Friday, December 24, 2010

We wish you a Merry Christmas.

 Keeping with the tradition I'm posting some of our holiday card out takes. This year I heard about a great park with lots of pine trees which would have been the perfect backdrop for our holiday photo. On the last nice day in November I tossed Colin in the car and off we went to find the pine trees. When I got to the park I walked around for 30 minutes and never found them. Colin was getting antcy and it was getting close to lunch time so when I saw a cute light pole I figured that was about as 'Christmas-y'  a backdrop I was going to find while I still had a happy kid so I went for it.  Sean was a little disappointed it had such a fall feel but sometimes you have to roll with it. Here are some out-takes for your enjoyment. 
Getting warmed up.

Not too sure about this hat.

Sometimes he gets giggling too hard.

The hat was clearly too big for him!

In full costume ready to go. Colin says "ho ho ho'

Notice the light pole didn't always stay in the photo!

So much for the light pole, but the expression is perfect!
And the winner is:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Potty Training.

I have a confession to make. I have absolutely no desire to potty train Colin right now, and by that I mean go 'balls to the wall, no turning back potty training", we've been doing 'potty awareness' for almost a year. I know he is capable of being fully trained right now but I'm in no hurry to move forward with this. I have two main reasons for my hesitation. 1) I'm too busy right now. I should be defending my thesis in the next couple of months so things are totally crazy right now. I can't even find time to vacuum anymore let alone deal with all the extra laundry and messes that go along with potty training. and 2) YUCK, have you seen the public restroom options in NYC? Ugh the idea of having a toddler who has zero germ awareness in a public restroom just grosses me out, and to be honest I'm not really that germ-a-phobic! They are just that disgusting. Thank God I have a boy and he doesn't actually have to sit most of the time! Frankly diapers are easy and familiar and I'm OK with it right now.
Well guess who has other plans?? Nope not my husband, he will follow my lead on this one! COLIN! He has taken it upon himself to completely stop peeing in his diapers, and will either go when we request it or will ask to go so he doesn't have to pee in his diaper. We only have had a wet diaper once in the past week when he was playing at Leo's house and he immediately asked me to change it. In fact, he looked at me with a panicked expression, so I asked if he had to go pee, he then got very nervous and looked around and said "I'm just going to go in my diaper and then you can change it". He has never used the bathroom at Leo's house and I'm not sure he knew what to do, the fact that there are toilets in other peoples houses may not be innate knowledge.
Funny story: This morning at 5am Colin could be heard screaming from his room "Daddy come! I have to go pee pee!" I gently nudge Sean awake and repeat Colin's request for him. He bounds out of bed (being very supportive of the little guys efforts to hold it overnight) and takes Colin to the bathroom. Now I'm thinking 'why isn't he (Sean) being very clear that Colin will be going to back to bed afterward??? ...wait he is going to do hand stamps at 5am?... MARCHING TOO??' Then it occurs to me, Sean doesn't realize what time it is and is assuming it is time to wake up. Knowing there is a clock in the living room that Sean will likely notice I figure I've got about 3 seconds before they both end up in here and I get yelled at for not telling him it was 5 am (because lets face it that was CLEARLY my responsibility (n.b. the clock is on HIS side of the bed))...3...2...1.. "Becky it is 5AM what is going on?" Meanwhile Colin is chattering away happily that he went pee pee in the potty and it was a big one with bubbles! I tell Colin he did a great job, but that the sun isn't up yet and it is still 'night-night' time. He needs to go lay down again in his crib until it is time to get up. Sean scoffs and says "there is no chance of that happening" (ye of little faith!) to which I reply "we have to try! This is not an acceptable time to wake up!" So Sean picks up Colin who immediately lays his head on Sean's shoulder clearly still very tired and they go do whatever it is they did before Sean comes back. Around 5:45 we hear another peep out of Colin, but I think it was a request for something that Sean (who was still lying awake himself having gone through the motions of getting up for the day) dealt with efficiently, and then we all slept until 8!

I should note two other things about Colin's potty behavior. 1) he is afraid to poop on the potty. Down right freaks out whenever it is suggested and if pressed to poop on the potty while pooping in his diaper he will instead hold it (for two days in a row, after which I gave up fearing a worse outcome). 2) He also is afraid of the underwear I bought him! My boy isn't a fan of change (yes mother I know he gets this from me). I think they are likely too big anyway so it doesn't matter even if he wanted to wear them. However, he did show some interest in having Mickey Mouse on some underwear having borrowed a diaper from Leo that had Mickey Mouse on it. So now I'm on a quest to find mickey mouse underwear in a teeny tiny size. (I hear Kohl's might have them but I won't have a chance to check for a few days yet). I'll keep you posted
An attempt to poop on the potty, Colin stands to pee.
The moral of the story here is Ready or not...Colin does what he wants.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Decorating for the Holiday

 Colin is old enough to now understand and get excited about Christmas. So for the first time since we lived in this apartment we got a full size tree.  This is the third full size tree Sean and I have purchased, and the choosing of this tree was by far the fastest (out of necessity). It took me about ten minutes to decide what type, we were hoping for a fraser fur but they just didn't look good so we went with the highly fragrant, super shedder, the balsam fur. Sean and Colin were running around looking at all the decorations and I grabbed the first tree that looked good. Sean approved and off we went. It worked out, this is probably my favorite tree.


The new car (which I have yet to discuss) really made tree transport less tricky this year. Although I have to go get the car washed and vacuumed to get the needles out.
Once we got the tree in place we had to let it settle for a few days to let the limbs drop back into place before I put on the lights and garland. In the meantime, Colin helped us put up our other decorations. Here he is asking what each piece of the nativity is. He has been really good about being gentle with this, in fact after the first day he has showed no interest in it at all. The tree is another story.
Colin helped Sean put up his Christmas village. Sean has a HUGE collection of houses, and I have a small collection. we have only accepted three house and a few accessories for our current living situation. The rest our parents are graciously storing for us until such time as we have a place to store them. Colin loved helping hand Sean the pieces because it was the first and last time he was allowed to touch any of it. As you can see it is WAY out of reach.




Colin continues to enjoy the stars we hang over the buffet. Here he is as an itty bitty trying the same move to get his hands on those shinning stars.






Colin enjoyed putting on a few ornaments but got bored with the process pretty quickly. We left some soft ornaments along the bottom of the tree within reach (a felt nativity set) and he does seem to enjoy them. Many of our most cherished and fragile ornaments didn't make it one the tree this year. Colin also got a small tree with colored lights in his room (not pictured) but we haven't finished decorating it because he just isn't interested.











A small celebration when Joseph was found, for a while we thought the shepard might have to stand in for a while. We are still missing a wise man, but are hopeful he will follow yonder star back to the tree.
You might notice that there are two different garlands on the tree (if you didn't look now) I underestimated how much garland I would need for our first tree and by the time I went back for more it was sold out and never to be seen again. So I went looking for something to compliment it and found the last two stands of the wispy-er one in all of NYC. Thankfully Kristeen was able to find more in Syracuse so I don't end up with not enough of yet another garland, if we get a taller tree next year.
The final touch. Colin puts the star on the tree. Sean and I aren't totally satisfied with this tree topper but have yet to find one that we (by that I mean "I") like. So we are continuing to use this one. I prefer a star to top our tree, my parents always used an angel and his parents used a Santa, so a star is neutral territory, we just both want to find one that is lighted.

I thought I took a final product picture but I think it is still on the camera. I'll add it later. Hope your holiday decorating was as much fun as ours!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

I know thanksgiving was a while ago but things are a little crazy right now in the Berry household between thesis writing and holiday prep, not to mention caring for a 2yr old.

This year was Thanksgiving with Sean's side of the Family.  This is really only the second time I've done Thanksgiving away from my parents, but I have to say I honestly feel just as much at home with the Berry Family Thanksgiving as I do at my own parents house, in fact it reminds me of going to my grandparents house for Thanksgiving when I was younger so it is very comfortable. (No mom this doesn't mean I don't miss you!) We hang out and watch the parade in out pj's while meal prep gets rolling. Potato's are pealed in front of the TV as we anticipate Santa's arrival and the official start of the Christmas season.  Colin really got into the parade on TV this year, the performances in particular. I really hope to actually take him to the parade next year, I think he would love it. Here are a few pictures of him dancing with the people on TV. He moved around so much it was hard to keep him in the frame!



I wish I had though to take a video... he was pretty cute!



A new development for Colin, he figured out where his thumbs were! Prior to Thanksgiving day if you showed and asked him to do thumbs up he always used his pointer fingers. In fact, even to sign turtle (which uses one hand as the shell covering the thumb of your other hand, other fingers closed, and then nod your thumb like a turtles head) he would use his pointer finger as if it were his thumb. 


Even he is impressed with himself!! The rambo look is thanks to Aunt Nin. She wears this in her hair when she plays soccer so of course Colin was ALL ABOUT IT! He also wears his socks 'like a soccer player' these days, pulled all the way up to his knees. This is fine since he is wearing pants, but come summer I will have to cut him off. Socks with sandals is one thing, but knee socks! No.



This year Colin was less traumatized by Chris and Oana calling to say 'Happy Thanksgiving'. For a reminder read Colin's first thanksgiving post here.








 We pulled out his santa hat when Santa made his appearance at the end of the parade. "Let the season begin..." Even though he stopped saying that about two years ago..

Another one because he is cute.










Before Colin's nap we took him out to play in the leaves for a bit. Something he old ever gets to enjoy at his grandparents houses.  Since Sean's parents house is surrounded by woods it was not hard to rake up a giant pile of leaves in about 2 minutes.
He loved it even more if he wasn't he only one in the leaves. I learned that jumping in leaves as an adult is a lot like using a slip and slide as an adult. Rather jarring and not nearly as fun as I remember. But hey, if it makes this kid crack up, rake me up another pile daddy-o.
Apparently we wore Colin out because between that, and the turkey popping an hour earlier than expected, he slept through dinner. Something Sean and I were delighted about, although I think his grandparents didn't feel the same way! We got to enjoy a hot meal with family.


Colin ate a little meal after he got up but since he isn't all that into meat, or potatoes...or anything but cranberry sauce, we let him mostly skip right to dessert.  And by dessert he ate whip cream. He was unimpressed by the pies and the ice cream was too cold.  That is my kid!
After dessert he played soccer with (Sean's) Aunt Kathy followed by baseball in the hallway where he couldn't knock anything off the walls. (Mom and Dad said no, Aunt Kathy found a work around). Everyone was impressed with his skills.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sing-a-long.

I often catch Colin singing little songs to himself. Sometimes I can figure out what he is trying to sing (e.g. "Where is thumbkin") but other times I can't make it out, and usually assume it is non sense or something they sing at school. He seems to have my ability to pick up music, (Sean often refers to me as a human jukebox although I think that is a gross exaggeration) I wasn't much older than he is now when I held my first impromptu concert in the middle of a store singing "Tomorrow" at top volume. A few days ago I heard him singing from the car seat, and at first thought he was singing his own song, but soon realized that he was singing along with the radio. What was playing you ask?  "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry! It is quite amusing and disturbing listening to a 2 yr old try to mimic the lyrics "...put your hands on me in my skin tight jeans, be your teenage dream tonight." I guess that just shows you 1) how over played that song is and 2) how much we are in the car (I don't usually play the radio in the house). Tonight as I was getting him ready for the bath I once again start hearing a song that doesn't click right away. I let him go on to try to figure it out and he was singing "This time may-be I'll be...1... 2" (instead of "this time maybe I'll be bullet proof" Bulletproof by La Roux).

I'm not sure if I should be concerned about his exposure to these themes or not...Obviously he doesn't understand the lyrics, but I can think of some awkward situations ahead of us if actually repeats them clearly.  But frankly there are only so many times I can listen to "Baby Signing Time". Besides Colin likes upbeat, fast music with a good beat! His first favorite song was Just Dance by Lady Gaga. Any suggestions for some age appropriate, upbeat tunes that won't cause me to loose my mind would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Silly Dancing and Singing

Last night Colin got silly after bath and before I got him into pajamas. I quick grabbed the camera and while it wasn't exactly the same as before it was still pretty cute. I figured out how to stitch the videos together so I made three videos into one. He starts off counting and then sings the ABC's again. Prior to getting the camera he was singing a nonsense song but he never went back to it.

Since I still had the set up all out to upload I figured I would just post it now, it doesn't qualify for Decembers video anyway.


Colin Dancing and Singing from Rebecca Berry on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Small Buisness Saturday

I just found out about this now (probably because I'm not on facebook) and I had to pop on to tell everyone about it because I think it is awesome.  We all know that this weekend people will be getting some SERIOUS shopping done! This new movement, called Small Business Saturday, is asking that instead of shopping exclusively at big box stores this weekend,  head on over and reinvest some of that money in your own community by shopping at a small independently owned businesses. 

 If you don't feel like going over to the other website (the title of the post is a link) I'll retype some of their facts here:
  • For every year in the last decade 60-80% of new jobs were created by small buisnesses.
  • For every $100 spent at small local business $68 gets returned to the community.

Need more incentive? If you have an American express card you can register it and receive a $25 credit if you spend $25 or more at a small independently owned business on Saturday and use your American Express Card!! Sign up here.  I'm a little confused if all 'eligible merchants' ("any independently owned small businesses that accept the American Express Card") are 'participating merchants' but I'm looking for clarification.

I thought this was a great idea so I wanted to pass it along.  No one is asking for exclusivity, just a little love for the small businesses.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fall Videos

Video of the Month from the last few months:  Enjoy.

September:
We visited my parents for my fathers 60th birthday. Lukas and Colin got playing together and made up this game where they ran down the hallway onto a pile of pillows. There are probably 7 versions of this video, so I choose the two that I thought were the cutest. I couldn't pick between them so I uploaded both.  I have no idea what the crash is at the end of the second one, but if memory serves nothing was broken. Colin's face was so cute when it happens that I decided not to cut it out.


Colin and Lukas Playing from Rebecca Berry on Vimeo.


Colin and Lukas Playing 2 from Rebecca Berry on Vimeo.

October:
Colin sings a rousing rendition of ABC's while in the bath tub, complete with a missing letter or two and big finish. 

Colin sings the ABC's from Rebecca Berry on Vimeo.


November:
All-Star. Colin is all sports all the time right now. Between soccer and baseball I'm not sure how we haven't broken a lamp yet. If we had a yard to play in he wouldn't be playing inside. Here he is playing baseball with Sean. I wanted to upload a soccer video too, but it didn't come out well. Maybe next month.


Baseball from Rebecca Berry on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We Love Preschool

This post has been a long time coming, I'm sorry I haven't gotten to it sooner. I am beyond relieved to report that Colin now loves school. He isn't running into the room without a backward glance (I'm not sure we will ever get there) but he hasn't cried in weeks and he gives me lots of big smiles as we wave to each other out the windows (his favorite way to say goodbye).  He has learned which days of the week are school days and he looks forward to them instead of dreading them. He is even starting to learn about 'what time it is' to try to help him understand when he goes to school as well as when he goes down for a nap and bedtime. His understanding is obviously very rudimentary at this age but he will watch for the clock to become "one zero zero" and then tell me it is nap time.
(Back to School) We have officially upped him to three days a week and this has been the best thing for him. There was too long of a gap between the days he went to school and by the time we got around to a school day again, he was forgetting that he liked it and was crying a lot more (compared to the day when he went back to back). Now with more days spread out he can really remember the routine. The cost differential turned out to be less than $4 an hour for the extra day so it was well worth it (this is mainly because we were getting a very bad deal when he was 2 days a week but that is a different story). Colin has one teacher in particular who is his favorite. She was on vacation of the first month of school and his recovery was timed with her arrival, not sure how much one has to do with the other, but it could go either direction (he has no bad associations with her so she is his favorite, or she showed up and he started to like school). Earlier this week I asked him who his favorite teacher was and he said "Miss Marianne" instead of his usual response "Mommy".
Recently, in his 'things-to-take-home' folder was the 'scare crow' he was making the first time I picked him up after we made the plan to shorten his day. I think this piece of artwork will probably get saved forever. I have promised myself I will not save everything he makes but this particular piece brings me right back to that day when I was so relived to be picking up a happy child. It was his turning point, and to be honest it was mine as well. The point when I stopped questioning if this was really the right thing for him.

Here is a photo of it, along with two other current favorites.I'm hoping taking pictures of the projects I like will quell my need to save them. I will save a few. It is, after all, his first year. But I honestly want to save about 50% of the things he brings home.  I'm kind of surprised by that to be honest, I'm generally not all that sentimental. Mostly it is pieces like these where I know he choose the particular pieces to put on it and placed them himself. I love to see what he chose and think about the process of making it. For example in the apple print (which he did on his first or second day) you can see that the three yellow apples were chosen first, which is not surprising since yellow is his favorite color right now. I wonder if he was encouraged to choose the other colors after having a yellow only picture or if he choose them himself. Am I the only mother who reads into this stuff? Please tell me I'm not alone.


This was the right decision for us. He is doing great at school, and the carry over that we were experiencing when I would leave him at other times has also gotten better.  In fact, he is also getting more confident when we are out and about and I have also seen some improvements in his emotional regulation (he can check himself when he is about to cry unnecessarily and will turn his mood around on his own)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bienvenedo a Miami

If you were paying attention you'll remember that we had a trip to Miami planned for this fall. We have already returned, and we had a great time. Sean's brother and his wife were wonderful hosts and despite Colin not napping for 3 of the 4 days we were there things went very smoothly. Even the flights weren't a big deal. Here is the story of our trip, photo essay style.
 We arrived Saturday afternoon, so we just settled in, had dinner and put Colin to bed. Sunday morning Chris took us to the Coast Guard base (where he works) so Colin could get an up close and personal look at the air planes and helicopters. A little boys dream!
 Colin takes her for a test drive!  Sean and I were pretty nervous he would touch something and cause a problem but Chris didn't seem to be concerned about it in the least. Found out later that someone accidentally set off the internal fire extinguisher in one of the cock pits a few days later. Very VERY glad it wasn't us.
 Colin was very impressed with this little truck. He enjoys steering wheels right now so I guess it was a bit more appealing than the airplane. Plus he is staring right at the airplane from this angle so it probably was a better view.

 Now to test out the helicopters! Get this boy a flight helmet he is ready for take off.
 Do you think it is a problem that the co-pilot can't see over the dashboard?
 Ok last one. I just really like how Colin's face is in the little window.
 After the planes we took Colin to play mini-golf. He saw a picture of himself playing on Saturday morning and that was all he talked about for the next 24hrs. We promised him we would find a place to go golfing in Miami. Thankfully once it was over, he was over it. I was nervous he would just keep asking over and over again.. Oana and I tied for 1st place if you were wondering.




On Monday we took Colin to Zoo Miami (I'm a sucker for a zoo so it is so great to have a kid who loves them too!) I don't know why I had low expectations but this zoo was really good! Large well designed exhibits, where animals had lots of room to roam but were never too far from the public to be impossible to see. The zoo was empty that day since it was a school day, but I couldn't imagine going in the summer. It was uncomfortably hot and it was late October!  Here Colin is feeding the pelicans. He really enjoys feeding the animals and the raw dead fish didn't seem to phase him in the least.
The boys somehow ended up a little matchy matchy that day. Funny how Colin ended up was a mix between Sean and Chris' outfits.
This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. Nothing overly special about it but it really captured the moment for me.
 Colin of course loves the statues as much as the live animals. I'm a sucker for a photo op! Say cheese Uncle Chris!
Can you believe it? We got to feed giraffes AGAIN!  (See the first time here) This time it was real leaves instead of crackers and there was no one there but us. I could have stayed all day. You have no idea how hard it was not to push Colin out of the way and do it myself. What a great experience for all of us.
 Check out that tongue! When I asked if we were allowed to touch them, the keeper said "they are pretty head shy so they will likely move their head away" which I took to mean "go ahead and try" so I did! I thought they would be soft like a horse but it is much more bristly as tiny hairs stick out all over their heads. Not as soft as they look.
Oana got to touch one too, although at this point we got yelled at by the non-keeper-helper but it was so worth it to touch a giraffe.  I love them.
 Sometimes it was easier just to pick up the stroller than to get Colin in and out at every exhibit. They actually had mulit-person bike pedaled carts which I didn't realize had a baby seat on them. I was very jealous of them until we got back to the front and saw that they were $125 to rent. Never mind.
 Having lunch with Uncle Chris before taking another non-nap. We finally had to just stay home the next day to make sure we didn't miss Colin's 'window of opportunity' after three days in a row with no nap he was a mess.
 Napping day wasn't a total waste though, we quick packed him up after he woke up and headed down to Miami Beach (or maybe it is South Beach, I don't remember).  Colin this time enjoyed the sand but after putting his toes in the water he said he was " all done with the ocean" and since it was already 4pm (so we wouldn't be staying long) I was happy not to have to cart home a wet kid.
 He and I had fun collecting sea shells and running in the sand while Sean and Chris went swimming.  When we arrived Colin had two crackers in his hand that he was hoarding from his snack. Since it was clear he had no intention of eating them I told him to throw them to the birds. Newbie mistake! We got swarmed! Which, for obvious reasons terrified Colin (although it didn't help that Uncle Chris showed VERY REAL fear and I scoped him up and ran away.) I spent much of our time there showing him that the seagulls are actually afraid of him. He eventually got up the courage to run toward them and watch them fly away. Not something I wanted to teach him, but I also don't want him to go up and be terrified of birds (like Uncle Chris!?)
 My baby's footprints in the sand. If only they would stay that small forever.
 He did actually nap that day, but spent a lot of time at the beach like this. He kept telling me he was still tired and was going to sleep (he didn't). That is what you get kid for sitting up and talking for and hour and a half and not napping for three days!!

 Watching the birds fly.

















He smiles with his whole body sometimes!

In the hours before our flight home we let Colin run around and play at a nearby park. Unfortunately he was a bit of a crank-pot (understandably) so we ended up heading back early to get him down for a nap (which he woke up too early from anyway) and then headed back to the airport for our flight home.






We had a lot of fun and enjoyed some relaxing (albeit rather windy) nights on the balcony after Colin went to bed. Thankfully Colin's night sleeping wasn't affected in the least, in fact he was sleeping in until after 8 the whole time we were there(which was likely part of the problem). It looks like Chris won't be in Miami much longer so we are very glad we got to squeeze one last trip in before he got a new assignment.