Leo’s half birthday

18 Jan

For a variety of reasons, we took Leo away for his birthday last summer. We didn’t have a party, but we took him to the beach and a children’s amusement park. We all had an amazing time, but it wasn’t the traditional first birthday. I wanted to remedy that today, when he turned 18 months.
I made him a cake and let him go to town on it. He was not nearly as messy as I had expected.



We continued with the cake theme later on when I busted out some homemade playdough. I rolled it out and used blocks as cookie cutters to make mini cakes. He “cooked” the cakes on his toy stove then we decorated them with sprinkles.

We also went to the library where he surprised me with his puzzle prowess. He is learning so fast!
As a side note, today’s naps went much better thanks to homeopathic camomilia and two sippy cups full of chamomille tea.

Not my finest hour

16 Jan

I really do try to be a good, nurturing, fun mama. Some days I really miss the mark. Today was one of those days.
We went away this weekend to visit family four hours away. Leo slept and napped like a champ while we were away, so of course I was shocked when he woke up after only 20 minutes of napping this afternoon. I tried everything I could think of to get him to go back to sleep and nothing worked. Instead, my efforts only served to make him crankier. He screamed on and off (mostly on) between 12 and 1:30. I gave up. I dosed him with ibuprofen, fed him applesauce and graham crackers on the couch and let him watch Toy Story 2.
As I step away from the situation, I can see several reasons for him to shirk his nap – the schedule change this weekend and some new teeth starting to show up, at least. I wish I had exhibited more patience. I wish I had been more sympathetic. I know that I’ll continue to eff up here and there as a mom, but it still sucks every time I do…

Rainy day

12 Jan

Today is a rainy, gloomy day. Such days are good for curling up and reading, napping, or baking. I’d like to think that we hit on all three. Leo and I read an extraordinary amount this morning, and we went to storytime at the library. Little man was super sleepy and snuggled on my lap the whole time. He is now napping on my bed, and I hope to join him soon. We also did our share of baking, making bread pudding out of some cinnamon bread I made last week. Leo helped by tearing up part of the loaf for me. It turned out to be delicious, and hubby better not work late tonight if he expects to get any!
Our crafts today are rain themed; Leo colored some umbrellas with his favorite markers, and later I plan to try and make a rain stick with him. It might not happen though, as we’re going to have some company later this afternoon.
Off to snuggle my baby!

Equality and unity

11 Jan

One of the things that I really want to instill in my children is empathy. I know that Leo is a little young for such a concept, but I’ve been trying to work with him on identifying emotions by facial expression and body language. It’s actually adorable to see his face when you say “what does happy look like?”
With MLK day coming up, I thought I’d use the opportunity to teach other similarly abstract concepts like equality. This morning we made a unity chain by tracing Leo’s hand in various colors of paper. He adored this. He loves it when I trace his hands. I attached all the hands to one another and I’m going to hang it in the entryway to the living room after I’ve taken down the gratitude paper chain from Christmas.
We also listened to the song “Freedom, Freedom Let it Ring” several times. Leo really liked it since it is set to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”
I wish there was a good preschool level video about civil rights. I haven’t been able to find one yet. I’m hoping to do a few other activities that celebrate harmony and peace in the next few days.


10 Jan

Leo has been into the book Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones lately. Between that, the fact that he loves to flap his wings when he sees birds, and his dad’s decision to teach him a turkey call last night, it seemed a trip to see the birds at Forsyth Park was in order. It wasn’t supposed to be too cold today, so we headed over.
We’ve visited a few times before, but I think he was too young to really understand any of what he was seeing. Not this time. This time he stared at the chickens until he could duplicate their head nods. He ran back and forth laughing at the peacocks, and actually tried to stick his hand into the cage. He quacked at the ducks and enthusiastically did his turkey call when he saw the turkey. He seemed to love the rabbits, but couldn’t quite get his nose to do that bunny thing. He did get scared of the llamas and goats, and ran away from them, only to return once again to the peacocks. All in all, he had a great time.



Later we went to the library to take out our books for the week. Leo is super interested in puzzles lately, so headed straight for them. Coincidentally they got a new animal puzzle that was also touch and feel, so we spent some time petting and making animal sounds. He really wanted to do all the puzzles, and I had to keep reminding him to put one away before he took another out. That’s definitely something we’re still working on…
A pretty good day in spite of the melt down later that night!

Why am I doing this?

9 Jan

In June 2011 I found myself suddenly unemployed. The school where I taught English, like so many others, laid off a number of teachers. So what to do? I had either been teaching or a student for practically all of my 30+ years. I wasn’t quite sure how to be without those identities. But nevertheless, it somehow seemed that I wanted to embrace this opportunity to become a stay at home mom.
I had an 11 month old whom I had hated leaving at day care every morning. I had a mountain of emotions left over from my mother’s passing a few months prior. I had a passion for cooking and crafts, and things I never really had time to develop fully.
Truthfully, I probably never would have chosen to be a stay at home mom. That choice seems a little scary, a little like stepping off a cliff. I’m glad to have had the choice made for me. I admit that some days I get a little overwhelmed and frustrated. Most days, though, I am grateful for the opportunity to watch and help my toddler grow.

This blog is really for me, I guess. I want it to remind me, on those days when I feel less than stellar about things, that I’m doing an important job, and I’m so lucky to have this time with my little boy.