Wednesday, March 27, 2013

We are almost there

The one year mark.  So much has changed in a year.  The fact that I have locks on my kitchen cabinets makes me giggle a little.  I feel like I am growing along with a similar pace.  The things I used to worry about before I let roll off my shoulders now.  Here's a short list of the things that stressed me out six months ago:

  1. Is Bryan eating enough
  2. Is he developmentally average
  3. Is the floor clean enough
  4. Is everything clean enough
  5. I am sweaty...I shouldn't hold him
  6. Is he sleeping enough
  7. Am I doing this right
Here's my take on that list today:

  1. He ate. And pushed the bottle/spoon/food away.  Good enough.
  2. He's keeping up with the Jones' in his daycare class. Good enough for me!
  3. Is the floor dirtier at home than at daycare? If you can't see dirt/debris/dog hair, it's clean enough. I vacuum once a week.
  4. Yes. Everything is clean enough. 
  5. Yep. I am sweaty. Put a long sleeved t-shirt on and get over it. He'll learn to appreciate what I did to get sweaty.
  6. If he sleeps until morning and takes a nap during the day, he's sleeping enough. He'll let me know when he's tired.
  7. Who knows what "right" is, and who gets to be the judge of that?  Dumber people than me have raised perfectly wonderful children.  
Overall, I have an extremely happy, generally healthy 12-month old baby boy.  Kids in daycare get sick.  But better now when attendance doesn't matter than when he's 5 and it does.  In 12 months, that kid has had 6 ear infections, several colds, croup, influenza a, gastroenteritis, 2 throat infections (non-strep) and one weird virus that just caused a fever.  That's enough.  I also had all of those things (but only 2 ear infections, and bronchitis twice).  We hear that year two is much easier on the pediatrician co-pay budget.  Here's hoping!  

The best part of all of this.  Bryan has a very keen sense of what he wants and what he does NOT want.  It sure makes our life easier to not have to guess at so much stuff.  And that kid laughs at everything.  Is there any better sound in the world than the laughter of a child?  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bryan Bear, Bryan Bear...

What do you see?  I see my mommy acting like a crazy person and thinking she's good at art when she really isn't.  That's what I see.

Or something like that.  Wondering what I am talking about?  Remember back to a couple weeks ago when I posted this about my Amazing Bar.  Well, it ended up being a little more complicated than I had envisioned.  Wait, back up... Here's a recap of how my Amazing Bar came crashing down to a height of humbleness because of a hand print.

A couple weekends ago, I decided to run some recon on my ideas for Bryan's birthday party.  Keep in my the guest list includes the three of us and Bryan's four grandparents.  That's it.  Six adults and the birthday boy.  I am planning to execute a "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?" theme.  Because I think fondant on a cake is disgusting and not really edible, I thought, "hmmmm...could I put sugar cookies around the cake as decorations?"  Of course you can.  It's my idea. I can do whatever I want to, right!?!?

Well, it took me a while to realize that I was going to have to order cookie cutters, find a recipe for the cookies and the frosting and bake them.  I perused Amazon and the standard cooking websites for the cutters and came up empty. Until I found the Cookie Cutter Company where I could pick and choose individual cutters to find exactly what I wanted.  And they came as expected, were not very expensive and totally worth it.  I found Alton Brown's sugar cookie recipe here and baked them up.  I am thinking that I don't actually care for sugar cookies. These were bland. At best.  But cute!!  Here are the first three I tested with:  Green Frog Green Frog, Red Bird Red Bird and Brown Bear Brown Bear.
The cookies were cute but a little lackluster in the taste department.  But the most valuable lesson I learned:  Ingesting that much food coloring has consequences that can cause unnecessary concern (use your imagination, people... and think: toilet).  So, that idea is a no-go. I may be back on fondant since you shouldn't eat that much food coloring, and nobody eats fondant.

Up next:  The invitations.
Let's start with the idea.  I wanted to take Bryan's hand print in brown finger paint and where his thumb would be, I wanted to put a bear head.  This would make it look like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, right?  Sure.  That prompted four trips to Target and two to Michael's.  I started with brown felt, scissors, brown paint and white note cards.  First mistake...the paint. I needed non-toxic finger paint.  Back to Target.  Second scissors were really dull.  Back to Michael's where I picked up a super awesome scrapbooking razor thingie.  Have I mentioned how badly I suck at arts and crafts?  Third mistake...trying to razor cut brown felt into a bear head. Back to Target for brown construction paper.  Fourth Sharpie does not do well on white note cards.  Or the other white note card underneath.  Back to Target for Crayola markers.  Fifth mistake... making eyeballs with said Sharpie.  Back to Michael's for googly eyes.  Sigh.

When I finally sat down to make the bear heads, so that I didn't waste perfectly terrible brown felt circle-ish shapes, I used them to make ears and a nose for the bear.  Not to self.  Razor STILL does not work well on felt.  Neither did the super dull scissors.  Louder sigh.  I refuse to go back out at this point.  Don't forget, I am only making 2 invitations.  Seriously.  Just two.  It was now time to assemble the bear heads.  Uh oh.  Being a new mom, I don't have Elmer's in this house.  Nor do I have a hot glue gun.  Or any other adhesive that is intended for arts and crafts rather than permanently bonding something to something else.  So, super glue it is.  Do you know what happens when you super glue two tiny felt bear ears and a tiny felt bear nose to paper?  The glue soaks through.  Do you know what happens when super glue soaks through said brown felt?  It sticks to your fingers.  Do you know what happens when said brown felt is super glued to your fingers?  You laugh hysterically and add Elmers to the grocery list.  Also, you ask for help putting contacts in because for the next 24 hours it looks like you are growing brown hair from your thumb and index fingers.  Loudest sigh EVER.

The bear faces turned out OK.  I traced them from the cover of the book onto tracing paper, then used the razor to cut the tracing paper and construction paper at the same time.  It worked. In hindsight, just plain circles probably would have been cuter.  On to the hand print.

Did you know they don't make brown finger paint?  But thanks to the food coloring fiasco (and the back of the food coloring box), I knew the proportions to mix different colors into brown. So that was great.  What wasn't great?  Getting a 10-month-old baby to flatten out his paint-filled hand to make an obvious looking hand print.  I grossly overestimated Bryan's level of comprehension of the fun this task could be.  Oh, and my kid HATES getting his hands yucky.  A great trait he inherited from me.  Sorry about that, Nuggs.  So, while they didn't quite meet my Amazing Bar, they certainly humbled me.  And the grandparents loved them.  My intention is to take on a craft every couple of months until I am a badass mother crafter.  Take that Pinterest!

Oh, and here's the finished project.


Let's think about this for a minute.  
"It is common sense to take a method and try it.  If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something."  Franklin D. Roosevelt.
"I have learned that the success is to be measured  not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he as had to overcome while trying to succeed."  Booker T. Washington
I think sometimes we use inspirational quotes like these to make us feel better when we have not had the success we were so determined to achieve.  For some, Franklin Roosevelt and Booker T. Washington will inspire you to try again...maybe the same thing in a new way, maybe something new altogether.  There are others who will hear these words and think, "Oh well.  I tried." and walk away.  I am a member of the first group.

I will not give up.  I am braver than I believe, stronger than I seem and smarter than I think.  I have never regretted trying. Because when I try and fail, I do not give up.  But I already said that.  So, to the pile of brainy thoughts for the day, I give you this:
"What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?" Vincent van Gogh
If you'll remember, I had a pretty lofty goal of running 1,000 miles in 2013.  Well, I am almost certain that there's no way for me to meet that goal.  Here I am on March 14 telling you this. But I am not admitting defeat or failure.  I am telling you that, while I may not reach the 1,000 mile mark, I will complete 2 or 3 half-marathons, a 10-k race, a 10-miler, and probably a few 5k races too.  So rather than saying I failed, I am choosing to look at the bigger picture.  I am 100% on track for my other two goals (taking better care of myself and being a better friend).  And I will complete all the races.  But I may not get all my training runs in. And that's OK. Because taking better care of myself also means taking care of my family.  And their needs (ok, Bryan's needs!) must come before my running.

I  my weakest running moments (and it seems there have been many lately) I have spiced up my mantra a bit.  In addition to my mantra of braver-stronger-smarter, I have added "Do or do not. There is no try."  Thanks, Yoda!

Friday, March 1, 2013


I don't notice Bryan gaining weight.  For me, it's like adding a feather to the stack every day.  As he gets bigger, I get stronger and so gaining a pound in a month isn't really noticed in our daily activities.  Except when I carry that infant carrier/car seat in to school every day.

What I have noticed is that he's freaking heavy when I lug him around in that thing.And to make matters worse, his feet hang over the edge a little so pulling  him in and out of the seat while it's still attached in the car usually results in tangled feet, a bumped head and a few teas.  I think I have a chronic lump on the back of my head from all the bumps.  He laughs at me every time.  He has an odd sense of humor right now...the tears are mine!

Earlier this week, I got an email from Babies R Us informing me they were having a one-day cyber sale offering 20% off the brands that NEVER go on sale like Britax and BOB.  I already have the BOB stroller, but I've have the Britax Marathon car seat on my radar for about six months.  It comes highly recommended by a few of my friends and gets some of the highest safety ratings from Consumer's Report.  Imagine my delight when I learned I could save 20% on the purchase I was planning to make in two months if I did it RIGHT NOW!

So we did it.  We are now the proud owners of a big-boy, airplane compliant, really huge, rear-or front-facing, honest to goodness car seat.  The kind you don't prop in a shopping cart. The kind you have to wake your kid up to get him out of.  And Chris installed it this morning.

Bryan made his first trip to school in his big-boy car seat this morning.  And I think he loved it!  He babbled and giggled until the magic road sign that makes him fall asleep made him fall asleep.  I guess that means he likes it!  I'll post a picture this afternoon.

I think the next parental milestone for me will be the day I decide I don't have to take a bottle and the formula upstairs with me at night, just in case he gets up. Maybe next week.