Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Zoo Zee Zoo

*That title is for all of the Barney lovers out there, especially my friend, Theresa, who is a Barney singing pro!

We took Hunter for his first trip to the zoo on Saturday. I'm not gonna lie to y'all. I have to say I expected a little more from the kid - Hunter is definitely not a zoo lover yet. Maybe he was just sad that Aunt Courtney couldn't make it (we missed you Aunt Courtney!) Or maybe he's going to follow in his mommy's footsteps and be more grossed out than intrigued by animals. Don't get me wrong, I love an occasional trip to the zoo to gawk at the strange birds and monkeys, and to just take in some of the amazing characters in God's kingdom. BUT. Animals aren't really my thing, and apparently, for right now at least, they're not Hunter's thing either.

He was much more into climbing on the curb and trying to peek over the railing at the greenery than look at the animals...

We met our friends, the Fawkes, and hung out at the children's zoo for a little while...until Hunter was about to throw about his 50th tantrum of the morning at which point we decided to book it out of there. At the children's zoo, we looked at the fish...
Hunter was over the fish after about 1.5 seconds, but became quickly fascinated with the stairs. So fascinated that we got one of our major tantrums when it was time to leave the stairs...uh, I mean fish. Yeah fish. That's what we were looking at.
Then we went to the ducks, but again Hunter could care less about the ducks (to his defense we have lots of ducks in our neighborhood, so he sees those all the time). He did find a little walkway with more stairs to enjoy though...
Then we were off to see the chickens where, you guessed it, Hunter wasn't interested. Somehow James got one shot of what looks like Hunter studying the animals...
Although this one is more representative of Hunter's feelings about the chickens...
Who can blame him really. Chickens are not the most exciting animals around.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I was tagged by my friend, Stephanie. This one is about your kids, so first you post a picture of you and your kid(s) so the readers have a good mental image...well that and because my kid is just so dang cute that I can't resist posting pictures of him.

1. How many children do you have?

I feel pretty confident that everyone knows the answer to this one. Just one sweet boy. He's the one I'm incessantly writing about on here.

2. What are their ages?

18 months

3. What time do you start your day?

As late as possible, which at my house is 6:30 on weekdays and about the same time on weekends (if it's my morning to get up with little H), unless I'm really lucky and Hunter decides to sleep late. Late, of course, being 7:00.

4. What do you eat for breakfast?

Usually cereal. Unless I'm running late and then I'll grab something I can eat in the car like an Eggo waffle or pop tart or toaster strudel...or if I'm feeling super healthy, a breakfast Jack from my favorite morning fast food stop.

5. Do your kids watch tv?

He will a little, but not for more than 5 minutes at a time. He likes Barney, Blue's Clues, Mickey Mouse Club House, and his newest weekend morning show - The Imagination Movers. It has to have lots of music for him to show any interest at all.

6. What are their favorite activities?

Like Henry (Stephanie's son) , Hunter likes to be outside, so we take him on walks in either his wagon or the stroller, but it's very important that you let him out for part of the time so he can walk on his own - the independence is starting to explode out of that kid. He also likes organizing things (just like his mommy), and by "organinzing things" I mean putting things in piles. His favorite things to sort into piles are toilet paper rolls, his Noah's ark animals, blocks, and his two latest - books and food.

7. Do you get a break during the day for some you time?

I used to during Hunter's afternoon nap, but since he's started school and only naps there, now I don't during the day. I do usually spend some time alone at night, though, either blogging or reading blogs or reading a book.

8. How do you end your day?

I'm pretty much addicted to television, so after Hunter goes to bed and I do the blogging or reading thing, James and I usually watch tv or a movie. Then we hang out and talk in bed for a little while.

9. What is your best parenting advice or tip?

I really don't feel qualified to answer this question, but I think the thing I feel most convicted about as a parent is really spending time with your kid. Just you and him. Not while you're at play dates or on the phone with friends or cooking dinner, but just time focused on playing and interacting, one on one, with him.

I'm tagging 5...

Julie, Crystal, Emily W., Kat and Kaitlyn

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Mini Picasso

Every morning while I'm getting ready Hunter goes into our closet, takes all of the rolls of toilet paper out one by one and very intentionally stacks them into perfect little piles...he's extremely careful about this. So careful that I think we have a future sculptor on our hands. Usually his toilet paper masterpieces are made on the floor, but this morning he thought he'd spice it up a little and create art on the toilet. Makes sense to me. Where better to put your toilet paper sculptures than on the toilet?

Here he is gathering his materials...

sitting down to enjoy his art...

...and quickly getting up to move one of the rolls. You know how perfectionistic artists are.

I thought I'd video him cleaning up because it is the cutest thing ever to see him carry each roll, one by one (actually it figures the one time I video this he decides to carry two at a time, but it's still totally cute) back into the closet.

Monday, September 15, 2008

"Smelly Hunter, Smelly Hunter"

Hunter did great today, which is a lot more than we can say for his mama! He's so smart that he even thought of a way to prevent a repeat of the football tackle pile up from last week...and that, my friends, would be poor hygeine.

As I was finishing my hair this morning I heard some loud whining quickly followed by even louder banging coming from the front of the house. This usually means that Hunter has pulled tupperware or the milk shake maker or the mixer or some pots and pans or...you get the idea...from the bottom cabinets to throw around the kitchen, but this weekend James child-proofed all of our cabinets. So I sat there thinking, "My kid is a GENIUS!! He's already figured out how to open the child-proofed cabinets!" with a mix of pride and panic. But when I walked into the kitchen, this is what I saw...
Notice how the trash can is in three pieces.

Then when we went outside to leave, Hunter decided to put his hand in the dirty rain water at the bottom of the grill as I'm locking the door.

Apparently he thinks the stinkier you are, the tougher you appear, and although that is totally disgusting, I have to give my kid props. He's pretty clever.

Hunter didn't have one tear when I left this morning, just a confused look when I walked out instead of his teacher since she was the one that he repeatedly told bye bye to when I started saying bye bye. He's so sweet:) It really couldn't have been a better day!

Friday, September 12, 2008

That's what friends are for.

So my son has been offically initiated into the explorer class at LHCCEC.

Hunter made friends with a sweet boy named Noah yesterday. Noah really latched onto Hunter, and I can tell Noah's going to take care of Hunter and show him the ropes - kind of like his big brother will when he's a FIJI one day. (That's for you babe. You know you love it.) Noah was also in charge of the hazing today. Again, like a big brother, except this is not like FIJI. Because Phi Gamma Delta never hazes. Ever. Or so James tells me.

Over the last two days, Noah has run over to Hunter and will sweetly pat his shoulder every time Hunter's had a melt down or tantrum (which unfortunately was pretty frequent today). Noah also instigated the hazing that Hunter endured from his classmates today. I'm not really seeing this as a bad thing. It just brings him closer to the group, right? Hunter is a product of two greeks, so he gets it. Not that we were ever hazed. FIJI and Kappa don't participate in these sorts of things. Ever.

Hunter's hazing began with Noah leaning in really close to his face and repeatedly growling...or roaring...or ahhhhing in a really husky voice - you really need audio to get the full affect here, but unfortunately I didn't bring the video camera along this morning. (I know y'all are shocked. I was in rare form.) Noah kept trying to get Hunter to laugh throughout the morning with his growl-roar combo until finally several other kids joined in, which resulted in Hunter crying because there were 3 kids growling in a circle around him. Of course this made him cry. Who wouldn't? That's scary.

The hazing continued later in the morning during Hunter's biggest tantrum of our visit. He had thrown himself onto the floor face down (very dramatically) and was screaming at the top of his lungs because WE MADE HIM GO INTO THE CLASSROOM. Gasp! So Noah led the rest of the classmates over to Hunter, and they very sweetly began patting his back so he would calm down. My heart melted at the sight of this until a second later when I look up to see the kids ON TOP OF HIM. Oh yes they were. If you really want to make my kid angry, lay on top of him. In the middle of a tantrum. That will definitely calm him down.

Even with all of the touching and growling, Hunter and Noah seemed to like each other a lot - that is until Noah made one unforgivable mistake. He sat down in my lap y'all....and then repeatedly called me mama. In front of Hunter. Not good. My kid was pissed. From then on Noah would follow Hunter around or try to comfort him, and Hunter would turn his nose up at him and walk away. I'm hoping that Hunter will forget all of this by Monday so he and Noah can be best friends again. I'm thinking he's really going to need a friend to comfort him...or maybe I need him to have a friend to comfort me.

Here are some pictures of Hunter as we're getting ready to go to school over the last 2 days...

As you can see, he's really excited about school.

More excitement.

I tried to teach Hunter to thug it out a little so he could appear tough in front of the other kids.

This is pretty much the face he had 75% of the time he was at school this morning. Hopefully he'll wake up in a better mood on Monday morning. Here's to hoping...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

And we threw the schedule right out the window...

So it figures that my kid would be language delayed. I had dreams of doing speech therapy on him every day until he became this miraculous freak of nature kid who spoke in sentences at 12 months, but that's not how God made my sweet, perfect little boy.

God has been persistent with this whole teaching me patience thing since Hunter was born. It was a lesson I was resistent to learning, but apparently He feels like I lack this virtue in a major way, because He has - not quietly - shown me over the last 18 months that I need more and more opportunities to practice it.

Hunter has one word in his expressive vocabulary y'all. Don't get me wrong. He is dang good at that word and will use it appropriately all day long if given the oppportunity. Oh and you know when your mom is a speech therapist, every chance will be taken to manipulate social situations so that your one word expressive vocabulary can be used to maximum capacity. I don't think any other toddler can say "bye bye" as beautifully as he can. I guess technically you could say he has 4 words, but the English minor in me isn't willing to count "yum", "moo", and "baa baa" (as in black sheep) as words. Harsh, I know. It's tough being my kid.

This lack of expressive language is the major reason we've decided to finally enroll Hunter in day care (or as I will refer to it from now on because I am hating the stigma attached to day care, school). He starts in the 18-24 month class on Monday, so this Wednesday, Thursday, Friday Hunter and I are going up to his school from 9-10 to participate together in the activities with his teachers and classmates.

I'm feeling really, really good about this decision. This school is next to impossible to get in to and there have been 3 times now that they have called me with inexplicable openings. (God had to nudge a little hard for James and I to see the plan here.) The most stressful thing about this change is that Hunter still takes 2 naps a day at 9:30 and 2:30. His new class naps at 11:45 until I pick him up at 2. I am seeing serious tantrums in Hunter's teachers' future. They got a glimpse of these today as we neared the 10 o'clock hour and my son began incessantly rubbing his eyes. As tired as he was, though, he would not nap for my sister all day. Does anyone want to guess when I put him down for his first (and only) nap of the day? 3:50. Yes. 3:50. AKA, over six hours after he usually lays down for his first nap. Surprisingly though, he wasn't really anymore tantrumy than he's been the rest of the week, so this helps me to stress out a tiny bit less over the napping transition in our immediate future.

I loved Hunter's teachers today, and he had a great time in chapel and in outside play with his classmates. I really talked up school all morning in my happiest, sing-songy, super excited voice. I had him almost convinced that it was going to be a fun time before we left the house... As you can see he was still a little hesitant, but by the time we got there (after much more high pitched, sing songy "school is soooo much fun!!!!!" type statements), he couldn't contain the excitement...

How can you not fall in love with that boy? God couldn't have matched a more perfectly laid back, chill kid with this high energy, dramatic mama. I heart him. So much:)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cutie McCuterson

I got some really cute pictures of Hunter in August, and I just couldn't deprive y'all of the cuteness.

He loves this mirror in our bedroom, and every morning while we're getting ready, he either hides behind it or beats it to death. I am habitually cleaning off the little handprints. One morning, there were several boxes of Hunter's old clothes out because I had just rearranged them so that we were using less space in the attic. Hunter helped himself to this hat and came in our bedroom looking like this...
The other day I got the dreaded 18 month checklist from the doctor (ironically Hunter's best category was gross motor - I guess all of that worrying was in vain), and one of the items on the list was something like, "Does your child set down a cup without spilling any liquid out of it?" My obvious reaction to this question was, "huh?" What parent gives their toddler an open cup? So here's Hunter's first time ever drinking from an open cup. He was pretty excited...Oh, and all of that water ended up on the floor, so we'll be checking the "not yet" box for that item.

Aunt Courtney took this picture one morning while she was watching Hunter. She said all day he played with random things (like her keys) instead of his toys.

Here he is playing in the gym at church one night. He had so much fun watching the big kids playing. He would get so excited, he'd open his mouth really big, and then cover it like he had just seen something shocking. It was too cute.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Attack of the Killer Mosquitos

We went to Odessa this weekend for Cousin Brooke's 3rd birthday. James affectionately refers to this city as Slowdeatha or The Land of Dirt. For those of you who've missed the opportunity to visit Odessa, I'll let you know it's not beautiful, but our family's there, and they are fun so we make the sacrifice. Who am I kidding? I live in Dallas. Beautiful scenery is obviously not on my list of priorities for living.

Anyway, I think I will add The Land of Mosquitos to James's list of nicknames for Slowdeatha...er, I mean Odessa. My sister-in-law warned me to spray with Off anytime I went outside - she even had a bottle conveniently located right outside the back door - but for some reason, the first night we were there, I felt the need to only protect my arms from these teeny little blood suckers. The next morning I awoke to EIGHT mosquito bites from the calves down.

Hunter had several moments of full-on tantrum throwing throughout the weekend. Although I never saw a bite on him, I'm going to attribute the fit throwing to the mosquitos.

Here are his nine favorite moments from the weekend. (I've tried to think of one more, but I don't feel like wasting anymore time on that, so you'll have to live with 9. I know it's random. Hopefully y'all can control your OCD enough so this doesn't drive you crazy. I can relate if you're having difficulty, though. It's driving me a little crazy.)

1. Long walks - We went on walks around the neighborhood every single day. Hunter would direct the way, and James and I would follow. He also took walks with Poppy...

Uncle Bob and Cousin Brooke...
and himself... 2. The wagon - Y'all know Hunter loves the wagon. So obviously it was one of the first things he went up to when we went outside. Since Hunter kept trying to climb in the wagon, Poppy took him and Brooke on a ride around the backyard. Excuse the fit-throwing. Apparently the wagon's not as much fun when you have to share it.
3. Feeding the ducks...or should I say pigeons - Our intent was to feed the ducks, but this is what we got anytime we pulled out a piece of bread...Those nasty little birds can sense when you're about to throw, and I quickly grew afraid of being attacked, so James took over.

4. Pool time -
5. New toys - James will curse me for writing this, but Hunter's favorite toy of Brooke's was her Cinderella tea set. Everyday, he'd take all of the plates and cups out and pretend to drink from the cups and then carry the plates around for a while. I told James we could buy a gender neutral tea set, but he claims that tea sets are inherently girly and no matter what the color, our son will NOT own one. At least he can always go to the cuz's house for tea parties... 6. Fit throwing - As I mentioned, we had many tantrum-filled moments. These two occured at Miss B's birthday party. Hunter made a great first impression for all of Brooke's friends.I wish I could say that once I took him away from Poppy and Daddy, the crying stopped, but that would be lying. And I try to avoid lying whenever possible.

7. Sliding - This could actually go in the pool section, but like I said I was trying to stretch the list to be 10 items long.

8. Pony rides - Cousin Brooke had a pony for all of the kids to ride at her birthday party. (This is really cute, because James and Melanie had a pony at their 3rd birthday party, too.) Although Brooke was ecstatic about this, Hunter was not impressed. We pretty much forced him on.

9. Good food - We ate and ate and ate this weekend. I don't think Hunter had one vegetable over the last 5 days. Here's Brooke, Daddy and Hunter at the birthday party...
We had a really great time with the fam. Hunter can't wait to see Miss B again!