Monday, October 10, 2016

We're Going to Disney World!

Four years ago I went to Disney World with my parents, my sister, and my sister’s 3 and 6 year old boys, after which I swore I would not take my own kids to Disney until they were at least 10. Which is yet another pre-parenting comment which has made me put my foot in my mouth. 
Apparently Costco offers amazing deals to Disney World and one of the perks of Jonathan’s work schedule is ample time to do things like take our 3 year old to the most magical place on earth for his birthday. And perhaps Jonathan also has a bit of daddy-guilt and is slightly over-indulgent with Forest these days. Either way, we are going to Disney World! 

Our main attitude is this: Forest will be 3. He doesn’t know if he misses a ride or doesn’t meet a certain character. He has NO expectations of Disney and I’m sure he will be stinkin’ ecstatic about everything he does get to do/see so we are planning to keep it as low stress and go-with-the-flow as possible. We plan on getting there when the parks open, staying until naptime and then leaving, returning to the parks after resting only IF we feel like it. 

We will have 3 days at the parks and plan on hitting Magic Kingdom basically every day and visiting Animal Kingdom one morning and Epcot one evening for the Food and Wine festival. We have a character dinner one evening which is the only firm plan we have. 

Thunder Mountain is closed for refurbishing during our trip which is a big fat bummer but actually takes some pressure off because it’s one less major attraction to scratch off the list. Just a bummer because our little thrill seeker isn’t tall enough for Space Mountain so I was really looking forward to riding Thunder Mountain with him. Oh well! Like I said, he won’t know the difference and Splash Mountain and The Seven Dwarves Mine Train will be plenty exciting for him, I’m sure. 

And also, the reason I have been slacking (more than usual) on the blogging thing is that there is a mountain of information regarding how to maximize your time and energy at Disney and I have ironically been using all my spare time and energy  to comb through the heap of data regarding the subject. Anybody have any insider tips on Disney with an adventurous, Pixar obsessed 3 year old?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Pacifier Confessions

You know how when you’re doing something you know someone wouldn’t approve of, you tend to avoid that person? Or how when you’re battling with a sin you don’t want to give up, your prayer life starts to lack? Or how when your nearly-3 year old still uses a pacifier, you put off their first dental exam for as long as possible before CPS shows up at your door for dental neglect? Um, yea. 

You are ‘supposed’ to schedule your child’s first dental check up when they are a year old and since Forest had 12 teeth on his first birthday, it would have probably been a good idea. But the pediatrician said reeaaalllly it’s not so important until they get their 2 year molars in, which is also the time she said I should reeeaalllly take the pacifier away. Well that was reaaaallllly only like 5 months ago so I’m not procrastinating too much. 

Here’s my defense:  he cut his final molar about 2 days before we started potty training. One transition at a time. After potty training we were house hunting and moving. One transition at a time. Once we moved, his dad went away for a month. One transition at a time. Once his dad came home he started preschool. One transition at a time. And basically, that’s where we are. 

But this week I finally bit the bullet and took Forest to the dentist. The week leading up to it, I tried, reaaalllly hard to sort of suggest to him that maybe he should give up his pacifier to sleep which he agreed to for all of 5 minutes. So I decided my tactic was to not mention the paci at all at his dental appointment. To let the dentist look at Forest’s teeth and if he could instantly tell then I would honestly say that ‘he only uses it to sleep and we have vague plans to take it away sometime before kindergarten’. 

Instead the dentist said ‘Great teeth! No cavities, they’ve come in well and have excellent spacing. Keep doing what you’re doing and we’ll see him again in 6 months.’ So I basically feel totally absolved to ‘keep doing what we’re doing’ (doctor’s orders!) and will casually continue to mention to Forest that he’s probably too big for the paci until he finally agrees, hopefully some time before kindergarten...

Saturday, October 1, 2016

It's Fall! (Sorta)

These may look like summer temps to 90% of you, but to those in Houston, you know this is a beautiful thing!
I remember the first warm front after moving from Scotland to California. We put shorts on Forest for the first time and called it a milestone. 

I had a similar feeling on Friday when it was cool enough for him to wear jeans to preschool. 

It was the first time he'd worn pants since we left San Ramon. You could tell the sensation was different to him and he said, 'these cover up my boo-boos". Ha! His pants cover up his constantly battered and bruised shins while my jeans cover my cellulite and unshaved legs. Either way, we have survived the most brutal part of Houston's summer, and although I know that's not the last we've seen this season of 90 degree heat and 100% humidity, it sure does feel good to have shorts season mainly behind us! It also feels great to walk to the park without getting dehydrated.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Labor Day Beach Vacay

Jonathan and I (especially me) are not exactly spontaneous people. I particularly love a well-planned trip with plenty of time to prepare and do my research. Our goal is to go on one family vacation each time he’s home, resulting in 6 such trips a year. Some will be fairly simple and inexpensive and some will be all-out dream vacations. 

When he left for his first hitch we were kind of burnt out from the move and didn’t really have anything planned for when he got back in September. We would throw ideas out via facetime while he was in Angola but never really hammered out any details and it was really hard for us to brainstorm together with such a time difference. We decided that maybe this first hitch we should just do something in driving distance that would be easy to plan last minute. 

When Hurricane Hermine threatened the gulf coast and then veered away Labor Day weekend, Jon’s parents condo in Orange Beach was suddenly available for the holiday and as luck would have it, my parents would also be at their condo 10 minutes down the road at the same time. So on the very day that Jonathan got home from Angola and Forest started preschool, we decided to pack our bags and leave before dawn the next morning for a 9 hour drive to the beach. 

We were clearly delirious with adrenaline because come 4:30 the next morning it felt like a totally hair-brained idea. We were hopeful that waking Forest up 2 hours before his natural wake time would mean he’d snooze in the car. Our plan was to minimally wake him, plop him in the car and then stop for breakfast once he woke up for the morning. Hahaha. We really should have known better. 

While I was still sneaking around his room packing up his baby monitor and white nose machine he popped right up and started an excited stream of conscious monologue: ‘Where are we going? Are we going to the beach? Is it dark outside? This is so neat! Are we going to ride on a boat?’ and he maintained that enthusiasm for the following few hours meaning there was no snoozing happening in our car.  

I can’t complain too much because the kid is a seriously awesome traveler, but he majorly struggles with sleeping on-the-go. He did throw us a 50 minute nap later on which is pretty miraculous these days. I just remember my parents waking me up in the dead of night for road trips and me falling back asleep before we even got out of the driveway. Obviously Forest did not inherit this trait from me. Anyhoos, we made it there in about 9 hours which with a dog and a potty trained toddler is pretty good time. 
Samson is our good sleeper.
We rushed right out to the beach to let F run some sillies out and were not expecting the fact that the nearby hurricane had caused some gorgeous tide pools to form on the beaches. This was perfect because it allowed Forest to get his swim fix in baby-pool-like conditions without being too tempted to run straight for the massive surf. 

When it comes to water we have learned that he simply can’t help himself. It’s like a magnet that pulls him in. 

That night my mom cooked a delicious summer meal of chicken and angel hair pasta with lemon and spinach and Jonathan’s parents came over to eat with us and spend time with Forest. The next day, the boys headed out on my dad’s new boat while my mom and I got our nails done and got Starbucks afterward. What we didn’t realize at the time was this was the only day of good weather that we were going to get! Luckily we spent the entire afternoon riding on the boat and going out to eat on the water so we got to enjoy it to the fullest. 

The next morning we moved from my parents’ condo to stay with Jon’s parents. The weather turned gloomy and rained quite a bit but there was never any lightning so we still spent plenty of time at the beach and in the baby pool.   

The following day Jon’s brother, his girlfriend and their (almost) two year old daughter came to stay as well. It was great to see the cousins interacting. Last time they saw each other they had both just turned 2 and 1 so the interactions were basically Forest protectively hoarding his toys and saying 'No Rayne! That's mine!' (such a charming age). This time around, Forest exclusively called her ‘my friend’ instead of ‘my cousin’ or by her name. It was really sweet. Anytime he saw her he’d say ’my friend is coming!’. 

He had another friend to play with when one of Jon’s college buddies who lives in the area came by with his wife and their daughter who is only a week younger than Forest. I swear these two look like twins. Its uncanny how similar their facial features are. 

For our final evening we headed to my parents’ condo for dinner and some seashell hunting on the beach. 

We left bright and early the next morning for our return trip. 
Once again, Forest didn’t fall back asleep in the morning and unfortunately only snoozed 30 minutes the whole time and apparently decided that waking up before 6 is actually awesome and we’ve been trying to break him of the habit ever since…. 

Our first family vacation on the 28/28 schedule is complete. We were supposed to go to Mexico in November but that's been switched to December so now we need to do some brainstorming about what to do next. We are leaning towards Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains. Any other suggestions for fun fall holidays? I'm majorly craving crisp fall weather and gorgeous foliage.