow Worm" that was given in compensation for my little brother's arrival from the hospital. Perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised that little dude has chosen THIS creature among all his others to begin brothering in a way that seems to natural to him. Nurturing, patient, kind and welcoming, I'm astounded by what he comes up with daily. And all with no prodding or reminders from us as our goal has been to keep his life as untouched as possible until the day grows nearer. Here are some examples:

Returning from a business trip two weeks ago, he unexpectedly embraces my belly and in a sing-song, unfamiliar voice says: "Hi baby, I missed you!" He completes the movement with a kiss right to my belly button.

On a cool, rainy Saturday morning he tucked the modern glow worm doll into my arms and gave step by step instruction on how to shoot a basketball. "Now baby, you just have to bend your knees. Not too much or too little, but about 90-degrees. Focus your eyes on the net. Then shoot!" This next one is sure to be a pro with this little athlete around to coach.

A quiet, Sunday morning before the sunrise, he insists on waking me and says the baby is hungry. He finds a toy that looks remarkably like a bottle, pretends to feed the glow worm, then replicate the sound of a burp. "You can go back to sleep now Mom - the baby has eaten. Oh, but I haven't. Can I please have waffles?" So kind to think of his brother or sister first!

When someone, including Daddy, gets a little too close: "That's MY baby!" with authority and protection in his tone.

In choosing just the right treat from the Halloween bowl for the day, he offers one to baby, then quickly withdrawing it, stating: "Oh oh baby, that one has peanuts in it. That will make you sick. Let me get you some taffy instead." So thoughtful. And cautious.

Other frequently heard questions: "Can the baby come out today and play? Will the baby like that I share X toy with her?"

Of course he has his moments of "I'm going to kick the baby! I'm going to smash the baby! I'm going to sit on the baby!" Sibling rivalry, right?!

Though many of my moments are filled with fear in how the love dynamic will change around the home, how my heart will ever expand to love another little being so deeply (combust?!) or just how we'll manage the logistics and finances of it all, I know deep down it will be the most magical, amazing journey our family of four will ever take together.

I think the Glow Worm thinks so too.

As long as it's not in the sitting/kicking/smashing portion of the brotherly events...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Smashing Hit

For parties, colleague consumption and teacher gifts. And super easy too (gah knows if I can do it, you can). The recipe makes a ginormous batch so you can spread the love with one work effort- enjoy!