Monday, December 26, 2011

Knuffle Bunny!

I was really looking forward to Christmas this year. First, we got to be at our home this year (yay!) and second, Michael is at that magical, wonderful age where he's pretty awesome and I figured that he wouldn't disappoint. And he did not.

We left "Santa's" gifts unwrapped under the tree. After Michael got up and went potty (!) he came into the living room and saw them and his face lit up! He literally squealed when he saw what was under the tree. His delight might be my favorite parenting moment so far.

It is better to give. Particularly if you are giving a truck to a little boy that loves trucks. 

I was also really looking forward to Christmas morning because I made him his very own Knuffle Bunny and I was hoping that he would love it (that kind of thing makes me happy). The Knuffle Bunny books (here, here, and here) are fantastic. If you've got a little one, I highly recommend checking them out (and anything else from Mo Willems)and if you are only TTC, I recommend putting them on your list of things to get when you finally bring baby home someday. And if you don't feel like sewing a Knuffle Bunny, you can buy one too (but where's the fun in that?).

I love Knuffle Bunny's eyes. It looks like he's seen something he can't unsee. Perhaps it was me pulling his head out through his ass? His nose is a little rumpled and one of his legs is a tad long, but otherwise, I'm pretty happy. 

Showing off the backside. Much better than the bunny I made in home-ec in 8th grade. 

I felt like a procrastinator as I finished stitching up his backside on Christmas Eve, but I put A LOT of time into that rabbit. I have half a dozen practice bunny heads and a full practice rabbit littering my sewing table. After numerous fails, I gave up making my own pattern and after much searching I found this pattern online and adapted it to look more like Knuffle Bunny. I interpret Knuffle Bunny a little differently than the manufactured one, FYI (and I think more accurately). He turned out rather large, so I'd recommend if you try this pattern, shrinking it to 75% or even 50%. I sewed it out of "microplush" (it's plush on both sides and a lot of blankets are made out of this stuff these days) which makes him very soft, but microplush is the devil to work with. I recommend either getting some practice in with this material, or find a better material to work with. He didn't turn out perfect, but I'm still proud of him and Michael loved it.

Hugging his bunny.

All worth it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Anniversary/Christmas/Birthday Present

A couple of weeks ago I got a new sewing machine.

No, I don't bother to clean up my sewing table when I take pictures for the world to see. 

I've wanted a new sewing machine for awhile, but if you've never looked into high-end sewing machines, just let me tell you, they are expensive. So this effectively covers my anniversary and Christmas and birthday gifts this year.

I was not loving my old machine, but I was resigned to keep it for a couple more years because I just didn't feel that I could justify spending the moolah on a new machine. But a couple of weeks ago I noticed some very bad signs of wear on my machine. Basically my walking foot was eating through the metal clamp that holds the needle in place. This is very bad. It's the kind of problem where every single stitch I was taking was rushing my machine closer and closer to a big problem of that clamp breaking and causing serious damage. I imagine that the part could be replaced... or I could stop sewing with my walking foot, but really my walking foot was what had made sewing on my machine enjoyable and I didn't really want to put anymore money into my machine.

So we decided that it was better to just spend the money on the machine I really wanted since it was going to be expensive to get a nice machine no matter what... so might as well get the one that is nice and makes me happy. After visiting several dealerships and reading hundreds of reviews, I bought a Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0.

And it does make me happy. I won't go into how much of an improvement it is over my old machine (a Singer Confidence) because it's hard to describe it all and to a non-sewist it wouldn't make a lot of sense, but it has made sewing much more of a pleasure (and less of a chore). But I will list some really nice features of the machine for those that are interested:

-Needle up/down. I've wanted this for a long time. I'll never have another machine without it.
-Auto presser foot lift. I can set the machine to stop with the needle down and the foot lifts to allow me to pivot the fabric. This is especially nice because I never have to take my hands off my work. I'll never be able to live without this again.
-Auto tack on/off. This is nice because the machine does it neatly and I don't forget these steps anymore making my work sturdier.
-Thread cutter. There is a built-in automatic thread cutter that I have programmed to cut my threads after it tacks off. This is very nice because it saves me a step and keeps my work neater because with fewer long threads on my projects and work surfaces. I didn't think much of this feature when I bought it, but I'm a big fan after using it for awhile.
-IDT, this is basically a built in walking foot. THIS FEATURE MAKES THE PFAFF MACHINES AWESOME. I think Janome offers this too, but when spending more than a grand on a machine, I can't imagine buying one without this. It's a very good feed system and makes a HUGE difference. I don't care how fancy the machine is, almost all of my sewing benefits from a dual feed system and I have found the integrated dual feed to have a lot of advantaged over an add-on walking foot (and not to mention, my add-on walking foot was destroying my machine and forcing me to buy a new machine in the first place). The Pfaff IDT can be used with most of the interchangeable presser feet, which is just the best thing since sliced bread or can be disengaged and not used at all.
-Low bobbin indicator. This was not a feature that I would pay more money for, but it is kinda handy. If you are sewing a lot and plan ahead you can have several bobbins wound with your thread and when the low bobbin warning pops up you just drop the new bobbin in while your project is still under the needle. That is a convenient feature.

The machine also has some nice stitches built in and a memory function to remember your stitches if you want (this is important to me). The stitches it produces are good looking and make a fine finished product which is probably the most important thing about the machine.

I really worried about buying this machine since the reviews are not all favorable... in fact there are a lot of people that have been very disappointed with this machine. The machine has had several factory fixes, which I imagine have made a big difference. Also, this machine is marketed towards quilters (and pretty much all the reviews on the internet are from quilters). I am not a quilter. I do everything but quilts... craft, garments, drapery, and some upholestry. I sew some strange materials: microplush (this stuff is the devil to sew), felt, fleece, burlap, pleather, silk, home dec weight fabrics, diaper fabrics, elastic, knits, faux fur... very little quilting cotton. I have found this machine to meet my needs very well. The IDT is great for the fabrics with stretch.

I also bought my machine from a very good dealer. I drove a distance to get it from a very respected dealer. He took the time to really explain the mechanisms to me and make sure that I understood how they worked so that I could troubleshoot my own problems. This is essential because most of the problems people have had with this machine are user error. This is not a hard to use or difficult machine, but if you don't understand certain things about it, you could have more problems. I would not recommend buying one of these used or off the internet because you may not get the latest machine with the factory fixes or not have a warranty.

At the end of the day, this machine was actually less money that I was worried that I would spend and my projects are definitely better with it. I'm very happy so far. I just had to share my new toy.

Some photos. . .

Beautiful stitches. That tack off is perfect. 

The mock serger stitches are beautiful. I don't have a serger, so I really appreciate this. 

Neatly trimmed threads make life much nicer. 

My Rudolph bag. I love it. I made everything myself. I have the control with this machine to do a detailed applique like this without wanting to throw something out the window when I'm done now. You can't see it but I stitched the tiniest circle to put Rudolph's nose on and it's perfect. I could never have done that with my old machine. 

Snowflake bag. The machine did not like the metallic thread I used to put the big flake on, but it did a great job anyways. 

Michael's new robe or a ruthless leader ruling from his throne/booster seat? You decide.

A whole stack of training pants. Finishing these on my old machine might have killed me. We are currently potty learning/training. More on this another time. 

I finally finished the blanket to match my niece's curtains. This blanket went through THREE ruffler foots. *Rips out hair* But it's finally done. 

The best part of getting anything new... the box.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cooking with Michael

I'm totally inspired with how some parents have made their homes 'kid friendly'. One of the bloggers that has inspired me the most is Meg at Sew Liberated. Meg is a former Montesssori teacher and has done an excellent job of making a toddler friendly home. Check out the video of her kid picking up his play dough (that video will knock your socks off, my husband and I just sat in awe as we watched it, and he's only 20 months in this video) and the watering station in her kitchen too. Wow. Her blog is seriously inspiring (not to mention her sewing projects).

I've been dabbling in Montessori and my opinion is overall positive, but I'm a little mixed on some aspects of it. I think bringing the child into the kitchen and teaching them practical skills like making their own snacks or washing dishes is good, but I'm not interested in making Michael sit in a weaning chair at his own table for his meals. I've always thought eating meals as a family was important. And some literature I've read gives examples of very young children being taught skills that just seems a little daunting and not well suited for our family. (Can you teach a one year old to peel a carrot? Yes. But it seems to be a bit much for a child that doesn't even have fully myelinated nerves. Maybe I just don't understand Montessori.*)

But we have tried to give Michael some of his own space in the kitchen and involve him more and more in meal preparation.

I love our house. I think we have a great floor plan, but our kitchen is small. Actually, it's a very big kitchen in a small space. It works.

This is my kitchen as is tonight. We haven't even cleaned up after a quick dinner. Notice the spray pain can on the counter top? (Yeah I need to take that downstairs). Like our wine bottle collection? Collecting has pretty much been at a dead stop since I got pregnant.

I'm kinda mixed on childproofing. I think it's important, but it can be over done. We have simple finger locks under the sink and on one cabinet that the dishes are stored in (I hate dealing with locks myself). Michael has free access to all of the other cabinets. It's a pain at times, but it has gotten easier.

We have a "baited" cabinet that has a bunch of stuff we don't use often and we let him tear through it if he wishes (and he has to put back what he gets out).

It's a general rule that anything is this cabinet should be washed before using with food. The lazy susan is probably the biggest attraction itself. 

He also loves the bottom of the pantry. He'll pull out the cereal boxes and play with them or play with the paper towels.

I do keep a pretty good eye on him when he's in here because of the blades on the foil and saran wrap boxes. It handy to have a 'sacrificial' package of paper towels. 

He used to get into the cabinet that had the pots and pans in it. We used to think it was cute. Were're not so enthusiastic about that one now, so we've gotten onto him enough to leave that one alone that he mostly does.

He also has a little drawer where we keep his trays and silverware. We have him get his silverware at most meals. When I'm unloading the dishwasher I let him put his things up. (And it keeps him from messing with the other stuff in the dishwasher.)

I wish I could fit his cups in here too. Just a couple of bibs shoved in the back. 

When I'm making meals (mostly lunch time) Michael will push a chair in from the dining table up to the counter next to the stove, climb up on it and watch me cook**. He tries to grab a lot, so it's a chore, but I'm hoping that it's worth the trouble. Most of the time he watches, sometimes I have little tasks he can try like buttering toast or stirring. When I make pizza dough I will give him a little piece to play with. He would love it if I would let him have an egg to crack, but that ain't happening anytime soon. And when he's not listening to me, I tell him to go to the living room and play with his tractors and he's pretty accepting of that request, at least for a few minutes.

Michael loves to try to sweep and dust mop. I've asked the grandmas for little brooms and dustpans. I'm going to hang them on low hooks in the broom closet off the kitchen where he can grab them. We are also trying to collect some child size cooking utensils. I'd love to have one of these, but no way do we have the room.

I'm always a bit challenged by what I should be trying to get him to do and what's appropriate for his age. When I think about this for too long, I get stressed out and my anxiety creeps back up. "The one year old in that book could peel carrots and my kid is almost two and can't even eat a carrot!" But I try to remind myself to just let it be and go at our own pace (thank you CBT). I'm pretty sure that we are moving in the right direction and I just try not to worry about it too much. But it sure is fun to think up ideas and fantasize about my dream kitchen.

*It seems like anytime anyone criticizes Montessori the reply back is that they "don't understand Montessori". I have seen this excuse so many times and it comes out so smugly so often that it makes me dislike Montessori altogether... but I know not every parent and teacher that does Montessori is so drunk off the kool-aide that they have forgotten that there are other perfectly good ways to educate your child and you don't have to adhere to Montessori 100% of the time for it to be effective.

**And he has totally fallen off the chair, but if he didn't fall off he'd never learn to not fall off.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Prep

It's the first of December and we have a tree up. I'd don't think I've ever had a tree up this early. But I wanted to get it up to put Michael's Advent books under it to give them more context since dates and calendars are still beyond him.

We went and cut down our tree yesterday. It was nearly sunset. They sent us to the field right next to the house, which was a little disappointing, but was also good because I wasn't sure how we were going to ride on the trailer to the field.

Who will be the lucky tree?

This tidy 7 foot-er will do. 

Yesterday night I set about preparing the Advent books. We decided that we will buy him one new book every year (so theoretically he will be getting a new book every year until he's 25). I went to the book store earlier in the day (actually a couple of them) to look for the perfect book. I chose Snowmen At Night since it's very cute, the pictures are wonderful and Michael seems to like snowmen a lot. I wrote a little note in it for Michael. I plan on it being the book he opens on Christmas day.

Then I gathered the other books. I do not have a spectacular collection to show off, but eventually we'll get there. Between the new book, books Michael already had, my childhood books, my husband's childhood books, and some PSR books from an aunt, we just barely scrapped together 25 books.

This book was from my 2nd grade teacher. She wrote a little inscription in it to me. It's definitely one of my favorite books because of that. 

Other books I've been holding on to.

Books from DH's childhood. Some of these are really old.

"Reason for the season" books.

Michael's favorite book. He got this one last year for Christmas and LOVES it. I've probably read it to him 200 times already, but I'm sure he'll still be excited when he pulls the wrapping paper off. 

Some other books we had. The Snowtime Tales book is beautiful, but it has three stories in it, so that will take awhile to read when we get to it. And I've got 'The Night Before Christmas' set to unwrap on the night before Christmas. 

Some board books. I have a feeling that Dora book will be a hit. 

It took a long time to decide on the order and and wrap all those books. And I'm going to do this every year? Oy, what have I gotten myself into?

Tonight we decorated the tree. Michael played with ornaments while DH and I worked. Michael tried to shake the tree and was rough with the ornaments a couple of times which required trips to the naughty chair. I know we were being harsh on him, but we want it to be very clear that the Christmas tree is not to be played with. If he wants to see an ornament he has to ask us to give it to him. I think a little more work upfront to enforce the rules will make for a happier experience for everyone.

Ambrosia guarding the tree.

Some favorite ornaments.

See Mom, I'm just touching the tree. I'm not doing anything naughty. 

Then we opened the first Advent book, the carefully selected The Perfect Tree, a simple board book about a family selecting and decorating a tree.

Wrapped and numbered. 

Excellent practice for opening Christmas presents.

And here are some pics of Bliss, just because I thought they were funny.

Evil Bliss.

Innocent Bliss.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reflecting on hard times, thankful for the good ones

We are back from Thanksgiving. It was a far better visit than last time. The schedule was respected. Michael did get a little spoiled and that probably hasn't helped his behavior problems, but it was a trade off. Getting a break from constantly watching your kid is something to be thankful for. I can deal with the spoiling later.

During the visit I got to have a few conversations with relatives about Michael. I've been thinking about how much Michael has changed over time... it's like I have a completely different child these days... in a good way.

Michael really was a difficult baby. I'm always thankful that Michael has been healthy (as in not seriously sick) so I hate sounding gripey about him being a difficult baby, but he was. Oh, my, he really, really was. I seriously wouldn't wish a child as difficult as Michael on my worst enemy. I feel like I barely survived that first year. When I think back on his first month and how I didn't sleep for the entire month (yeah, really) it makes me cry just to think of it. I don't ever think I will forget that kind of tired. (People tell you that 'you don't know what tired is until you have a kid' are right.)

I've decided from that experience that I didn't let others help me enough. This is partially my fault. I am a glutton for punishment. But I really wish someone else (like my husband) would have stepped in and said, "You're exhausted. You need help. I'm getting you some." Because at some point in there I was too tired to help myself and I needed someone to do it for me.

And another huge component of the difficulties with Michael was breastfeeding. I love breastfeeding him, but I think I can say that breastfeeding Michael has been the hardest job I have ever had, and I've had some very hard, demanding, shitty, stressful, painful jobs. That said, I have done my job EXTREMELY WELL. I did that job at the expense of many other parts of my life. I still haven't decided if I regret that or not. Was it worth it to achieve success in exclusively breastfeeding my kid to run myself so ragged for so long? I think the answer is yes and no. Breastfeeding him was worth it but I needed to cut myself a break somewhere else sooner and take more off my plate (I'm such a glutton for punishment).

I think it's common to think while your are TTCing that your desire for a child will smooth out the difficulties you face when the child comes along, but it doesn't. It just lops an extra serving of guilt on when you are already feeling down.

But these factors and others together really left me bitter and resentful of Michael in a way. I definitely had a grudge against my child. I didn't hate him, but I just was so worn out that I didn't enjoy him and I was constantly fearful of loosing what ever foothold I had in my life. I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop and send me back to the bottom again. That first year was very difficult.

Then the second year. This year has been a year of transition. Working mom to SAHM. Infant to toddler. Trying to make an emotional recovery from my former job which is inextricably tied to Michael's first year of life.

Somewhere along this year Michael went from being a child I wouldn't wish on my enemy to the most wonderful toddler ever.

It took a long time. I had to make myself realize that the past was over and that I wasn't facing the same challenges I did that first year. I had to learn to stop holding that grudge against Michael for all the sleepless nights, and burning nipples, and muscle pain, and missed work, and etc. I had to learn to trust that it does get better (because I didn't believe that it got better for a long time... I believed it got different, not better).

And I got some help via therapy and drugs. I always wonder how much of the way I feel today has to do with zoloft... I think it's still doing a lot of work for me, but lately, more and more, I think I'm truly getting healthier as well.

And I got better at this parenting thing. Parenting is hard. Doing it well takes a lot of work. I wish I did it better still.

And lately when I've been around other peoples kids, or had conversations with other parents I've had to comment on what a change Michael's made from last year to this year. And I just find myself thankful and proud of my little guy. He's just a great little toddler. Sure, he misbehaves. He hits and kicks and makes messes. But he's exactly how he should be. He's happy and good and cute as a button. During that first year, he wasn't happy. He was angry. mad. pissed off. He wanted (a lot) more of me than I could give and it made me angry, mad, pissed off. Today we are on the same page and it's made such a huge difference. It makes me sad to think about that first year because it should have been so much better than it was. I think I find myself wanting another child just to try to redo that first year. I'm adamantly determined that things will be different if we have another child. It will still be hard, but it's going to be better.

So today I got part of the pay off that I've been waiting for. I was putting things up in Michael's room and he came in, running at me, acting like he was going to attack me, and he comes up and wraps his arms around me as I brace for impact. I asked him what he wanted, but to my surprise he said back, "Love you," finished hugging me and went to play with a stuffed animal. Perfect.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Safe travels and good times.


And I just had to share a great idea I saw. If you have a little one and are wanting to do an Advent calendar, MADE posted a great idea that she's doing with her kids to wrap up 25 Christmas books and open one each day. I don't have a great collection of Christmas books, but I gathered all our up and Grandma gave me a stack and I think I almost have 25 together. I think it would make a great tradition for us and maybe we can add a new book or two in there every year. And Michael LOVES books and reading, so this is really perfect for him/us.


I might go shopping tomorrow... heaven help me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Michael, a very studious child, brushing up on the history of tractors.

We had our first Parents As Teachers visit today.

I feel bad that I didn't sign us up from the start, but with the slashing of the PAT budget, our high incomes, and (what we thought to be a good) daycare, we decided it probably wasn't worth our time. My therapist really encouraged me to sign up, so I finally got the form in awhile ago and we've been waiting.

The assumptions I made were wrong. Apparently your income level doesn't matter. I know that you can qualify for extra visits for certain reasons, but our PAT instructor said that she has to do so many visits per month and that she has more availability during the day, so usually those parents get more visits just for that reason. In fact we have another visit set up for a month from now.

And signing up took all of 10 minutes, the visits are in home... so even if I don't feel like the program is doing that much for us, I'd still say it's worth the small amount of time and effort to sign up.

So our visit wasn't anything too exceptional today. She spent a lot of time talking about the program and some of the introductory stuff. I wouldn't say I got too many great ideas from it, but Michael loves visitors and turned on the charm, so it was fun to see him interacting with her.

One thing we talked about was behavioral problems. Michael is definitely getting into the "terrible twos". He is hitting and kicking quite a bit lately (and consequently visiting the naughty chair just as often). I don't feel it's out of control or anything, but it does really bother me when he hits/kicks the cats (which happens a lot). She gave a pretty reasonable explanation for it... The cats are smaller than him and it's something that he can have power over and it's kind of bullying. I think she might be right. I don't want to say that my one year old is a bully, but he's definitely experimenting with expressing himself. And he loves the kitties most of the time (and they love him even more) so I'm not worried, but that was kinda helpful.

Our PAT center also has "Stop in and Play" during the day which is appealing and might give us another activity for the cold, winter days ahead.

Next week we will go and have his screening done. This interests me and I'm curious to see what is involved there.

The only one that did not enjoy the visit was Bliss. She tried to rub up against the instructors leg, but the instructor was allergic, so I had to take her away. Poor Bliss, I don't think that cat has ever been rejected in her whole life. Don't worry Bliss, you're still cute, I'm sure she wanted to pick you up and squeeze you just like me.

No one can resist the Bliss. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

No desire to post

I don't know exactly what my issue is, but I have pretty much no desire to post lately. But I'm still here, still ticking along... slowly. I've been super tired lately... I don't know if it was the time change or my widening ass, but my ideal day would be spent in bed with the cats right now.

And, I'm just going to throw this out there, but I think almost everyone is pregnant right now. Not that that's a bad thing, but wow! The number of surprise BFPs lately is amazing. I'm so happy for the girls that have been blessed lately, and say a hopeful prayer for those that are still waiting.

And although I maintain that I'm not interested in having another baby right now, I have wondered if I'm being honest with myself. However, I was enjoying some freetime during Michael's nap and realizing that if I had another baby I would not be spending that time selfishly enjoying myself, so yeah, one is good for now.

But I am hoping to bring home a new bundle of joy next week. One that has an automatic presser foot lift and 9mm wide decorative stitches.

And just FYI, this post is being composed in a dry monotone in my head that demonstrates that lack of enthusiasm for anything in my life right now.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Halloween '11 Recap

Michael went as Max from Where the Wild Things Are.

Let the wild rumpus start!

I was so excited when I saw pictures on Running With Scissors of Jessica's little boy in a Max costume. I knew I wanted to make Michael one for Halloween but didn't really want to figure how to make it. Then, like she was reading my mind, Jessica made a very affordable pattern and problem solved. I think it turned out really well. The problem was that almost no one knew what he was. A lot of people thought he was a bunny (really?) and some thought a kitty or fox (that's a little better). It is a very famous children's book that's been around for quite a while and was recently made into a movie so I was hoping the recognition would be a little higher. I was extremely disappointed in my neighbor that teaches 1st grade missing it. About half way through the night I realized that it was just easier to tell everyone what he was upfront rather than leave them guessing with that puzzled look. I guess that's the price I pay for not just dressing him up as a pumpkin or Thomas the Train.

I took this pic of him the other day messing with the stuff on my dresser. I think he looks kinda like a little squirrel. A naughty little squirrel

He really got into it this year. We tried to get him to say "Trick or Treat" but he'd only give us the "Trick or" part. But he did a really good job saying it until about half way through the the night and then it just became about the candy. As soon as someone came to the door, he couldn't take his eyes off the candy and if they dropped it in the bag without him seeing, he wanted more just to be sure he wasn't being jipped. He was very good about saying thank you at every house, but he stopped and saying it and started signing it by the end of the night.

Give me some candy!

He got a little freaked out by the end of the night and was afraid to take candy from a couple of teenagers with scary masks. But mostly, he just had a blast going to all the houses. We did the "trunk or treat" at my church then did 80% of the neighborhood and he was excited and happy through all of it. (Well, all of it except when we made him get out of the fire truck. He could have spent the whole night behind the well of that thing pretending to drive.

Ok, never mind about the candy, just let me play with this cool truck all night. You can pry me out of here when I fall asleep. 

He got a huge haul. I deemed most of it inappropriate for him to eat.

Sweet! And kudos to the person that gave out pumpkins. Michael loves pumpkins. 

Mom and Dad will see that the inappropriate candy is properly disposed.

We are trying to keep him in the dark about the wonders of candy a little longer (i.e., no chocolate yet).

Oh, and I made him his little candy bag as well. I totally forgot about needing one and used some of the leftover burlap from his birthday and the some craft felt that I had. My husband was disappointed that the bag was so small. I was a little perturbed by that. I reminded him that it was plenty big for ONE year old.

Free and fun. 

He was confused last night when we put him to bed. He wanted to go out again and kept saying "Tick or". Nope, sorry kid, you have to wait a whole year.

I kinda hate that we have to wait a whole more year too. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Michael at 21 Months

Supporting the home team!

I'm not too great at documenting all the wonderful stuff my kid does but if I actually documented everything, I'd be so busy that I'd miss a lot of it too... but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't up my effort a little.

Michael is such a great little boy these days. It has been hard, very hard to handle him through much of his life, but lately he's usually so delightful that some of the stress of the earlier days is finally being forgiven/forgotten.

He does a lot of cute stuff that cracks me up. He loves to read and would let us read books to him all day long. He'll sit down with a book and carefully look at the pictures by himself for long periods of time too until he finds something he just has to share and then he'll drag the book over to me shouting about what ever he see in the picture.

He is interested in the different parts of things. He is constantly pointing out parts of a tractor or body parts to us. He's been big on nipples lately, or "nimmels" as he sometimes says. He became a little obsessed for awhile and would stick his hand up his shirt trying to find his nipples and crying out in frustration (I'm guessing because he can't find nipples like the bigguns that mama has).

He loves anything with a wheel on it. Classic boy.

This should have been one of the greatest moments of his life. He loves skid steers (he can even say 'skid steer') and is always begging us to let him up in one. Then he finally gets in one and is totally unimpressed because there's no wheel.

That's better. 

He loves to make animal sounds. He made cookies with me the other day and had the an arm and leg left from a 'gingerbread' man sugar cookie (I only have Christmas cookie cutters) and was dancing it along the coffee table yelling "Horsey! Neigh!". Dang that was cute.

'Horsey! Neigh!' The cookies were yummy, but I want to eat this little boy up!

He such a loving little boy. He loves hugs and asks for them frequently. He's trying to kiss us lately but hasn't really figured it out and just presses his face hard up against ours. When he really enjoys something he will say "Happy" in a whispery voice. I wasn't exactly sure I was hearing him right because I was hugging him one time and I thought I heard him say "Happy". I thought that was a little too cute but then he did it a few more times and I knew I was right. It's pretty darn awesome to hug your child and hear him say "Happy." It melts my heart. He'll repeat "Love you" but hasn't said "I love you" yet.

We've started in on a lot of Montessori stuff at home, and I don't really want to write a post on it now, but it's helping a lot. We are emphasizing picking up after himself and respecting his things and it took a couple of weeks but he's definitely picking up on it and making changes. He puts things away without being asked. I think it's lowered the stress level for both of us. He's very good at following directions so I can ask him to get a rag and clean up a spill he makes or throw something in the trash and he listens. Now if I can just get him to stop pulling the cats' tails, we'll be great shape.

President of the sandbox today, the free world tomorrow!

I sometimes wonder if he has Tourette's Syndrome. When he gets excited (which is nearly all the time) he'll just start shouting words and sounds. Sometimes there is a theme to them (Dark! Moon! Howl! Outside! Dark!) but it's not always clear. It's kinda weird, I've never really seen any other kids do something like it... perhaps he'll get some verbs in there and it will make more sense. I was changing his diaper the other day and he was yelling "Penis! Hole!" (cause we've taught him that pee comes out of the hole in his penis). I thought it was pretty funny. I'm going to stop calling people assholes and start calling them penis-holes. I think penis has definitely surpassed ass in funniness, don't you?


I can't believe this kid is going to be 2 in a couple of months.