Sunday, August 24, 2008

Funny Blog: Cake Wrecks

Has anyone else seen this hilarious blog?

Take a look, but only if you have time to spare. I wasted at least 45 minutes reading this blog, and would have spent more time if Jackson hadn't woken up from his nap. If you are an Ace of Cakes fan like me (fabulous and bizarrely addictive show), then you'll love it even more. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Advanced Psychology Milestone

About a week ago, our 500th visitor made their way to the Advanced Psychology blog (we'll ignore the fact that 450 of these "visits" were probably me checking on the site). In honor of this milestone, I've retooled a few things on the blog. The most exciting is the new GUEST BOOK, which took way more technical skill to set up then you would think. Please consider saying hello on it. I've also removed my "Time Since I Slept Past 7am" ticker because Jackson has slept past 7 several times in the last few weeks!!! In fact, he slept until 7:30 this morning. Finally, I've added a BlogRoll to my page. These blogs are ones I check regularly, and they are definitely worth a read. If you have any suggestions of other blogs you love, please pass them on.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Jackson's Photo Album

I just had to show off this cute little "photo album" that Jackson and I made of his trip to the beach:Ok, I actually made it by myself at 10:00 at night while cursing at my glue dot dispenser, which chose that exact moment (the night before Jackson had to return to school) to jam up. It's just a folded piece of photo paper with pictures and stickers glued to each of the four sides. I made it so that he could bring pictures of his trip to show his daycare class and teachers, but he has really enjoyed looking at it since then too:

It's certainly not the masterpiece my mom would have made (sometime I'll have to blog about her homemade books) , but on the other hand if it gets messed up it's not a big deal since it's just photos, paper and stickers.

The Grocery Store

The grocery store closest to my house does a lot to try to lure in customers with kids. They have free sugar cookies as you enter the store, and free balloons as you exit. Jackson calls the balloons his "doggies" (I think because they are like dogs on a leash once they deflate) and he named this one "Sam":Cookies and balloons are both nice little treats that would make a trip to the grocery store a coveted outing for any two year old. So why not just leave it at that? But no, the store had to try even harder, so they got these giant grocery carts that are shaped like race cars. The kids get to sit in the driver's seat and pretend to drive the cart. In this picture Jackson is mad at me because I'm insisting on taking his picture while he wants to be "driving":Sounds like a good idea, right? Um, no. These monster carts are so hard to maneuver that you must never forget an item because you cannot back-up or turn around. At least once a visit I cause a big traffic jam in an aisle because this cart is so huge it blocks everyone's way. Plus, the end of it is so far in front of me that I invariably push out of the aisle in front of some poor unsuspecting person and then I have to apologize profusely because, remember, I can't turn around or back up. Every time we go to the store I say a silent prayer that all the car carts will be taken. This has only happened twice, but I can keep praying.

Despite the trials and tribulations of the car cart, I continue to use them because I've seen the alternative: the kid sized cart! The last thing we need is Jackson careening around the grocery store with his own cart while pulling random items off the bottom shelf of each aisle. I've heard that the next big thing coming to upscale grocery stores are car carts that come with little TVs for kids to watch while you shop. In my life before parenthood, I might have said that this was a terrible idea, but I have to say I am starting to see the appeal...

The $23 Haircut

About once a month, Matt gets shocked all over again that Jackson's haircuts cost more then his do. Frankly, I'm not sure if this says more about the cost of Jackson's haircuts, or the cost of SportsClips, Matt's favorite "hair salon." Anyway, I fully admit that paying almost $25 for a two year old boy's haircut is a little bit...extravagant. But I have some good reasons. First of all, he loves going there. Who wouldn't? They have a train table, airplanes to sit in while you get your hair cut, and lollipops. We make sure to always go on the day "Miss Heather" is working because we both love her. He gets super excited whenever I tell him we are going. But the real reason I'm willing to pay $17 plus tip for a haircut is a little more complicated. You see, before I had Jackson, I always thought that I'd have a docile little angel who would read quietly at a restaurant while waiting for his meal, and then calmly eat whatever he ordered, and then charm the other diners with sweet smiles and funny little quips. I'm pretty sure kids like this exist - my friend Carla seems to have one of them. But trips in public with Jackson often involve more running, screaming, and fussing then I imagined in my pre-kid fantasies. Which brings me to the $23 haircut. The haircut place is the only place we go where Jackson is consistently the sweetest, most enviable kid in the establishment. While other kids hide behind their parents, cry when placed in the chair, and shrink from the clippers, Jackson walks into the store with a big smile and greets his "stylist" (Miss Heather), jumps into the airplane, and giggles when it's time for the clippers. We usually make a special morning of it: Starbucks for mom and dad, special time with the train table, and wrapping up with a trip to Petsmart (which, by the way, is like a free trip to the zoo for a two year old). Can you blame me for wanting to spend a little extra cash for a morning like this? Today we all had a reason to smile because it was his tenth haircut, and it was FREE!

Friday, August 8, 2008


Day 6 of our vacation and everything has been even better than expected. It's been bright and sunny, and there hasn't been a drop of rain in the sky. The beach has been gorgeous and quiet. No one has gotten sunburned. The kids haven't seriously hurt each other (yet). Ahhh, paradise. And just when I thought that things were absolutely perfect.....JELLYFISH STRIKE! The ironic thing is that I've spent the whole vacation worrying about one of the kids falling into a sand hole on the beach (did you know that holes in the sand cause more deaths than shark bites?), and it turns out that the real danger was quietly lurking in the clear waters just off shore.

It was one of the few times this week that I was swimming without one of the little kids, and I was just sort of riding little waves back and forth when all of a sudden - AAAAGH! Searing pain on my calf and ankle! Since I didn't have a child with me, I went into full histrionics of screaming and flailing, which I am more than a little embarrassed about today. I limped my way back to shore fully prepared to see that all the skin on my leg had been completely flayed (this is what it felt like), only to see.....nothing. Well, maybe some slight redness, but pretty much nothing. A jellyfish sting is quite painful, but it sure doesn't leave much of a battle wound to brag about. After an hour or two, you could see about five red lashes across my calf, but frankly it is so unimpressive in the picture that I took of it that I am not even going to embarrass myself by posting it. You'll just have to trust me that it was quite painful. I got no sympathy from the rest of my group, who made comments like, "did you see him coming?" and "weren't you looking out for them?" and best of all "yeah, I'm not surprised; I saw tons of them swimming around us this morning." Gee, thanks. I limped my way back to the house, and applied rubbing alcohol (which didn't help at all) and vinegar (which helped a lot) and looked on the Internet to find out if I was going to die (not unless I'm in Australia).

The pain subsided within about four hours, but the red lash marks are still visible today. I promised Matt that I'll go back into the ocean today, but the thing is, I've got all this blogging to do...and dishes...and someone needs to watch the babies.... Besides, I can see the beach perfectly well from the safety of the deck.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Our Eskimo

Jackson decided about a month or two ago that he likes to eat frozen things. Don't worry, I'm not talking about raw food - just cooked, frozen food. So far he regularly eats frozen waffles and frozen "cupcakes" (vegi muffins). I had to draw the line at frozen fish sticks despite having to endure a huge tantrum - I know they're already cooked, but that's just gross!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Time to Get Away

Where do people who live in Beachtown go when they go on vacation? The beach of course! Even though we live just six miles from the ocean, we have only been to the beach four times this whole season. Renting a house right on the beach forces us to take the time to appreciate it. We're at the beach for a whole week with two other families. The other five adults (excluding me) have known each other since college, which I think is pretty cool. This is the first year that the adults have been outnumbered by the children, courtesy of two adorable baby twin girls that joined one of the families this year. Yes, we think their parents are very brave too.

Our car was packed to top, but I'm not really sure why since we brought nothing but t-shirts, shorts, and swimsuits to wear. Ok, I did bring two pairs of flip-flops, but so far I've only had to put them on a couple of times.

Our house this year is AWESOME. There are four big bedrooms - one for each family and one for the older kids. Here's a view of the house from the beach:

And here's a view of the beach from the house:

Jackson was a little freaked out by the waves at first, but by the second day, we were having a hard time getting him to come inside even after hours of playing in the surf. We're on day 3 of the trip and miraculously no one has gotten seriously burned yet. Jackson is doing remarkably well considering that he's going to bed super duper late and still getting up early.

Tonight we are headed to fireworks on the doesn't get much better than this.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Update: My First Picture Schedule

I've had a few requests asking for an update on our Picture Schedule. The next couple of days after the original post were still rough. The first step was to get Jackson to understand that when he found the picture of Dora at the end of his schedule, he would get a Special Treat. After two or three days of receiving Special Treats, we explained to him that if we had to put him in time-out during the Picture Schedule, he would not get a Special Treat. After that, it was pretty much smooth sailing. During days 3-5, we had to tell him a few times, "you can either put your shirt on, or go to time-out. Remember, if you go to time-out during your pictures, no special treat."

Since day 5, he's been doing awesome. He pulls his pictures off himself and tells me what we are doing next. After about a week and half, he started waking up in the morning and spontaneously asking to use the pictures. Toddlers love to have a sense of control, and the picture schedule has given this to him.

This intervention might sound like a lot of work, but if you have enough technical skills to follow a blog, you can definitely pull this off with very little effort. Basically, you grab your digital camera and run around the house taking pictures. Then you upload them to the computer and print them on photo paper using the "wallet sized" photo setting (8 print on a page using this setting, so you really don't have to waste a ton of paper). You could laminate them if you are really motivated, but I find the photo paper is fairly sturdy, and you can always print another one if you need to. Then you go to Wal-mart in the sewing section and grab a roll of plain old velcro (no super duper sticking stuff - it should be fairly easy for little hands to take apart). Cut half the velcro into little squares and stick it to the back of the pictures, and put a strip of the other half on a piece of cardboard. Viola - picture schedule in ten minutes or less. And let me tell you, it is ten minutes well spent. The time for our morning routine has dropped to less than ten minutes, and we are all much happier in the mornings now.

Why I'm Going Prematurely Gray

Ok, I'll admit it, I was going gray long before I had Jackson, but I'd still like to blame it on him. Here is a transcript of an actual conversation we had two nights ago:

SCENE: Jackson is sitting at the table eating angel food cake and strawberries while I clean up, and Matt is on an important work call. In the interest of full disclosure, this is probably the third time I've had to clean up since we've been married...Jackson and I are the mess-makers, and Matt is the cleaner-uper (and no, you can't have him). I walk over to check on Jackson and realize that the floor around his chair is covered in cake crumbs - way more then could be explained by messy eating*.

Me: Jackson, who put all this cake on the ground?

Jackson (feigning lack of comprehension): Who?

Me: You heard me. WHO put all this cake on the ground?

Jackson: Who?

Me: Jackson, YOU put that cake on the ground! Why did you do it? Why did you put the cake on the ground?

Jackson (I'll admit that WHY probably blew his little circuits): Why?

Me: Jackson, we don't put cake on the ground. It makes a big mess. Yuck!

Jackson (gleefully): Yuck! Yuck!

In the midst of shouting Yuck! he bounces around until the chair moves slightly and makes a terrible squeaking sound

Jackson (even more gleefully): Mommy! I did it! I make dat sound!

Me: (silence while I go to get the Dustbuster and clean up)

I return to cleaning the kitchen. Two minutes later:

Me: Jackson! There is more cake on the floor!

Jackson (very serious): Who? Who did dat?

Me: (speechless will individual hairs on my head spontaneously pop out in gray)

*Another street cred disclaimer: I promise that I don't normally discipline by having inane conversations with my child. For meals, I usually put the offending utensil or food item in "time out" on the counter for a minute or so. It's a lot less work then putting Jackson in time out, and works great for minor infractions. But in this case, I wasn't 100% SURE that he had dropped a bazillion little crumbs on the floor on PURPOSE...