Sunday, December 21, 2014

Traditions

Last year, as Christmas got closer and closer, Nathan started to notice all the shopping bags and began asking questions. I explained to him that Christmas isn't just about receiving gifts, it is also about giving to other people. I told him that we buy presents for all the people we love and then they get to open them on Christmas morning. He decided right there that he wanted to buy presents for all the people he loved. So I took him to the mall and into the dollar store and let him choose one gift per person. When we were done shopping, I took him out for a hot chocolate. At the time, Ryan was only about 7 months old and it was rare for Nathan and I to have one on one time. I remember thinking how fun it was to spend the afternoon with my little buddy, just the two of us.

His gifts weren't fancy and ranged anywhere from a plastic wine glass to a bath loofah. Some people got socks while others got chapstick. He was so excited though to pick a gift out for someone else and when we got home he wrapped them and could hardly wait until Christmas morning to pass them out. He was almost as excited to hand gifts out as he was to open his own.

This year when he noticed all the shopping bags appearing again, he asked when we would have our special shopping and hot chocolate day and so a tradition was formed. This weekend we went out, just the two of us to our local dollar store. He carried around a list of people he loved and picked one present for each person. This particular dollar store had an obscenely large toy section so the presents are a little more reflective of things he likes. His thought process was "I'll buy this for Lou Lou and then we can play it together when I go visit her." Next year before our shopping trip I'll be sure to sit him down and explain that when we buy someone a present, we buy them something they want, not something we want :)

So much of Christmas revolves around asking for presents and receiving presents and it is easy for kids to get caught up in the materialistic excess. And even though letting him buy presents that most likely will never get used seems unnecessary and extravagant even, I think it's great to encourage his excitement to give. He must have picked up a million toys and told me "Ryan would love this!" Spending the day alone with him is so much fun and we both look forward to the hot chocolate treat at the end. I love traditions and think they make the holidays so special so I look forward to this one for many years to come. Even when he's a teenager and wants nothing to do with me, I hope that I'll be able to lure him out for an afternoon of Christmas shopping with the promise of a hot chocolate and a cookie.









Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Card carrying member

Today was a very important day for Nathan.

4 years old? Check
Able to write your name? Check

He met both qualifications so he got his very own library card!
It was so cute. The librarian rang a bell and shook his hand and officially welcomed him to the library. Exciting moment for him, proud moment for me,




Sunday, November 23, 2014

Home again

For the past twelve weeks, I have been covering a maternity leave and the regular teacher is coming back soon. This is my last official week of work, two and a half days left to be exact. I am not entirely sure how I feel about it.

Part of me is relieved. These past three months have been insane. It feels like I haven't stopped moving since the first week of school. I go to bed thinking of phonics lessons and I wake up thinking of writing prompts. I plan science activities as I cook dinner and math lessons in the shower.  I am looking forward to a slower pace and enjoying quality time with my boys. Walks around the neighborhood, trips to the playground, story times at the library, and play dates with friends we haven't seen in much too long! Poor Ryan has been so sick recently. In the past two weeks he has had conjunctivitis, hand foot mouth virus and an ear infection so I am definitely looking forward to the slower pace, not having to rush up and out of the house every morning and being able to snuggle on the couch if he's not feeling well.

On the other hand, I will miss my students terribly. I have always hated goodbyes and I am dreading 22 of them this Wednesday. I have become so attached to the kids and will miss being with them everyday. I have often joked that I have two kids at home and 22 at school. In three days, I will be losing 22 of my kids and that makes me so sad!

I am trying to find something for the spring but so far nothing has come up. I have loved being in the classroom each day and truly believe it's where I belong but it feels like I've barely seen or even spoken to Nathan and Ryan since September and that leaves a terrible feeling in my heart. I'm starting to think part-time might be the best fit for me at this point in my life. They are still so young and I don't want to look back and regret not being around more.  Soon enough they will be in school themselves and I can look for full-time then. Changing careers was absolutely the right decision; I just have to figure out how to make it work at this point in my life.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

First sentence

November 18, 2014
A Tuesday night at the dinner table

"Mommy, more grapes."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

These are the moments I will hold onto

Some days are not great.

You're stuck in traffic, get a flat tire, stub your toe.
You're late to work, lose your keys, burn your tongue.
Your kids won't stop fighting and you burn dinner.
Everything....goes....wrong.

But then it's bedtime and you look up and see this.
Your kids snuggling in the rocker together reading.
Your older son reading to your younger son.
And you let go of all the other stuff.

This. This is what matters.
These are the moments I will hold onto on the bad days and remember that it wasn't such a bad day after all.








Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween 2014

I remember the days when Halloween was one night. It was so exciting to get dressed up in costume, stay out after bedtime and trick or treat for candy. We wore plastic masks from K-Mart, we tore a pillow case off our bed and spent the night stuffing it with candy. Nowadays there are so many activities leading up to the actual holiday. This year we went to a Halloween fair, a Halloween party, a town trick or treat event and a school parade all before the actual holiday rolled around. It's hard to believe my kids hadn't completely lost interest by the time we finally went trick or treating on Halloween night!!

I am torn between wanting my kids to participate in all of these fun activities and resisting the urge to over indulge. Now there are endless events, parades, fairs, parties, and play dates in the weeks before. There are monogrammed fabric treat bags and handmade costumes that take weeks to prepare. With Facebook posts and Pinterest pages, it's hard not to get caught up in the excessiveness of holidays and birthdays and other important events. I am definitely guilty of spending way too much time googling "original costume ideas" and "healthy Halloween snacks".  So I made a conscious effort and  tried to find a balance this year. We went to the costume party at our neighbor's house and the fair at our local elementary school but I decided to skip the playdate I planned and on Halloween night we skipped the trick or treating downtown on Main St. and instead just did our neighborhood. At first I felt guilty skipping things but we did so much and my kids had a great Halloween.

Nathan chose a Wolverine costume which I think is so funny because he has no idea who Wolverine is, he just liked the costume. Ryan had the choice between two hand me down costumes. He chose Superman for our neighbor's costume party and a Cheeseburger for Halloween day. We had so much fun trick or treating and had a perfect Fall night to walk around our neighborhood. We met up with two of our neighbors and between the three families, we had 5 adults, 6 kids, 2 cups of tea and a mug of coffee. It was cold out!!

I knew Nathan would have fun but I wasn't sure how long Ryan would last, Surprisingly, he lasted the whole night, It took him maybe two houses to catch on. Approach door, look cute, get candy, move onto next house. The kids had so much fun and I love reliving the fun and excitement of Halloween through them. It was a great night and I can't wait to do it again next year. In the end, we had a blast and although at times I felt a little overwhelmed with how many events we actually attended and how many times we got the kids dressed up in their costumes,  I would definitely consider this year's holiday a success.

Happy Halloween!








Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chatterbox

For the past few months I had been worried that Ryan wasn't talking. I have videos of Nathan reciting his alphabet and counting to 10 at this age but other than Mama and Dada, Ryan wasn't saying much at all and even those two words were few and far between. I wouldn't be concerned except he seemed so frustrated, sometimes even angry, that nobody could understand what he was saying. He has been babbling for a long time, the problem was that nobody knew what he was trying to actually say. And since nobody could understand him when he babbled, he started hitting and scratching to get his point across. And that's just not fun for anyone.

But in just the past couple of weeks, he has started saying so much more. He is a different kid now, happier and more carefree and now I can't get him to stop talking! At night when I put him to bed, I can often hear him upstairs for up to an hour, "talking" to himself in his crib.

This blog serves as a baby book for me so occasionally I like to list "stats" that I don't want to forget. So, at two days shy of being 20 months old, I've compiled a list of his current vocabulary.

Waffle
Apple
Thank you
All done
More
Eat
Help
Doggy
Woof woof
Ducky
Quack quack
No
Up
Mama
Dada
Nana
Papa
Nai Nai (Grandmother in Mandarin)
Ye Ye (Grandfather in Mandarin)
Ge Ge (Big Brother in Mandarin)
Choo choo
Book

And a few that aren't quite there yet but so damn cute I had to list them...
G-fish - goldfish crackers
Beesh - toothbrush
Tuck - truck