Archives for September 2012

“Fall”ing Into Fun

We really enjoyed creating and completing our Summer To-Do List.  As a planner, I like to, well, plan, and the neurotic achiever in me likes to cross things off and measure progress. Apparently the hubby is being drawn to the dark side because he asked for a “Year 2 List”–aka, what fun things are we going to do in the time before Matty turns 2.  Even that seems excessive to me, but there are some key traditions that I would like to start, and I do LOVE Fall. Enter: The Fall To-Do List. Dun Dun Dunnnn.

Our Family Fall Fun List

1. Dance the Chicken Dance at Oktoberfest (Zinzinnati)

2. Rake Leaves

3. Bake a Pumpkin Pie from Scratch

4. Go Trick-or-Treating

5. Put up a Halloween Tree

6. Decorate a Pumpkin

7. Pick a Pumpkin from a Pumpkin Patch

8. Go to an Apple Festival

9. Make Pinecone Bird Feeders

10. Make Homemade Applesauce

11. Go to a Football Game

12. Donate Goods to a “Drive” (ex. Hats or Canned Food)

I think that list should keep us plenty busy, yet not overwhelmed.  I give us until Thanksgiving, since the Christmas madness begins that day!

Tales From the Crib: Week 52

(1 year of pictures–I’m outty, clowns)

Ode to Joy Birthdays


Hey! If you didn’t read this to the tune of Ode to Joy, go back and try again, Slacker!

Happy Birthday, Lovebug

Dear Matthew,

Happy Birthday, little one.  We are so proud of you. So proud.  Not just for the things that you do, but for who you are.  You are so aware of everyone and everything around you.  You learn so quickly.  You bring joy to everyone who meets you.

Your personality shines through more and more each day.  You’re impatient and easily frustrated (sorry, you get that from Mommy), but you’re also persistent, independent and easily amused (you get that from Mommy, too! You’re welcome.)  You love to be around people, make new friends, and you kiss, hug, and snuggle like the best (You get that from Daddy!).  You bounce back quickly from set-backs and you don’t let anything keep you down long (Again, that’s Daddy.) You also are apparently able to snort milk out of your nose, which you also get from your Father (Sorry.)

But you have bits of personality that are uniquely “you.”  You’re so silly. You love to be outside exploring.  You notice small details. You’re so very, very sweet.  Just yesterday, you crawled over and gave me the lightest kiss on my cheek to wake me up in the morning, with a big smile on your face.  I hope these are all things you hold onto as grow up.  You also apparently have something against sleep.  I think you’ll ditch this by the time you hit 14 or so.

We hope you had a wonderful first year of life.  We’ve enjoyed every minute of you (ok, enjoyed might not be the best word for acid reflux, two-hour night wakings, and that first temper tantrum you threw in the store last week, but we enjoy you.)

Love you always,

Mommy & Daddy

Summer To-Do List Report Card

Well, although Summer isn’t officially over, it’s time to embrace “Back to School”, which is apparently it’s own holiday nowadays.  So in the true spirit of things, this is where I get to grade Mommy and Daddy on their efforts in making this the best Summer of my life (teheehee–the ONLY Summer of my life…).

1. Picnic on the Grass, A

2. Swim in the Ocean, A+

We went to Jamaica–need I say more?

3. Play in the Sand, A+

Jamaica, Mexico, Grand Cayman…now that’s sand…

4. Ride the Train at the Zoo, B

I went to the zoo.  There was no train-riding.  This may or may not have been my fault.  I do remember something about running around like a wild-banshee until I got  taken home.  However, Mommy could have stuck it out and attempted a train ride, no? I was going to give a grade of “C”, but then I remember I got to touch a snake, and that’s totally worth a letter grade increase.

5. Visit a Park We’ve Never Been To, A+

We ended up at LOTS of parks we’ve never been to, and we went LOTS of times.  One even had a water feature.  Above and beyond the call of duty there, Mom.

6. Play Games at the Fair, A+

We went to the fair 3 times! And we went to 2 different fairs. And I even got to ride a horsey–twice!

7. Do a Good Deed…or Two…or Three, B

We only did 2, Mom. 2. Slacker.

8. Make Popsicles, F

We didn’t make popsicles at all. In Mommy’s defense, I don’t actually like popsicles, but I bet we could have had fun trying.

9. Hike in the Woods, C

Those were scary woods. With big bugs. And she woke me up from my nap.

10. Paint a Picture, A

I wasn’t a fan. Too messy. But, we had a variety of colors and painting utensils. And Mommy painted me a picture for my room. The effort was there.

11. Have a Lemonade Stand at a Garage Sale, A+

Best Lemonade Stand EVER. Holla!

12. Feed the Ducks, A+

Ok. We didn’t actually get to feed the ducks. But some old lady chased the geese out of our way and whacked ’em with her cane, and that my friends, is a win in my book.

13. Plant a Garden, A

Oh, Mom. It pains me to give you this grade.  You see, you didn’t qualify–you just said plant it.  You didn’t stipulate by WHEN you had to plant it or that it had to actually grow.  I suppose planting your crop in JUNE and then NOT WATERING IT does actually count.

14. Visit a Farm, A

We didn’t actually visit a farm, but we did see lots and lots of animals, which was the point. And did I mention I got to touch a snake?! And ride a horse? Twice?! Oh, and a Kangaroo!

15. Blow BIG Bubbles, A+

2 Words: Bubble. Gun.

16. Make Ice Blocks, A

Oh, again, Mom. It pains me to award such a high grade for a total fail, but the thought was there.

17. Buy Fresh Food at a Farmer’s Market, A+

Mommy gets the “plus” only because Aunt Amy & Uncle David came, too.

18. Attend a Class or Group Activity, A+

Swimmy class was SO fun!

19. Go Camping, C

Mommy tried. Daddy was a woman. This is what happened.

20. Have a BBQ Party, A

I had fun. Too bad only Aunt Amy & Uncle Dave showed up on time.  Way to be my rock, Aunt Amy.

21. Catch Lightening Bugs, C

Umm…we didn’t have any. For reals. We tried.  As a consolation, Mommy let me eat a bug of my choosing.  Okay, okay, maybe let is too strong a word…

22. Do a Family Photo-Shoot, F

They don’t love me. They don’t even want to have their picture taken with me.  Maybe the Jolie-Pitts will adopt me.  I could fit in well there.

Oh wait! I lied. No, no. I was mistaken. Guess that’s an A+, too then.

23. Visit With Aunt Kristin and Uncle Jason, A

They came to our house!  But I had to share my room and toys.

24. Build a Sensory Play Box, A

Apparently Mommy thinks this would be a better Winter activity. So although she did it, I only got to experience it once.  We did a nature box.


25. Make a New “Summer Treat” Recipe, A

We made lots of treats.  But did you know they make Pina Colada marshmallows?  And strawberry marshmallows?  They do! So we made some delicious smores on the fire pit this Summer.  And Grandma snuck me some special treats, but I’m not supposed to talk about that…

23/25.  Not too shabby, Parents. Not too Shabby.  Especially when we did some activities multiple times and we did lots of other activities, like playing in the hose, going to festivals, having game nights, going to Grandma’s, playing water table, and adopting a kitty. Oh, and there’s that whole going out of the country on a cruise thing.  That was pretty awesome.

Overall, I have to rate my first Summer experience as excellent.  I can’t wait to see what they have planned for, oh I don’t know, the rest of my life?

Tales From the Crib: Week 51

My crazy parental units are at it again.  One minute I’m enjoying a nice rendition of Llama Llama Red Pajama, which led to Mommy deciding to build me a fort, then the next thing I know, this happens:

Why, yes. Daddy and I did build a tent in the house.  You see, our Summer To-Do List included camping.  Apparently, Daddy has never been camping.  Apparently, Daddy is afraid of drunks and wild animals at campsites (in that order).  Apparently, we have to camp in the backyard if we want Daddy to accompany us on our camping adventure.  So after some twisting of Mommy’s arm, we moved the tent outside…in the pouring rain.

Daddy had grand plans to grill out for our camping adventure, but the rain put a “damp”er on that (did you see what I did there?! lol).  So Mommy went off to get PIZZA! Pizza! OMG. Did you know pizza is food of the Gods?  It is.  I only know because I SNATCHED a piece when the crazies weren’t looking.  Apparently, they weren’t planning on giving me pizza. Clowns.

I ate the whole piece. Now, whenever Mommy asks me what I want for breakfast, I answer “juice pizza”.  Weird, I know.  I don’t really get either of those things ever. A baby has to try.

But back to the camping adventure catastrophe.  Daddy lugged all the blankets and pillow out there, but only put one thin blanket on the ground to sleep on.  This just wouldn’t do.  It HAS to  be 1.) Thick Mattress 2.) Memory Foam Mattress Pad 3.) Mommy in Soft Cotton Jammies 4. THEN Me.  Since I was missing numbers 1 & 2 in my sleeping arrangements, we moved the party BACK into the house and into the big bed.

It was a good thing cause we had to get up early to go to Grandma’s house.  I got left. Mommy and Daddy went to Kings Island.  DID I MENTION I’M NEGLECTED?!

This must have been the week of catastrophes:

Exhibit A: The Baby in the Paint Catastrophe

I got banished to flooring duty with Daddy instead.

Exhibit B: The Baby in the Paper Towels Catastrophe

I wouldn’t classify this as a weekly catastrophe–more like a daily catastrophe. Bwahaha.  Mmm…paper.

Exhibit C: The Mommy-Pinterest Fail Catastrophe

Oh, make ice blocks she says. It will be fun she says.  Rush things and use regular food coloring…and stain the floor and the baby rainbow colors.  Not one of your finer moments, Mom. (Though I did enjoy the frozen Mr. Potato Head parts into the ice blocks–so funny.)

Not even 1 year old, and capable of so much craziness.  I deserve a medal.

Tales From the Crib: Week 50

I’m the vascular cambium!  Lol for all of my botany friends.

We went on picnic this week.  Auntie Angela and Kat met us.  It was stellar.  Kat pushed me on the swings–she pushes me high, unlike these clown adults.  I have a feeling we’re going to be great friends, that gal and I.

(OOh, what’d you get, Daddy? All I got was a crusty baguette.)

(Wait, tell me more, Auntie Angela.  So, I just shred my Daddy’s car tires and I get new playground mulch?  Would you like to  come over this weekend and help me?)

I learned a new word–“down”.  As in, “Matty, get DOWN from the couch.” “Matty, get DOWN from the bed.” “DOWN. DOWN. DOWN. We don’t climb on chairs.” Maybe you don’t climb on chairs, Mom, but I do. Bwahahaha.

I’ve also learned how to use all of toys. Like buckets.

Man, I crack myself up.

Tales From the Crib: Week 49

I lost. Mommy went back to work this week. For like a whole 10 hours/week.  Child neglect, I tell ya.  Miss Hayley still comes to play with me on Mondays while Mommy is gone.  She’s my girlfriend.  She just doesn’t know it yet.  Miss Shelby and her little man comes to play with me on Wednesdays. I’m still not sure how I feel about this situation.  I’ll keep you apprised.

In other news (okay okay, it’s not news–just everyday normal), my slacker parents have realized Summer is almost over and we still have Summer To-Do List items to get done.

Like Painting (Not a fan. Why make a deliberate mess?)

And Hiking (Not a fan. Not when there’s a perfectly good playground steps away anyway.)

Wait? Summer is almost over? How did that happen?  Does that mean the cold, white stuff is coming again soon?

Upcycled: Cardboard Box Play Barn & Farmyard

We’ve been working on animals and animal sounds around here, mostly farm animals.  So it was only appropriate that we get a barn.  However, spending $40-$120 just seemed absurd.

Enter stage-right:

For the base, I used a tri-fold board–24″x36″.  That was a little happy accident, since 12″x12″ scrapbook paper fits those dimensions with no cutting.  I used patterned paper for a bit of flair, and cut out a pond for future ducks and a mud puddle for the piggies.  A little paint, a whole lot of Modge Podge, and a raid of my scrapbook paper completed the look.

Well, okay, it wasn’t complete without the animals.  I originally bought the Animal Planet brand animals, but once I opened the packaging, I was so overwhelmed with that delightful chemical/plastic smell that I threw the bag across the room away from the grasp of the wee-one.  After some Googling, I found out that Animal Plant brand contains high levels of lead in addition to PVC, BPA, etc., etc., etc.  No thanks.  So we went with the Schleich brand–I couldn’t find much on the company’s website except that they hold to the highest manufacturing standards…not helpful.  I did find this post which pretty much sums up my feelings on the topic, and it also helps that she personally tested 200 Schleich figurines with no detection of lead.  So we whipped out some leftover giftcards and got:

1. 1 Cow
2. 1 Horse
3. 1 Mommy Pig
4. 1 Baby Pig

For $28 bucks or so. Yikes.  But I’m sure they’ll get lots of use, make it through multiple kiddos, and have good resale potential.
Best of all, all the animals and accessories get tossed in the barn for storage, and the base folds up nice and neat.  I have plans to create other nature-scapes using the same process for other sets of animals, like Arctic animals or desert animals.

This is Matty’s birthday present, so let’s hope he likes it as much as Mommy and Daddy do!