Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gwoss Motor Woom

The Nugget's new thoughtful pose is hands on hips, head tilted, and a little lip smack.
"*smack* Giraffe, we can do puzzles now, ok? Ok."
Sometimes, he sashays a little with his hands on his hips, his eyes intent on his craft supplies or bookshelf. Hubby says he looks exactly the way I do when I'm searching the pantry or fridge for an ingredient.
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Lately, the Nugget has been demanding more personal space, especially from Doggie. If she is a yard away, he will insist that she, "Back up, back up, back up!" Sometimes he doesn't even want her in the same room. Now the good thing is that he now orders her around with his words instead of bodily contact (most of the time), but we've started trying to teach him that she is a part of our family and we like having her around. Inexplicably, once she is out of sight, he becomes immediately concerned about her whereabouts and wants her to come...until she actually does, then he starts the process all over again.
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The Nugget's preschool keeps the kids indoors when the temperature falls below 25 degrees (including the windchill factor). So they'll be mostly inside until April. In lieu of the playground, they have a "gross motor room" for indoor play. It is a large open space with rocking horses, giant foam blocks and mats, a chalkboard, and a closet full of supplies like scooters, balls, etc. Last week, the Nugget got to try stilt cups for the first time. His teachers reported that he did not even wait to be shown how to use them, he just grabbed a pair and immediately starting clomping around like a pro, much to their surprise and amazement. How incredible that he would instinctively know what they were for and how to use them!
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Pictured is the Nugget gleefully reaching out for, "Another present, please." Yeah, we need to work on gratitude a little bit, but at least he was polite about the greed.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010






Top 10 Memories Christmas 2010

10. Watching video of Kitty Miles with Aunt E.

9. Grammy giving the squirrels a cob of corn. "Cob of corn is a funny word! Hahahahah!"

8. Helping Grammy with the laundry.

7. Learning about the laundry. "Is it agitating now?" Grammy even found me a video of a washing machine in action.

6. Asking Uncle J what he do's with that thing (the barometer-thermometer-humidity measure).

5. The annual M family gift raffle. I got to deliver presents, open presents, and pick numbers. I shouted, "The first gift of Christmas!" over and over again. There was so much laughing and shouting over funny presents like an extension cord. I got a big rainbow feather duster, and I think it's the best thing ever.

4. Playing with my new toys, including a ride-on horse that munches carrots, a recycling truck that dumps, my very own electric train set, and lots of super cool puzzles and books!

3. Helping everyone open their presents.

2. I asked Santa for chocolate for Christmas and he delivered!

1. Getting to hold and help feed baby Cabbage! She is starting to smile and laugh now. She likes to watch me dance.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Before and After

In yet another chapter of "My thoughts on parenting before/after actually becoming a parent"....

Before:
I would overhear children exclaiming over an animal but incorrectly identifying it. No biggie. But then their parents would reinforce their wrong-ness instead of correcting it. For example, at the polar bear exhibit a 3yo would say, "Look it's a doggie!" And the mom would say, "Yes, look at the cute big doggie." And it would make me absolutely nuts! Not that the parent needs to totally shoot down the kid, but couldn't they say, "It has a black nose like a doggie. He is called a polar bear!" But no, they'd all be standing there talking about the doggie, and my brain would liquify and drip slowly out my ear.

After:
Sometimes the Nugget puts his foot down and insists that x is definitely y, and he's not going have you suggest anything different. Usually, it's Monday morning and he insists loudly that Daddy is NOT at work, he IS home. When I gently remind him that although we both like when Daddy is home, Daddy goes to work on M-F and he'll be home at dinner time, he will just scream louder that DADDY. IS. HOME! He's in the shower, or he's sleeping, or he's outside. So either I can choose to keep arguing with a 3yo and let the day begin with tears and tantrums or I can play along or change the subject. So now, I can totally relate to the moms all agreeing with their kids that the polar bears are dogs. Sorry for giving you dirty looks.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hope

Maybe it's just because it's Christmas time, or maybe it actually does get "easier" with repetition, but today I woke up and felt hope stirring in my soul. Is it foolishness or a prompting from a merciful God?
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Very off-topic (or maybe not, because the Nugget is like a sunbeam), I forget every year that the Nugget's cheeks get chapped every winter here. It's the combination of the cold windy air outside plus the dry heated air inside, that no amount of lotion nor sunscreen can help. It took me a few weeks to remember what I did for it last year, and it was Burt's Bees Apricot Baby Oil. I picked up a bottle today and set it near the kitchen table (but up out of reach), so I'll remember to oil him up after each meal. The apricot scent is subtle, and unlike a balm or stick, it glides on without tugging at his sensitive skin. I called him my oily beau-hunk (Sixteen Candles), and the Nugget spent the rest of the day referring to himself as an oily beau-hunk in the third person. "Oily beau-hunk is eating blackberries. Oily beau-hunk is dancing!" It was basically the best thing ever.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hat trick

"The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it's going to be a lot better and a lot bigger." ~Elisabeth Elliot

The thing we didn't want to happen has happened. We've lost the chance to parent this child, thus completing a really sucky hat trick of disruptions.

We are wishing only the very best to mama and baby. Her change of heart seems to have been the right choice for her, and we respect and honor that, as we have twice before. We are giving ourselves the permission to grieve our loss too, while acknowledging that we are a very blessed family of 3.

I don't know yet what the future holds, whether we'll be able to get back on the horse, try a different route, or simply adjust our expectations.

Today will be filled with unpacking our bags and returning tiny baby clothes. There will be tears, but there will be smiles and hugs too.

Tonight I will hug the Nugget a little tighter, thank his Tummy Mummy for the gift of parenthood, and ask God for more grace and perhaps a road map.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Meeting Santa 2010




We took the Nugget to meet Santa this weekend. Some local businesses sponsor a free downtown Christmas celebration, including DIY photos with Santa in a...well, it's a shed, a chocolate at the candy shop, cookie decorating at a museum, and a trolley ride. Here is the Nugget, enjoying the outing.

You can see that he is much more interested in the trolley and the free junk food than in Santa. We try to downplay the material aspect of Christmas, so I think the Nugget still doesn't quite understand the whole aura surrounding the big guy. However, he was game to go give Santa a quick hug and a half-smile for the camera. When Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas, he said, "Chocolate." I think he was remembering the pattern from the previous two years we've attended. Santa was very pleased to give him the gold sticker that you show to redeem your chocolate; I imagine it was a thrill to grant a wish immediately! The Nugget is lurching out of the photo, because he's spotted the trolley pulling up to the station and is ready to ride! He is also sporting the ubiquitous winter booger, even though I'd wiped his nose just seconds before. Awesome.

Giraffe came with us, and she has been bragging about recapping her adventures to all the other stuffed animals. It's so much fun to hear him make his plushies speak.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sillybeans

The days of the week, according to the Nugget:
Sunday, Oneday, Twoday, Wednesday, Tursday, Friday, Saturday
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M: What do you think of the soybeans, Nugget?
N: I like them! I like these sillybeans. A combine picked these sillybeans for me.
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The Nugget has been to the doctor twice in the past few months, for a his regular physical and again for an ear infection, so the doctor's kit is suddenly thrilling. Here's a typical physical with Dr. Nugget:
"I'm going to use this telescope (stethoscope) to check you. Hmm, I hear that. Ok, now I going to check your ears (with the toy tweezers, he refuses to use the otoscope). Beep! 30 pounds! Now you put that in your mouth (the thermometer). No, please put in mouth. Don't pretend, really do it! Garrumph. (when he realizes I am not putting it in my mouth). Ok, you're healthy. Now, I'm going to count your teeth with this mirror. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10, 10 teeth!"
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While dining out, the Nugget seemed to be staring into space for more than 5 minutes. This is an usual feat for him. Daddy asked him what he was thinking about, and he pointed to 2 fresh-faced teenage girls at the next table and stated, "Them." On the same note, I find it fascinating and a little frightening that his head frequently whips around like a frat boy's whenever a lovely lady walks past. I thought this didn't start until puberty.
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At dinner, I was talking to Hubby while slicing up the Nugget's pancakes. The Nugget encouraged me, coach-like, "You can do it, Mommy! I know you can slice up my pancakes!" My slices must not have been efficient enough, because halfway through the first pancake, the Nugget added, "Focus, Mommy! Focus!"

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010


Over the toll road and across the turnpike, to Grammy and Grandpa's we went! The Nugget talked a big game about eating turkey and pumpkin pie, basically for all of November. When he actually saw it on his plate, he passed. He did like the ham, rolls, cranberry sauce, black cherry jello, and cousin K's pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes.

The Nugget and I worked on a thankful chain all month. He cut the strips of paper, dictated to me what he was thankful for, and we taped them together with double sided tape. I'd like to do this each year and will include Lil' Sib when he becomes verbal too. Here's what made the cut for the Nugget's Thankful Chain 2010 Edition:

rocketships
pilots
jumbo jets
airplanes (technically he said airplanes, more airplanes, blue airplanes, gray airplanes, but I cut him off after airplanes and jumbo jets)
trains
tractors (do you sense a theme emerging?)
macaroni
wombats
marching bands
gym bus
teachers
zebras
Grammy and Grandpa
Grover
elephants
toys
playing outside
paper chains
music
sad things (I asked him to elaborate, and he just kept repeating, "the sad things")
friends

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Knowledge

Nugget: Daddy, are you a boy?
D: Yes, I am. Are you a boy?
N: Yeah, I'm a boy too.
D: Is Mommy a boy?
N: No! Mommy is a guh-rul. Silly Daddy, you forgot!
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N: Daddy, can you read that please? (the item number in fine print on the back of his Halloween fork)
D: (has read this upon Nugget request about 10 times that week) Double Nice Company Limited 23402032016655016 July 2010.
N: You forgot the F.
D: Oh wow. You're right! How did you know that?!
N: Read it again with the F please.
D: Double Nice Company Limited 234020320F16655016 July 2010.
N: You remembered the F.
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Background info: We often use the Love and Logic "energy drain" tool with the Nugget when he's acting especially 3. We'll say, "Oh, when you choose to scream like that/dump your milk on the floor/not wash your hands when you're asked, it really drains my energy. If Mommy runs out of energy, I will have to lie down on this couch for awhile instead of taking you to the park. Can you think of a way to give me my energy back?" The Nugget is now making energy claims of his own.

Nugget: Doggie used up all my energy.
Daddy: Why?
N: Because she was right there (points accusingly at Doggie who is innocently sitting near his feet, apparently too close for comfort).

Outerwear

Outfitting a growing child in the Midwest is pretty exhausting. A trunkful of outerwear is required, and of course, the Nugget is growing so quickly that he won't be able to reuse most of it next year. I do like to invest in quality pieces so that Lil' Sib will be able to use them too.

My standards: machine washable (except the raincoat), under $50 per piece (I got all of these under $30 each), easy for Nugget to put on/take off "by self", and dog-hair resistant. Polar fleece is like a magnet for dog hair!

Outerwear:

1. Fall/spring jacket. Purchased with a 40% off Gymbo rewards coupon. For autumn, I like to have a canvas jacket with a warm but thin lining.

2. Rain coat - gift from Grammy and Grandpa. I like that the waterproof layer is soft and more fabric-like than crunchy plasticky.

3. Vest - the Nugget's is red with a polar bear zipper pull, but very similar. Purchased on sale and with Gymbucks last year. I love the vests, because they tend to fit the Nugget longer than the coats do, and they're great for that in-between weather.

4. Winter coat - purchased from Lands' End Overstocks department with a free shipping promo.

Accessories:

1. Rain boots - purchased from Lands' End Overstocks with free shipping promo. I couldn't find a link, but they have an antibacterial/anti-odor lining which is awesome considering....potty training...

2. Kid-sized, no pinch umbrella - gift from Grammy

3. Snow boots - snapped them up during a free shipping promo AND sale and paid $18.38! I love that these open wide, so they'll be simple for the Nugget and his teachers to take on and off twice a day at preschool.

4. 2 pairs knit mittens for out and about. Bought 1 pair on sale at Gymbo, the other was gifted by Uncle Tom. I love the Gymbo knit mittens because they are 2 layers of knit and lined for extra warmth. They are also cute, so the Nugget is more willing to keep them on because there is a doggie or a penguin "looking at me!"

5. 1 pair mitten clips from Target Dollar Spot to keep the mittens attached to the coat. Only one lost mitten in 2 years thanks to these suckers!

5. 1 pair waterproof mittens for snow play - what do you think about these L-bow mittens? I already have a Target pair, but these look so tempting - when snow runs up the Nugget's arms, it's pretty much the end of his outside time.

6. 2 winter hats. My sister is knitting the Nugget an awesome hat that I can't wait to show you! And the Nugget has a couple cute ones from Grammy that I think will still fit this year.

7. 1 scarf - I want to knit the Nugget a new one to match this year's coat.

8. 1 fall/spring-weight knit hat. I scored it at the Gymbo outlet for $3.

9. Snow pants - this year's are a gift from Grammy (notice a trend?), and they are the first non-bib snowpants for the Nugget. Probably a good thing since I'm sure he'll have to use the bathroom the second he's bundled. If you're not lucky enough to have a Grammy in your life, Target and JCPenney often have great deals on snowpants/bibs for $15 or under.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Reminiscing

Lately, the Nugget has been waxing nostalgic. It is funny to me both what he finds memorable and the fact that his fondest memories range from just seconds before to months ago. Here are a few of his fond memories that he shared with me today and time elapsed since the actual event.

"Remember when Grammy and Grandpa were here and they made my bed?" - 2 months ago

"Remember when I put on those socks?" - 1 minute ago

"Remember when Mrs. S said, 'Another turtle?'" - 6 weeks ago

"Remember when that man in the video did this? (a thumbs up)" - 20 seconds ago

"Remember when we rode that tractor at the pumpkin patch?" - 3 weeks ago

"Remember when we ate those pretzels from the blue bag on beach?" - 7 months ago

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Letting go

In these final weeks before we know if we're meant to become a family of four or if we'll stay a family of three, I'm trying to adjust my attitude. It's true, we are called to prepare our homes and our hearts, so of course we are already in love with this child.

But the fact of the matter is that while we have been chosen, we are not the parents of this baby yet. We are being considered for the honor and privilege of raising and guiding him, and nothing is final until he is born and those papers are signed. We fully respect the rights of his expecting parents to make the final choice. I am doing my best to accept this blessing graciously if it's what the universe intends, but am also struggling to make peace with the fact that if it is not meant to be, that our lives will go on and that we already blessed beyond measure.

So many people have asked us what they can do and how they can help. Right now, we ask for positive support and prayers.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Life Plan

After watching marching band rehearsal
Me: Would you like to be in the marching band someday?
Nugget: Yes!
Me: What instrument would you like to play?
N: I going to play the trombone. Then I'm going to be a squirrel.
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Nugget: Mommy, you want to try my shoes and I can wear your slippers?
Me: You can try my slippers, but look - my feet are too big for your shoes.
Nugget: Yeah, they don't fit. When you get little, you can wear them. And you can sleep in the crib.

Apparently, the plot of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button could have been concocted by a 3 year old.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010




Nugget here, to tell you all about my Halloween adventures!

I LOVED Zoo Boo! I do NOT love the lines to get into Zoo Boo, but the candy and the people oohing and ahhing over me make it all worthwhile. The best part of Zoo Boo was spotting a female giraffe. She had her hood off, but I could tell she was being a giraffe too, just by looking at her spots. Our eyes met under the moonlight...we pointed at each other and stared...I squealed, "Oooo, she's being a giraffe! We're giraffes together." For a moment, we forgot about the candy and just ogled each other's ossicones (those are the horn things on a giraffe's head, by the way). And then our parental units pulled us apart down different paths. Star-crossed giraffes...will I ever met her again?
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Halloween is too fun to limit it to just one day. The day after Zoo Boo, I went Trunk or Treating. The parents handed out candy and treats from their car trunks, then my friends and I ran off our sugar rush at the playground.
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Next, we had our Halloween Party at the library. We did crafts earlier in the week to decorate the room, then we played fun games like throw the spider on the web and feel the creepy stuff in a box. We also ate a yummy lunch - my favorites were apple slices with caramel dip and mini mummy cupcakes.
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Finally, the piece de resistance, I got to go Trick-or-Treating with friend E and her mommy. I love this holiday - I get to press lots of buttons and collect candy! I wish I could do this every day, but Mommy says it's only once a year. Catch you later, I need to find out where Mommy hid my stash of candy.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

How adoption planning is like dating

People are always asking what it's like to adopt, and it's kind of hard to explain. One thing I've thought of recently is that adoption planning (open adoption anyway) is a lot like dating. How?

1. You overanalyze every word said in conversation, probing it for hidden meaning.

2. You obsess over what to wear the first time you meet.

3. You can't guarantee that this is "the one" but you go into each opportunity hopeful.

4. You carry the emotional baggage given to you by your ex-es.

5. You get a lot of notes passed to each other/about each other by counselors. (ok, this one is not so much dating, more like middle school "going with").

6. Your family and friends are super curious and sometimes opinionated about your relationship.

7. A match can look great on paper, but if you lack that chemistry, it won't work.

8. Even though you have to go about your usual work, errands, life, half of your brain and most of your heart is focused on your relationship. Does she really like you? Is this really happening? Thinking about the next time you'll meet. Will it be forever?

9. When you really grow to care about each other, the stakes get higher, because the other party is holding your heart and your future. Will they change their minds and smash it to smithereens? Or will they make all your wildest dreams come true?

10. When it's right, you become family. Your family is not defined by how often you see each other but that you are connected by the love you have for the child.

We're in the thick of it now, and we've got about a month to go. Please keep the prayers coming.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Teacher Holiday Gifts 2010

I got to spend 2 hours volunteering in the Nugget's classroom yesterday. Whew, do I have bucketloads of respect and awe for his teachers. A room full of spirited 3 year olds - all with their quirks, fears, tyrannical demands, budding social skills, defiance, energy, and a healthy dose of cuteness - let's just say that I was only there 2 hours and I nearly lost my voice. I didn't raise it a single time, it was just constant talking,

"Friends, let's use our words. Gentle hands, please. What is it that you wanted? Would you like some help with your shoe? Nugget, you can play with my belt buckle when we get home, right now I need to keep my pants fastened. Friend, where does this block go? Yes, I see that you are working hard on that painting!"

But I digress.

Anyway, I've been working on building their holiday gifts, and I wish it could be so, so much more, but there are 3 teachers and our budget is tight. Here's what I've come up with so far, and my budget saving tips as well!

1. A black and white polka dotted tin pail from the Target Dollar Spot. I bought these a couple years ago, about a dozen of them. Target has these tin pails in different colors all the time, but I thought the black and white looked especially clean, a Kate-Spade feel with a dollar store price.

2. I am using the Bath and Bodyworks coupons for a free travel-size classic for mini hand lotions. I have gotten 2 free so far, am waiting for one more coupon! I used the 20% off coupon on their special deal 5 for $5 mini hand sanitizers (so I got 5 for $4). I am matching up the scents so that each teacher gets a hand sanitizer and lotion. Unlike bubble bath or shower gel, I know the teachers will need and use both products often...in the 2 hours I spent there, the teachers helped each child try the potty/change a diaper twice, having to wash their hands between each one. Miss P also fished a lovey out of the toilet. Sweet.

3. Their perpetually chipper faces indicate that they are either robots or they use large quantities of caffeine. So I'm including a Starbucks gift card in each pail as well.

4. Once I get my holiday baking done, I will probably include just a handful of sweets, probably the pretzel-Rolo-pecan turtles I love to make.
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Depending on my time and coupon stash, I may also make hand-sanitizer/hand lotion packs for the 2 receptionists and the Gym Bus teacher. Who else do you gift at your kids' school? I know there are student helpers, but I don't know their names. Maybe a plate of cookies for them?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm just doing that.

The most heard phrase in our house is now, "I'm just doing that." It's mostly a stalling technique, when he doesn't want to answer our questions. "That" could be anything from messing around with something forbidden, to hanging upside down, to jumping on the furniture, to dawdling...it's really very versatile. When we ask the Nugget if he's done eating, he whines, "NO! I'm just doing that." When we tell him to please sit in his car seat, he cheerfully states, "I'm just doing that."
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I told the Nugget that it was naptime, and more of my words came tumbling out of his mouth. "I'm sorry, that's NOT an option right now."
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At church today, the Nugget spots a woman in an animal print (I think it was leopard), and squeals loudly, "Look, Mommy! She's (pointing) being a giraffe! Hi giraffe!"

Friday, October 15, 2010

Christmas shopping

I love Christmas shopping! I can't give too many spoilers because many on my gift list read the blog, but I can tell you what is going to be under the tree for the Nugget this year. We try not to overdo it, and we'll definitely have him participate in a charity gift again this year. What's great about a 3yo is that I can still give him what I want him to have. Soon the lists will start, surely to include all manner of weaponry, video game consoles, and exploding volcano kits. Anyway, here's what I will do this year, and I'll share my savings tips with you. His entire haul should come out to well under $50.

1. My love of all things stainless continues with this divided plate. The Nugget will love it because it's shaped like a bus. I got it for FREE by participating in an online university study, from which I was paid with an Amazon gift card. Dude, how can I get hooked up with more of those?!

2. Llama Llama Holiday Drama or Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney. We love the cadence of these addictive stories and the beautiful painted illustrations. The author definitely has a deep understanding of early childhood, and Mama Llama always knows how to handle whatever challenge Little Llama throws at her. The Nugget requests the Llama books over and over and over again, and we never get tired of reading them. I will either get it discounted with free super saver shipping on Amazon, use a Borders reward coupon, or use my spouse discount at the campus bookstore...I never pay retail for books.

3. A t-shirt from my favorite Etsy shop. I'm thinking about this freight train, and HappyFamily often will do custom, so I'm going to request it in a long sleeved version.

In the stocking:
1. An ornament, probably the Hallmark John Deere collectible, since tractors are a new obsession. Using a Hallmark rewards coupon. We give the Nugget an ornament each year that he will take with him when he leaves home as an adult. We try to pick something that represents the year he's had - last year, it was a tricycle. And, um...while he's still little, I may even wait and buy it after Christmas to get a deeper discount! Cheapskate? - yes, I am!
2. A ceramic reindeer mug I picked out last year at Borders. The Borders post-holiday sales are among the best ever. It's child-size (kid-sized mugs are really hard to come by) and will hold the perfect smidgen of hot cocoa after a morning of snow play.
3. A couple of his favorite treats - a pack of Annie's fruit bunny snacks and some peanuts in the shell.
4. Crayola Bathtub Markers. Because bathtime has become a struggle, and anything that will make it remotely appealing is worth it. Target had them for under $5, and I used my final 10% off day. (Not sure how I feel about the RedCard rewards revamp.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lil' Sib Pending

I've been trying my best to wait until the right time to release this post! We have been chosen to be parents to a little boy, due in November. The exact due date is up in the air due to various medical reasons, which I won't get into at this time. We are very excited, nervous, scared, thrilled, overjoyed, and optimistic!

Yes, if the adoption disrupts, it's going to be painful and stinky to make the blog announcement, but having experienced 2 disruptions - it's painful and stinky anyway. It doesn't really matter if you've let yourself believe it's going to happen or guarded your heart, if you've shouted it to the world or kept it to yourself - disruptions are just awful. So we are choosing to be joyful now, and are trying to prepare with joy instead of fear (of course, the fear does get to me every once in awhile, but I'm learning to push it aside). Every child deserves a gleeful anticipation, don't you think?!

I won't be sharing many details about the baby's story on this blog (and if you know details, please keep them out of the comments), but I did want to share with the blogosphere what it feels like to be parents pending an adoption.

Here are some of the feelings whirling around, in no particular order. Sometimes there is one overarching emotion, but they can change by the hour:

Anxious - while I mainly feel optimistic, my breath still catches in my throat when I think about the "ifs". I imagine bio moms feel this way too. The difference is that people constantly ask us about how/when this could go wrong, and of course we know from experience, so let's just say I am not exactly the picture of calm.

Happy - like any parents-to-be (again!), we are excited to meet him, to witness him grow, to find out what he's like as an individual, to discover his talents and passions.

Thankful - it's an overwhelming sense of gratitude when a birthmom feels that you are the right family for her child. I can't even describe it, and it's my goal as a mom to maintain this feeling of gratitude during the everyday struggles of parenting. The Nugget has been longing for a sibling too, in his own way, and I feel like it's the perfect time for him to transition from "only" to "oldest".

Out of control - everything is very out of our hands at this point. We are working with a different adoption agency, and we have completed all the steps we can, so we wait. Birthmoms call the shots after you're chosen, from doctor's appointments to setting times to meet, etc. Our roles reverse after placement, and while it's a strange and hard place to inhabit, it also gives us a better sense of how birthparents must feel after they entrust their child to you. We are trusting her to carry and care for this baby, and she is trusting us with the rest of the child's life. It's so humbling.

Curious - what will it be like with 2 boys in the house (3 if you count Hubby!)? Will I be able to keep up with the constant meal prep and laundry?! Will the Nugget completely lose his marbles for a couple months while he adjusts to a shared spotlight? Will I be able to meet the demands of 2 little boys when Hubby is away on business trips?! Sometimes I feel like I'm not allowed to be nervous about the transition to two, because we are wanting it, asking for it, claiming that we are fit to handle it! But of course, we are just humans and we have the same questions about growing our family as anyone else would :)

Nesting - This instinct does in fact, apply to adoptive parents, if you were wondering. It's taking a slightly different form this time around - not scrubbing every surface since that's painfully pointless with a 3yo - but definitely shopping for warm baby clothes, dusting off and reassembling the baby gear, and making our guest room ready for the nursery conversion.

Present - I am treasuring my final month of uninterrupted sleep and hoping it will be enough to tide me over until Lil Sib learns how to sleep through the night. I'm savoring every second of adult time with Hubby after Nugget goes to bed. I'm cooking dinner from scratch while I can. I'm trying to absorb what it feels like to be mommy to one, because I don't want to forget this little window of time we've had together, "just us".

Please keep us and baby's birthfamily in your thoughts and prayers.

Where are all the hugging things?

We attended our library's Open Book Festival earlier this month. The Nugget enjoyed crafts, live music, storytellers, and most of all, the book characters. A couple weeks later, we hit the library for a playgroup, and the first words out of the Nugget's mouth are, "Where are all the hugging things?"

The Nugget is a very mechanical person. He loves to fix, to observe, to tinker. Now that he's so verbal, he'll often stare at something for awhile, then tell us how it works. For instance, the doll seat on his toy shopping cart from Grandma and Papa, "Mama, I pull this silver thing down, and the red thing comes up. See that? This part comes down, and this part goes up." I have a feeling he was dumbing it down for his mechanically-challenged mom. I'm telling you, I am learning more mechanics than ever before.

I don't think I use the word, "shall" very often, but the Nugget has picked it up, and he's very attached to it. Maybe from books? Anyway, it's pretty funny to hear such an old-fashioned word come out of a 3 year old boy. When Doggie snorted, he looked at me seriously for a moment, then said, "Doggie snorted, Mommy. Shall we laugh?" We decided that yes, a dog snort was worthy of a giggle, and we laughed together.



Sunday, October 10, 2010

How was your day?

One of the Nugget's most endearing habits is asking about our days. I always try to ask Hubby sincerely, "How was your day?" and the Nugget now beats me to the punch. It is so adult-sounding, it often takes our friends and family by surprise.

Once he asked Grandpa, "How was your day so far?" first thing in the morning.

Our sitter cracked up when he asked, "Miss L, how was your day?" as she tucked him into bed.

Today, he asked Daddy for a lift to the monkey bars and while he was hand-over-hand-ing, he casually looked downward and said, "So...how was your daaay? Was it good?"
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Anytime I'm feeling down or tired, I find a little boy sweetly smiling up at me, asking, "Mommy are you sad? Do you want a hug? Pumpkin friend going to give you a kiss, ok? You feeling better now? Do you feel happy?" Who wouldn't perk up after some Nugget TLC?!

On one particularly challenging evening, the Nugget screamed bloody murder and flailed like a hooked fish during his bath, until I was all finished washing him. Like a switch flipped, he started playing happily with his toys. Then as I sat on the closed toilet, soaked and exhausted, trying to regain my energy and composure, he looked carefully at me and asked, "Mommy, why are you so tired?"


Friday, October 8, 2010

Stinky Bobcats

The Nugget throws his dirty washcloth in the laundry bag and sees/smells Daddy's running clothes in the bag:
N: There are stinky Daddy clothes in there.
Me: Well, Daddy went running and his clothes get a little stinky after he runs, because he sweats a lot.
N: (thoughtfully) Yeah.
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Later, at the zoo:
Me: Hi bobcats! Whew, the bobcats are a little stinky!
Nugget: Why are you so stinky, bobcats? (bobcat runs past) Oh, because he ran fast and now he's stinky.
Me: You mean like Daddy?
N: Yeah. Silly, stinky, stinky bobcat! (bobcat twitches ears as Nugget laughs)
N: Ooo, that bobcat loves my laugh!


Yardwork





Nugget here. Now that autumn is truly here, I have so much yardwork to do. I'm not sure how Mommy and Daddy managed without me - I am super strong and a busy worker! Mom says that I could run my own lawn care business by the time I'm in first grade. Here I am, hard at work and enjoying the fruits of my labor - a leaf pile!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Nugget meets Cupcake

We were so thankful to have the Nugget's Tummy Mummy and Baby Cupcake visit us this week! Baby Cupcake is the Nugget's (half-birth) sister. Nugget and Cupcake have the same full dimpled lips and the same cute feet. Cupcake is now 5 months old. She loves to rub her thighs and feet together and is very determined to master the whole standing thing.

As with Baby Cabbage, the Nugget mostly wanted to be an assistant caretaker. He helped shake bottles of formula to mix with Cupcake's rice cereal. He comforted her when she cried, gently scrubbed her back in the tub, and he helped operate the baby swing. This kid was born to be a big brother.

We took some really sweet portraits of the siblings together at Portait Innovations. I won't post them here since they were professional, but we were thrilled with the results, and they came out much better than anything I was able to capture. Here is one sweet moment, with Nugget and Cupcake enjoying one of the Llama Llama books with Tummy Mummy.

I was so pleased with how our community welcomed the Nugget's Tummy Mummy and Baby Cupcake. We are so proud and grateful to have them as part of our family. It's a blessing that Nugget and Cupcake will grow up knowing each other, and I hope this is just their first visit of many. I don't know if I have birthsibs, and I imagine that meeting them this late in the game would be more than a little awkward. Nugget and Cupcake will just be a natural part of each other's lives....hooray! Open adoption is not for everyone, but it's a perfect fit for us!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pumpkin Friend

The Nugget brought home a new pumpkin friend from the Fall Festival. Pumpkins hold a very treasured spot in his heart so instead of using it to decorate our porch, pumpkin friend will become part of our family until it rots. I set pumpkin friend on the back of the couch, peering out the window, so it would greet the Nugget upon our arrival back home in the evening. The Nugget couldn't wait to get home to his orange buddy,

N: Pumpkin is waiting for me. Pumpkin is looking out window, saying, "Where's Nugget?"
Daddy: Is pumpkin a girl or a boy? (the Nugget decides most of his plushies are girls)
N: Hmm, he's a boy. He's probably strong. And plenty heavy. And handsome.
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While watching college football on tv, I started teaching him some basic points of the game. We cheer when our players make it to the stripey part of the field or kick the ball through the yellow sticks. When our players drop it or make a mistake, we say, "Nice try!" The Nugget, formerly uninterested in football, started watching with greater intensity once he understood what was going on. He was especially thrilled to see the coach and some of the players pick up a phone or headset and exclaimed each time, "He's calling Grammy!"
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The Nugget has several go-to phrases when he doesn't quite understand what's happening, yet wants to appear confident.
"Are you doing that?"
"Mommy is doing something."
"Look, I am doing that."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nugget meets Cabbage

Over Labor Day weekend, we were fortunate to meet our new niece/cousin, Baby Cabbage. She is awfully sweet and adorable. My favorite thing about her is that she is noisy. She makes very satisfied smacking and gulping noises when she eats, and cooing sighs when she sleeps. Her hair feels like the downy feathers on a baby duck. She has wide brilliant blue eyes that she opens with Bambi-like alarm at an unfamiliar sound. My brother describes her fussing as "freaking out", but it's a fairly low-volume cry, at least what we heard over the weekend. She does look so angry when she cries. Her feet are so tiny that even the newborn shoes won't fit her at a month old, but we noted that her 3 month sleepers were looking snug. I am so in love with her, and it's clear that my brother and his wife are already amazing parents....calm, attentive, tired!

We were a little worried about how the Nugget would do sharing his Grammy and Grandpa with another child. He did great. Sure, there was some acting out and melting down, but all of it was projected through other things and not onto Baby Cabbage. With Cabbage, he was helpful and concerned. He wanted to feed her bottles and frequently checked in with her. "Baby Cabbage, I'm going to eat breakfast now, ok? Baby Cabbage, I'm going to bed, ok? I see you later, Baby Cabbage." I held her for hours at a time, and he didn't demand my lap nor throw a tantrum about the tiny lap usurper. He couldn't resist touching her hair, but stroked it very gently. Of course, all manner of adults and Grammy's special toy cache were present, so I know it will be different when Lil Sib arrives at our house! Still, I think it was a positive trial experience for all of us.

We'll get to see Baby Cabbage in October in her home state of CO and then again at Christmas. Sigh - I'd be game for daily doses of Cabbage.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wardrobe


A few notes about the Nugget's wardrobe.

1. The size of his clothing is seriously alarming. You look at these things hanging in the closet, and you think the boy to whom they belong is probably in 1st grade. Just today, we handed-up a big bag of 3T's to friend B who is almost a full year older than the Nugget. The footie jammas were in pristine condition, because the Nugget grew out of them before he learned to walk. Good golly.

2. The Nugget calls any shirt with a collar, "A Daddy shirt". Daddy always wears business casual to work - button-ups and golf shirts - and the Nugget is always thrilled to wear his "Daddy shirts" on Sundays or other special occasions.

3. Daddy brought the Nugget home a faux futbol jersey from Espana, and he has one to match. Does it strike you as odd that I have never insisted that the boys dress alike, and Daddy was the one to buy their first matching father-son outfits?! He claims that, "It's ok if they're sports-related." Okaaayy....anyhow, I digress. Daddy wore his (but the Nugget did not) to Corn Fest, and now everytime the Nugget sees either Espana shirt, he calls it, "the corn shirt".

4. Thanks to current trending, Etsy, and my Aunt B, the Nugget finally owns some coveted purple shirts. I consider myself progressive, but I do draw the line at ruffles on his clothes (when he's a teen, if he still wants to wear ruffles, I will support him 100%), so I was very grateful that there are some gender-neutral/boy clothes in his favorite color. So far, he has worn a couple to preschool and has not come home saying that purple is for girls, so I am very pleased.

5. The Nugget's favorite shirt is a brown cotton t-shirt that my parents brought back from my cousin's Texas wedding. It has a brown peace sign made up of stars, steer skulls, smiley faces, armadillos, and bulls. "That's my favorite, Mama." And when he sees another kid with a peace sign (they're very "in" right now), he gets overjoyed and has to go point it out to the kid immediately. He doesn't have a big understanding of personal space yet, so it's entertaining to see him chasing down another kid yelling, "You have a peace sign! That's my favorite! On your shirt! Look, Mom, he has a peace sign!"

6. The Nugget loves to try on our things, and it is startling that he always rocks our clothes better than we do. I would not be surprised if he tries modeling when he gets older - the camera loves him, and he is a true clothes horse.

7. The Nugget has days of the week underpants, and he always wants to wear Friday.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Daddy Quotes

Hubby is really funny. I find him endlessly funny, anyway. Most of his funniness is unintentional, which makes it even better. He is remarkably intelligent, and his brain just works differently than 98% of humans. So this means that he can make connections and find solutions that no one else sees. It also means that that other simple things fly right over his head. Hey, you just can't have it all.

The scene - buying sunglasses
Cashier: Do you want to wear these outside?
Hubby: (long pause) Eventually.
Cashier: Um, I meant, do you want them in a bag?
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The scene - playing bristle blocks with Nugget
Hubby: You know, I liked to build things when I was your age too.
Nugget: Yeah.
Me: What did you like to..? (I was going to say build, but he cut me off at the pass)
Hubby: (blurting quickly) Spaceships! Pretty much exclusively.

Doesn't this sound like something out of Napoleon Dynamite? My favorite part was how quickly he responded, before I could even finish my question. Like he'd been waiting for years for me to ask about his childhood bristle block creations.
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The scene - dinner at Fazoli's
Me: Ooo, there's jokes on the Nugget's cup. Why did the tomato blush? Because it saw the salad dressing.
Hubby: (a minute passes) I don't get it.
Me: The salad was dressing. Like it was putting on clothes. And the tomato saw it naked. So it was embarrassed.
Hubby: What?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Off to school

The Nugget started preschool this week.  Here is the mandatory first day photo.  My friend LH suggested taking a last day of the year photo as well, so I think we'll do that and compare.

How does the Nugget like school?:
1.  At drop off, the Nugget did not cling nor cry, but instead took off, his eyes set on a toy tractor.  I had to chase him down for a kiss goodbye.
2.  At pick up, the Nugget threw a huge tantrum for Daddy, because he did not want to leave school.
3.  We get notes from the teachers each day stating what he enjoyed and did.  They are happy glowing reports.
4.  The Nugget mentioned he was thankful for each teacher by name while saying grace at dinner.
5.  When we ask him about his day, he trips over his words because he has so much to tell us and is so excited to brag about what he did.  I cherish this stage - soon we'll ask what he did at school and the answer will be a sullen, "Nothing."  But for now it's, "I play, I played with streamers!  Did dancing with streamers.  There was music.  Played airplanes, airplanes go vroooommm-shhh, fly high in the sky, and I played helicopter goes chopchopchopchop, and a friend said no.  And a friend was sad, needed hug from teacher.  I played with friend J, J goes shoooook."

In the meantime, I am using the first hour of preschool to work out, the second to eat lunch and shower, the 3rd to scrapbook/clean, and the 4th to make dinner.  I get just enough of a break to feel like myself (and not "just a mom") again, but by hour #4, I am missing my little Nugget like crazy and can't wait to swoop him into my arms and hear all about his day.  I LOVE preschool.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mutterings

Often now, we'll hear the Nugget muttering to himself while he plays.

"There's red, blue, and pink.  That's all the colors we have, ok? Ok."

"Dat ear-plane going to Chicago. It's a silver plane, has propellors, go fast. This airplane would not be safe to fly if something's wrong with the controls."

"I building a tower, ok? Where's de purple block? Oh, dere it is. It under de couch. I can get dat bwistle bwock. Eh-eh-ugh...I can't reach it. I need help. Oh, I got it!  Mommy, I got it by self."

"I'm a cat-ty, climbing couch. Meow. I need some milk. Ok, I get some milk. Yum-yum, slurp."

"You're a good Doggie. Doggie, I wuv you. You're a good dog."
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Me: Can I give you a kiss?
Nugget: No, not now. Maybe later.
M: Ok, I will wait.
Nugget: Good job being patient, Mom.
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(Nugget putting baby doll to sleep in an empty cardboard box)
Nugget: Putting baby to bed.
Daddy: Oh, is that her crib?
Nugget: No, it's a box.
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Nugget:  Woof, woof!
Sitter:  Are you being a dog?  Can you wag your tail?
Nugget:  But I don't have a tail!  I only have a bottom.  Just a bottom.  (tearing up a little)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Nugget Pronunciation Guide, Volume 2

The Nugget has what can only be described as an accent. But what country/region he's channeling, it's unclear. Hints of Boston with a Southern drawl, plus nasal New Jersey, and a smidgen of Jamaica? It is pretty much the cutest thing ever.

beee-lue..............blue
feeel-ow-ers.......flowers (my personal favorite)
geee-ray-ffe........giraffe
guh-rel.................girl
squhr-rel.............squirrel
eeer-plane..........airplane
dee.......................the
fling-o...................flamingo

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A day in the life of Bedtime Giraffe



8am: Geee-raay-fee! (Tosses her down the steps.) Wow, gee-raffe went far. She floated away, she flew down steps! Gee-raffe, whatcha doin' down there? Don't wanna go ka-booms.

9am: Gee-raffe wanna watch earplane video with me? Ok. (Twirls her in furious circles.) Look, gee-raffe spinning like propellor! Gee-raffe go fast!

12:30pm: Mommy, are we going home? Is gee-ray-ffe waiting for us? I bet she looking out window. Looking for our car, for Nugget and Mommy's car. Yeah...silly gee-ray-ffe. Hi giraffe, gee-raffy-raff. You ready for bed gee-raffe?

5:30pm: Gee-raffe wanna watch Nugget eat dinner. Sit there, gee-raffe. Gee-raffe watching. Silly gee-raffe.

7pm: Gee-ray-ffe wanna come see Nugget sit on potty. Gee-raffe giving Mommy kisses (mwah-mwah). Gee-raffe giving Daddy kisses (mwah-mwah). Aww, gee-raffe, that's nice.

***This post brought to you by the Nugget's great Uncle K and Aunt B, who graciously gifted us with the first edition giraffe. Giraffe body doubles by eBay and worth every overpriced penny. Giraffe has slept with the Nugget every night and naptime since he was 4 months old.***

Friday, July 30, 2010

Family Reunion - Top 10





Top 10 Memories from our Family Reunion (2010) - by the Nugget

10. Preemptive screaming while I was waiting for my turn on the Tilt-a-Whirl. I enjoyed watching this ride and sitting between my cousin A and her friends M & J. But in my own words, "This ride goes too fast." That practice screaming sure was fun though!

9. Tickles! The adults at this reunion were a constant source of tickles. I happen to like tickles A LOT and will beg for more, "Again, please!" When someone got tired of tickling me, I could solicit any other grown-up for more. It. Was. Awesome.

8. Uncle A played this new game with me. He'd pick me up and pretend to drop me. He always caught me though, I knew he wouldn't let me fall. Uncles are good at that sort of thing.

7. Getting piggyback rides from my big cousins, B and A, and A's friend Z. Walking is so overrated.

6. Playing trains and blocks with cousin M.

5. Telling everyone about airplanes. And coloring airplane pictures for my aunt and cousins. And talking to my Uncle M, who is a real-life pilot! And riding 2 airplanes and "my blue bus" that took us to and from the airport parking lot.

4. Making Mommy and Daddy wade in the Pacific with me. Adults make really funny faces when the water is cold.

3. Playing in the sand. The beach is like a huge, giant sandbox, except there are cool rocks and shells everywhere, and birdies to chase.

2. Playing bullfighter with Papa. I was the bull, and I got to charge Papa's red jacket.

1. Giving goodnight hugs and kisses to my family before bed. There were so many people at the house, that I got to stay up way past by bedtime, just by saying goodnight to everyone!

Family Reunion - 2008 and 2010





We just returned from a wonderful stay on the Oregon Coast. The Nugget's Grandma's branch of the family has an annual reunion. We try to commit to alternate years. So the last time we took the Nugget, he had just turned 1 and was not yet walking. So I posted some pictures from both 2010 and 2008 so you can see the difference in our experience!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Under new management

Hello, Nugget here. I, your adorable despot, am planning to overthrow the parental units. Here is my list of new laws, effective immediately. More to follow, but right now I am working on an army of sand octopi (pictured) to help me with the coup.

1. Parents must not kiss, hug, touch, or look at each other.

2. I get full control over radio stations in the car. In anyone's car. So, driver of red truck next to us, if I say, "I don't like your music," you must change the station, stat.

3. I will receive a master pass to ride all buses, trains, airplanes, and tractors. I will also receive a license to operate all construction machinery.

4. My diet will consist mainly of caramel sauce.

5. Adult conversations will be banned from polite society. Every topic of conversation must pass my approval.

6. I will receive my own (working! real!) cell phone and laptop. I also reserve the right to snatch yours.

7. I will receive a sibling who will be entirely programmable. He/she will carry out my bidding, laugh at all my jokes, and not be at all interested in my toys.

8. I will be permitted to cram play-doh into any crevice of the house I see fit to receive it.

9. I will require my own pony to give me rides in the house. In lieu of pony, I may ride Daddy on demand.

10. Thou shalt not touch my hair or ears. I mean it!