Thursday, January 31, 2008

My #1 made #2

As some of you know, I have been fairly successful at getting Liam to go #1 in the potty for some time now. However, he's only gone #2 in the potty once - and that was several months ago. Yesterday, Liam went over to the potty and started to open it. I asked him if he had to go and he shook his head yes. I set him on it and waited...a few minutes later he signed "all done" and got up. To my immense surprise and pleasure, he had gone #2 in the potty! Hooray! One less poopy diaper to wash!!! I hope we can make a habit out of this!

Today Sean stayed home from work so that I could get my Upper GI scan done in the morning. Before we left for playgroup, Liam and I "sewed" a Valentines heart together. I was surprised at how well he held the plastic needle and threaded it through the holes in the heart that I made with a hole punch. He decorated it with crayons and some heart stickers. Here he is with the finished project.

Later at playgroup, Liam got to play with dump trucks and cars. He had a blast crashing them and filling their beds with playdough. This evening, we all enjoyed play with our playdough after dinner. Daddy made a kitty cat for Liam. Here's a short video of him playing with it. You can hear him say "kitty" and "ut-oh" when it falls apart.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Two more critters

Last night and this morning I finished two more critters to add to the finger puppet menagerie, a bunny and bear. Now I have five puppets to hide in Easter eggs for Liam...I can hardly wait!

Liam was rather testy today. He's working on getting another molar right now. His two-year molars seem to be much slower to come in than the rest of his teeth. We are all anxiously awaiting the arrival of these teeth though...I know the poor guy is miserable, but he's driving the rest of us crazy in the process!

I tried taking him to story time at the library this morning, but he just wasn't ready to sit still. He whined and cried, and so I scurried out feeling quite embarrassed that my kiddo wouldn't behave for a story. Oh, well! At least he stayed pretty happy while we shopped at the thrift store. I came prepared with apple slices and cheerios for him to nosh on while I looked for some shirts and pants for him and some jeans for me. I am happy to report that the trip was a great success!

Monday, January 28, 2008

A CUP half full

This morning Liam and I went to make the down payment for the daycare that we decided to send him to. I was relieved that they still had the opening for him (we've had problems at other places). BTW: To get you up to speed, I should tell you that I've applied for a fulltime job. It's in my field and pays pretty well, so I am hoping that I get it. This is why I have been so preoccupied with daycare centers. Liam got to play with the other kids for about a half and hour, while I talked to the teachers in his room. There are five other boys and one little girl in that room. Unfortunately, one of the boys is actually named figures!

Overall, I like the teachers' approach to learning and discipline. I think it will be a really good place for him (see my post from last Thursday - we picked daycare center number 1). Probably my only concern is that they seem to overfeed the kiddos during snack time. All the little boys had big pot bellies. I hope that this doesn't happen to Liam. They also tend to get pretty messy at daycare. Nobody wears a bib at meals, and there are lots of messy craft activities. The teaches advised me to send him with several changes of clothes and not to send him in good clothes either...hmm...I think we'll go thrifting tomorrow!

We spent the rest of our morning at the local NINO group meeting. After all that good playtime, Liam crashed and took a long nap this afternoon. At dinner time Liam used a real cup with his meal. He is getting pretty good about not spilling it everywhere.

Crafty Crafts

The past few days have been pretty quite. I've been on a knitting spree and have finished a number of projects. My latest thing is knitting toys for Liam. I made this really cool puzzle ball for his Easter basket. It's constructed from 12 knitted pieces that are stuffed and sewn together. The finished ball is about 9 inches in diameter.

I am also making a number of finger puppets for Easter too. I am proud to say that these guys are my own design. So far I have a white tiger, elephant, and yellow cat done. I also plan to make a bear and a bunny rabbit. I know my choice of animals is pretty random, but I'm limited to whatever scraps of yarn I have around the house. (I'd be happy to share the pattern if anyone is interested.)

I also made this simple ball for him to play with now. It's about 6 inches in diameter. I added bells inside when I stuffed it, so it jiggles when Liam throws it around. I'm really digging making things for him to play with!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Do, do, do, dough...

Today was just about a perfect day. Liam woke happy and stayed that way all day long. He was all smiles and giggles. He played happily in the morning while I did some chores. He ate a big breakfast of cheerios, an apple, and half of my bagel. We played some music and colored. Then he had fun at playgroup (and no tantrums at leaving). Today they had a small slide, which he absolutely adored. He spent much of his time going down the slide, and also painted a little, played with play dough, and knocked over blocks.

Afterwards, we went to the farmers market for lentils and some fresh chicken. Liam loves it there because all the vendors shower him with attention and goodies. We ate a small lunch of dill-feta pies and an apricot tart, before heading home. Liam took an astonishing 3+ hour nap! I was so surprised...because he never naps that long. On the plus side, I accomplished quite a lot in those three hours, including: finishing the knitted ball I am making him for easter, washing two loads of laundry, unpackinand reorganizing about 10 boxes of stuff in the basement, and tidying up in the basement.

He woke up just before daddy came home. We decided to go out to dinner at Zeus' cafe. Liam and I split one of their huge dinners. He nearly finished an entire plate of mac and cheese all by himself and begged some lamb and fish off of daddy and I too. After a quick stop at the grocery, we came home.

I decided to finally make some play dough this evening. It was fairly quick and easy to do. And see that container of Morton salt...I bought that container when Sean and I got married almost eight years ago! I finally finished it off tonight making play dough. We certainly don't have a high sodium diet, huh?! I think the dough came out very pretty. I colored it with Koolaid, as suggested by the playgroup facilitator who gave me the recipe. It smells yummy like berries, oranges, and limes.

Because he napped so late, Liam stayed up a little later than usual. But he didn't get whinny like he often does in the evening. Instead he busied himself making a huge mess of all his wooden puzzles in the living room. He dumped them all in a heap on the floor, along with his wooden train track, and finished the pile off with a sprinkling of cereal that I gave him for a snack...sigh...but it was still a great day!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids

I had to mention that I am reading this really awesome book called "Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids: Practical Ways to Create a Calm Happy Home" by Naomi Drew. I checked out the book from the local Le Leche League meeting that Liam and I attended on Wednesday. So far I've only read Chapter 1, but it really resonates with me. I have been struggling lately - with all the misforntune in my family - so it is good to have a reminder of how to center myself as a parent. The basic concept of the book is that you have to resolve your stresses as a parent, before you can have a peaceful family life. The author advocates taking time for yourself and has several journaling activities to help you with this task, such as defining your highest priorties for your children.

Bringing winter indoors

Whew, where has the week gone?! I can't believe it's Thursday already. We have all gotten accustomed to my new work schedule. Liam and daddy have there time to hang out together in the evenings. Meanwhile, Liam and I have spent our days looking at daycare centers and going to playgroups.

Today was especially eventful. We visited two potential "schools" for Liam. The first one was outstanding! They had multiple classrooms for toddlers and preschoolers, a wonderful curriculum, art project hanging everywhere, a gym for the kids to play in twice a day, and the teachers were all very involved and friendly. I would love to send Liam there. The only problem is that it's quite expensive. The second center made me want to run screaming. It was super clean...almost sterile in fact. There were few toys for the kids, they provide all meals (no outside food was allowed), and the teachers seemed uninterested and clinical (they even wore scrubs). Both centers had openings, it's just a matter of making a decision before the openings are filled. Decisions, decisions...

After our tours, Liam and I went to our usual Thursday playgroup. This time it was really small; there were only three kiddos and parents (including Liam and I)! That didn't stop us from having a good time though. Liam played and I chatted with the other parents and group coordinator. The coordinator shared a play dough recipe with me that I hope to make over the weekend. At the end of the playgroup, she got out her guitar to play along while we sung some songs. This is always Liam's favorite part. Of course he had to "help" strum the guitar. I took this short video with my camera...he's a born musician!

Later at home, I decided to break out the finger paints. Here is Liam's lovely painting. You can see that he favors his left had. I thought he palate was just as pretty as the painting so I had to take a picture of it too.

I scooped up a bowl full of snow for Liam to play with while I made dinner. I got this idea from the first day care center we toured today. They were doing this with the kiddos since it was much too cold to play outside. I really like this's very creative to bring a little of winter indoors. Liam - being wholly obsessed with wheeled things - decided to drive his cars around in the bowl full of snow.

One last item of note: Liam put a sock on his foot all by himself for the very first time on Wednesday! Way to go Liam!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cat on a cold tin roof!

At my mom's house contractors were installing a new tin roof. It looks so great that I had to share! I think it really completes the modern look of the house. (My dad certainly would have loved it.) I just felt sorry for the contractors, because the temperatures were sub-zero...Brrrrr!

Meanwhile, inside the house we tried to teach Liam how to call my mom's kitty cats to him. He often gets so excited at the sight of a cat that he will start screaming and scare them away. Here he is with grandma, trying to coax Cheddar up the stairs to play.

Liam had a lot more fun this weekend than the last. This time grandma was home to
play and auntie Rae was around too. He really loves his aunt! He was constantly grabbing her hand and leading her around the house...then he would try to get her to pick him up or chase him. He even cried when she had to go out on Sunday evening.

My Little Dear

We had another three-day weekend in Indiana. This time we went down to lend my mom a hand now that she is home from the hospital. On Sunday my mom was feeling up to taking a trip to visit with her mom and dad on the other side of town. Last week we learned the sad news that the supposedly slow growing cancer that my grandfather had, had actually spread throughout his body. So it was important to me that we also got to spend a little time with my grandparents too. Liam was pretty well behaved. It turned out that my Aunt Chris was also visiting, so Liam had a house full of people to visit with.

One of the things that Liam discovered was this cute little deer statue that was in my grandparents kitchen. The deer turned out to be just the right size for Mr. Liam to ride on. He climbed on the deer and patted it's head like it was a horse. We all had a good laugh seeing him play!

Friday, January 18, 2008

An end to the dinner strike.

All this week Liam has refused to eat dinner. Not only is it aggravating to making a meal that goes uneaten, but then Liam spends all evening whining that he is hungry and wants to nurse. Mind you, he whines and cries for dinner the entire time I am making it and these meals are things that he would have gobbled up if I had served them for lunch, so I am baffled by why he won't eat at dinner time?! Sean and I decided that we needed to be firm and not allow him snacks in the evening if he refuses dinner. I tried wrapping up his plate of food and rewarming it when he asked for food, but he wouldn't eat it.

This evening, Liam finally ate dinner with us. I made a casserole with sausage and eggs. I figured he would reject along with the rest of this week's meals, but surprisingly he cleared his plate. Maybe he realized that he wasn't going to get anything else, or maybe he just really liked it? Who knows? I'm just happy that he ate dinner. Hooray the strike has ended!! (At least for one night.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wardrobe Woes?

No, Liam isn't whining in this picture because he's unhappy with his clothes - he actually picked this combo himself. This morning Liam was very particular about his outfit. I let him pick his shirt first...he picked cookie monster. Then I handed him a pair of pants that matched, but he threw them back at me. So I lifted him up to his pants drawer and let him chose for himself. He picked the winter camo pants at the very bottom. Amazingly enough, the pants he picked actually coordinated with cookie monster. He even got compliments on his outfit when we went to the Great Start play group this morning. My little guy's got fashion sense.

Liam continues to be rather clingy and needy. In the morning we sang and made music. I was singing scales to him, using "la,la,la" and he started singing "la,la" back. I change to "ba,ba" or "ma,ma" and he thought that was funny. Liam got to play with paint markers at playgroup and was super well behaved. But after playgroup Liam sobbed and threw a tantrum when I tried to put him in his carseat. It took a while, but I eventually soothed him to sleep. With all his crying, I actually started wondering whether there is a toddler version of colic.

In the afternoon I spent a lot of time playing kitchen with him. He even wanted to wear the apron I made him. Afterwards we colored for nearly an hour. In the evening he asked to nurse just about every ten minutes...ugh! I hope that his mood is just teething or a passing phase. I started working in the evenings again this week, so perhaps he is just going through mommy withdrawal. With any luck, we will slip back into a evening routine within a week and everyone will be happier.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

An overwhelming day

I'm calling today an overwhelming day because Liam seemed to be a little out of sorts today. Perhaps I tried to pack in too many fun things for one little toddler to handle. This morning I spent a lot of time playing with him. We colored, played blocks and trains. I am happy to report that he is very good at stacking his blocks now. And he actually will stack them for a while before knocking everything over with a load "crash"! He has also figured out how to put together the wooden track for the trains, which is nice, because he is always crashing them apart too.

Mid-morning we took off to visit the in-home daycare that was opened by one of the directors of the old daycare that Liam attended. He really loved it there. I have a few reservations...A home just isn't quite as safe as a daycare center. But overall I think they had a good place. I've just got to check out a few more options before making a decision.

Liam really didn't want to leave the daycare and threw a huge tantrum when we had to go. I think he was overtired, because he quickly fell asleep after I got him calmed down in the car. I took a little drive while he slept. One of the places I drove to was a house in Eaton Rapids that we almost bought last year. I was glad to see that someone had bought it and that it was no longer setting vacant.

At noon we met daddy at work for lunch. Liam was happy to see daddy and was on his very best behavior while we were there. Of course Liam ate up all the attention he got from Sean's female coworkers. Afterward we went to a new playgroup that meets that the Impression 5 museum. We were happy to see our friends Lisa and little Lesli came to this group too. Much to my surprise, Liam had numerous melt-downs while we were there and also upon leaving. Liam was definitely out of sorts and not his usual happy-go-lucky self.

Consequently, I spent a bunch of time cuddling and playing with him at home this afternoon. He was my little shadow until I went to work tonight. We'll take tomorrow a little easier.

Michigan voters are people too!

I'm normally not a very political person. But the Democratic party has really tweaked me off for disenfranchising thousands of Michigan voters. I think Michigan legitimately had the right to do what it wanted with our primary. We have more than our fair share of economic problems in the past few years. Unemployment is highest in the nation, gas prices are some of highest in the nation, wages are falling, jobs are disappearing, home foreclosures are rampant, and several Michigan cities were listed on the nations "Worst Cities".

People just don't understand the level of economic blight that has taken hold of this state. Even our state government is bankrupt, griped with indecision in the legislature, and laying people off. Here in the capital of Michigan, every neighborhood has empty decaying houses and there are grown men loitering in the streets for lack of jobs. It makes me sick that the Democrats are punishing us for trying to turn things around. We are desperate for change! Dang it, let us make a difference for once! Give us a voice!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Daddy made me a coffee-holic

There is a lot to catch up with in the past week.

Last Wednesday, January 9th, Liam had his last day of daycare. The daycare center that he has been going to closed. I feel pretty sad about it, because I really trusted this place and the people there. Hopefully we can find another daycare that we trust as much. While Liam had fun, I worked a half day as a substitute teacher. This subbing experience was much better than the last two. I got to be a music teacher and dance and sing in front of a bunch of second and third graders. Liam was all tuckered out when I picked him up.

On Thursday we resumed our regular visits to the Great Start playgroup in East Lansing. This time we went to the later playgroup (because Liam fell asleep in the car on the way over to the early group). We enjoyed this group because it was much smaller and not so chaotic. I observed Liam putting his knit hat on by himself this morning. I was very impressed.

Friday we walked down to the Great Start playgroup in the community center. Again, Liam had a blast.

On Saturday we drove to Fort Wayne to visit with my mother in the hospital. On the drive down, Liam started saying "Ut-Oh" over and over again. It was so funny. He must have said it at least 300 times before we made it to Fort Wayne. We spent the weekend in Indiana and went home Monday afternoon. I think Liam had a rough time being away from home because he wasn't able to play freely when we were in the hospital or at my moms house. He did, however, discover the wonders of coffee, when daddy mistakenly allowed him to sip the last droplet of coffee from his cup...I think Liam is hooked.

Today I received the good news that my mom is eating solid foods now and will most likely be released on Wednesday morning. This morning I let Liam play with pompons while I washed the dishes. He had fun mixing them up in my biggest bowl. Later Liam and I traveled to a friend's farm. Liam got to play in the snow when we were there. He chased after their dog and petted their kittens. He mooed back at all the cows and starred down a huge bull. He also got to play with Jamie's youngest boy, Joseph, who was a little taken aback by Liam's interest in his toys. :)

PS-I think I forgot to mention that Liam started doing a funny thing in December. He pretends to snore if you ask him if it's time for a nap or's must be from hearing his daddy snore.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

We Love you Grandma

Just a quick post to wish my mom, Liam's grandma, a safe and successful surgery today. We love you VERY much!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hooray for Tot time!

Both Liam and I were extremely happy that tot time resumed this week on Monday. The weather was also unseasonably warm, so we took a lovely stroll down to the community center in the morning. Liam played with other toddlers, I talked with other's a good thing! My friend Lindsey and her daughter Scarlet were there. Lindsey told me all about the birth of her little niece. Her sister was 41 weeks pregnant and was induced last Thursday. I watched Scarlet for a while Thursday morning while Lindsey was with her sister. Her niece was born a little after 11pm on the 4th. She was nearly 21 inches long and 7+ pounds (I can't remember the exact numbers). Apparently, Lindsey's sister was able to make it through the labor with no pain meds, even though being induced is usually more painful than regular labor. Way to go!

Liam took a long afternoon nap. When he woke up I made him a late lunch. One of his favorite foods right now is scrambled eggs. He gobbled up two eggs! When daddy came home we all went out for another walk. This time we went to the Library for some books and videos.

Today it was still warm, but extremely wet. The nasty weather made it impossible to go for a walk outside, but we did run a few errands. Liam wasn't happy to be out, however, and was actually happier at home this afternoon. Unlike yesterday, he really didn't want to nap today. I think it was because he slept in so late this morning. I sure hope that he isn't trying to phase out naps...I will never get anything done if he doesn't take at least one nap a day!

Rough and Tumble?

Last Sunday was a busy day for us. We had several guests at our home. In the morning Alissa and Ashtyn came over to play for a few hours. As always, the kiddos had a blast. One of their favorite games goes something like this: Liam starts screaming (happily) and at Ashtyn, Ashtyn screams back, Liam runs to "hide" under the table, Ashtyn runs to "get" him then runs away to hide herself, Liam runs after her...the whole time this is going on they scream and giggle up a storm. It's cute, even if it does cause a migraine!

In the evening our old neighbor, Chris, came over for a belated Christmas dinner. I really out did myself this time. I made a super yummy potroast with vegies in the crock pot, wheat bread, and a dutch apple pie. The entire meal was made from scratch. Everyone ate well (except Liam...he's not a meat and potatoes guy). Liam was shy around Chris at first. I don't think he remembered him because it's been a while since Chris has visited. Eventually Chris won him over with some tickling.

Throughout the day Liam seemed rather accident prone. He tripped and fell in the morning and bruised his lip. He slid and fell a couple times while Ashtyn was chasing him, and then to top it all off he fell down a few steps on the stairway just before bedtime. Luckily he wasn't really hurt any of the times he took a tumble, but I think his ego was a bit bruised.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Christmas cubed

Today we took a road trip to Fort Wayne for my extended family Christmas gathering. We no longer exchange gifts, but just get together for good food and some good company. This year we went to my grandparents new house. Liam loves it there because it has such large open spaces for him to run around in. He got to play a bit of pool with the guys. I also let him eat cookies and crackers like the rest of us...he loves pinwheel cookies like his mommy! A couple of my cousin's finally brought their girlfriends to meet the family. It was really nice to meet them. Of course my aunts and uncles had to spoil Liam with some gifts. Thanks a bunch everyone, but you didn't have to!

Liam on Uncle Scott's shoulders

The Family

Grandpa playing pool with some of my cousins

Friday, January 4, 2008

Clowning Around

I came to the realization that Liam excels in being silly and clowning around. For a 17 month old he has a fairly well developed sense of humor - particularly slap-stick. He will wear baskets on his head (like this photo from a few days ago). Or put shoes on his hands - which he did today with Scarlet's shoes when she was visiting us. This evening, the end of a particularly long day...he grabbed his daddy's slippers, put them on, and walked around to see our reaction (laughter of course!).

So while Liam may not be any quicker at learning words that average, and is only slightly above average in the mobility category, he excels in humor! And that's just the sort of little boy I need. :)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Super 17!

Well after a review last year's posts, it seems that illness was a pretty common occurrence. Unfortunately, 2008 has started off the same way. Yesterday Liam and I both visited the doctor for our sinus/ear infections. Liam was weighed this time. He is now 24lb 14oz (getting ever closer to that 25lb mark). Of course going to the doctor means more antibiotics, but I think we really do need them this time. I have been feeling nauseated and dizzy for days now and I need to get better.

Liam is 17 months old today. I am feeling so rotten that I don't even feel like going to get groceries, let alone take him out to do something fun. We colored a little this morning and he went down for an early nap (after some persuasion). If I'm feeling a little better, we might go paint some pottery at the studio down the street this afternoon. I know he's dieing to get out of the house and so am I!


After Liam took his nap, we went to Playing Picasso to paint some pottery. Liam got to make a Christmas ornament (something I had wanted to do before the holidays, but never found the time for). We we lucky, because the Christmas pieces were on sale! What fun and what a mess!

Reflecting on '07

Here is a summary of '07 using the first sentence of the first post for each month. I got this idea from another mom's blog. It's not too insightful, but kinda fun.

January: (no posts)

February: This is the opening post of Archymommy.

March: Last night Liam's fever broke, but his daddy developed one.

April: As I figured, Liam's good sleeping streak ended last night.

May: This morning I had an appointment with the dentist and unfortunately Sean couldn't get the morning off work.

June: Yard sale season is in full swing.

July: Liam turned 11 months old today!

August: One year ago today my water broke at around 11pm and thus began over 30 hours of labor that brought Liam into this world.

September: Yesterday Liam turned 13 months old.

October: Yesterday our dsl service was finally connected.

November: Last night was Halloween and as luck would have it, I had to work during trick or treat hours.

December: Liam is such a bright and cheerful little boy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Flocked Trees & Sunshine

When I woke this morning, I was feeling better. Still not 100%, but better. My mood was also helped by the gorgeous snowfall that flocked the trees and neighborhood. Sean and I showed Liam all the snow when we got him out of bed. He really loves playing in the snow!

Even though I feel dizzy and lightheaded, I managed to make some waffles for breakfast. Liam and I played, read, and watched Sesame Street while daddy plowed snow. After lunch we both took Liam out to play in the snow. We couldn't have asked for a prettier winter day! The sun was shinning, and the snow was perfect for making a snow "toddler" in the front yard.

Worst New Years Eve Ever!

For the full effect, just imagine the title of this post read by the "comic book" guy on Simpson's. Things certainly got worse before they got better. In the wee hours of Sunday morning, Sean came down with the same flu that Liam had. At the same time, Liam continued having terrible diarrhea. Even though I was exhausted and feeling under the weather myself, I had copious amounts of laundry to wash from all the pooping and puking. We all survive Sunday...but it was a very long day.

Monday was spent pretty much laying about the house and running more loads of laundry. We got a bit of snow and Sean took Liam out to sled in it after he snowplowed the drive. That was pretty much the highlight of the day. By evening, I was feeling the effects of the flu. We all went to bed at 7pm. I had such a terrible fever that I couldn't stop shivering. I was woken from my delirium at midnight to the sounds of the neighbor's kids screaming and people setting off fireworks. 2007 sure went out the worse possible way. I suppose it is fitting, considering what a lousy year it's been.