Monday, September 30, 2013

Back to work

My time is up. Twelve weeks came and went just like that. Maternity leave is over and I am headed back to work tomorrow. I am a mess.

Today started just like any other. I had a mile long list of things that had to be done on my last day off and so I loaded Cooper in the car to run around town with the promise of a park trip as a carrot at the end of the stick.

We stopped by the alterations place to pick up some pants. For whatever reason, Cooper decided the alterations guy's office building was the coolest place ever, much to the other tenants' chagrin. When I sensed that the title company and real estate employees had enough of a crazy two year old running around the "castle", I played my ace early and told Cooper it was time to go to the park. You would have thought I told him I was taking him for a root canal.

The power play that ensued was epic and embarrassing and at one point involved him laying face down in the parking lot. I called Kyle to tell him about it and he said it was just God's way of helping me let go before going back to work. I wholeheartedly agreed.

Then we got to the park and my attitude changed. We made nice and had a great time. As we turned to leave, Cooper said "Bye park! See you tomorrow!" And that's when I lost it. You see, tomorrow's got nothing on our park date.

So I naturally did what any mom-guilt-laiden gal would do and let him call the shots for the rest of our time. We may have ended up eating ice cream in the middle of the day!

Don't even get me started on this muffin!

(She's kind of rocking the Kate Gosslin. Don't judge.)

Who knew getting paid to stay home with your kids (a.k.a maternity leave) would be so wonderful?! Back to the real world!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Come here, big boy!

I'm a sucker for Cooper cuteness and he knows it. His latest scheme is to prolong the bedtime routine as long as possible. We give him a bath, read some books and tell him goodnight. When Kyle puts him down, this is when the bedtime routine ends. For me, he pulls out all of the stops.

Me: Goodnight bud, I love you.

Cooper: MOM! MOM! Come here! Hold my hand! Give him a five! Now bump it out! Bump it out again! Wots and wots of bump it out Mom!

Me: OK Cooper, I'm walking out now. I love you, goodnight!

C: MOM! My blanket! You has to keep him warm.

Me: [replace the blanket that was "accidentally" kicked off] I love you, goodnight!

All of these things (high five, fist bumps etc.) are very typical stall tactics. But, the other night things got a little WIERD!

C: MOM! Come here big boy!

Me: [dying laughing...silently] What?

C: Come here big boy! Let Cooper hold you!

At this point I am laughing hysterically...out loud...which does nothing but egg him on!

C: Come here big boy! Come here big boy!

I finally pulled myself together enough to tell him goodnight and walk out but this was by far the funniest thing he's ever said. We're working on the whole boy versus girl thing, but I think if he called me "Big Boy" forever I wouldn't be sad about it!

Here's one of the little stinker loving on his sister. He is finally over the "maybe if I ignore her she'll go away" stage and has started to pay some attention to her. This morning, he brought her all of his "stuff". If you know Cooper, you know this is a big deal! To be clear, the "stuff" consists of no more and no less than: Mista Snake, Mista Bear, Mista Monkey, Mista Blankey, Mista Lovey, Mista Nother Lovey, Mista Turtle and Mista Blue Turtle. You better believe these guys are part of the bedtime routine!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Adventures in Potty Training

I do not want to jinx myself. Therefore, I will NOT tell you about how Cooper started potty training this week.  Instead, here is a completely fictitious story about a little boy named Booper and his adventures in potty training.

Booper's Mom and Dad had tried for some time to get him interested in using the potty. They would tell him that if he went pee pee in the potty he could have one M&M. Over time, the bribe grew to five M&M's then an entire chocolate no avail. As his third birthday rounded into the not so distant future, they were trying anything just to gain interest. Booper could care less.

Then, on Sunday evening, Booper was playing with a puzzle that had musical instruments on it. He asked his mom about the only instrument on the puzzle that he didn't have, a harmonica. She told him that if he pee peed on the potty he could have one to which Booper replied, "OK!" Booper proceeded to march to the potty, sit down and use it as if he had been doing just that all of his life.

Booper's parents were ecstatic, and totally unprepared. Where does one find a harmonica at 7:30 at night? The answer is you don't. Booper's Dad searched everywhere but couldn't find one and came home with some Planes characters instead. This appeased Booper and bought enough time until his Mom could get out the next day and find one for him.

Poor Booper. His parents spent all of their energy trying to bribe him with chocolate when all he wanted was a danged harmonica!

Now Booper is not perfect, but he is trying and is successful 80% of the time. That's all his parents could ask for! Especially after wondering if they were going to be changing his diapers until his 4th birthday!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ouch. Ouch, you're hurting me.

Someone should write a book called How to Outsmart the Two-year Old Who Just Outsmarted You. I would buy it.

Cooper's newest trick is to try to get out of something he doesn't want to do by saying "ouch". At home, this doesn't work. I could care less if he tells me "ouch" when I'm putting him into the bathtub or brushing his teeth. I KNOW these things don't hurt. He can yell it as loud as he long as the neighbors don't hear!

That's just it. When he says these things in public all of the sudden I'm rooted to the spot, fearful someone is going to call CPS on the little blonde child abuser!

Case in point, this is exactly what happened leaving a restaurant yesterday. Mind you, I have one arm full of take-out BBQ and am hurrying home to feed Carrington before she and Kyle both get cranky. Cooper, on the other hand, is perfectly content running up and down the hallway to and from the bathroom where some poor older woman had been parked for the last 10 minutes. (Bad food? Stage fright? Fear of two year olds? Who knows?!)

     Me: Cooper, we have our food. Time to go! (I grab his hand and start walking towards the door.)


     Me: Come on buddy, I'm not hurting you. We have to hold hands in the parking lot.

I look around to see who is watching us while trying to figure our if saying "I'm not hurting you" isn't exactly what someone would say if they were hurting someone. I spy only one pair of raised eyebrows and try again.

     Me: [to no one in particular] Ha! Two year olds!

I grab a hold of his hand again which triggers him to throw himself on the floor.

     C: No hurting Cooper Mom! No hurting Cooper again! OUUCCCCHHHHHHH!

Again? Oh Lord. Where is this coming from? Do I yank him out kicking and screaming while trying to balance BBQ, a drink and my car keys? Do I practice my calm Mommy reasoning skills? (BAH!) Or, do I just let him run the hall one more time hoping a new round of people will circulate in and out and I can try a more stealthy grab-and-go? Too late. Thought for too long. He bolted and started running the hall again, pestering the poor lady doing God knows what in that bathroom.

Then, who comes stumbling out of that bathroom? My sweaty guardian angel with her crooked smile and a look that let Cooper know his cheeks were about to get pinched! He grabbed my hand and headed towards the door. Whew. Saved...this time!

This little stunt did earn him a blue cupcake from the bakery manager at HEB the other day. He told me to tell the cashier it was damaged. Think he felt sorry for me?


Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Hardest Word

Did you know tomorrow night marks the start of the holiest day in the Jewish year? This Shiksa is still trying to learn what it takes to be a good mommy and wife to my Jewish family which means a lot of Google-ing, asking Kyle and, lately, reading Cooper's lesson plans from school. Of course, being married to Kyle, I've known about Yom Kippur as he casually observes it but it is a new world seeing it through my two year old's eyes. Maybe you've read about our wacky Christmukkah celebrations but Yom Kippur is a lot more than pretty lights and presents.

Here is the Cliff's Notes I understand it! I'm sure Cooper can and will correct me if I'm wrong.

High Holy Days start with Rosh Hashanah, or the beginning of the new year, and end ten days later with Yom Kippur. During these ten days, God opens the book of life passes his judgement. Basically, you have this time to get yourself together and atone for your sins. Kind of like Santa's naughty and nice list, but way more intense! You know, the book of life versus the book of death kind of stuff.

Here's the catch, you can only ask God for forgiveness for your sins against God. For your sins against your fellow man? You're on your own, pal. Oh yeah, and you've got ten days to make amends. 

I love everything about this lesson. I love that my two year old's classroom is learning to say sorry and take responsibility for actions this week. I love the ritual that is put into reflecting on these things by all of those who observe this holiday.  And, I REALLY love that this is a time to seek forgiveness from family and friends and that you are the only one responsible for making that happen. What a way to start the new year with a clean slate, right?! I can definitely get on board.

This week, Cooper's class is reading about Jonah and the Whale and learning how to say the "hardest word" which is SORRY! I wonder if Cooper will tell Carrington sorry for saying things like "Dad, get her out of my room!" and "I don't wike her!" Mommy can dream. I did snap one instant of brotherly love this week. (Don't worry grandparents, the car was parked in a parking lot for this pic!)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Down by the River

On the road again!  This time was a weekend trip to the Texas Hill Country with some of our dearest friends. I have to say, traveling with a newborn is way easier with the second kid. I guess that after traveling with an 18-month old last summer, any age pales in comparison!

I can't say enough good things about the weekend. We missed our friends the Russells (who are currently residing in Colombia, wahhhh) but also enjoyed having new friends Jen and James come along. Jen's Snicker brownies didn't hurt the transition either! The company was fantastic, the beer and the river were cold, we ate way too much and laughed until our sides hurt, literally. Have you ever played Cards Against Humanity? Holy schmoley. It's a good one. Highly offensive. Highly entertaining.

Cooper was totally hooked on fishing and also making sure that nobody else caught fish except him by throwing large rocks in the water and yelling BAM! Carrington was quite content being passed around to all of her Aunties. Kyle and I even took the opportunity to venture down river by ourselves. When you have people offering to hold your baby you go with it...before they wise up!

Excuse the iPhone pics...there was no time for the big camera!
I gave Kyle the Ray Bans I'm wearing for Christmas last year and then promptly confiscated them.
They look way better on me.

It was really nice of me to trade fish with Kyle before we snapped these pics.
First fish on a fly rod at 2.5! Clearly his mother's son!

Carrington got in on the action.

The view of the living room from the second story loft. Nevermind the bodies and legos strewn about.

She always falls asleep with her hands over her face. So dramatic!
The ladies! (Me, Lyndsey, Abigail and Jen)
If you look closely you can spot the Buckeye amongst all of the Aggies!
I insisted in a family pic of us all in maroon. Um, yeah.
Papa came up to visit and took Cooper around San Antonio one of the days. It was his first night away from us not at his own house. I was nervous but he did great. I knew Papa would have been prepared with some Blue Bell ice cream in case of emergency but sounds like they were way too busy to need it! Papa is probably still sleeping it off because they did the zoo, an amusement park and out for Mexican food all in one day. I'm sure I could do that too, if you gave me a week!

Cooper and Papa enjoying the train at the San Antonio Zoo!

Third generation of Charles kids at Kiddie Park. Papa went there when he was little!

Enjoying a "virgin margarita" at dinner. That hair, those cheeks. I die.

Meanwhile, Sister has rolls for days. I'm not sure which is my favorite, the inner bicep roll or the double elbow roll. My friend Chelsea already called out her knuckle dimples. Those are pretty sweet too.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A little boy in paradise

With the exception of maybe a super hero sighting, this past weekend couldn't have gotten any better for the Cooper boy. We took him down to my father in law's house on the Texas coast where he proceeded to have the BEST. WEEKEND. EVER. We've been down many times before, but this is the first weekend he really "got it".

My father in law came in on Wednesday to cover for Kyle who was out of town on a work/golf/casino trip (uh huh, you read that right) and then he chauffeured the three of us down to the coast after Cooper got out of school on Thursday. Cooper got so excited when we got there after seeing the boats, pool and fishing gear that he couldn't even find the words to say. He was running around the house like a crazy man and kept telling me "Mommy! I'm here! I'm here! I'm here!"

Within about fifteen minutes of us arriving he asked his Papa if he could go drive the boat and, of course, his Papa dropped everything and off they went. I swear his Papa would give him the moon if he asked for it. I did get a little choked up watching them ride off together. I've watched Kyle and his Dad drive down that same canal 100 times together to go off fishing and watching my big boy in his Daddy's place was almost too much!

On Friday Kyle and my parents came down and we spent the entire weekend eating, drinking, and rotating with Cooper between the pool, fishing and driving the boat. And we had an Aggie win on top of it all, whoop! It really felt like vacation to Kyle and me between all of the home cooked meals and the three grandparents who always had open arms for our babies. I'm pretty sure they enjoyed themselves too!

Kyle, Cooper, Grandpa and Papa out fishing.

And I've lost him...

He told his Papa he didn't want to eat it. Or touch it. "Too yucky!"
Carrington just hung out and practiced her "cute" all weekend.

My Aggie babies!

We snuck away for a sunset cruise.
Papa and Carrington held down the dock.
Our guide dog on point.

 Cooper on the "diving board".

Hope you had a great Labor Day. Back to the real world (kind of). Four more weeks of maternity leave, wahhhhh!