Saturday, March 28, 2009

Noah's Maps

Noah has been interested in maps for some time now. I'm not sure what it is about them that he likes so much, but they are something he asks for quite often when we are riding in the car. On long trips he always asks where ____ (insert person we are visiting) lives. I always find myself in the awkward, not-so-safe, half in the frontseat half in the backseat mom position trying to point it out on the map for him.
This was my solution:
Friends and family laminated map stickers!
When I finished making the stickers. He could not wait to look at them. This surprised me a little because usually when I work on something like this for him it takes him a little while to appreciate it...if at all. This time he carried them out to the car and looked at them all the way to our destination and back. Yeah!
The 'how to:'
1. I sized and cropped pictures of friends and family we visit often (and happen to have pictures of!) using Photoshop.
2. I laid out all the pics (sized to .85in circles) in Illustrator and printed them all at once on photo paper (I tried cardstock first, but they weren't clear enough to tell who some of the people were).
3. Cut out circles. I wish I could have found my large holepunch for this, but my not-so perfect hand cut circles work just fine (or so I am trying to convince the perfectionist side of me).
4. Laminate circles. I used GBC SelfSeal laminating pouches.
5. Cut circles out of laminate.
6. Put through Xyron 150 Create-a-sticker. You could use double stick tape here too. Or if you REALLY wanted to simplify the project you could print the pics on label sheets and eliminate step 4.
Now your stickers are ready to place on their proper map locations!
WARNING: After placing all 24 of my new, indestructible stickers on the map, I so proudly presented it to Jon to show him what I did at naptime that day...he quickly took the wind out of my sails by pointing out that the maps are no longer useable because the pictures cover up parts of them map...whoops! I was so caught up in the details of my project, that point didn't even occur to me. So if you decide to do this project, you might want to buy new maps :0)
You could also use this idea on a full size map of the United States (or world, or city) if you have family and friends all over and hang it in a playroom or bedroom!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Worth the Wait

Noah has never been in a rush to do anything, but when he does it is always well worth the wait.

Becoming pregnant with him took what seemed like ages, but I think that made me realize how precious that experience is and made me appreciate it all the more.
He was due on Valentine's Day 2006 (what a 'sweet' gift that would have been), but decided he wanted the suspense to last a week longer! I'm also not forgetting the 17hrs of labor!

He didn't walk until he was 15mos old, but when he did, he didn't just take a few steps here and there he started walking and didn't look back. He also had great balance and never fell very much as is common for most toddlers.

Potty training is the only exception...and I am soo grateful! I decided about 6mos ago (age 2 1/2yrs) to stop diapers 'cold turkey' and Noah has done wonderfully! He has only had a few, rare accidents during the day and no (knock on wood) accidents at night. This is very rare for a BOY his age!

Since he was 18mos old he has been a little behind the ball in the speech department. In the past he never really said too much, usually just sounds that only Jon and I could translate, but in the past couple months he has made up for lost time...and now he won't stop! I am no longer worried and I now realize he was just focusing his energies on other things and now that he is talking it is amazing to me everything he has retained over the past months - just like a little sponge. Just because he didn't say he was learning, doesn't mean he wasn't!
The main thing with Noah is if he can't do it like everyone else does (i.e. Mommy and Daddy), then I think he would rather not do it at all until he has perfected it! He seems to have an 'I'm not going to do it until I can do it right' mentality and I can't wait to see what's next!
I know this isn't the most exciting post, but I wanted to write it because Noah is at an age where his personality and all his quirky little traits are starting to really become apparent. It is such a joy to watch him change and grow and I don't want to forget it!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Millie Milestone #3

Millie has a new game she LOVES to play. "How big is Millie?" "SO BIG!" Of course she isn't saying "So big", but she raises her arms when I say it. It is absolutely adorable.

Noah, in his attempt to not be left out of the game, tells me what questions to ask Millie...for example:

Noah: Mommy, how Noah big?
Mommy: Millie, how big is Noah?
Millie: (Raising her arms) Giggle, giggle!
Mommy: So big!
Noah: Mommy, how Daddy big?

... and so on, until he has made it through everyone in the family including Bowman and the house and anything else that happens to catch his eye.

How big is my love for these two little ones? SOOO BIG!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Luck O' the Irish

St. Patrick's day is a big deal in Chicago. We did our best to celebrate all things green this year...

On the Saturday before St. Pats day we went to see the dying of the Chicago River. Every year since the 1960's (I believe) the river is dyed bright green to celebrate the holiday. I have lived here for almost 9 years and have never witnessed it! So we packed up the kiddies and watched it first hand.
*Interesting fact: An orange-colored, vegetable-based, powder dye is used to turn the river green. As soon as it hits the water it turns the bright green you see here.

On the following Tuesday (the actual St. Pats day) we started the day off right with breakfast. Boy was Noah surprised when he saw his oatmeal and milk were both green!. Kinda gross looking, but he didn't mind at all!

Later that morning we had a great day planned with our friends Lizzie, Mary and Katie. It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the low 70's so we went to the park to play and then we all had a picnic lunch by the lake. Lunch included a few green favorites- green bagels, green grapes and pesto chicken pasta salad.

After an very fun, but exhausting day, Noah and Millie cooled down and took a relaxing green bath...

(we didn't have the orange, powder they used in the river so we settled for Crayola's colored bathtub tablets)

...and finally, Mommy relaxed in her own way after everyone was tucked in for the night. Jon made me a delicious Green-na Colada and it went great with the shamrock cookies we made the day before. YUM!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Best Buds - Part 3

Noah's new 'thing' is making funny faces. It is always the same face - he puts his thumbs in his ears, sticks out his tongue and dances around. He gets such a kick out of doing it and Millie thinks it is hilarious - she belly laughs out loud!
Today, she was a little fussy while I was getting lunch ready so Noah did his Big Brother-ly duty and cheered her up.
Waiting for lunch.

Passing the time until the cookies come out of the oven.

I love seeing them interact together. So far, he is so considerate of her (99% of the time anyway) and she is in total awe of him. I hope it lasts!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring Training

Maybe I am getting a little ahead of myself, but we are SO ready for spring. I am not usually one who complains much about winter, but this winter has been a tough one. This year it seems like we are a little more stir crazy than usual, probably the difference between having just one kid, versus having two now? Or maybe it is the three weeks of sickness we recently endured! Anyway, today we were eager to get out of the house and enjoy the sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures!
We headed up to the lake (Lake Michigan) where we usually take Bowman to run and swim. Montrose Beach is a beach that is designated for dogs to run, swim and just be dogs. It is so funny to see so many dogs (easily 100+ in the summer) running, chasing, fetching, swimming, etc all in one place. Today we passed on the beach and instead played in the open field/park area across the street. Here we ran Bowman (he loves to fetch his tennis ball) and played baseball with Noah.
Last year, Noah was mainly interested in hitting balls off the tee or off this ESPN baseball machine that he loves, and it was amazing to see how great his hand-eye coordination was for a then two year-old! This year we bought him a new glove so he can practice catching and throwing. We had such a good time taking turns hitting, catching, throwing and running the bases.
Noah trying on his new glove.

Millie sitting on her blanket cheering us between fistfulls of leaves - yuck!

I hope everyone was able to get out this weekend and enjoy the sunshine too!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Silly Bowman

I couldn't resist posting these pictures of Bowman, our 120lb, 4 year-old Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. Since the day we picked him up when he was 7 weeks old, he has LOVED sleeping on something...anything. He has been known to cuddle with anything while catching a few zzz's: blankets, socks, dish towels, bath towels, dirty laundry, the door mat, furniture, pillows, bath mats...and now we can add burp cloth to the list. Yes, he does have a nice, big fluffy dog bed, but he only uses that as a last resort. Silly Doggie.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Can't Live Without...#1


I have lists, and lists of my lists...

I don't know what I would do without them. I probably write at least one or two everyday. On the side of my fridge I have a small wipe-off board with the following lists that I would be lost without:
Costco list
Grocery list
Target list
Honey-do list
Planned meals for the week list
Future projects to-do
I used to have these lists on separate little post-it notes floating around my kitchen and have found over the past couple years, that this process of having one location for the bulk of my lists has been a good method for me. To others it probably looks like a complete mess, but as I am always telling Jon..."There is a method to my madness!" ...and this method seems to be working for me.
One of my very favorite lists is my Family Packing List.
All our family lives 2hrs+ away from us, so we always seem to traveling out-of-town. Trying to pack two kids, a dog, myself and sometimes my husband is no small chore and is never something I look forward to. With kids, there are sooo many little things to remember and most of the time I would forget at least one thing. How does that saying go?... 'Necessity is the mother of invention?' Well that was definitely the case here. I HATE forgetting things and since I was packing the same stuff every time, I made a list of everything we need when we travel. I laminated it and use a dry erase marker so it can be used over and over. The picture here is a new one I just made. The old one I have used for the past two years only had one column of check-off boxes and now we have Millie, so I needed two columns. I also added and deleted a few things. I love it.
The thing I love most about my lists - the feeling of accomplishment - no matter how small, when I get to cross something off!