Saturday, May 29, 2010

City Boys

Dawn and Leo invited Colin and I to check out a newish park in Long Island City. It is a short subway ride away from us (Colin loves to ride the subway) but the great part about this area is that it is right on the water, overlooking the Upper East Side and Midtown. I imagine that this area's revitalization started while NYC was in the 2012 Olympic bid, because the park seems like it was designed to impress. It  is full of large grassy ares, built in lounge chairs and benches, hammocks!, and has two different playgrounds (which we never made it to because the boys enjoyed running free in the grass so much.) This park is defiantly worth returning to again (despite having to carry the stroller up the stairs at Vernon Blvd).   Here are some pictures from our morning in the park.
Learning how to share can be a challenge. This helicopter toy is one of Colin's favorites (Leo has the base). He is now showing some reluctance to share when playing with it. We are working on it!

Running free and loving it! They can fall down, and NOT skin a knee, imagine that. (Still holding tight to that helicopter).

Planning their next move. 
  Colin checking out the skyline. The pretty pointed building is the Chrysler Building, not to be confused with the Empire State Building which is just out of the picture.


This picture is just quintessential Leo and Colin! Colin is sitting and calmly playing with a stick, while Leo is on the go and up to something.  They really make a great pair.


Colin and the Upper East Side. (Notice Colin is wearing socks with his sandals. There is no talking him out of it.)


Leo trying to figure out the water fountain. This could provide hours of entertainment if someone would just hold them up. It was a team effort, you can just see Colin's little hand pushing the button to turn the water on.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Beverage Detox.

Colin and I are currently going through beverage detox (juice detox for him, soda detox for me).  The more I read about the 'benefits' of giving kids juice the more I realize there are none. Somewhere in the history of America, beverages like juice and soda went from being occasional treats to being everyday beverages.  Despite juice being made from fruit, there is little nutritional value and there is a strong possibility that it primes taste-buds to expect sweet flavors more often. Sure, kids are already hard wired to crave sweetness, but in the post HFCS world that sweet flavor comes with larger and larger nutritional deficits.

I'm not sure when I started giving Colin juice, but I'm sure it had more to do with my desire to provide new and interesting things to him than any need for it. Lately, it is all he wants and it has gotten out of control.  Sure I water it down, but the more he gets the more he wants and I've had enough of his minor freak outs and whining when I say 'No more'.  He clearly prefers juice over anything else, he never asks for milk anymore and a few evenings last month I would get to dinner and realize I hadn't provided any milk at all that day. For a kid who doesn't eat most protein sources, loosing milk is a big deal.

So why me too? I have an insatiable taste for soda, mainly the of the dark colored variety. For a long time I've been convincing myself the HFCS was the main problem, and that drinking natural sodas which have become increasingly available is perfectly fine.  Unfortunately, drinking these beverages have only continued to fuel my need for any kind of soda. That sugary sweet taste is what I want, and I want it daily. I've never been a good water drinker. I drank it because I had to when I was pregnant but outside that window I mostly only have any it before bed. If I'm not drinking soda, I'm drinking some variety of sweetened iced tea. What kind of example am I setting if I'm drinking a sweet colored beverage but asking Colin to drink water?? A bad one. Telling Colin that Mommy's drink is an adult beverage isn't going to fly much longer. (A potentially bigger issue, is that I have caught myself replacing meals with soda, not intentionally but I get hungry and instead of eating I pop the top on Trader Joe's Natural Root Beer and 'wala' I'm magically not hungry anymore. Bad idea Jones, Bad idea!)
So Colin and I are in detox together. For the last two weeks I've been decreasing our consumption of sweet beverages and increasing water intake. For me, adding lemon or lime to a glass of water to give it a little flavor has really helped. (Confession: I also typically use a plastic straw even though I know this is bad for the environment. It is helping me get though detox I'll work on eliminating that crutch later.) Now, when Colin is interested in what I'm drinking, he can have some! No more bad example! Sure we'll still have juice and soda on occasion, but I no longer want it to be an every day thing, it is a treat and should be used as such.  As an added bonus when I want to let him have a cookie or other sweet treat, I will know I saved his sugar calories for something he will really enjoy rather than waste them on juice.


Next Stop: Yogurt Detox.

Read more, Here, or Here or Here

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Colin is 22 months old.

Somehow I got a wee bit mixed up in my mind and thought I was supposed to be writing the Colin is 23 months old post! With Colin so close to two now I rarely give his age in months and instead always say "he will be 2 in July", I suppose that has my months a little mixed up since I don't use them as often.  I'm starting to think that these monthly posts will become quarterly posts after Colin is 2 (e.g. you'll get a "Colin is 2 1/4 years old", instead of 28 months). I''m trying to think ahead and realize I just can't keep this kind of schedule up with multiple children and what I do for Colin I would like to be able to do for the rest of them. (Please don't take this the wrong way, I am not giving you any hints, I am not pregnant now nor am I ready to be pregnant yet.  (Personally I'm voting for Sean to carry the next one to term. )What I'm doing here is taking a page out of my mothers play book and attempting to plan more than 3 inches in front of my face. I used to be better at this, lately not so much)

I digress.
 The only 'official b-day' picture of the blog. We were busy. Colin is doing the 'tension face' but I caught the tail end so that it looks like a big smile.

Colin turned 22 months old this week. Here is what our boy was up to this month:


Sleeping: Still perfect all night long. Typically 11 hrs. But now, all of a sudden a 3 hour nap is a 'typical' event for Colin. I would say about 50% of his naps this month have been 3 hrs long. He goes down anywhere between 12 and 1.  This has allowed me to be a bit more productive this month and I love it. My apartment is cleaner, my school work is getting done. Things are good. This has started to shift his am wake up from a tolerable 7am to a less tolerable 6:30am, but I won't complain too much, some of my mommy friends have 5am risers and I think they would kill for a 6:30 wake up call.  I'm not sure what is causing this sudden sleepiness but I'm liking it. Colin sleeps more in a day now than he ever he did as a newborn!

The eye is still healing!
Likes:

  • Baseball!: Wow, Colin is the baseball kid now. We got him a bat this month and the boy would sleep with it if I let him. It is hollow plastic covered with soft fabric so he can't do any damage but he is getting good at swinging it properly. He rarely makes contact with a pitched ball without help but he is pretty good off of a tee. Also, after watching a few more innings of the real game here and there Colin has begun to attempt to throw like a pitcher, with a high leg kick. Generally this means the ball goes completely hay-wire but it is still adorable to watch (working on getting it on video).
  • Basketball: Just to show that we aren't attempting to completely bias him toward one sport, I fashioned Colin a basketball hoop out of an empty oatmeal can and a piece of cardboard. Leo has a small basketball-hoop-like toy and Lukas has full size and kid size hoops, so Colin has become very interested in the idea of putting balls into hoops as well.
  •  The playground. If Colin is awake, it is pretty much a given that once every 30 minutes he looks at me and says "playground?" while nodding his head. There are quite a few different playgrounds that we can go to in the area which is nice, but chasing my little daredevil can be a bit stressful at times. We tend to go once and day, if we are too busy during the day, Sean will take him out for a few minutes before dinner to allow me to take a quick break. Usually I have a specific chore to attend to, like vacuuming or dinner but occasionally I get to just breathe for a minute. 
  • The subway. Colin rides into the city with me sometimes when I have to go in for a meeting with my thesis adviser. I pass him off to Sean and they either play in the city and wait for me or head back home (depending on the weather and how long I plan on taking). Colin really enjoys riding the train and will sign the word train incessantly while we approach the station, and wait and ride.
  • Making decisions. Yep, hello toddler! Colin likes being able to decide what he is going to do or wear or eat or whatever! It makes no difference how trivial the decision, he wants to have a say. This can be a bit trying at times but I'm becoming more skilled in giving the illusion of a decision and knowing when to 'not sweat the small stuff.'  He wants to wear his dress shoes (with a track suit) to do laundry, not something I will argue about (again), he put shoes on and I'm learning to be happy with that.
  • "Helping" and "Doing". It is time to consciously build in extra time for everything because Colin likes to "do it [himself]" From buckling the car seat, to velcro-ing his shoes, to zipping his coat, little toddler hands are not very skilled at these activities yet he wants to do it. So we take 400 times as long to get into the car! No big deal really were it not for the fact that I'm standing only a few feet away from moving vehicles most of the time! (I <3 street parking!)
  • Stamps on his hands. While we were at MyGym he started getting the logo (a monkey) stamped on each hand after class (the stamp was used to discount the parking and kids wanted stamps too). He would talk about it for days afterward and leading up to MyGym. Since we aren't going anymore, I'm going to have to find something that I can use at home.. I'm hoping to use this for potty training at some point since he seems to love it so much, but I'm not pushing that envelope yet. 
 Colin and Leo playing with magnetic letters. Colin is telling me this one is an "x'
    Dislikes:
    • Having messy hands: Colin will now say "Yucky. washcloth!" whenever he gets the least little crumb on his hands. This is amusing since he used to violently hate the washcloth!! The stamp on the back of his hand is an exception to this rule.
    • Washing his hair. It used to be rinsing, now he is generally okay with the rinsing but will fight me while I wash his hair. I have no idea what the deal is, other than it is a control issue.
    • The mere mention of 'pee-pee on the potty'. We have really tried to not even discuss potty use but he still says it sometimes so I try to follow his lead. Unfortunately, he gets really nervous if you even suggest trying to use the potty. It isn't worth it. We can try again later.
    • Having his arms in straps. Colin now immediately pulls his arms/shoulders out of the straps on his stroller and high chair, he tries to do it in the car seat as well but this isn't allowed obviously so we are working on helping him distinguish when it is okay to pull his arms out and when it isn't. I always tell him, in the car seat straps are important for safety and therefore he has to keep his arms in (once he is fully buckled he can't get his arms out but he will attempt to remove them before I finish buckling them in). I often use the phrase 'non-negotiable' with him, and hearing him try to repeat it is really funny. Of course I realize this word is probably too complex for him to fully understand but this has never stopped me from using complex language with him before.
    New and Notable things
    • Power switches on toys. I'm not sure when this started but it was more than a few months ago... Colin understands the concept of a power switch and now will turn things over to find out why it isn't working. He has become very good at switching his toys on and off without help. 
    • Somersaults.  I have yet to get this on video but early this month Colin started doing somersaults. Totally accidentally, and unprovoked at first. He did it while wearing the vecro-pads on his hand and would stretch his arms out to the sides palms forward, and then seemingly try to flip the pad over by bending completely over on putting his head on the ground. He lost his balance and flipped over onto his back. He was so pleased with the result that he kept doing it and will now do it on command. (side note: I'm way behind on posting videos..they are a pain to upload but I'll get to them soon)
    • "hold you mommy" This is Colin's new favorite phrase, I think he started saying it last month but now he says it over 100 times a day. I think he means "Hold ME, Mommy" but it is so cute to hear him ask to hold me that I don't correct him. Colin still struggles with the a greater need for reassurance than most children seem to require, but he is getting better every month. This month I was at the mall with him and he wanted to ride the "round and round and round' (i.e. the Merry go round). This was a miniature one with three horses (no room for Mommy), that you loaded your dollar into and got a 45 second ride. He was so excited by the prospect of riding it I decided it would be better to get it over with than to make him look at it the whole time he was eating lunch. After I put the money in there was a LOUD beeping that startled even me, I suppose to remind me to push START. He got the look in his eye that he was terrified but I quickly plastered a smile on my face and round and round he went. He stayed on the whole time and I viewed this as a pretty big deal. As soon as I saw his face I thought it was over.
    • Teeth: Still no molars through the gums... I don't know what the deal is. However, at some point this month Colin chipped his front tooth slightly. He has had issues with his two front top teeth since they came in. The enamel came off small sections of each tooth. I think he did it with his bottom teeth, but the dentist we talked to about it said it isn't that uncommon and doesn't have to be caused but an injury. One small section within the section where enamel was lost was just missing one day (way before the black eye occurred). I'm not sure how it happened but I would guess he did it by biting on his sippy cup spout. He likes to bite down and then pull it hard out of his mouth, so if that section was already weak this might have dislodged it.  I'm going to have to get him into the dentist but I want to find one in the neighborhood for him. I got some recommendations and am testing them out on myself before I bring him. (I need to go anyway). I'm sure they won't do anything to fix it since it is a baby tooth, but we'll have it looked at anyway. Since most kids don't loose these teeth until 6 or 7, so he'll be stuck with it for a while.
     If you click on this picture you'll see the damage.
       

        Tuesday, May 18, 2010

        Mama Paparazzi!

        How many other less than 2 yr olds can smile at the camera for a self portrait? This is the first time I've ever tired it and he knew exactly what to do. (hes still got the shiner! As is typical its getting worse before it gets better)


        and here is what he did when I told him to make a funny face.

        This kid totally cracks me up!

        Friday, May 14, 2010

        Boys will be boys..

        Colin had is first black eye, and although I wasn't there to witness it occurring, I knew it was only a matter of time.
        This was a picture I took earlier in the day of his new favorite trick. (why do they put a bar there?!?)

        and this is what he looked like when we put him to bed.
        Sean took Colin out to the playground before dinner so I could get some cleaning done.  Colin apparently lost his grip on the bar and came crashing down on the center rail of the slide. I would be lying if I said it didn't cross my mind that he hasn't ever gotten a black eye on my watch, but I quickly tempered that thought. Of the two of us Sean is much more likely to hover (for better or worse) over Colin to protect him from injury. These things happen in the blink of an eye and are often unpreventable, I've caught Colin a number of times and just got lucky that he wasn't hurt.  For a kid who is very nervous of new situations and people, he is oddly fearless for things that are ACTUALLY dangerous.

        Thursday, May 13, 2010

        Look at them now.

        Colin and I made a quick trip up to see Erin and the boys this week. Just had to quickly share this picture. Three boys still fit in one tub! No more chubby babies!

        Tuesday, May 11, 2010

        The Wedding List

        Over the years Sean and I have been to an obscene number of weddings. At some point when it became obvious our wedding attendance had gone beyond the normal level I started keeping track. There are a few friends who check in with me to see what that number is but I often can't remember and I believe I have over estimated a few times.  To clear things up I am going to keep the permanent list here. For most people this post is irrelevant but it is just a little bit of the "Sean and Becky" history.

        I have decided I won't list out full names, and instead will only give the couples initials (or as much as I know). I do this because I understand how political wedding invitation lists are. No one knows better than I do how hard it is to choose who is on and off the list. Sean and I (both having large extended families) invited 252 people to our wedding. The room could only hold 250 but we couldn't cut anyone else so we took a risk. It worked out. Therefore, I don't want to get anyone in trouble or have people feel slighted that Sean and I were invited to so and so's wedding but they weren't.  Furthermore, I'm sure some people will find this a fun game to try and figure out who all these people are.  I am 99.9% sure no one will know all of them (aside from Sean, but I'm guessing it would take him a minute to come up with some of them)

        Here is the list of weddings we have attended:
        1. MD & JC 11/2000
        2. JF & DM  12/2000
        3. MB & MD 09/2001
        4. T? & BB 12/2001
        5. KM & FZ 04/2002
        6. ET & EE 07/2002
        7. SC(?) & MG 08/2002
        8. LG & PK 08/2002*
        9. MA & AM 04/2003
        10. AL & NJ 10/2003**
        11. JV & MK 02/2004
        12. KS & BO 04/2004
        13. LC & GB 10/2004
        14. RJ & SB 06/2005 =) **
        15. JH & AC 07/2005
        16. NK & TD 07/2005
        17. JW & MR 08/2005
        18. KJ & JR 10/2005 **
        19. EF & BC 05/2006
        20. PB & JI 05/2006
        21. KC & BC 08/2006 **
        22. KC & KG 08/2006
        23. ER & RO 09/2006
        24. TH & BK  10/2006 **
        25. JB & VC 05/2007
        26. JK & ST 06/2007
        27. JK & PW 06/2007
        28. KF & DL 06/2007
        29. SR & GK 07/2007
        30. SA & JB 09/2007
        31. MP & DL 10/2007
        32. A? & JH 08/2008
        33. CK & ND 10/2008
        34. VP & DM 06/2009
        35. LR & PW 09/2009
        36. ET & CN 12/2009
        37. TB & RM 08/2010
        38. AF & LS 06/2011
        39. TM &  DC  09/2012
        40. OC & CB** 05/2013
        41. OC & CB** (08/2103)
        42. RR & NN (08/2013)
        43. ND & BJ (10/2013)
        44. CC & JF (10/2013)
        45. NG & JT (05/2014)
        46. MK & RP (09/2014)
        47. ER & JD (10/2014)
          So I think that is it  (If I'm missing one please feel free to tell me). There were an additional 2 that we were invited to but did not attend. (the * indicates that Sean went to this one without me, no guests were invited. the ** indicates weddings one or both of us were in)

          With all this experience we have become pretty awesome wedding guests. We have often joked that we could write a book on how to be a good wedding guest. However, I don't think anyone would buy that book. If you are interested here are my top 5 tips for being a good wedding guest.
          1. RSVP on time and with the correct number of people. Errors either way create problems.
          2. Plan on attending both the wedding and the reception and be dressed up for both events (the *important* part is the wedding not the reception). 
          3. Dance! The more people who dance the more fun the party is. No one is judging you, and if they are they are the looser.
          4. Give an appropriate gift. Convention in our area is to bring a gift to the shower (off the registry), and give money at the reception (in the tri-state area, that amount should cover your hosts cost for your plate) this varies by location.
          5. Sign the guest book or other personal memento of the event (picture frame). While it can seem annoying or stressful to the guests, it is very important to the couple. (I just found out I missed one at a wedding and I was very upset about it) 
          The end.

          Monday, May 10, 2010

          Miscellaneous Photos for Colin's friends at the USPS.

          I've taken some random photos of Colin here and there over the last few weeks. They don't have a theme or purpose so they are all going to go here. I havn't been intentionally abandoning you all, I just had to write an abstract for a conference and now that it is submitted I have a few minutes to post.


          Colin loves to pretend things are ice cream cones. We have never eaten ice cream cones with him so I'm not entirely sure where he picked up the concept, but we do live in America so it isn't that surprising. Here he is with some blocks put together to look like a cone. He also will eat yogurt or drink water out of a cup and tell me it tastes like ice cream. As long as he is happy!
          We finally got Colin a bat, and boy does he LOVE it. He would sleep with it if I let him. This one is from Target and it is a Disney Cars theme. It also came with a little cotton filled ball which is perpetually lost. He has slept with the ball.


          Colin thinks he is ready for a night on the town. The socks were his choice, and unfortunately the carpet and shoes are both dark so it is hard to see that he is wearing a pair of heels.


          After napping for three hours, Colin had to be woken up for our playdate. I took a few sleeping pics before he woke up. You can't see it but the ball was in his right hand.

          Colin swinging with Leo. Colin is now very interested in swinging on the big kid swing, but he has to be closely monitored because he will just try to hop off without warning.



          Leo pretending Colin's Easter bubbles are a baseball bat.

          Our friend Ella also came to play but she somehow wasn't in as many pictures. I hadn't seen her in a few months so she was a bit wary of me. Here they all are enjoying some apples after a couple hours of playing.


           We spent one Saturday out on Long Island for Sean's cousin's daughter's first communion celebration. Colin enjoyed playing outdoors (fully covered in sunscreen, hence the glow) all afternoon. Here he is with Uncle Dennis playing more baseball.
          The sweet little Haylee, who is Sean's cousin once removed, and therefore Colin's second cousin.

          These two had an entire conversation about the door bell that no one understood but the them. It was the sweetest.


          Colin wants to give her a kiss, but she wasn't interested.


          Colin helped Sean replace the air conditioner filter. He really enjoyed the tape measure.


          Colin driving Uncle Kevin's back hoe. We went up to their house for a few hours last week. April is a big month for birthdays in my family and I didn't make it up so we went in May.

          Colin and I will be back in June when Aunt Sue's strawberries are ripe. Colin is already a natural gardener, helping Aunt Sue pick lettuce and spinach for our salad that night. I think he will get a kick out of picking strawberries, he will love eating them that is for sure!