Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Dear Ian,

What a week we've had leading up to Halloween.  We've visited pumpkin patches, carved those pumpkins, made costumes, and trick or treated like champs.

Our festivities for this year's Halloween started about a week ago when we visited the pumpkin patch at Faith Presbyterian Church.  We accidentally met up with Uncle Gary, Aunt Megan and Payton (they were there at the same time, but we didn't know that until we showed up), and that made it an even more fun experience.  We picked out a big pumpkin for us to carve and decorate, and you got to pick out your own little pumpkin.  You were super excited about your little pumpkin.  There were other fun things to do at the pumpkin patch, too.  There were scarecrows to look at and wooden cut-outs that you could stick your face through to make a funny picture.  You really enjoyed yourself, and it was a nice day for our family.  You especially loved having your Daddy around, because to you, Daddy is a rock star.  But I digress...

You are a lucky little dude, because a few days later, we got to visit a second pumpkin patch with Issa and her mommy, Miss Patti.  You and Issa, once again, ran around admiring all the pumpkins, and of course we used it as an opportunity to take cute pictures of the two of you.  And like last year when we did this, you wore an orange shirt, so you blended in to the background.  I need to remember that next year; different color for you little dude.  You and Issa both got tiny little baby pumpkins and were both really excited about them.  To top that afternoon off, we had ice cream at Baskin Robbins, and it was a pretty perfect day.

The next fun pre-Halloween thing we did was at your Great Grandpa's retirement home, Sterling House.  The Friday before Halloween, they hosted a little carnival for the families of the residents, and we went to take part in the fun.  You got to see you Great-Grandfather, and he got to watch you play the games and collect treats.  It was a neat night; you, your Daddy, your Grandpa Brooks and your Great Grandfather were all together.  Four generations of Brooks men.  I regret the fact that I let your Grandpa take pictures while I took this picture, because then we could have had all four of you, but that just means that we need to go back and try again.  It's sad that your Great-Grandpa really didn't realize that you're part of his family, but I know that watching you play brought a smile to his face.   You also got to debut your lion Halloween costume, and it worked really well despite the fact that you refused to wear your headband mane.

And then it was the weekend before Halloween.  We used that Saturday to carve our pumpkins, and they turned out really well.  You were a little hesitant at first to reach on in there and scoop out some pumpkin guts, but eventually you worked up the courage, and predictably, Mommy got covered in pumpkin innards.  You got to choose what your pumpkin looked like, too.  I drew a couple of options for eyes, a nose and a mouth for your pumpkin, and you picked the ones you wanted.  Funny, you chose a traditional jack-o-lantern face :)  We put some lights in them, and you were totally excited about seeing them all lit up. 

FINALLY we get to the actual day.  After a morning of Halloween party fun at school and a good nap, you got dressed up in your costume (again, with no headband mane), and we headed over to the Ghio's house for Graham's birthday party/Halloween get-together.  We got to see all of our baby friends: Chase, Tyler, Issa, Graham, Stokes and Harper were all in attendance.  We celebrated Graham's second birthday with a cupcake, but then we needed to get back home so you could do a little trick-or-treating before bed time.  And you did a GREAT job trick-or-treating.  You remembered to say trick-or-treat at every house we stopped at, and you also remembered your manners when they treated you.  And because Mommy is a stickler for rules, you stayed on the sidewalk and didn't run across the yards. You also helped me pass out a few pieces of candy, too.  The more scary costumes bothered you, but for the most part, the different costumes amused you. 

Whew.  That was a TON of Halloween stuff to post about.  But now it's over, and you're sound asleep in your bed.  Mommy and Daddy passed out the rest of our candy to the neighborhood kids, and our front porch light is officially off for this year's Halloween.  Now we move on to getting ready for Thanksgiving, and with the growth spurt you seem to be going through, I need to buy a 30 pound turkey. 

I love you much my little pumpkin!

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Playing Dress-up

Dear Ian,

There are witches in the air and spooks all around, and your dentist appointment has already been scheduled.  Yup, it's Halloween again.

I'll be honest; I am one of THOSE people.  You know, the ones that wear holiday socks and shirts and decorate for every holiday there is.  It's the teacher in me; every holiday is worthy of some sort of celebration or decorative pair of socks.  Even the little ones.  But, for me, Halloween falls into the category I like to call the Big Five.  Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Easter and Halloween are the biggies around here, and they are cause for much decorating and enthusiasm.

Even back in the day before having you, the house was still decorated and there were fun socks on my feet.  I can honestly say that having a little you in the house has added to the insanity, but not by much.  I remember one year painstakingly carving the face of Ozzy Ozbourne into a pumpkin, and another where your Daddy and I set up a "scene" in the front yard to go along with his viking costume.  (Which he has worn like six years straight, so dont let him try to convince you that it's only been three.  I have photographic proof.)

When I was growing up, we lived on the big farm, and there were no neighbors, so we would dress up and "borrow" a neighborhood for the night.  It was kind of like doing covert ops, and we had a total blast taking candy from strangers.  When Daddy and I got married, I couldn't wait to pass out candy to the little kids on our street.  Sometimes we would even sit outside and make a picnic out of our dinner in the driveway.  (Usually Chinese food.)

Me in my first Halloween costume - a cheerleader.
I also scoped out the costumes that each kid was wearing.  I am personally a fan of home-made costumes.  I think growing up I had a couple of store-bought outfits (me in a Strawberry Shortcake plastic mask comes to mind), but for the most part, your Grandma Davis made our costumes.  I specifically remember your Uncle Brian in a home-made Ewok costume.  That was really cool.  Uncle Gary's Superman also rocked.  It's just more fun to me when you can add your own personal touches and have something totally unique.

My sweet candy corn
I am now carrying on this tradition of home-made costumes with you.  For your very first Halloween, little 12-day-old you donned an awesome little candy corn costume.  Your Grandma Davis helped me make it, and you were deliciously adorable.  You also slept the entire time, but hey.  We made the whole thing out of felt, and I added the little white hat and long-sleeved onesie.  It ended up being wicked hot that Halloween, so you only wore it for a little while, trading it for a store-bought onesie with ghost eyes on it.  Still, I was proud that you wore something made just for you, and it was safe to say that you were the only sleeping candy corn infant in the neighborhood.

Last year, we went all out.  We all dressed up.  As a family of Vikings.  Awww yeah.  Sadly, your Daddy's costume was store bought, and so was mine, but I did spend about three hours altering it.  The only size they had was "huge," so the needle, thread and I were intimately familiar with each other due to the fact that I had to tuck about six inches to make it fit.  Oh, and cut off a FOOT of material at the bottom.  Seriously, who did they think was going to wear that thing?!  Anyhoo.  There were no options for a baby viking costume, but I wasn't worried.  After all, my goal was to make your costumes, and I think I did a rocking job, if I must say so myself.  I used one of your little sleeveless John-John outfits as a pattern and got to work.  That costume took on a life of it's own.  It had fur, it had gilded borders, it had gold buttons.  And it had an adorable little plastic battle axe and helmet.  I added some brown knee socks with a fur trim, and there you have it. 

And once again, this year I am making your costume.  You are going to be the most adorable little lion ever.  Our plan was to do The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, and that may still happen, but as of now, Mommy is falling behind on getting everything done by next Monday.  Hopefully it will come together and we'll have another photo of our nutty family getting into the spirit of Halloween.

Trick or Treat!

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Birthday Blast!

Part of your birthday banner.
Dear Ian,

Mommy had too much fun.
Last weekend was your second birthday party, and I think it was a pretty perfect day.  Like last year, you were surrounded by friends and family, and like last year, I was reminded of how loved you are and how lucky we are to have you.

This year's birthday party was Monkey themed.  I have to admit, I had a blast planning this party, and since you still aren't at the age where you have an opinion about what kind of party you want to have, I was excited about this theme.  You're our Little Monkey, of course, so why not have a monkey party?

Super cute cupcakes!

Your birthday party.
We held the party at Lafayette Park, because they have a GREAT playground, and it is probably the least used park in the city.  We go there quite a bit, and there's hardly ever anyone there. 

Mommy really appreciates this as it helps makes your Mommy relax that you wont get beat up by some park bully or run over by a stampeding hoard of other kids.  In attendance were both sets of your Grandparents, Great Poppey, Uncle Brian and Aunt Maggie, Uncle Gary, Aunt Megan and Payton, Issa and her Mommy and Daddy, Chase and Tyler and their Mommy and Daddy, Graham and his Mommy and Daddy and his new baby sister Lydia, and the Kitchen family with Olivia, Leanna and Emily.  We had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit and veggies, a fun Chex mix that I called Monkey Crunch (Daddy made fun of me and my corny names for things)  and cupcakes topped with green sprinkles and monkey faces. 

You were able to blow out your own candles this year, and at one point, you were even singing the happy birthday song to yourself.  You really seemed to enjoy your party food, especially the Jungle Juice (lemonade.  and yes, you can make fun of me, too) since you could serve yourself from the little dispenser I have.  You would take a sip, dump it out and then go get more.  You were having a little too much fun playing with that thing.

My big boy on the swings.
I really think you had the best time, though, just playing.  You definitely had the energy for it!  You loved swinging and going down the slide, and running around like crazy was a big hit, too.  It made me happy to see you having such a good time.

Like I said before, it really was a perfect day.  From the weather, to the friends, to the location: we couldn't have asked for anything more.  I wonder if you will remember any of it when you get older, but if not, I'm glad I have this blog post.  I will remember it, for sure! 

Love you bunches, Little Monkey!
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Works of Art #24

Great Googly Moogly are we behind on artwork.  In my defense, things have been a little busy around here.  Getting ready for your birthday party and Halloween (two other posts to be written) has caused a bit of an art build-up, so without any further ado, here we go:

Here are some apple prints that you did at school.  The fall season is upon us!
A pretty picture you drew with markers.  Your new thing is coloring in the corners of your paper.  Not sure what that is about...
 More apples!  I like fall!

And to help us get into the Halloween spirit, here's some fun Halloween art!
Hand-print bat that we made at home.
Orange pumpkins that we painted at home.  This pumpkin and your bat from above are hanging over your changing table (which we now rarely use, but hey.).
Here's a jack-o-lantern made out of shaving cream that you made at school.  Wicked cool!
Painting with orange, very nice. 
Here's a fun paper plate jack-o-lantern!
And finally, here's a cute paper plate spider!  I really like this guy.  I think we may hang him over your changing table, too.  

Great job on all of you art, Little Buddy!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Woo Hoo for TWO!

Dear Ian! 

Happy birthday little buddy!  You're a big two year old today! 

Your birthday this year falls on a Wednesday, but in true "us" fashion (ask your Papa Davis), the festivities abound.  Last weekend we celebrated with your Brooks aunts and uncles and grandparents, since they wont be able to make it to your birthday party this Sunday.  We had dinner, cupcakes and you got to open a couple of presents.  So much fun!  Today, your actual birthday, we celebrated by making your favorite breakfast (French toast) and wearing a new Caillou t-shirt.  You also took sprinkle cookies and juice to share with your friends in your class, and when you went to Music, Miss Jan and your friends serenaded you with the Happy Birthday song.  Tonight we will go to dinner as a family to a restaurant of your choosing and have a nice dinner and cupcakes.  And maybe a present or two ...  Tee hee!  Finally, Sunday is your actual birthday party day, and I'm hoping it will be a blast for you and all your friends.  Of course I will post about that later on.

For now, you are napping and resting up for the adventures of tonight, and I am sitting here looking at photos of you from the day you were born.  I still can't believe it's been two years.  What am I going to do when you turn 10?  Or 18?  Sheesh.  I can't think about that right now, though; I'll get mushy.

Newborn you and two-year-old you.  Where did the time go?!

What I AM going to think about is how much fun we have together, how proud you make your Daddy and me, and how much we love you.  You've grown from a tiny, sweet little bundle of baby into a smart, spunky and funny little boy.  And we cant wait to see what's around the corner. 

Happy second birthday, Ian!
We love you very much,
Mommy and Daddy

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's in the Bag

Dear Ian,

Mommy has never really been much of a girly-girl, and when it comes to purses, as long as the bag holds the stuff I need, I'm good.  I'm not one to have a bunch of fashionable bags, and when it comes to name brands, I am as clueless as a man.  In high school and college, my backpack's front pocket served me well.  All I needed was my wallet and my keys, and maybe a brush.  I'm a no muss, no fuss sort of girl.  When I started my professional career, it was around the time of cell-phone popularity, so ok, there's one more thing that I needed to carry around.  And since I was supposed to be a grown up, I invested in my first purse.  It was tiny; about four inches of carrying capacity, but it was all I needed.  I liked having my hands free to talk (we're Sicilian), hold Daddy's hand or ward off crazy people.  Being strapped down by a weighty handbag really didn't appeal to me.

But, as your Daddy said the other night, "Oh, how the mighty have fallen."  Actually I corrected him and said it was more like, "Oh, how the Mommy has fallen," because now that I have you, I find myself wielding a bag that could make Wal-mart's inventory jealous.

Let me back up and explain that last paragraph.  The other night Daddy and I went out to dinner just the two of us, and we made it special by dressing up a bit.  I wrapped up my look by switching bags from the Mommy Satchel that I carry from day to day to a little black purse that was my typical stand by back in my Pre-Ian days.  All that it held was all that I needed, both for our dinner date and for my previous life: wallet, keys, phone and believe it or not, lipstick.  (Mommy can be a girl every now and then.)  It was such a weird moment, and I'm still trying to figure out why.  My purse felt so light, and I totally felt like I was standing straighter.  But I sorta felt exposed, too.  My carry-all that carries all is part of me now, and without it, I felt like something was missing.

It was a good change, though.  I could actually find everything I needed!  It was right there at my fingertips in a purse that was only four inches deep!  But it seemed empty and lonely without the bits and pieces of you and our life that I now carry around.

This afternoon, while you were napping, I took a moment and dumped the contents of the Mommy Bag, and took a step back at all of the crap I am hauling around.  No wonder I needed chiropractic care...
Lord A-mighty...

So let's see here:  In that mess we have a Parenting magazine, my wallet, a toddler water bottle, my lady care zippy bag, a lolly pop that you dropped in the car that I re-wrapped so that way I could throw it away at home (see where it is still...), an empty wipes holder (need to rectify the empty part), two gently used (most likely by you) tissues, a pack of new tissues, a change of pants and undies for you in a ziploc, a board book, a paper back Caillou book, Lovey, a sippy with orange juice in it, a granola bar, your bug bite bag (benadryl, prednisolone, bug spray and tylenol in there) two pens, two hairbrushes, a garnet ribbon, one hairband, a straw, a juice box holder, a toddler fork, a measuring tape and my keys.  There is one more item in there, but I don't want to get into a debate about it, but let's just say that people should not sneak up on this diaper-bag-totin' Mama.

I need to mention that nothing was added to or subtracted from the mess that was inside that bag.  And I have to say that it's sort of wild to see just how much crap I lug around in the name of preparedness.  I think I may need an intervention; the inside of my purse is starting to look like an episode of Hoarders on tv.  I'll need to explain that reference to you one day.  But for now, I need to clean out my purse.

Love you always,

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Dear Ian,

Your second birthday is swiftly approaching, and I know that with it will come changes in the things you say and do.  So to help me remember all of these little fun phrases and quirks you have, here's another list of Ian-isms.

1.  Too Also:  This is usually how you finish a comparative statement.  And might I mention, it's one of Daddy's favorites.  We've even recorded it on our video recorder thingie.  Anyhoo.  Like I wrote before, you're not satisfied to just say, "Mommy likes chocolate, too."  Instead, you double clarify your statement by saying, "Mommy likes chocolate, too, also!"  Cracks me up.

2.  Independence:  Lately, with the onset of our two-ness, you've become more adamant about doing things for yourself.  Like most parents of twos, we've been hearing a whole lot of "Ian do it" around the house.  From pulling up your pants, to pouring your own orange juice to carrying your school bag, you've become your own man, and heaven help the person who stands in your way!

3.  The iPad:  For the rest of the world, the term iPad brings to mind technology.  Not for you, though.  Sigh.  I'm actually sort of embarrassed to write this, but here we go...  Your Daddy is very big on teaching you the correct terms for things, and the other day in the grocery store, at your questioning, told you that the correct name for a certain ladies sanitary items was "pad."  Fast forward to our next trip to Publix, and w hen we went down that aisle, you very excitedly pointed to the packages on the shelf and hollered, "iPADS!!"  The woman next to us lost it and laughed herself silly to the cookie aisle.

4.  Toilet Humor:  Where is it written that little boys are to find all things poop hilarious?  Because to you, it is.  Dang funny stuff.  The other day we were leaving Publix (Lord, do we LIVE there?!) and a gaggle of geese was walking across the parking lot.  We watched them waddle along, and then one of them answered the call of nature.  You pointed and screeched, "POOP!"  Then you laughed the hardest I think I have ever heard.  And for some reason, your own toots crack you up.  I am in for a long, long life of poop humor, I do believe.

5.  Random Ian quotes.  Sometimes you say things that catch me off guard and make me laugh.  Here are a few of those exchanges...

Daddy: *in the kitchen filling a glass with ice so he can make me some ice water.
Ian: "What doing Daddy?"
Daddy: "Making mommy a drink."
Ian: "A Margarita?"
Is this really how you see me?!

Ian: (after going poop on the potty) "Poo poos going swimmin'."
Lord knows where you got this...

Boogers in your nose are apparently also hilarious.  We blow your nose, you announce the presence of boogers and then giggle.  Sigh.

Your new favorite thing to say is, "Wow!  Look at fill-in-the-blank." 

Daddy: "Where does milk come from?"
Ian: "Publix."
Apparently we do live there.

Now that you are becoming more and more verbal, Daddy and I are getting to that phase in our lives when we'll have to walk about on pins and needles, painfully aware that everything we say and do will be scrutinized and reported to the public.  For example, I have a feeling that Mommy-and-Ian showers are quickly going to be obsolete since you so clearly pointed out our "differences" the other morning.  And it wont be long until you start telling the world stories about how things happen in our house.  Time to make some changes!  Here's hoping that your teachers only believe about half of the things that come out of your mouth.

I'm going to close this blog post with a picture that someone sent me via the internet the other day.  It was actually what spawned the idea for this blog post, as it is how a child presented a story about her mother.  It's only a matter of time before your honest assessment of life at home gets misconstrued...  And Lord help me when it does.

I love you with all of my heart, so please remember that before you tell your teacher that your Mommy's favorite thing to drink is Margaritas, ok?  Mommy likes wine, too, also...

Your Mommy

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Time Warp...

Dear Ian,

Today is October 9, so that means we are 10 days away from your second birthday.  Mommy is having a minor freak-out.  The past two years have gone by so fast, I am sure someone has messed with the space-time continuum or something.  (Mommy and Daddy are geeks, sorry.)  Yesterday we went to Chase and Tyler Bischoff's birthday party, Isabella and Payton's parties were in August, and next comes you and Graham Ghio.  All of those little precious bundles of baby are now grown up, opinionated, running-around toddlers.  Two year olds.  Whoa. 

Yesterday I took a photo of the group of you (minus Pay, so at your party, we need to rectify that...) that made me stop.  A year and a half ago, I took the same photo, so it was such a shock to see the same line up (for the most part) 18 months later.  The changes in your baby faces were enough to make me get a little teary, but thankfully the camera was to my face, so no one noticed. 

Here you all are, 18 months ago...
You, Graham, Issa, Tyler and Chase - June 2010
And here are those same precious babies all grown up into two year olds...
You, Graham, Chase, Tyler and Issa - October 2011
I wish I had been able to remember the original order in which you were all sitting; that would have been really cool.  But as it stands, this is a really neat series of photos. 

I just need time to stop going by so quickly.  Pretty soon we'll have a photo of all of you lined up in tuxes and a dress (for Issa) going to prom.  We're pretty lucky to have this group of friends, and it's amazing to watch all of you grow and change.  Just not too fast, ok?

Love always,

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Toddler Life #15

You  know you are the parent of a toddler when...

...instead of boring, beige band-aids, your blisters from your new shoes are sportin' band-aids with awesome characters from the Cars movie.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

C is for Cookies!

Dear Ian,

Here's a photo of you and your most recent cooking project from school.  I must remember to thank Miss Kim, the cooking teacher, for helping me out with afternoon snacks.

You were so excited about your gingerbread cookie, and you gobbled it right up.  But once it was gone, you were pretty ticked off that you didn't have another. You kept saying, "Mommy make one like Miss Kim!"  Sigh.  It's hard work to live up to your expectations...

See your cup of milk?  At least I am a good enough mommy to remember that milk goes best with cookies.

I could eat YOU up!
Love you tons,