On Friday morning while I was getting ready, this is what Miles did to pass the time.
I wish there were some way to lock my pantry, but alas, accordion doors are made for children to open (and smash their fingers in occasionally).
So I took a little break from blogging over the last month or so. Sue me. And I still don’t have much to blog about, but I’ll make my best go of it, you know, for my dedicated fans.
Since the last update on Miles, only some things have changed. Most important of all: he now says “nana” or banana. No, he still doesn’t say “Mommy.” Not like I’m important in his daily life or anything. Clearly bananas are far more important than the person that labored to bring him into this world.d The person that feeds him, cleans him, loves him, takes him to McDonalds when Dad isn’t around. No need to say her name.
The other big change is that I gave him a haircut at home tonight. I usually prefer to take him somewhere so that I can blame someone else when it doesn’t turn out, but our last trip to Cost Cutters was far too traumatic for both of us. I’ve yet to find a food children’s salon here, so I guess doing it myself is the next best thing. And I read an article that suggested that taking him to a salon that clearly terrifies him and then pinning him down in my arms so that some strange lady can put sharp objects up to his head might make him more likely to stay terrified of it or a long time to come. I did not have the courage to use scissors, rather opting for our clippers with the longest guard instead. He still didn’t like it, but I got it over with quicker.
We also had a nice Thanksgiving here at our house with my parents and brother since my sister’s family was with her in-laws this year. I even made a centerpiece and table runner that I saw on Pinterest. And yes, I was made fun of for taking a picture of my table.
We had a nice dinner once Chris came home from work, and then put in a movie for Miles to watch. But he didn’t. Instead my Dad and Chris (and the dog) took it as an opportunity to nap. I guess this means the meal was good.
Instead Miles played with my brother. I kept trying to get a picture of him snuggling up to Steve’s chest, but every time I took out the camera, Miles did this.
The day after Thanksgiving, Chris’s parents and two youngest brothers drove up from Texas on their way to Utah to drop off Cameron at the MTC before his mission to the Philippines. They stayed all weekend, but I took no pictures the entire time. Or when they stopped back through on their way home at the end of the week. But we had a great time while they were here. Even if there aren’t any pictures to show for it.
But the real reason that I haven’t blogged much is that Chris and I have been very busy trying to decide if we should build a house or just buy an existing one in the summer when our lease is up. I won’t get into it now because we’re still working out a few things, but it seems like we will be building a house. Craziness. Mostly because it will probably end in divorce. Agreement has never been our strong suit.
But we did manage to get our decorations up. Most of the ornaments have been moved to the top half of the tree, but is still looks pretty at night. And it’s hard to get upset at this cute face when he pulls the shiny balls off the tree and then runs away because he knows I’m going to get him. Especially when he smiles because he thinks it’s a game.
Hopefully I actually update again before the end of the year. If not, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Wow! 18 months! And what am I most excited about? Nursery at church! Finally.
I think this is the most difficult age with Miles (so far) because he wants so many things but doesn’t have the language (more on that later) to tell us what it is, so we all end up frustrated. And some of us end up crying. I won’t name names.
He is still super curious which means our house is still stripped bare of anything at his level, and I imagine our Christmas tree will only have decorations on the bottom half this year. The only time he stands still is when he is taking care of business, if you know what I mean. The one benefit of the constant running though is that when he refuses to be carried, we actually get to where we need to be a little faster.
He is becoming more and more independent (except of course when I need to do something like shower, cook dinner, or talk on the phone). He prefers to go up and down stairs by himself, and for the most part, doesn’t fall. He LOVES to “put” on his own shoes by going to get them from the basket by the door and then sit on his “bench” (a box of wipes). He will also help Chris and I put on our shoes as well. Not successfully, but he tries.
But as difficult as this age is, it is also so fun to watch him develop and figure things out. He really loves things with lids. Especially when he can put other things inside. He sat with these wooden containers at my in-laws’ house for about 30 minutes just moving legos from one to the other. He figures things out so quickly now that it sometime surprises me when he does something after I showed it to him only once.
But the temper tantrums. Oh, the temper tantrums. The smallest thing will set him off and then it’s a game of trying to find the one thing that will make the crying stop. And I’m never right, so most days I end up putting him in the car to go somewhere with lots of distractions. A place of magic and wonder. A place where Mommies and little boys get what they need. Target.
And then there’s his eating pickiness. He has been really fighting us on anything veggie, but loves most fruits. And he has also become very eager to feed himself with his own utensils. Yogurt makes quite a mess, but it leaves him happy. My doctor assured me that toddlers won’t starve, so I have permission to not give him different foods when he refuses what I’ve put in front of him.
He loves to be outside and will take the opportunity to take walks whenever the weather is semi-pleasant. This picture was in Texas just after he woke up from his afternoon nap. The only problem with going outside (at least here at home), is that his love of rocks has now extended to eating them. I looked up today to see him putting small pebbles in his mouth, and when I tried to get them out, he bit me. Hard. I just hope he didn’t break any teeth.
He loves to sit on anything that is his size, so we’ve put in word to Santa that some toddler furniture might be a good idea.
And now about that language issue. He’s been saying “Daddy” for quite some time now, but that’s it. He imitates sounds we make for words like “Hi,” or “Uh-oh,” but he doesn’t spontaneously say them on his own. He knows a few signs, but won’t do them consistently because he thinks that grunting, whining, and pointing should be enough. When you ask him to show you what he wants, his eyes light up and he keeps looking back to make sure you are still following him (usually to the pantry).
But when I mentioned this to our pediatrician at his check-up, she recommended that he have an evaluation done. Not because she thinks there is a serious problem (in fact, her son was the same way), but because Colorado has an amazing program called The Resource Exchange that will allow him to be evaluated (and worked with if he needs it) for free until the age of 3. At that point, he would go through the school district pre-schools, which I would like to avoid only because I don’t want him entering Kindergarten with an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) because those things will follow him until he graduates. So he has a hearing and vision test in two weeks to make sure that isn’t the issue (which it isn’t) and then and in-home evaluation with a speech therapist in December. My pediatrician said that what they found with her son was that the adults in his life were just too attentive and didn’t allow him the opportunity to ask for something because they just gave it to him.
I just hope we can find ways to communicate with him soon.
No matter what happens, we love Miles so much. And we love his enthusiasm about life, even if it is sometimes focused in the wrong area.
After a much needed Halloween nap, we all headed over to Chance (Chris’s brother) and Rachael’s house to join them and some family and friends for pizza and trick-or-treating. And is always the case when there are so many people involved (five kids, six parents, four grandparents, a girlfriend, and two brothers), we got started on the actual trick-or-treating a bit late. And since this was the last night of our trip, our little chicken was on some major sleep deprivation.
But we were able to at least get a few pictures with smiles.
He did not love when I put him in his costume, but as soon as we took him outside, he started running.
We tried to do one kid group shot before leaving the house, but you know how that goes.
We drove a couple of blocks over to park near the busiest trick-or-treating street that I have ever seen! They had the road blocked off to cars, but I’m not sure a car could have driven through there if they tried. Yes, it was a “rich” neighborhood, but it’s not as if they were handing out king size candy bars or anything; in fact, several houses just had small tootsie rolls. I guess it’s possible that at one time this was the neighborhood for lots of candy and that’s how it became so popular and now they just have to buy ten huge bags of candy just to make it through the night.
Suffice it to say that it was packed. And Miles had no idea what was going on.
I had to hold the bag for him because it was as tall as he was, and he kept trying to go inside the houses, and we had lots of meltdowns. But I don’t think it would be Halloween without those.
We spent Halloween morning at the Dallas Zoo with two of Chris’s little brothers, and it turned out to be a my kind of trip to the zoo (i.e. there was no one else there). So here’s a smattering of pictures to tell the story of morning.'
“Mom, I don’t care about that gorilla sitting right up against the glass. I’m busy.”
“But I do like this me-sized monkey.”
I guess the cool thing to do at zoos these days is to charge you $5 for some romaine lettuce to feed the giraffes. When we fed them at our zoo here earlier this summer, he didn’t really like them, but this time he was way more into it.
We ended our trip with a visit to the children’s zoo where, along with farm animals for petting, there was a manmade wading creek. He loved it!
And because I just thought this was really funny, here you go:
We spent a long Halloween weekend in Texas visiting with Chris’s family and enjoyed all of the festivities that come with October. We will not talk about the other reason for visiting that particular weekend. You know, that football game that left us both very upset that we spent money on tickets to watch our alma mater play horribly. But we did get to see the largest HD TV in the world. And one of my old roomies and her husband. So I guess there were perks.
But we spent Saturday morning enjoying a wonderful pumpkin patch that is run out of someone’s large backyard which happens to be right next door to a competing pumpkin patch that tries to entice you in with free parking, but my S-I-L informed me that it was not nearly as good.
Miles got to enjoy some firsts. Starting with his first bouncy house. There were about 5 of them, but this one was designated for children 4 and under, which I was grateful for because these things are crazy dangerous. At least when your kid has never been in one and you spend the whole time worrying that he’s going to get bonked in the head. Like the kid in the back of this picture did.
But Miles really loved it. Until he didn’t.
He also enjoyed his first Hay Ride, which he loved. Until he didn’t. But we got to spend it with some great people.
Like Uncle Colton and cousins Maddox and Vivienne. So cute! The kids, not Colton.
There were lots of things to look out from the hay ride, like horses, cows, and painted cutouts of all sorts of characters (like Elmo).
But the cousins seemed to have a good time (at least we were able to get one pictures that made it seem that way).
***Oh, and those scratches on his face…he took his first big tumble two days before we left home. No biggie.
Friday was not a fun day because I woke up feeling completely nauseated. Chris lovingly got up with Miles and fed him breakfast but then had to go to that place where he makes money so that I can buy shoes. This left me spending the bulk of my day curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor with Miles whining at me because I don’t think I was being very much fun.
He made his point known by slamming the toilet lid into my head while I was vomiting.
And why am I glad that I had this experience?
Because it made me remember the four months that I spent feeling this way while my little bundle of joy was cooking. And it made realize that I don’t think I could do that again just yet while Miles is so young.
And why is Chris glad that I had this experience?
And because he’s hoping I have developed a taste aversion to Qdoba.
For some reason last Sunday night I decided that the next morning would be a good time to stop letting Miles have his binky during awake times. Don’t ask me why because I don’t really have a good reason. Other than I was worried other moms were judging me. And I was sick of him dropping it on the floor pretty much everywhere we went.
Don't get me wrong—I was really glad that I gave him a binky at a week and a half because comfort sucking on anything other that a rubber nipple was out of the question. But somewhere along the lines (probably after nine months), it became a crutch—which my mother-in-law did warn me about.
So how did the week go? Let’s just say that we spent a lot of time out of the house doing distracting activities like going to the play place at McDonalds, going to Costco, and Target (many, many times). And spent no time doing things like cleaning or laundry.
And then I caved. A couple of times. Like today when he woke up from his nap an hour early in a really bad mood.
But now I’m sitting on my couch in my slippers, next to my favorite man, sipping hot chocolate, and watching TV.
Life. Is. Good.
This morning the playgroup in our ward took a self guided tour of the Venetucci Farm just a few minutes from the house, a family farm since 1936. And because I was curious, I looked up Nick Venetucci, the “Pumpkin Man,” on Wikipedia and learned some amazing facts. He played baseball for the New York Yankees organization when he was 22 but stopped early when his family (immigrants from Italy) bought about 100o acres in Colorado Springs. In 1942, the family sold 800 acres of their land to the US Army to help establish Camp Carson (now Fort Carson) for $10 an acre. He courted his wife for 27 years! In the 1950s he started giving pumpkins away to every local child he saw as he drove his truck around town. Over the years, it is estimated that the farm gave away over 1 million pumpkins. And…he is apparently a subject in On the Road with Charles Kuralt.
The farm was put into conservancy with a local foundation that now holds annual give-away days when school groups (or playgroups) can come get free pumpkins, see the animals, and learn about how food is grown.
Now for the narrated photo series:
Our group was gathering near the chicken coop and as soon as Miles reached up to the fence, he got pecked. But he was a very brave boy and didn’t cry.
But he decided to move onto something nicer. Like a goat. And they became fast friends.
Since the pumpkins are all grown on site, they actually had volunteers come out a few days ago to prepare the field for the kids (i.e. cutting them from the vine and moving some around for easier access). Once at the patch, we were given a lesson about Nick Venetucci and the rule he initiated for picking pumpkins: only pick one that you can carry all the way up the hill by yourself. Miles took this to heart.
Until he realized that this rotten little green one was much easier to pick up and carry.
I took that one away as we kept exploring. Unfortunately, the rows with pumpkin vines all over were a bit difficult to maneuver with little toddler feet. But it did result in the cutest picture of the day.
Then he set his sights on the pumpkin of his dreams.
I had to convince him to move on to something that followed the rules, but at that point he was too frustrated from falling so often that I carried it up the hill for him. We tried to get a picture right before we left with his actual pumpkin, but he wasn’t having it.
Overall it was a very enjoyable morning at the farm that we will probably visit for years to come.
As I mentioned before, after we took our previous mountain drive, we knew we would be headed back up once the leaves changed. This week and the next are the peak for colors in the high country near our house, so we packed up and headed out this morning for a long drive around the backside of Pikes Peak.
Of course we needed our camera to make sure we got some great shots of leaves, as seen here:
But I was more interested in finding a spot for a family portrait, as seen here:
I kept trying to turn the camera onto the manual mode so that I could learn how to take better pictures. Unfortunately, when you have no idea how to adjust any settings and you are in the middle of the mountains, you just put it back into Auto mode. Some day.
So when I got home, I started fiddling with Photoshop to adjust some colors and shadows, but quickly realized that you can’t read entire help book in one sitting. So here’s the best I got:
I think it looks a little better than it did before.
The drive was absolutely beautiful! And long. Miles, as per usual on a drive over 45 minutes, took a nap at an unusual time. Which means he didn’t nap at all once we got home. I left him in his crib during the time it took me to clean all of the mountain from the outside of my car and the goldfish/cheerios/dog hair from the inside of my car.
And since Chris had to leave at about 4:15 for work leaving me alone with a non-napper, I decided to let the lovely young ladies at my gym deal with him during the witching hour. This might be the best thing I have ever done!
On some of the days that Chris has off, we like to take drives to different neighborhoods in Colorado Springs and surrounding areas to try to narrow our focus. Especially since we hired a realtor this week and it would be nice to give her something specific to look for—you know, not just “a house.” Today we went to one of the prettier areas, the towns of Monument and Woodland Park.
Imagine a quant mountain-ish town just 10 minutes from the freeway. Both cities are tucked up against the foothills, although Monument extends to the east side of I-25 as well, and are beautiful. The houses seem to have much more land than you will find in the suburbs, which is anything above 1/8 acre. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to see into ten of my neighbors’ backyards from my back patio.
The problem with these areas is that you are a bit removed from the convenience shopping, the parks, the schools, and other kids. Unless we plan on having 8 kids that can keep each other entertained all of the time, I just think it might be best to be closer to their friends as they grow up. And Chris likes the idea of building a new house with everything he is looking for (but probably not a yard or a beautiful mountain feel).
And the other major problem in our search right now is that we don’t have money. Remember how my parents helped us to get out of our townhome in Charlotte? Well that means that we have a balance to pay them every month. Oh, and let’s not forget those medical school loans that are due now. Oh, and that large chunk of change that we may need to buy into the group in 18-24 months. But somehow we need to also have a down payment?
But I really hate our rental!
I hate the kitchen. I hate the white tiles on the counter that show every piece of cat hair. I hate the baseboards in the kitchen that aren’t actually attached to anything. I hate cooking in the kitchen. I hate the dirty white walls. I hate the random blue accent walls. I hate the drafty, dirty windows. I hate the weird smell in the basement. I hate the bugs in the basement. I hate that our master bathroom doesn’t even have a tub. I hate the cobwebs growing on our front porch. I hate the driveway that is crumbling. I hate the garage door that only opens about half of the time. I hate the rock garden in the backyard. I hate that birds fall out of the sky and die in our grass. Yes, you heard me, birds die here!
But mostly I hate that it isn’t mine.
So you can see why I am eager to get out of this place, but we have 8 more months on the lease. Unless the perfect house shows up and our bank account miraculously grows, we’re stuck here.
It could happen, right?
We ran our second 5k as a family tonight which makes me feel so good about what we are teaching our son about health and well-being.
And then we ate out and got some ice cream which makes me feel so good about what we are teaching our son about sometimes food and rewards. Kind of.
And now I’m eating popcorn. The extra butter kind. And kind of thinking that I might be a little confused.
Miles has bravely been going down slides now for a few weeks (a big milestone for him since he would previously scream when we took him near it). Last Friday Miles and I met a friend and her daughter at this same park where Miles went down a very tall slide several times with no fear, even though it has a drop off at the bottom causing him to drop about a foot to the ground.
But when Chris and I took him today, we was more cautious.
I apologize if the video doesn’t look right on your screen; this was my first time uploading a a video from my phone.
Hey, remember me, the girl who pledged to blog everyday in September but just skipped three days in a row? Well, I’m back and with no good reason why I didn’t blog. Unless you count that I just didn’t feel like it. But because Live Writer lets me set my own publication date (even if it has already passed), none will be the wiser.
So let’s pretend that it is Saturday night and I just got back home after my first real date since our anniversary in July.
Chris and I just paid our first babysitter ever. Yes, after nearly 17 months. In Charlotte we just did swaps with friends since we didn’t go out often; and since we’ve moved here, we used my mom once, but that’s it. So we decided to hire on of the scribes that Chris works with in the hospital, but because I was worried about what Miles would do with a stranger, we had her come over right before bedtime to meet the little man but didn’t leave until after we put him down. But next time, she’s on her own.
Especially because we paid her $10 an hour to watch TV.
And she drives a nicer car than we do.
And because I forgot to blog yesterday, here is a second one for today.
I spotted a celebrity at the gym. Not sure what he is doing in Colorado Springs, but he’s here. Probably because every show I have seen him on has been canceled. And because I don’t even know his name, perhaps he can’t be considered a celebrity. Maybe D-list. Or perhaps F.
But thanks to IMDB, I can tell you all about him. Except that it doesn’t say a whole lot.
Meet Nate Torrance. He’s from Canton, Ohio. He was in some commercials and some failed shows, including one of my favorites, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”
And I did try to take a picture of him at the gym with my phone, but I felt kind of foolish and invasive. Here’s the best I got.
I promise it’s him.
Not that anyone cares.
Yesterday was our second music class with Miles, and it went much better than last week. Both for Miles and the photographer.
Last week we had a bit of a hard time because Miles would have a meltdown every time we had to put away something that he loved (i.e. the egg shakers, the scarves, the instruments), but this week we were able to distract him enough during the transitions so that he didn’t realize what was happening.
His favorite part of the entire class is instrument free time, otherwise known as a jam session.
I know he doesn’t look excited, but he truly was. He just kept switching from instrument to instrument which sometimes meant that he stole them from the boy whose striped sleeve you see. And it was so cute to see him figure out how each one worked.
And then do it wrong.
I say he’s a boy prodigy, you know, because the future of drumming definitely involves turning it upside down.
Two words: fall lineup.
In fact, I’m having a hard time focusing on this post because I am watching the season premier of “How I Met Your Mother.” And as far as I can tell from my DVR list, I’ve got a follow-up episode coming up right after this.
Embarrassing story time. When Chris and I were first married, we didn’t yet have DVR because TV had always been a background part of our lives. Don’t get me wrong, I watched my fair share of “Friends” in college (well, until it ended) and occasionally “Dawson’s Creek” (although I’m not proud of that), but this was before the world of DVR or Tivo. If I wasn’t home to watch something, then I didn’t watch it. And I know Chris made a specific arrangements to be home on Thursday nights for “ER” (not surprising), but that was pretty much it.
But as time went by, we realized that we were actually planning our social calendar around our shows. Pathetic. So we upgraded to DVR service. And it revolutionized our lives!
And now that I find myself at home more often (something to do with that adorable sleeping boy downstairs), I find my nightly TV to be so rewarding.
And then summer comes along and totally ruins everything.
So tonight is the start of a beautiful reunion with old friends. And of course some new friends. But in past experience, I should just wait until a new show gets renewed for a third season before I pour my heart and soul into it. Or maybe even a fourth season.
I bought a package of Walmart snickerdoodle cookies last night, and barring the one that Chris ate this afternoon, I ate all of them. I didn’t count, but I’m pretty sure that makes 11. This is not something I normally do. But I know that tomorrow there will be no more cookies in my house to stuff my face with, and I can start over and pretend the whole thing never happened. So long as I don’t step on the scale in the morning.
The thing we love most about Colorado, and specifically where we are in Colorado Springs, is the proximity to beautiful mountains; well, that and the fact that there is almost no humidity in the air. Today we decided to take a mountain drive through Pike National Forest, which was about 15 minutes from our front door.
And about 3o minutes from our front door, we made it to “Make-Out Reef,” at least that’s what the spray paint on one of the rocks said. We did NOT make-out while we were there.
That’s downtown way down there.
Where’s Miles, you say?
He did wake up when he realized that Daddy was snapping pictures.
And as we continued driving up, we saw the first signs of Autumn on the Aspens and decided that we will be making this drive again in a few weeks.
Chris’s original plan was to get out and walk/hike to the reservoir, but when we realized that we didn’t have the carrier or warm enough clothes for Miles, we turned back around so that Miles could stretch his legs back at Make-Out Reef. I did inform him that this will be his ONLY trip there. EVER!
But who needs kissing when you have huge rocks? A little boy’s dream.
And a bunch of little rocks to show off.
He was so excited that he just couldn’t keep that drool in his mouth. Either that or he is getting three molars at the same time.