Friday, September 28, 2012

How Daddy Does it

One of the great reasons to get away together as a family is so that you can spend extended time together.  Sounds obvious, right?  But, extended time together, days on end, allows for a different type of bonding than the time in the morning before work, and the time when we're all together for dinner and bedtime.  


Nate and I see very eye-to-eye on parenting strategies as well as the goals we set for ourselves and Griffin.  We want him to be challenged and learn how to act in structured environments and routines, but also want him to have the freedom to explore when it is appropriate.  

With every stage of development, certain new challenges arise and others disappear.  In his current stage, he is so verbal and vocal that he is very strong at communicating, something we try to use to our advantage.  18 months can also be a very whiny phase.  He wants to play until it's too late.  He's too hungry, too tired, too thirsty, and then he struggles with communication and the whining comes out.

Back to the Adirondacks.  We asked and expected a lot of Griffin throughout this trip.  He did it, like a champ, but definitely struggled along the way.  Traveling was long, meals were loud and hectic, sleeping was rough and in general it was a very new environment and schedule for him.  While we did everything we could to try to simulate his normal schedule and environment, it was very different.  And he whined about it.  A lot. 

As a teacher by trade, this is what you call a "teachable moment."  However, I was not the one to recognize this teachable moment, Nate was.  Nate was incredibly patient with Griff and used the entire weekend to instill that communication comes before whining.  In fact, by the end of the weekend, Nate would say to Griff when he was getting flustered, "What did dada say?" and to that, Griff would respond, "No whining."

Upon returning home, we changed, "what does dada say?" into "What's rule #1?" and Griff still knows, "No whining."  Now, I bet you're wondering, does he just say it, or does he really understand what it means.  He knows.  He stops.  Most of the time.  It is definitely harder to get through to him when he's tired or hungry, but for the most part, it stops him, allows him to think and he's able to re-direct his whiny-ness into communicating what he needs.  

I sometimes find myself wanting to correct how Nate is doing something because I do it differently, but I was so humbled to see Nate get through to Griffin so quickly and effectively, it reminded me that while we may do things differently, it doesn't mean that one way is right and the other wrong.  I'm so thankful to have a partner in this parenting journey, because wow it would be frustrating to have to do it alone.

Nate is an amazing father in so many ways.  He's so good at playing with Griffin, rough-housing with him, teaching him how to play golf, throw a ball, learn colors, reading books with him and just enjoying his company.  But our weekend in the Adirondacks reminded me what a great teacher Nate is of important manners and life skills that will help shape and mold Griffin into the kind of man Nate is, respectful, loyal, honorable, and sweet.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hairy Decisions

I did it.  I chopped my hair.  I said I would in 2012, and since it's already fall, I figured I should get on it.  In the past I have donated with Locks of Love, but I heard that Pantene also has a program and their a little more liberal with the hair accepted.  And let's face it.  I have an 18 month old; my hair is not very well taken-care of.  

So I went ahead and filled out my envelope to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, and scheduled my hair appointment.  You only need 8 inches for Pantene's program (as opposed to 10 for Locks of Love), so i wasn't too scared going into it.

At the actual appointment, I got even more bold.  I did have her cut the full 10 inches for the donation and then she cut probably another 2-3 in styling my hair.

I don't have a good pic of it yet, but here's an idea.  It's about shoulder length and a little longer in the front with some layers, more in the back.  Please don't judge by this pic, this was once we got to the Adirondacks at about 5 pm, after having left Minnesota at 5 am and stopping in Detroit.  I know my hair will have better days.

But there you have hair is gone and I'm still getting used to it.  The good thing about hair, is that it always grows back, and super fast right now because of my prenatal vitamins!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My favorite Twins

....Sorry Joe Mauer and the rest of the Minnesota boys, I don't mean you.  The Paulus twins take the cake.

This is one of my best friends and college roommate Megan.  She just had baby girl twins on June 8th.  And she carried them almost until 38 weeks.  And she's an orthopedic surgeon.  Yeah, she's pretty amazing.

Meg goes back to work October 1st so Griff and I wanted to go meet Brooklyn and Hailey while she was still at home with them everyday.  So Griff and I had our first solo adventure on an airplane to Washington, DC, my old college stomping grounds.  

We arrived to a wonderful surprise question from Brooklyn if you can read carefully on her shirt..."Will You Be My Godmother?"  I am so honored and thrilled to have the privilege of being her godmother, though at first I thought it was a marriage proposal for Griffin:).

Griffin clearly was thrilled to meet the girls!  

We had such a great week!  We went for nice long walks, making sure to stop at all the parks along they way for Griff to shake his sillies out, we made yummy dinners and I got to hold the most beautiful twins I have ever seen for the whole week!
I think it was a little bit of a wake up call for Griff, as he did not get my full attention all the time.
We had to be a little creative with burning energy when he was getting restless.....
As you can see, he is like a hurricane wherever he goes.....and he knows how to destroy a room in 30 seconds flat.  He proved himself on more than one occasion at Meg's.
Griff adores Meg, whom he affectionately refers to as, "Meggie."
She read him his favorite books and tickeled him silly, leaving him asking for "more" every time.

He got lots of practice being "gentle" with the babies.
He was not interested in holding them, but did like to hold their hands.....
....and give hugs....
...and more hugs.

We did manage to get all the kiddos in their Georgetown gear, seeing as they will be class of 2033 and 2034.
This should be an advertisement for the school.  Seriously, how stinkin' cute are they!?
Griff and the ladies....future Hoyas.  And we can now add "Georgetown," and "Hoya," to his list of vocabulary words.

My other college roommate, Molly who also lives in DC made it over one night for dinner and we took this picture opportunity to share our big news with our other roommates who are spread out across the country.  A text that said, "there are 7 people in this picture, where is the 7th?" made for some hilarious comments, and finally the big reveal.

After a few days of getting to know the girls, I know Griffin loved them when he wanted to help put their nuks back in their mouths.

Even if it wasn't quite what the girls wanted....
....he wanted them to have their "da's." (His word for nuk, no idea where it came from!)
Finally we took the kiddos to Georgetown, with one goal.  To enroll them in their future courses, meet their teachers and show them our dorms, etc.  

JK!  We wanted fro-yo.
We made it to T. Sweets with not a moment to spare.  Griff was getting antsy, the girls were waking up and their bowels were movin'!  Up until this point in his life, Griff hasn't really liked ice cream.  I've commented before that he couldn't possibly be my son without sharing my love of ice cream, but he finally fell in love, with the Oreo and Snicker soft serve....just like his mama.

I didn't even care how messy he got....

....and he loved every bite of it (I think he went through 3 samples!)

What a great way to top off an amazing week with Meg, Danny, Brooklyn, Hailey and Molly.  I'm so glad I got to meet the girls and can't wait to continue to skype with them and watch them grow (from across the country).  They are such beautiful little girls, such well-behaved and predictable babies.  I am already in awe at Megan for what a wonderful mom she is and I know that as she transitions back to her other important job, she will still excel at her job as a mother.  Love you Meg! XOXO

Friday, September 21, 2012

Catch Phrases

Griffin is getting really vocal.  He always has been pretty verbal, his first word was car at around 8 months.  By one he had probably around 10 words and now he has even more.  They obviously are not all clear as day (umbrella is "uh-brella") but he knows what he is trying to say, and he gets better everyday.

His new thing is phrases.  Especially phrases that begin with dada.  "Dada mowing." "Dada hat." "Dada golfball." He does now say that the golf ball that I give him to hold in the car is "mama golfball."

He also loves to point to things and say whose they are.  For example, to the remote, bar of soap and mower, he points and says, "dada remo, dada sooo, dada mower."  To the water dish, tennis balls and bag of dog treats he says, "Coopah" which is Cooper.  And to the ipad, refrigerator, bookshelves and other decorative things around the house, he says, "mama."  I think we started using these types of phrases instead of "don't touch that," and they seemed to have stuck.  Hopefully it will be this easy to teach him to share and leave someone else's stuff alone (wishful I know:).

He just started adding Cooper's name to some phrases too.  Before we leave the house he reminds me, "Coopah teeet," so I don't forget to give Cooper a treat.  He also tells Coop, "Coopah, shhh," when Cooper barks randomly at a passerby or the possibility of Nate's car pulling into the driveway.

He still knows a few signs (milk, more, please, thank you), but he usually he just says it.  And he's starting to remember to say "please" and "thank you."  At this point it is rote, but hey, that's how it has to start, right?!  He's even got, "a, b, c" and "1, 2, 3, 4, 5"...though his numbers come in a pretty unpredictable order.

He does have a few new random words and phrases, "gorilla," "Louie, no bite," "big dump truck," and, "Peeewww," and let me just say, they are pretty hilarious coming out of a 16 month old:).  My favorite new phrase is "I love you."  He says it mostly in response to my saying it first, but it sure melts your heart.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A stately af-fair

I don't know if two years in a row makes us annual fair-go-ers, but we did it again!  We made the trip to the Minnesota State Fair!  Last year, Griffin was really too little to appreciate anything about the fair, though he did love the people watching!

This year we had a few more things we wanted to get done (besides eat sweet corn ice cream with maple bacon drizzle...mmmmm!)

First off was the big slide.  Griffin loves slides so we thought this would be a hit!

Here are Nate and Griff walking up the big staircase to the top.

And here they are coming down!

I couldn't really tell until they got to the bottom that Griffin did NOT like the big slide....I guess it can be pretty scary for a 17 month old.  It was hard not to laugh though....

We did most of the normal fair activities, we walked through a lot of areas like the Midway and Machinery Hill, eating fair food along the way.
The was a cute little kid farm area that Griff was just a little too young to really appreciate.  But he had fun with it anyway.

First they gave him a little bucket to fill up with corn to feed the (fake) animals.
Griffin wanted to eat the corn himself.
Then they got to ride little kid tractors.
I think this was his favorite part.
He screamed when it was time to move on to the next station.
Then they got to plant seeds and dig up fake veggies.  Again, he wanted to eat the seeds and veggies.  He even took a mouthful of dirt.  It was lovely....and he fit right in.

We were only there a few hours, but it was all we needed to experience Griffin's second Minnesota State Fair!