Thursday, December 22, 2011

Genes are weird

I put off dentist appointments for the boys and I until after my semester ended. Thus, this week was a lot of dentist. Gummy Bear has an underbite that the dentist assures me will need orthodontia. Hurrah! He also had his first set of x-rays, which were super cool. I could see all his permanent teeth overlapping in his hard palate, just waiting to emerge.

I also took Cheeky Monkey in for his first dentist appointment. He took a tumble into a fence about 6 weeks ago, and one of his teeth is looking a bit grey as a result. While the dentist didn't seem overly concerned about that tooth, she did discover a few congenital abnormalities.

I wasn't super surprised to hear that he had teeth weirdness. I have a baby tooth that never fell out. I have no permanent tooth to replace it. The dentist said the root looks good and unless it starts to give me problems we'll just leave it alone. Her oldest patient with a baby tooth was 88.

As it turns out, Monkey is not only missing a tooth on the top, he has two canine teeth on the lower left. Seriously? How did I never notice this? Our dentist said this may or may not be replicated in his permanent teeth. She also said it may or may not be a problem. In the meantime, it's not bothering him right now and so she's not going to do anything about it right now.

This evening I took a good look at his mouth. Sure enough, he has two canine teeth. Genes are weird.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A furry Christmas to you!

We ended up back at Sesame Place on Friday. This time, we skipped all the "seasonal" shows, parades and photo ops and just went on the rides. Since everyone was busy doing the seasonal stuff, we walked right onto all the rides.  We had a great time again. I am not sure if Sesame is actually making money, based on the crowds I saw the last two weeks, but hey, I was a fan of the empty park and short lines! With temperatures in the 40s, it was actually the perfect outing.

We decided to have the kids go see Santa, since we kind of stumbled on no line for him too. I was afraid that Cheeky Monkey was going to scream his little head off. Surprisingly, he was very chill. He just stuck his hands in his pockets and watched us all, with a half-smirk on his face.
Look at me, not screaming.

This was the kids' only shot to see Santa this year. Since he's not really a big deal in our Christmas celebrations, I was so not waiting for an hour in some hot mall for the kids to see some kid in a crappy wig and beard. This Santa, however, was good ... real beard and everything. He also took a few minutes after the picture to talk with the kids. I was the one hurrying them off, afraid to incur the wrath of the line growing behind us.

Anyway, Furry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

So much cute

Firstly ... my semester is over!! Let there be much rejoicing!!! Ok, technically I still have to take a practice NCLEX exam tomorrow, but the the grade-getting portion of my semester is over! And now I have 5 weeks with which to focus on my family, celebrate Christmas, make a trip halfway across the country and clean my house.

One of the unintended consequences of my chosen career is that my kids play a little differently than most kids. See this pile of toys? Do you know what they have in common? They all have eyes. And the Monkey checked every one of them for pupillary response with his flashlight.

Then he decided he wanted to "ride" the trucks in the book we were reading. So he climbed on and rode ... with kitty of course.

But wait, there's more cuteness! The boys had their Christmas programs at school yesterday. Who was a penguin? That's right. Gummy Bear was a penguin! He was very attached to that belly, by the way. He wore it all evening.

I don't know this little man, but he was cracking me up. He has a serious future in theatre if this little performance was any example. He was so intensely singing about Frosty, and Rudolf, and Hanukkah that I laughed every time I looked at him.

Before the end, of course, Bear started getting bored. So he started balancing on one leg. But hey, at least he was still singing.

Cheeky Monkey's program was a little less performance and a little more fashion show. The kids walked the  red carpet and brought presents to their mom's. So. Stinking. Cute. His teacher announced him as "Cheeky Monkey ... and Kitty!" I'm so glad we've found this school. I didn't get a great picture because he took one step out from the curtain and froze, so I spent the rest of the time coaxing him into my lap, where he buried his head on my shoulder for the rest of the performance.

Anyhoo, I'm off to grab my little men.

Monday, December 12, 2011

In which I break my Christmas rules

Ry and I always swore we wouldn't buy a fake tree for Christmas. For our nearly 8 years of marriage, we bought a real tree. While they varied in size and beauty, every year there was a real, sap dripping, water sucking, formerly living tree in our living room. And this year? Not only did we buy a fake tree, we bought a 4 foot tall fake tree. 

We decided that since we were going to be in Illinois for a significant portion of time right after Christmas, it made sense to have a small tree that would be easily taken down and not turn into a fire hazard during our trip. We briefly considered not having a tree at all, but Gummy Bear is so into Christmas this year that it just wouldn't have been right.

So we went to Target and bought a tiny little tree (for less than we would have spent on a real tree, by the way), brought it home and decorated. 

As with so many things with young children, it looks like we had a lot more fun than we actually did. This is mostly due to the fact that Cheeky Monkey took the opportunity to rip apart an ornament every time one of us had our back turned. In the end, I removed anything remotely break or tear-able and anything of sentimental value. I was impressed by the sheer destructiveness of a 2-year-old on a mission. He destroyed a wooden ornament by ripping off her arms, and two Hallmark ornaments by pulling off the Grinch and snowman, respectively. We had a tree the year Gummy was almost 2, and he never showed such disdain for  ornaments. Clearly, I underestimated the possibilities.
Which one can I mangle before I get caught?

Still, I'm glad we have a tree. Gummy Bear had fun making the Angel tree topper and Monkey seems to have decided the remaining ornaments can live. So, Merry Christmas!

And Bah Humbug.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

This was neat

Last night we went to A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place. We weren't going to go, because it was an extra fee. We already bought our season passes, and it seemed silly to spend an extra $15 a person to go at Christmas. As it turns out, I'm really glad I didn't follow my first instinct. I was sincerely impressed with the Christmas-ness of it all.

Walking in, we were greeted with dozens of sets of these lighted trees

There was a ginormous tree in the center, complete with a light show timed to Christmas music.

We met a few of the kids' favorites. Cheeky Monkey was pretty wary of them, and wouldn't get close unless I came with him.

After we visited with the Count, we got Monkey saying "One ... Two ... Ahhhh."

He was absolutely fascinated at the Elmo show. Every time Elmo left the stage, Monkey got very concerned. "Elmo?" He looked around and called for Elmo until we reassured him that Elmo was coming back.

It was even a holiday-themed show, complete with Hanukkah and Kwanzaa bits.

Gummy Bear was really interested in the set afterwards. He was sad that the piano didn't actually play, though.

There were lots of themed tableaus, and Bear took advantage of every one.

I was truly impressed by the lights, lights, lights everywhere we went. I'd be curious to know how many lights they used throughout the park.

We even, you know, went on some rides. Somehow, they seemed secondary though.


The tickets we bought yesterday are good for the rest of the Christmas season. I think there is a very real possibility that we'll be going again. Hurrah for schmaltzy Christmas revelry!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Creative misbehavior

My in-laws were here for about a month during October and November. It was wonderful. We laughed, we talked, and we played. Perhaps the coolest thing about them being here is that for a month, I didn't have to take my kids to school in the mornings. It was like being childless again. I would get up, take a shower, have a cup of coffee, make breakfast, and then I would kiss them on their little pumpkin heads and go to school. I know that the kids made it to daycare, because they were there when I went to pick them up. The kids got to take their time eating, getting dressed, playing.

As a direct consequence of this, the week after they left was ... unpleasant. The 3 mornings I had to take them to school before going to school myself generally ended with me yelling, Gummy Bear crying, Cheeky Monkey confused, and all of us grumpy and unpleasant by the time we got to school.

And so, I went and bought this:
Because Gummy Bear gets up freakishly early, he usually sits on the couch and quietly plays with the DS or iPad until we get up. We generally find him, still in his PJs, cuddled up and enjoying some digital entertainment. Now, he has to get up, go potty, get dressed, and brush his teeth before he can play games in the morning. He can earn additional video game/TV time if he can get through to after dinner without whining and/or he cleans up his toys. You may have noticed there aren't a lot of "no whining" stars.

This worked beautifully for the first week. This morning when I got up, I was surprised that Bear wasn't up yet. It was nearly 7 am, and he's usually up between 6 and 6:30. I went into the bathroom to start my morning routine when I saw Raffe on the floor of the bathroom. I opened his door to find the lights out, him sitting on a chair with the DS and headphones, still in pajamas. Trying not to chuckle out loud, I told him that if he got up right now and did his morning chores, he could still play a few minutes of DS before breakfast.

And then the hysterics started. "I waaaannnnttt to play!!!" he cried. I reminded him that he had things to do before he played. So he started to pull on his shirt. Then he looked up at me and said, "There are games on my camera. I'll just play those." "No you won't, if you want to play any games or watch any TV today", I said.

Thinking it was finished, I went back into the bathroom, only to hear him say "I'll just hide it where you can't find it." And so, I walked back into his room and said, "OK, then I'll just start taking toys out of your room until I find it."


And thus, the boy was toileted, dressed and teeth brushed. He dragged his feet so much that there were no video games this morning before breakfast. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


This week I'm studying for an exam, preparing for a presentation, and completing a bunch of case studies. In between these things, today I did a lot of shopping. I bought the lion's share of the kids' Christmas presents and  find myself in remarkably good shape on the rest of the family too. I also finally used a gift card I got as a birthday present and some Kohl's cash we got as a result of freshening Ry's business clothes last week.

I love this time of year, because all the fall stuff is on clearance. What this means for me is that I got an interview suit, a pair of dress slacks, 2 sweaters, and 6 tops for a grand total of $46 out of pocket. Woot! Also, I tried on a lot of "fashionable" clothes today. I found a couple of cute things. Mostly, I found a lot of stuff that screamed "I am desperately trying to hang on to my youth", "the 80s doesn't look any better in 2011" and "dear God, my eyes are bleeding".

Tonight when I was putting Cheeky Monkey to bed, he sang with me. Here's how it went:

Me: Summertime, and the living is easy.
Fish are jumping, and the cotton is high.

Monkey: HIGH!!!!!!!!!

Me: Your daddy's rich, and your momma's good looking.
So hush, little baby don't you cry.

Monkey: CRY!!!!!!

Then, for the rest of the time, he would scrunch his little nose and say, "cry" about every 30 seconds. I asked him if he was crying. "Yea," he said, "cry".

Very convincing little Monkey. Very convincing.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Our first Christmas present

Ry has wanted an Xbox 360 since they came out. Since it cost some ungodly amount of money (and he won a Wii that year) we didn't buy one.  This year, however, our Wii is starting to get a little wonky and the Xbox is something in the realm of reasonable. And so we bought one. And then opened it and started playing it an hour later. Sometimes Christmas presents don't wait until Christmas. Plus, now our family has great gift ideas for Ry and Bear!
Bear took to the Kinect like he had been playing it his whole life. He jumped, he giggled, he wiggled and he fell instantly and completely in love. At least he's not sitting on the couch and playing video games, right? I have to say though, that I'm a little creeped out by the fact that I see a little video of myself every time Ry switches games. I about to throw a little Kinect bag over its little Kinect head.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A day late ... but still thankful

Mostly, I'm thankful for these 3 people here. I'll be a little more specific though.
1. I am thankful for Ry, who is unfailingly patient with nursing school and unfailingly loving to me and the boys.
2. I am thankful for Gummy Bear, who has recently morphed into my "easy" kid. His Mummu taught him to play checkers while she was here, and now he wants life to be all board games, all the time. Still, it's better than the video game obsession that preceded it.
3. I am thankful for Cheeky Monkey, who has been adding a new word about once a day lately. Yesterdays? "Pumpkin", which he had not seen since Halloween. He's thinking all the time, even when he doesn't say anything. Truly, I should start calling him the Cookie Monster. After a meal that included cookies a few days ago, he'll randomly scream "COOKIE!!!!" in the middle of a meal.
4. My mother and stepdad. They have made our lives so much easier and more wonderful over the past 4 months. They seem so much a part of our lives now that I can't imagine them not living here anymore.
5. My sister, who is so very smart and interesting. She feels like home to me.
6. My dad and stepmother, who make me laugh. And remind me all the time of what doing the right thing looks like.
7. My in-laws, who have accepted me with complete love since the day I entered their son's life. My life is so much the better for having them in it.
8. Ukuleles. They are the happiest instrument on the planet. There is no such thing as melancholy ukulele playing. Well, I suppose some Hipster might find a way to be depressed and play ukulele, but I certainly couldn't. I'm also slowing converting our friends and family into ukulele players (Peanut, I'm looking at you).
9. Nursing school. Ok, well I'm not exactly grateful for nursing school, but I am grateful for the career I am about to embark upon. Perhaps I'm grateful that there are only 6 months left of nursing school.
10. Our home, which is closing in around me. Still, it's ours and it's bursting at the seams with love, laughter and kids' crap. Mostly kids' crap, but the other stuff too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

So. Stinking. Cute

Right. So I'm kind of avoiding eye contact with the mound of school work I have to do right now. Instead, I thought I'd blog about the extremely high level of cuteness going on in our house right now.

We had Cheeky Monkey's non-family party on Sunday. We had a costume party, and so I thought it only appropriate that we make monster cupcakes. I did the icing, and the boys' Mummu did all the monster faces. I have to say that the angry birds ones were the best.
 They looked great for a while. And then their little monster faces started sliding off their little monster cupcake bodies and I almost cried. Happily, only 4 or 5 of them were unsalvageable, and more happily, 2-year-olds don't care what the icing looks like.

Ry and I dressed up our 1960s selves.

And the boys wore their Halloween costumes. Unfortunately, in the 2 weeks between Halloween and the party, the Monkey grew an inch and we couldn't button his pants. Sad. Also, somehow appropriate.

Hurrah cupcakes!!

This was just one of my favorite pictures from the party. Seriously, could she be more excited about the juicebox?

See the unbuttoned pants? The hat and beard didn't last long either.

Gummy Bear had a great time ... and lots of sugar.

It was a really great party.

Monkey turned two and someone switched his "2" button. Stuff he's been doing this week:

1. Refusing to eat dinner (unless he damn well decides he wants it or there is a cookie involved).
2. Adding a new word or two every day. Favorite: "hot bum" when he's sporting a loaded diaper.
3. Stringing together 2 or 3 word sentences like he's been doing it for months.
4. Identifying colors. "Lellow!"
5. Destroying everything his brother builds, touches, or thinks about.
6. Opening the fridge and getting his own apple slices.
7. Singing along when I sing him to sleep.
8. Playing Pat-A-Cake.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Monkey turned 2

Cheeky Monkey turned 2 about a week ago. While he's still a sweet-natured, laid back little man, he is also most definitely 2. He and his brother antagonize each other nonstop. He has also decided to exert his will in various and sundry ways (like refusing to open his mouth to brush teeth).

He is also a really easy smile. While he wants to pester his brother, he also wants to do whatever he does.

He is also big pretend-player. When Ry and I had a weekend away, we got him a long kitty. They have been inseparable ever since. Where Long Kitty goes, Cheeky Monkey goes. Long Kitty gets the first bite of cheese.
 And then Monkey.
 And then Long Kitty again.
 Long Kitty goes to school with Monkey. Long Kitty goes to bed with Monkey. Long Kitty has to snuggle on my other shoulder when we're snuggling before bed. And I have to take turns petting Long Kitty's back and petting Monkey's back.

He's just staring to put two words together a lot (Mama's cup, more ice, butter please). He also hums along when I sing to him at bedtime. Maybe he'll be a musical boy.

He had his 2 year check up yesterday. He weighed 33 pounds, 11 ounces and was 36 inches tall. That puts him in the 80-85 percentile for both. Gummy Bear at 2 was just over 36 inches, but only 30 pounds, 6 ounces. Monkey is going to be our linebacker (except that I'm never going to let him play football).

He loves to Fred Flintstone the tricycle around the patio. He's also pretty good with a fork and can drink out of an open cup.

I'm completely in love. Happy Birthday little Monkey.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Good morning!

Scene: Our bedroom, 8 am. Ry has just gone to the nursery to get Cheeky Monkey. I hear Gummy Bear come running up the stairs and burst into our room.

Gummy Bear: Mom! I made you something!

Me: You did? What is it?

Gummy Bear: I'll go get it!

Me: Oh Bear, thank you so much! That's a terrific heart.

Ry from the other room: OH MY GOD! Don't touch it!

Cheeky Monkey from the other room: HAHAHAHAHA

Gummy Bear: Look Mommy, I used a marker that writes on both sides!

Me: So you did. Where did you get this marker?

Ry from the other room: Sit still!

Gummy Bear: I took it out of the cup by the door.

Me: And what did you put the paper on when you drew it?

Gummy Bear: The stool in the hallway!

Cheeky Monkey comes running into the bedroom, clad only in his diaper: Mommy!!

Me: Hi Cheeky! Gummy, please don't take the markers out of the cup by the back door anymore, OK? I think you probably wrote on the stool too.

Gummy Bear: I did!

Ryan comes into the bedroom, carrying a very large diaper: This thing has to weigh 5 pounds.

We all walk downstairs. Cheeky Monkey insists on having his kitty "hold" the stair railing, making it a 10 minute process. I go into the hall to inspect the damage.

It's no house carved on the dining room table with a fork, but it's not going anywhere.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Happy Halloween, ya'll! Ours was, as always, an adventure. It started with the boys' Halloween parade. This is a little tradition where the daycare dresses up all the kids and parades them around the playground. Super, super cute. Poor, poor teachers.

Then we set off to do a little trick or treating. The boys had a blast, and won much acclaim for their costumes.

And then, because it's us, Ry got to take the toilet apart. Apparently, earlier in the day, Cheeky Monkey was playing with a little blue ball. About 15 minutes later he took Ry into the bathroom, opened the lid of the toilet and pointed in, saying "Ball?" Ry said "I don't think your ball is in there." Cheeky said "Ball!"

Guess what?

It was.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

You're probably tired of these

But hey, our life is largely about soccer these days. I'm very grateful that yesterday's game was cancelled, since we got about 3 inches of rain/snow/sleet/yuck. It would have been a very uncomfortable day. These pictures are from last week's game. It was a little cool, but a good kind of playing outside day.

As long as I have coffee, I'm a happy woman. Cheeky Monkey loves the new tiny camp chairs I got on clearance at Target a few weeks ago. He keeps calling the fox chair a "bear", but oh well, as least he's trying.

Cheeky Monkey has his ups and downs with soccer. Some weeks he seems to be really into it and other weeks he's just phoning it in. This was a phoning it in kind of week. The kid next to him is an excellent soccer player.

Gummy Bear is a pretty happy guy if we bring snacks. This day it was raisins.

I'm amazed by how far the kids have come in the 8 weeks since the league season started. They're actually starting to show some understanding of the game, instead of just running in a clump around the ball. I don't know what we're doing next. I've been trying to expose Bear to lots of different things to see what he's most interested in. We did gymnastics last spring. After soccer season is over next week, we are taking a break from classes until after Christmas. I need to get through the end of my semester before I even think about classes for the boys again.

The boys Mummu and Papa Mike have been here for the last week. They're going to be here for several more weeks. The kids are in heaven. They have been so very patient and wonderful with the boys.


Transportation has been interesting, but we're managing.

And with this, I'm nearly caught up with the past week. We carved pumpkins this week, but the pictures are on someone else's camera. I'll get there!
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