Toddler Tuesday: Quote Edition

A few quotes to get us through this Tuesday. 
  • "Silence is golden- unless you have a toddler. In that case, silence is very, very suspicious."- unknown 
  • "Having children is like living in a frat house. Nobody sleeps, everything is broken, and there's a lot of throwing up."- Ray Romano 
  • You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance" Frankin P. Adams
  • "Kids: They dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music."- William Strafford 
  • "Having a two-year-old is like having a blender without the lid."- Jerry Seinfeld 

And now some quotes for the mamas: 
  • "When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself, and once for her child."- Sophia Loren 
  • “We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” – Laura Stavoe Harm

Paw Patrol Live: X Barks the Spot

When you add puppies and trucks together, you pretty much have the perfect mix. We did a Paw Patrol Live giveaway on the blog, and actually met some of the winners there. Hi! Lovely sitting with you!

This was our first real trip to a theater. I wasn't sure how R was going to do, but it is a theater full of kids, so I figured even if fussed, he wouldn't be the only one. I was worried because I knew that the Chrysler is sometimes strict with their food policy. But not only did they let us bring in food, they were selling cotton candy and snow cones among other food. They sold all kinds of blinking and flashing toys, and of course all kinds of Paw Patrol merchandise. We had to talk Bubbie down from buying several things that we "needed". There were several spots around for photo ops, and even professional photographers for those interested.

The running time of the show was 85 minutes with a 10 minute intermission. I felt like they could have cut it a few minutes shorter because kids all around us were starting to get fussy towards the end and parents were pulling them out, but lots of older kids were fine. To my surprise, R didn't make a PEEP the entire show. He waved his pirate flag and clapped, which caused me to cry for the first 30 minutes of the show.... I'm emotional, always! There was lots of singing and dancing and at the end they encouraged the kids to stand up and dance with them. This weekend we celebrate this big man turning two, so it was the perfect start to our weekend. It was also fun seeing so many kids really into the show! I'm hopeful for many shows in our future!

A letter before your second birthday

Dear R,
It's been the one of the hardest years of my life. I can't even begin to tell you how much you've helped me this year. Since your last birthday you've learned how to walk, started using words, found your independence, and learned to sneak treats to the dogs. You've learned to blow kisses, jump, and all the motions of the "Itsy Bitsy Spider."
This past summer we visited Pittsburg and you got your first black eye. I was sitting right next to you when you fell face first into the leg of a table. It was a terrifying experience for me. By the time I got you up your eye was already swollen. I held it together until you went down for your nap, then sobbed into Bubbie, telling her how horrible I felt. "These things happen." She kept saying. Aunt Tina seemed tired, but spirited. About a month after we got back, she died. I felt so heartbroken that you didn't get to grow up knowing her. She fought fiercely for what she believed in-even if others didn't always agree with her or were tired of hearing of it.
We spent the summer going on a daily adventure. Your walking turned to running. We went to multiple parks, the library, splashed in the pool, frequented the baseball park, and toddled around the local malls. School began and I fought tears going back. Leaving you never gets any easier. Your Bubbie and Papa took good care of you, taking you to the zoo and the Children's Museum. But when Papa found out he was sick you started school two days a week. Oh, how you cried when we dropped you off at school. I cried too. I cried quietly walking out of the building. I cried loudly shutting the car door and driving away. I cried on my lunch break when I'd call your Bubbie on your days with her and you'd already be napping.

Thanksgiving came. Your cousins from Pittsburg came down. We all played and watched you. The entire family used you as a source of comfort while our hearts ached over your Papa. Hanukkah and Christmas came along with winter break. We planned all kinds of activities. You didn't understand why Papa was in a hospital bed. You'd bring him a truck or wander around looking for him. Watching it all, my heart would break a thousand times over again. The morning that we found out he died we were on our way out the door for a hike. We headed to Bubbie's house. You ran for your trucks and laughed. Your papa told me several times in the last few months how your laugh was his favorite sound. Here you were, laughing. The world's problems haven't touched you. In days since you've looked for him. You've watched me grieve. You've held my hand, cuddled me, and made me laugh. I don't know how any of us would have gotten through this year without you.
You'll be two this weekend. Two! It's been two whole years that you've been with us. I keep saying it- but it's hard to believe. I can hardly remember a time before you joined our family, but also can't believe it's been two years. I hope the joy that has been in these last two years stays with you forever. I hope you stay curious. I hope you stay carefree, lighthearted, and giggly. I hope you stay fearless. I can't thank you enough for how much you've helped me. I hope you feel the same. Your dad and I love you so much.



OK to Wake

c/o The Wonder Family 
I'm an early bird, and R has followed suit. He seemed to be getting up earlier and earlier, so I looked into this "alarm clock." It's actually the opposite, it tells you when to go back to sleep! You may remember it from our wish list here. I was given the product to review, but we were planning on purchasing it for R's birthday. A gift for him and for us!

If your child sleeps with a nightlight, it's got that. It's a soft yellow glow. When it is okay for them to get up, it turns green. We don't use the nightlight, so R just knows to wait for the green. If you're still doing late night diaper changes, you can tap the foot for a soft light too. It has a nap feature, which we haven't used yet but will once we transfer to a big boy bed. It also has a snooze button. Once he is older, it can be switched to a regular alarm clock. It uses a  USB cord but does have a battery backup. It also comes with changeable face plates. R loves the little faces that it makes when you push the buttons. We actually keep it on his changing table to make diaper changes easier because it distracts him. We call ours "little buddy".

My biggest concern was that the green light would wake him up if he was sleeping already, but he has slept through it with no problems. If you check Amazon you'll see the rave reviews and almost cult like following. Some people even call it magic or voodoo.

Norfolk Greek Festival

Neil and I have fond memories of Norfolk's annual Greek Fest. It happens to occur every year at the same time as the SOL testing in schools. When we were in high school, they didn't do a great job of checking to see who went back to class after a test, so essentially everyone left school and walked across the street to the festival. It remains with a Granby High school reunion-like atmosphere. For me, even before I was in high school, my family would attend Greek Fest after picking me up from Sunday School which was at the synagogue across the street. These Greek Fest roots are deep.

The festival takes place in the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral on Granby Street. The lines are usually long but they move pretty quickly, and if that isn't your thing, they do offer a drive through option. You can check out the menu here. If you want Loukoumades, they are at a separate booth outside. Don't skip them. We got ours to snack on while we stood in the line.

Throughout the night there are Greek dancers, entertainment, and live music. There are lots of people dancing in traditional Greek wear. They were dancing while we were in line, but we didn't snap a good picture. There is live music all day and space for kids to dance. Ten percent of all sales are given back into the community through different charities including For Kids, the Salvation Army, Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, the Union Mission, Habitat for Humanity, and more.
If you check it out, be sure to peek into the cathedral and chapel, which are open for viewing. Also check inside the social hall for the bazar. I may or may not have bought several bottles of olive oil before Neil looked at me like I was insane. 
The nice thing about Greek fest is that it is all under a tent, so you can go rain or shine. There is parking on the street, behind the church, and at Norfolk Collegiate. It's loud, so if kids fuss, people can't hear it. (But if your kid doesn't like loud, check out the tables closest to the church.) It's a Norfolk staple and we will be back next year for more! 

Life Lessons From My Mother

My mom is a rockstar. No, really. This year has been impossibly hard on us. Literally the first day of the year my father died, and the days, weeks, months after were horrible. But through it all my mom continued to watch R. She slipped a disk in her back but she kept on. She sometimes makes me dinner to pick up on my way home and she always picks us up a few things from the grocery store. See those crutches in the picture above? Neil had a broken leg when R was born. (He literally broke his leg in two places while I was 8.5 months pregnant moshing at a show. It is still a rough subject with us!) Guess who drove us to the hospital? guess who held my leg up? Guess who spent the entire first summer R was born with me? Am I spoiled? Totally. But what I most want to be when I grow up, is my mom, doing the same for R. So in honor of her, here are a few life lessons that I've picked up along the way.
01. Prep early. Days before Hanukkah or Thanksgiving dinner my mom has the dishes set out on the table with post it notes in them saying what dish goes inside. This makes hosting easier because she isn't running around getting things together as people arrive.
02.  Keep your friends close. My mom has been hanging with the same group of girls forever. These women are as close to me as family. They have been at every party, pool day, and backyard bbq. They meet as a sorority once a month come hell or high water and do both social and volunteer work. They helped with my Bat Mitzvah, wedding shower, baby shower, my dad's funeral arrangements, and worked at the yard sale for our Pancreatic Cancer Society team. Check out these two pictures.
03. Family is everything. My mom is without a doubt the planner of our family. My dad used to call her the ayatollah of tailgating, which my family does together. While she isn't totally that extreme, she is a planner. She plans our yearly family get together. By this I mean, she tells us when to go, where to go, and what to do. She even books our hotel room if we are moving to show. But she does it out of love for our family. She wants us to be together, and so we are. It's so nice to have one another around and I value them so much. 
04. Don't be a snob. Okay y'all. Here is a secret. My mom loves cheap wine. While she is one classy lady, she can also get down with fast food and cheap wine. Boxed wine? Sure. Don't stick your nose up and don't forget where you came from. 
05. Say yes. Invite everyone. Don't turn things down. I can talk my mom into doing almost anything. "Mom, let's stay up until midnight and go stand in line in the freezing cold on black Friday." "Mom, can these ten people stay the night and we all camp out in our backyard?" "Mom, can my friend's band practice in the garage?" She pretty much always said yes, welcomed everyone, and did it with a smile. It's okay to be a little crazy and experience life a little.
I am so thankful to my mom for all she is and all that she does. She is the best Bubbie to R and our doggies, and the best mama to me. Thanks for everything mom! 

In case you needed any more proof that she is a rockstar: 

Lake Lawson

On our recent Hike It Baby hike we went to Lake Lawson and I wanted to go back and explore some more. Since the weather has been great, we took advantage of it and headed out to do some more exploring. The area is actually called Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area and is 42 acres of preserved land with more than 12,000 feet of shoreline.

There are two parking lots. Head to the second one if you want to use the playground. There is also a boat ramp, a picnic shelter, restrooms, poop bag stations for dogs, kayak launches and several floating fishing docks. I also liked that there were several trash cans and benches. Apparently in the lake you can catch Bass, Bluegill, Catfish, and Crappie.

Leashed dogs are allowed. There were several families, people walking dogs, and groups fishing. The trails are mulch covered, but easy enough to push the stroller on. There are lots of docks and viewing areas to stop and sit at along the way. The new bridge that connects the two pieces of land was beautiful, and although there is lots of water I didn't feel like R was unsafe. We just made sure to hold his hand while he was on the strip with water on both sides.

I'll be honest; I didn't even know that this park was back here. There are lots of trails that wind and meander around, so you could go lots of different ways. We came after work and had enough time to fit in some walking and playing. The dogs really enjoyed themselves too!

p.s.- I'm loving these.

Summer Wish Lists

I know, I know. I've posted about not buying things as opposed to experiences. But window shopping is fun, and some of these things we do actually need. We are going to try using the potty this summer since I'll be home. If it works, great. If not, we will push it back a little.

1- These are little extenders to help the water reach R's hands from the sink. We need four, two for our house, and two for my mom's.
2- These little boats would be cute in the water table, the pool, or the bathtub.
3- This set claims to make all kinds of bubbles including a gigantic bubble.
4- A floating basketball net for the pool.
5- portable potty seat
6- swimmer diapers, because I expect lots of pool days before we master the training!

Let me be clear, none of these things are things that I actually need. Just things I would order if I happened to win the lottery.

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A note about 3, a woman had these in a summer science training that Chelsea and I went to and we had such a fun time flipping them from time to time!