Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Rabid Badger

The Nugget has an alter ego I like to call The Rabid Badger.  The Rabid Badger surfaces during a hair cut, toenail trimming, eye drops, and any sort of first aid situation.  Basically any extreme hygiene measures, and you are risking TRB making an appearance.  The Rabid Badger is 46 pounds of solid muscle with a fighting spirit driven by equal parts rage and fear.  While the Nugget has decent logic and reasoning skills for a 4yo boy, TRB has only the instinct to survive.  You are not allowed to call animal control to assist you with TRB.  Hubby is basically no help at all once the transformation to TRB is complete; if anything happens to me, the Nugget will probably grow toenail claws and will walk around with permanent pinkeye.

You can identify the transition from giggly charming Nugget to Rabid Badger by the escalated crying/screeching.  Then the limbs all start flailing wildly, and you WILL get nailed in the eyeball or throat.  You can't really blame TRB though, because it does not have control of its faculties.  TRB also releases copious amounts of snot and tears which will wind up on your shirt and your hair and serves to make TRB extra slippery.  You can't let TRB win, because that will only increase its strength, so the only option is to wrassle it, whisper sweet nothings to it, bribe it, and try to complete the hygiene measures as swiftly as possible, while dodging its ninja kicks to your head.

Once the hygiene is completed, The Rabid Badger quickly reverts to Nugget form, kind of like Bruce Banner coming down off Hulk rage.  Loopy giggles and a hug ensue, then the Nugget will ask, "Why are you so tired?  I'm all done!  I was so brave!"  The Nugget will be suddenly energized and bouncing off the walls in relief that the hygiene did not actually kill him, and you will feel like you've been run over by a tractor trailer.

I say this because before parenthood, I thought skinned knees were just a part of childhood, easily cured by a kiss and a cool band aid.  The Nugget is the one child on earth who fears band aids.  I fought TRB 3 times yesterday when the Nugget fell 3 times and kept skinning the same knee.  And right now, I am copping out and searching for youth-sized knee pads to keep TRB at bay.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Walk this way

The Nugget has developed a new habit this summer.  He will tug up on the hem of his shorts until they look like basketballs shorts from the 70's (holy cow, I wasn't even looking for Will Ferrell this time, and there he was...freaky) and walk around, usually when he's thinking.  To be fair, most brands make boys' shorts so long that they are practically mid-calf, so maybe the fabric rubs in an awkward spot.  I don't think he was even aware he was doing it until I asked him what he was doing with his shorts.  He looked down, shrugged, and replied nonchalantly, "This is just how I walk now."

The Nugget borrowed a children's hip hop dvd from the library, and he has a new love.  There are also some tap segments featured, and he is walking around the house with a shuffle-shuffle-stomp.  I think we'll have to try this project soon.

Pictured, our first blueberry picking outing of the summer.  Note the blueberry colored outfit - I've finally got the hang of color-coordinating outfits to potential stains.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

DIY Thank Yous

I have been creating most of my own thank you notes for a few years now.  Usually I download free clip art and a fun font to create a little insignia for the Nugget.  This time, I opted for a more hands-on approach.  Here's a quick tutorial for the easy bunting thank you's I made for the Nugget's purple party.

The supplies:
1 sheet purple polka dotted scrapbook paper.  (would also be cute with 2 or 4 different patterns that coordinate with your party)
white cardstock
A2 envelopes (I use the 40% off coupon at JoAnn's)
glue stick
glitter gel pen
paper cutter

1.  I sliced the cardstock into quarters.
2.  Then I cut a 1" strip of purple paper.  Using scissors, I snipped the strip into triangles to make the pennants.
3.  I glued 4 pennants in a semicircle and used the gel pen to make the "string".  I also wrote a "4" in the center of each pennant, per Grammy's expert crafting advice.  Grammy also had the (too late) suggestion to make 2 loops of bunting, which would have been cuter.  Next time!
4.  We printed wallet sized photos of Nugget and Cabbage to tuck into each thank you.

If you want to go the extra mile, you can buy extra scrapbook paper, and line the envelopes.

Friday, July 22, 2011


We went for a nature walk and saw a chipmunk cross our path.  It squealed, "Chip!" and scurried into the bushes.  The Nugget laughed for a full minute, then asked why it ran away.  I told him that the chipmunk thought we might try to eat it, and the Nugget thoughtfully countered, "We don't eat chipmunks.  Just chips."

The Nugget was playing hide and seek. When I found him, I pretended that I wasn't sure it was him at first, a game he adores.  Then he called Daddy in for a second opinion, so I reported my findings.
M:  Here's how you can tell it's a Nugget.  First of all, you can look at its toes, and it has the very finest toes.  Also, it has a belly button...
N:  And its belly button is surprised, like this!  (stretches his belly button gently) And the belly button says, "Ooo!  I'm so surprised!"  And that's how you can tell I'm a Nugget.

A common Nugget saying these days is, "Why did I do that?"  Usually after he does something incredibly silly or bizarre.  We tell him that he's the only one who knows, but that doesn't seem to satisfy him.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Stats at 4:
46 pounds
46 inches

Top 10 Challenges of 4
10.  You constantly beg for definitions and it's typical to hear,"Why?" over a dozen times before breakfast.

9.  You are still pretty skittish around loud noises.  I have to carry your Peltors with us nearly anytime we leave the house.  If there is a noise that concerns you and I don't have your headgear, you plant your feet like a stubborn donkey and let out a bloodcurdling screech. 

8.  You are starting to balk at putting away your toys.  I have to constantly come up with clever tricks to persuade you to participate in keeping our floors clear.  

7.  You have a mind like a steel trap, which means we have to be very cautious about what we say, what we promise, and what you might overhear.  

6.  You want to constantly go and do.  You're not so content with the idea of downtime, although you need it just as much as your parental units.  You express much displeasure if I don't have a specific plan for an adventure in the morning.  (Definitely my fault since one of my parenthood goals was creating daily fun adventures.)

5.  You are starting to understand stealth and falsehood.  I accept that it's an important part of growing up and that it's a sign of intelligence, but let's just say that I have to sniff your hands to make sure they have been washed with soap and that you haven't just been running the water in the sink.

4.  Peer pressure is proving to be an effective force in your life.  Your teachers describe you as a very easygoing kid who likes everyone, and that also means that you go with the flow.  Awesome when that means using the toilet or lining up for outside time.  Not so awesome when that includes hopping over a fence or running with giant pointy sticks.

3.  The hitting has mostly stopped (unless you are defending yourself or mimicking another), but it has been replaced with screaming/crying when you feel you've been wronged.  I'll still take the verbal assault over the physical though :)

2.  The whining has officially started.  It tends to escalate during important phone calls of course.

1.  You are all done with your naps/quiet times.  You stopped taking a true nap nearly a year ago, but now I can't even give you an hour of quiet time in your room or you don't fall asleep at night.

Top 10 Memories of 4
10.  You sing pop music and children's songs all the time.  You know a lot of the lyrics but aren't afraid to make up your own either.

9.  At bedtime now, you choose 1-3 "things" for me, and usually 5 things for Daddy.  A "thing" might be a tickle, a pound it, a neeeoum (pound it with airplane sound effect), a high five, a high five-pound it combination, a smooch, nuzzle noses, etc.  Then we yell to each other, "Bye-bye!  Sweet dreams!" as I walk down the steps.  As Daddy walks down the steps, the two of you have this exchange, verbatim, each night:
N:  Are you gonna sleep with me?
D:  No, my bed is downstairs.
N:  Why is your bed downstairs?
D:  Because the mommy-daddy room is downstairs.
N:  Why?
D:  Because they thought it was a good idea.
N:  Why?
D:  Because it was something different.
N:  Why?
D:  Because sometimes the mommy-daddy room is upstairs.
N:  Yeah and sometimes downstairs.  And Daddy?  The baby's room is on the right, and my room is on the left.
D:  Ok.  Goodnight.
N:  (yelling) Good night.  Sweet dreams!
D:  Sweet dreams!

8.  You help select your outfit for the next day.  I pull 2 tops and a coordinating bottom or vice versa, and you choose.  You add underpants and socks all by yourself.  You are in love with 5 pairs of purple socks we have found from various sources.  You can't possibly appreciate how hard it is to find purple socks that are not ruffly, but I scout every store frequently to keep you stocked in violet socks.  When all the purple socks are in the laundry, there is much despair but you can sometimes be convinced to wear the red ones.

7.  You can fasten your buckle sandals and put on your velcro shoes all by yourself.  You are learning to master laces - I think you be an early shoe-tier.  You can be trusted to put your excrement in the proper receptacle 99.99% of the time, hooray!

6.  You are starting to love arts and crafts, but you have to be "in the mood". You can delicately apply a dot of glue to paper, string a bead on a necklace, or dip a paintbrush in water then dab it in your new watercolor box to create a sleek streak of purple on a page.  And yes, in every single media, from colored pencils, to markers, to paints, to crayons, to sidewalk chalk, the purple is best loved and worn quickly to the nub.

5.  You read out loud to your loveys, reciting books word-for-word from memory, or just narrating the pictures.

4.  You bounce seamlessly from one activity to the next.  You are mixing up something delicious in your pretend kitchen, you spy the dog out in the backyard, and instantly you are a dog barking and jumping at the front door.  The "dog" chases his stuffed bunny, then the bunny falls and gets an "owie", so the dog morphs into a veterinarian checking the bunny and proffering a plastic bandaid.  Then you want to try the bandaid on me, then you want me to put on my bracelet.  Then you want to try on my bracelet.  It goes on this way until we have to break for lunch or until I notice that every single toy is on the floor and I call for a 5 minute pickup.  I feel a little like I'm living If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

3.  One of your favorite things to do is cook or bake.  If you're not helping me whisk up a batch of muffins, pitting cherries, husking corn, or setting the table, you can often be found at your toy kitchen, mixing, microwaving, and chopping with your wood knife, calling out order numbers.

2.  You are quick to say, "Oh, I'm sorry," or offer comfort with a hug or a reassuring pat.

1.  You are such a dancer.  You crack us up by busting a move anywhere, anytime.  You are just as apt to jam along to the car radio as you are to spontaneously jig while out to eat.  I can't wait to see what you do with your dancing skills - will you save them for showing off at the Homecoming dance or will they be a part of your or career?  Either way, dance on, Nugget!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cabbage gets appetized

The second big event of our Ohio weekend was Cabbage's baptism.  Poor Cabbage was a good sport for most of the ceremony, but since the baptism happened right over her usual napping time, she started objecting vociferously during the second half.  The Nugget was worried about her and repeatedly turned to me and said, "Cabbage doesn't want to get appetized."

Pictures by my talented brother T.


July 17 is a very special day for our family.  Both Nugget and Cabbage chose this date to make their debuts into the world.  Often we ponder and marvel at the odds for Grammy and Grandpa to have 2 grandchildren with the very same birthdate.  And this weekend, I wondered if being birthday buddies has given Nugget and Cabbage some sort of special cousin connection, because they are hooked on each other.  An arm-grabbing, face-scratching incident aside, they were pretty much a Hallmark movie all weekend.

Sweet Nugget-Cabbage Moments:
8.  At the party when one of the other babies took a toy from Cabbage's hands, the Nugget sallied forth to her rescue, "No, we DO NOT grab from Baby Cabbage!  Cabbage was playing with that."  This moment became less sweet as he then decided to regard this baby with suspicion the entire rest of the party, and I had to keep shooing him away from her.  (I think it's clear that Uncle J will be able to borrow him to intimidate Cabbage's future suitors.)
7.  Grammy took the kids for a walk, with Nugget pushing Cabbage in the stroller.
6.  The Nugget gave the Cabbage a tutorial on how to operate one of her new toys for almost half an hour.
5.  "I'm going to teach Cabbage how to scamper."
4.  Holding hands (pictured)
3.  They took turns tickling each other and laughing hysterically
2.  Cabbage pulled up on Nugget's chair while he was watching a video and tapped him on the shoulder with her tiny index finger.  He turned around with a big grin to find her grinning back.
1.  After we left, the Nugget said, "I think Baby Cabbage misses me.  Hopefully we'll get to see her next time."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Daddy and Friends

I came out of the office last night and found Hubby reading with Joe, James, and Sheep.  I just love parenthood on him!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Submarine Party

The Nugget treated a few friends to fun at the waterpark this weekend.  We got very lucky with the weather (thanks, St. Clare of Assisi).  At first, I was wishing we'd had a bigger budget to include more friends, but it was a blessing in disguise.  Relaxing instead of overwhelming.  I didn't take as many pictures as I'd hoped, but captured a few sweet moments.  The Nugget turned to me several times and declared, "This is such a special fun day!"

I showed you the party favors and invitations.  I tied the rest of the theme together with Rice Krispie subs, yellow and white striped paper cups (and an aqua Sharpie for writing names on them), blue and yellow polka dot napkins, cupcakes in yellow papers, orange sprinkles, and the blue and white striped flags, and orange fish table scatter.  The food was sort of themed too, though I worried more about keeping it cold and fresh vs. making it pretty:  orange shark shaped crackers, orange cheddar cheese, yellow lemonade, blueberries, etc.

One of the best things about this park is that you can bring in your own food.  We borrowed a big cooler from a friend and toted in our own cherries, blueberries, watermelon, yogurt, cheese, ham, crackers, Pirate Booty, pasta salad, Rice Krispie submarines, cupcakes, and drinks...it all fit in 2 large coolers and 1 medium soft-sided cooler bag.  I chose very grab and go food that was mostly utensil-less for kidlets who wanted to just fuel up and get back in the pool.  Instead of trying to deal with toting ice cream, we called ahead to find out how much cash we'd need to treat each little guest to a popsicle.  No organized games, just fun in the water, and the lifeguard whistle breaks provided the perfect times to do food/cake and gifts.  I love creating mellow kids' parties, so it was all fun and no stress (except that I misplaced the first batch of toothpick flags the night before, so I had to make a fresh batch - but no worries because the second batch was cuter!).  So grateful for the friends who were able to help us celebrate the Nugget!

Rice Krispie Subs - inspired by these Twinkie subs
1.  Prepare Rice Krispie treats according to instructions.
2.  Instead of pouring them into a pan to cool, quickly butter your hands and grab a handful.  Shape into a sub - a potato shape, with a flat bottom.  Set each sub on a Silpat-lined cookie sheet to cool.
3.  Squish 3 m&m's into the sub to create windows.  I did windows on just one side.  If I'd had more time, I might have used Royal Icing to glue them on - the marshmallow did hold, but I had to restick them several times.  If you don't like the idea of m&m's or are allergic to chocolate, you could use large quins.
4.  Trim bendy straws and push into the tops to create periscopes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Nugget 2 Strip...Is that like Boyz 2 Men?

While Nugget is an alias I use for the blog, it is also a nickname we use in real life.  I hadn't intended on giving our son a random nickname, but when I laid eyes on him for the first time, he was so much bigger and softer than I had imagined, all compact in the way newborns curl up, I turned to Hubby and said, "Oh my, he's such a big Nugget!"  And his Tummy Mummy claimed to have a craving for McNuggets throughout her pregnancy with him, so Nugget just seemed fitting.

Yesterday, we were playing a silly game in the car, where the Nugget calls out a series of words, and I call back to him.  (Backstory:  At one restaurant we frequent, the Nugget has a choice between chicken nuggets or chicken strips.  Lately, he's been choosing the strips.)

N:  Oh, Mommy.
M:  Oh, Nugget.  (I really said Nugget, not his name.)
N:  Oh, Strip.
M:  (pause)  Huh?  Oh, do you mean like a chicken strip?
N:  Yes.  Oh, Nugget.  Oh, Strip.  I'm not a Nugget anymore, I'm a Strip.  And you're a Strip.  And Daddy's a Strip.  We are a family of Strips.

Pictured, the Nugget turns a basket into the world's tallest fez.  If I can just get him to pose like this, the Will Ferrell resemblance continues.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th

What did you do for the holiday weekend?  Our summers in the Midwest have so much to offer; it's hard to choose what to do and where to go on any given weekend.  We took advantage of the sunshine and headed back to the U-pick farm to harvest our own crop of raspberries.  Last year, we went on opening raspberry day and were disappointed that the red berries were few and far between.  This year, I held out until week 3, and these berries did not disappoint.  They were soft, sweet, and plentiful.  Froze a big batch, made fruit pizza, and raspberry pie, but my favorite way to enjoy them are fresh with oatmeal for breakfast.

Our local 4H fair started this weekend, so we decided to make it part of our holiday celebration.  Decked out the Nugget in red and blue, snuck full water bottles into our backpack, and shelled out cash for freshly squeezed lemonade and a fistful of ride tickets.  The Nugget remembered the bumper boats from last year; as we were walking into the fair, he said, "I think there are boats here, and I will want to ride them please." He spun his in a tight circle over and over again, oblivious to the other children cruising around the giant pool.  His favorite ride this year was definitely the motorcycle.   He was in "hog" heaven on his sparkly ride

There were also plenty of tractors, both modern and antique.  The Nugget spied this huge one, and kept repeating, "Look how big it is!  I can't believe it!  I can't believe it!"  Hubby marveled, "Nugget, you could lie down inside that wheel, it's that big," and quickly had to retract his statement, "I mean, you can't...you just could...I mean, get out of there please."

 The Nugget pretends to be a rescue dog.
The Nugget starting to freak out because his hands are sticky.

We loved having a bonus weekend day and used it to hit our local state park again.  This time, we remembered to bring sand toys, goggles, and a new foam noodle (purple, of course!).  We had just enough energy and drinking water left to explore one of the park's playgrounds.  It was a Norman Rockwell kind of weekend.

Now, the boy is freshly bathed and tucked into his bed.  The swimsuits have gotten a (Woolite) bath too and are drying on the line.  I'm experimenting with milkmaid braids in my hair and contemplating a fresh coat of polish for my nails instead of putting away the Easter egg wreath that I noticed is still hanging on the office door.  Happy 4th!

Friday, July 1, 2011


 Salt Water Swimmers
Lands' End Action Sandals

I have never been much of a shoe person, but I have to admit that I am really getting addicted to little boy shoes.  The Nugget wears through and grows out of shoes quickly, and I like to get the best value.  I've posted shoe reviews before (RIP Vincent Shoes), so here's a sandal review for you!  

My new favorites are Salt Water Swimmers.  These are leather sandals that inexplicably can be worn in water and go right to church afterwards.  The originals have a cult following, but I opted for the Swimmers, which have a more flexible, supportive sole for growing feet.  This particular style is unisex, which is great if you have boy-girl sibs and want your investment to last.  A side benefit is that the Nugget has learned to fasten buckles, a lost childhood skill in the age of Velcro.  The leather looks like it might be stiff or rough-edged when you see them online, but in person, those straps are very soft.  My only complaint is that there are no half-sizes, so the Nugget's pair is a little big (but will last all summer).  I've always felt like I need a water sandal and a dress sandal for the Nugget, and from here on out, I'll just stick with one pair of Salt Waters, yay!

If you prefer the look of a fisherman sandal, you can't go wrong with Pediped's Sydney.  We had the now discontinued Noah style, but the Sydney looks just as cushy and easy for little hands to put on and take off, "All by self!"  Closed toes provide a bit more protection for the playground.  Pediped carries similar styles available for pre-walkers and new walkers.  These are not water-friendly though; you'll need something else for the beach.

If you like sandals strictly for poolside and water play (no dress up required), check out the *Lands' End Action Sandal (already on sale).  The price will continue to drop throughout the summer, and if you wait until September, you should be able to snag a pair for $12.99.  I like that the straps can easily adjust to fit both narrow and wider feet (the Nugget is on the wide side), and they are easy to rinse off.  They have plenty of traction on the bottom for slippery pool decks, and I have the Nugget keep them on for wading at the beach to protect against sharp shell fragments.  If you hate paying shipping, go to Sears and order from their kiosk.  They will ship directly to you, but without any shipping fee.  Or if you're lucky, the store will have your size, sometimes cheaper than online.

For new walkers, I recommend the *Teva Psyclone.  The straps both peel all the way off, so you can lift the soft Neoprene flap completely up, set that teeny foot with the curling toes down on the sole, then strap'er in snugly.   

*These two sandals are treated with Microban (triclosan), which studies are now showing to be a hormone disrupter in lab animals and may contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  Just another thing to agonize over.