Friday, May 8, 2009

No Sir!

I grew up in California, and the whole concept of kids saying "sir" and "ma'am" to adults is just downright creepy to me. Since kids are expected to say "sir" and "ma'am" to adults where we live, I figured that my kid would just be the rude-one-with-the-weird-parents-who-don't-teach him-any-manners. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Two weeks ago, while Matt was out of town, Jackson started saying, "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am" to me in response to every question. I gently said, "Honey, I'm your mommy. You don't have to say ma'am to me." But it didn't work. He brashly continued to fling "ma'am" in my face at every opportunity. Impudent kid. Then Matt came home from his trip, and (I'll bet you could see this coming) now Jackson is calling him ma'am too. Do we ignore the whole situation and hope it goes away? Do we do start teaching him to call Matt sir? Do we pack up and move somewhere a little less civilized? We'll keep you posted.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sonoma Train Town

On a recent trip to see my family, we made a little side trip to see the Sonoma Train Town. This is pretty much a 3 year old boy's greatest fantasy - a park with a scale model railroad that really runs over bridges, through tunnels, past streams, and by tiny scale towns. The railroad ride itself is about 20 minutes, including a 10 minute stop at a petting zoo with llamas, sheep, and goats. They also have a few toddler-friendly rides like a carousel and flying airplanes. Jackson and Mimi getting ready to get on the train ride...Jackson and Mimi on a carousel together. This was his first ride without someone holding onto him. No, I didn't pre-approve this idea. Yes, I was very nervous.Ok, so when I heard that parents couldn't go on the airplane ride with their kids, I thought, "fat chance my kid is going to do this!" I started to get pretty anxious when my mom put him into his seat because it would have taken me at least 30 seconds to leap the rails to go get him, and I wasn't sure if they would stop the ride if it was already going when he started crying. The real emotion set in, however, when I realized that he wasn't scared! In fact, he was having a great time and didn't need me at all! Ouch! This rather un-sentimental mommy definitely had tears in her eyes.

So You Think You Can't Take Your Kid To a Winery?

Do you think that taking a child to a winery might be akin to child abuse? Au contraire, mon frère! My parents live in the Dry Creek area of Sonoma, so Jackson has been visiting wineries since he was about 6 weeks old. Most wineries have beautiful grounds for your kids to explore, and many have awesome picnic areas to enjoy. Some even have novelty experiences like castles. The best part is that while your kid enjoys a beautiful California day outdoors, you can load up on some fancy-dancy wine for cheap (even if there is a tasting fee, most wineries waive it if you buy something). Here are some photos from our recent trip to Ferrari-Carano:

National Academy of Sciences (San Francisco)

On a recent trip to San Francisco we had the opportunity to visit the newly remodeled National Academy of Sciences. It is so beautiful, and so incredibly toddler friendly (except for the food court, where nary a chicken nugget could be found...).

The entire roof is covered in green plants to control heating and air costs. I totally want one. Plus, jumping in the roof puddles may have been the highlight of the entire day for Jackson.
They have this really cute Children's Museum-esque play area
just for kids under 5

Jackson really could have spent all day in front of this giant tank looking for the one Nemo-fish swimming around in it

Everyone liked getting to touch the sea creatures in this
aquatic version of a petting zoo

They also have traditional dioramas, which might be sort of boring to some of us (me), but toddlers apparently find fascinating...

Money, Money, Money

For Jackson's third birthday our very good friends sent him three dollar bills. I figured this would go over like a lead balloon with our three year old. I mean, what does money mean to a three year old? It's just great paper, right? Wrong, wrong wrong. Apparently our friends know more about kids then we do (they have three of their own) because Jackson was THRILLED with his "money." He carried it proudly around the house and kept saying, "This is MY money. This is Jackson's money!" The first weekend after the three dollars arrived, he even wanted to bring them with us when we went shopping.
I decided that Jackson was definitely ready for his own piggy bank. I ordered this awesome, handpainted, personalized fire truck piggy off of (the website where I now just have my paycheck deposited directly, because I am so obsessed with it):

Jackson loves to find "money" (mainly pennies) to put in his new bank. If this financial crisis continues, we may be coming to him for loans in the near future...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Jackson's Little Gym Party

You may be inclined to ask WHICH party I am blogging about, because Jackson had no less than 3 parties this year - one with his Nana and Pap-pap on his actual birthday, one at school on his birthday, and one a week later at the Little Gym. The Little Gym party was by far the cutest. We invited all the kids in his preschool class, plus a few special friends, and about 13 or 14 kids ended up coming, which was a perfect number. During the first hour of the party, the kids got to alternate between free play on all the cool gym equipment, and organized activities with the two party leaders. I was so impressed with how much these little 2 and 3 year olds were able to do. After the kids were completely worn out, we adjourned to a little party room for cake and juice. Here are a few highlights:





Jackson couldn't have been happier with his special day. He was all smiles for every second of it. The best part? When it was over, all I had to do was get in the car and drive home! No messy clean up for me! Yay!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Fish Saga

Because Jackson has more toys than we can reasonably fit in our house, I wanted to find something else to get him for his birthday. Matt and I decided on a fish, because he loves the movie Finding Nemo, and he gets really excited whenever we see a fish tank. We bought this cute little Finding Nemo tank for about $35, which I thought was a pretty good deal, and put a blue (Jackson's favorite color) Betta fish into it.

Jackson was pretty jazzed about his fish, which he named "Blue". Unfortunately (but predictably I believe) the next morning, the fish was DEAD. We quickly scooped him out of the tank on the way out of the house, and picked up another blue Betta on the way home from work. We were convinced that Jackson would never know the difference...except that when we put the new fish into the tank, it was RED! I really don't know how this happened. The funny part is that Jackson didn't seem to notice that "Blue" was now red. Blue2 lasted approximately three days longer than Blue1. When I went to PetSmart to discuss the fact that we clearly are fish murderers, the girl (same one who helped me pick out the system, by the way - I'll save my rant about PetSmart for another day) informed me that Bettas don't like filtered tanks. Apparently they prefer to live in tiny dirty fish bowls? Whatever. So now we have two tiny guppies and a really cute frog, which we have managed not to kill yet, but it's only been a week.

I'll be headed to another pet store today (NOT Petsmart) to drop a week's salary on tank care accessories. I'd be bitter about this whole sage except I have to admit that I am a little in love with our tiny frog.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Jackson turns 3 today

"My's? It's my's birthday?" (see how he's pointing at himself in disbelief?)

For once I didn't have to bribe him to get a smiling picture - this is the real deal.

Mylar balloons - pretty much the highlight of any toddler's day.

How cute is this monkey birthday shirt that I ordered off of
He's still asking if it's really his birthday....

Shot of the birthday shirt from the back - it has his name and big 3 on it.

Time to go to school. For once no fussing since two dozen cupcakes are coming with him. Jackson and I made yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting (coincidentally mommy's favorite...), rainbow dot sprinkles, and Mickey Mouse ring toppers for his class.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I'm a Cowboy

For MLK day, Jackson's entire school was supposed to dress up as what they wanted to be when they grew up. I hadn't planned to send him to school that day since I had the day off, but he was sick the entire week before, so Matt and I both needed some time to get work done. That morning after he was already dressed, I remember that he was supposed to dress up. I thought for a minute and then quickly threw a cowboy hat on his head and gave him a toy horse and told him, "When people ask what you are going to be when you grow up, say a COWBOY." He was none to thrilled with the idea, as you can see from the reluctant picture below (apparently cowboys also carry binoculars). So on the way to school, I said, "Jackson, if someone asks what you are going to be when you grow up, what are you going to say?" He thought for a minute, and the grinned and said, "A HAT!" I had hoped for a doctor, but instead I got...a hat.

Potty training....again...

I've heard that regression in potty training is not uncommon, but this didn't really prepare me for the frustration/bewilderment of having a complete backslide (pardon the pun) in potty training after the holidays. Jackson started refusing to use the toilet even when he was doing the disco version of the pee-pee dance, and inevitably started having accidents. We decided to make him a new potty training chart where he earned one sticker for each "dry day." We promised him a reward of these two plastic horses he had seen at Target.
He didn't earn one sticker in the first 3 days - that's how bad our backslide was! We then tried compliance training - in other words, rewarding him with M&Ms for using the toilet when we told him too, and that worked so-so. He finally earned his first sticker this way, but then un-earned it by having an accident right before we put him to bed! I tried to remove the sticker from the sheet to make a point, but it was stuck on really well, so I ended up spending five minutes ragefully picking it off piece by piece while Jackson cried. Not exactly high-quality parenting.
But the most effective intervention came when we started enforcing regular potty breaks after meals using the inspired little poem, "After we sit at the table and eat, it's time to sit on the potty seat." Jackson was a little skeptical about this at first, but after a couple of days, started enthusiastically using the toilet four times a day (three meals plus a snack) while reciting this poem. Combined with scheduled trips before nap and bedtime, this seemed to do the trick and he quickly earned all 10 stickers needed to get his horses, and we haven't had an accident in weeks! We were so excited that when he earned his stickers he got THREE horses (Mommy, Daddy, and Baby) instead of two.

My Little Elephant

Jackson has recently decided that he is a baby elephant. This game comes with the elaborate prop of a wet washcloth that he carries around in his mouth and pretends is his trunk. Needless to say, we have molding wet washcloths all over the house.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Snow Day

So, as you may have guessed, it doesn't snow in Beach Town. So we were all very excited when a local fun park brought in a bunch of snow for the day so that kids could go sledding. I have to say that when we first saw the pathetic little 24 square foot area covered in snow, we were a little skeptical about the fun factor, but Matt and Jackson had a blast sledding down the little hill. We topped the afternoon off with a few rides and some go-karting. Too cute.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Blog Alert: PostSecret

My obsession with Cakewrecks has not diminished, but I thought I would share another blog that I heart. The blog is called PostSecret and it provides a place for people to artistically and anonymously share their secrets with the world. I've already learned that I'm just about the last person on the planet to discover this website - it's won awards, spawned books, and clearly has quite a following. But if you haven't already stumbled across this yourself, check it out and I'll bet you will become as hooked as I am.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christmas: Take Two

Because we had a trip to DisneyWorld planned for early December, we decided not to buy our tree until about 10 days before Christmas. Please learn from our experience: this is a TERRIBLE idea. We naively showed up at Lowe's ready to buy our normal 8 foot, reasonably priced beauty and found only pathetic looking, lopsided 6 footers. After roaming the aisles of trees for about 15 minutes in total disbelief, hoping that perhaps there was one lone high quality tree left, we finally settled on this little Charlie Brown tree:

Pathetic, right? Our only consolation was that it was majorly (but fairly!) discounted. We decided to let it "rest" overnight before decorating it, hoping that it might magically fill out over night. But the next morning brought an ominous surprise: the water was still filled to the top of the stand. The tree wasn't drinking ANYTHING. That night we cut another chunk off of the bottom of the tree and said a little prayer. The next morning, like a prisoner, the tree was still refusing water. We were expecting a houseful of guests for Christmas, so we decided to visit one of the notoriously overpriced tree lots, and found this little guy:

Totally worth it, right? Oh, and here's a really cool picture of Jackson decorating the tree with fireworks. Ok, my shutter just isn't fast enough to keep up with my two year old, but it's still pretty cool, right?