Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013!

We had a fun night trick-or-treating with our neighbors.  Parker doesn't get it, but it was fun tooling around with friends.  It was chilly so we just hit a few houses.

It is so fun watching these boys grow up together.  You can see last year's fun here!  Hope you had a Happy Halloween!

Traveling Safe

I try not to get too preachy about parenting choices and practices on here, but I saw something on the way home last night that deeply saddened me. A minivan changed lanes (safely) in front of me. Then I saw the silhouette of two small heads through the back window. But, they weren't sitting still, they were bouncing back and forth across the whole vehicle. At one point, it appeared as if they started fighting, hitting and tackling each other. At a minimum, they should have been buckled in.  The girl, evident by the pigtails, was probably small enough that she also should have been in a booster or 5-point harness.  During the 5 miles or so I was behind this vehicle I didn't see any movement from the driver. He/she could have been verbally reprimanding them, but certainly wasn't gesturing at all and didn't seem to turn around.  Many times, on this same stretch if highway, I have been forced to stop quickly or swerve. I worried what would happen if the driver came into that situation.  Where would those kids end up if they were in an accident?

I know that it can be difficult to keep up with all the changing requirements and recommendations regarding child safety seats. All I ask is that you educate yourself and make the best decision for the well-being of your child.  I have added a few links where you can learn more information below. - General Safety guidlines - Find your state's laws on child safety - MN Department of Public Safety

I am choosing to keep Parker rear-facing for as long as his seat allows, which is 40lbs. That means he could be in there for a couple more years. Please also don't be afraid to educate and inform others in a helpful, non-judgemental manner. Sometimes people just haven't heard the latest recommendations, but are likely to listen if it means keeping their kiddos safe.  Rant is over, thanks for listening!  Drive safe!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Therapy Double Duty and Pumpkin Carving

Just a brief update on Parker's therapy.  Today was the first day of back-to-back appointments.  We started with speech at our normal time, followed immediately by occupational therapy.  I wasn't sure how he would respond to the second therapist since it had been over a month since seeing her, but he did great.  He did walk in with her (that will come) but he didn't fuss when she took him.  This new schedule also overlaps dinner time so it will be interesting to see how it works long term, but today was a great start.  I am so excited to get into the swing of things adding OT and PT in the next month.

Am I a terrible mom for posting all the photos of the things my kid hates doing?
 He had no interest in any pumpkin tonight, except the bowl that would be filled with guts!  He was much happier playing with cars and watching Sammy and Eve.
That left the carving to the grown ups.  Jimmy is more traditional and I like to be quirky at times.
Blank Canvas
Oh My!
Mine required a little planning...I tried to really go with the whole costume theme!

 I think they turned out great!
 We kept it festive with creepy crawly jammies!
 Loving his books

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkin Art

Parker colored and painted pumpkins today to continue our festive weeks.  He is NOT a fan of coloring (see below), but I keep presenting it to him because it is a skill he should probably learn.
 Painting goes much better, at least until the whole picture is painted.  Once he is done, HE IS DONE!

Tomorrow: Pumpkin Carving

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Zoo Boo at Como Zoo

Without further ado, Parker's Halloween costume, a robot!
It was my second heat transfer vinyl project and I am really happy how it turned out.  I am not in love with the hat, but I had to have something because it is cold in MN on October 31st!

Zoo Boo is one of Como Zoo's big fundraisers.  They have games and activities, lots of costumed characters and snacks!  I put a lot of thought and energy into Parker's costume this year and really wanted it to get more than one use.  We had fun, but picked a terrible day to go.  Sunday's are supposed to be slower, but the weather was gorgeous so we had to wait in line for about 20 minutes before getting in.  

Once inside it wasn't much better.  It took a while to really get going.  We finally found some room to move and he was a lot happier.  He has a blast running...
Checking the fire truck tires...
I tried to get some pictures with the decorations and actually got a couple good/ok ones.

But, let's be honest, when you have a toddler there are FAR more like these.
And these...
We had fun, but the wait caused us to be VERY late for dinner time and Parker was not happy about that.  He was ready to be out of there almost as much as Jimmy was ;-)  It was a great way to support the zoo and get some great goodies!
Can't wait to have some more festive fun this week, stay tuned!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

One if those "Ahhhhhhhh!" Mom moments...

To clarify, I am talking about being scared crapless, NOT being enlightened.  I put Parker in his crib after lunch for nap time today, like I have done dozens of times. He sometimes goes to sleep right away and sometimes plays around for a while. Today was the later. I went downstairs to continue working on his Halloween costume (which is ADORABLE! You will see it soon!) Then...

Then I heard a giant thud. It was one of those sounds that you hear and know exactly what it is, but can't really believe that heard it.  I bolted up the stairs (thankful that I was hearing him crying.) I didn't know what to expect. I opened the door and he was standing there, in the middle of his room, crying, probably frightened and maybe hurt.  That's right, he climbed/fell out of his crib, on to a not-so-plushy rug on hardwood floors. 

I was relieved to see him standing. He was conscious, most likely did not have any major broken bones.  There was blood in his mouth so I immediately tried to find the source, but couldn't. There were no open sores in his mouth. All the teeth were in tact. I am assuming his bit his lip or tongue because it stopped pretty quickly. I checked the rest of his body to see if there was any visible injuries and thankfully didn't find any.  

At that point I didn't know what to do. I just held him and rocked him and he finally calmed down. Then he fell asleep. That started to worry me because I know closed head injuries can cause major havok. I decided to let him snooze, but I kept checking to make sure he was ok.

I was in shock for a little bit. I have never seen him attempt to get out of his crib before and I have long thought that we already had it on the lowest setting. I am pretty sure he is not ready for a toddler bed and my research on crib nets found they are as controversial as bumpers!  I was lamenting having to transition sooner than I had hoped and decided to check the crib height again, just to make sure. I was surprised to see we still had one more level to go. So, I dropped it down this evening and boy do those 3" make a difference. Hopefully that will buy us some time. I am also hoping that HE was scared crapless too and won't try it again. 

Thanks for listening to my rant! Hopefully your mom or dad adventures weren't as scary as mine today.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Busy Weekends

The fall is always a busy time of year for us. I look at our schedule every September and think it won't be that bad, but stuff always pops up! This weekend was no exception. 

Friday was date night! My parents took Parker and we went to Macaroni Grill. They have a seasonal dish, Butternut Squash Tortellacci. Oh my goodness! It was Ah-mazing! Probably one of the best things I have ever eaten and it wasn't even my order!  Then we cruised the Mazda lot so Jimmy could check out the 2014s and went home to watch a movie. I woke up early Saturday to run some errands before meeting my parents (who returned Parker to us) for lunch. Parker took a late nap and we headers to his parents house for dinner and the hockey game. Jimmy has been jonesing to watch hockey since we cut the satellite cord!  Finally today was out cousin's first birthday party.  It was so fun to see Parker and Wyatt together!
Happy Birthday Wyatt!

The party was right at nap time so we weren't sure how it would go. He actually seemed to have MORE energy than normal! He has been very timid in new situations lately, but this one didn't phase him. We were 3 hours overdue for a nap when we pulled out. He only lasted a few miles before conking out!
Whew, that was a doozy!  On top of all that, I tried a new dinner recipe that is too good not to share!

Chipotle Chicken Salad.
It tasted a lot like the restaurant Chipotle, but at a fraction of the price and under 300 calories a serving. The recipe can be found at the link below. It says 4 servings, but I made 5 with it. Also, if you haven't worked with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, start with less and add more until it suits your tastes. It was a bit on the spicy side for us, but still tasty!

Hope your weekend was as fun as ours!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Walk Now for Autism Speaks

Saturday was Walk Now for Autism Speaks.  We had an early start to the day and Parker was not happy at first.  
We were out the door by 7 and to the mall by 7:30.  We got checked in and headed to the rotunda for the opening ceremonies.  TC Bear was walking around and I was so excited to have Parker meet him!  I thought he might be frightened, but he LOVED him!
TC was tickling him and Parker thought it was hilarious.
There was a lot of people around, but Parker just played with his stroller and looked around before the walk started.

 The young man below was amazing.  Gage Cook is 16 years old, blind and autistic.  As with many autistic people, Gage has an ear for music.  He sang the National Anthem to open the walk.  He also sang a few songs during the closing ceremony.
 Ready, Set GO!

 We found SpongeBob after the walk was over and thought it would be fun to get a picture with him too.  Parker like his big eyes and didn't fuss when he got a hug...Then he bit his finger.  You can see him going for it in the bottom picture!
We had a pretty small team this year but I was so blessed for those that were able to make it.  Left to right: Michelle, Michelle's daughter (I feel bad I can't remember her name!), Cherry (Jimmy's mom), Janet (my mom), and of course Parker!  Jimmy had to work and couldn't get the day off on short notice.
 It was a wonderful experience.  I got a lot of great info and was able to raise money for a great cause.  The Parker Patrol raised $550 and a total of almost $200,000 was raised for the whole walk.  Thank you so much to those who came and walked and to all those that donated.  I can't wait to do it again next year.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Layering Heat Transfer Vinyl

Had to share my first adventure in layering heat transfer vinyl. I designed a t-shirt for the walk on Saturday with my silhouette software and after some trial and error, got the cutting figured out! Not perfect, but pretty good for my first go!

Supplies ready!
All the colors cut!
Final product!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bayfield Apple Fest 2013

It's that time of year again!  We trekked to northern Wisconsin for the Bayfield Apple fest.  You can read about last year's trip here.

We started with a stop in Hayward, WI.  We have stopped at Coops pizza for lunch all 4 years that I have gone.  Jimmy's family started that tradition, this year was his 14th trip!  They have a great lunch buffet.  All you can eat soup, salad, pizza and garlic bread.

I love to walk through all the little shops even though most of the stuff is too expensive for my tastes (and budget.)  One of these days I will bite the bullet and get some Hayward garb!  This stop wouldn't be complete without a stop at the bakery and candy shop.
 Parker LOVED the pumpkin sugar cookie!
 In Tremblay's Candy Shop - 45 different kinds of taffy!

 We stayed in Ashland this year, about an hour from Hayward.  We stayed in a great hotel on the shore of Lake Superior.  Here is the view from our room.
 It was cloudy and rainy for most of our trip, but that did stop Parker from wanting to explore.
We went swimming after dinner.  Parker LOVES the water and started to get very brave around the pool this time!
Here is a video of him jumping off the side. (Please excuse the poor quality, it's a waterproof camera and does not do great in low lighting.)
 We stayed much closed to Bayfield this year so it was strange to have time to relax on Friday morning.  We arrived just after 9 and waited to meet Jimmy's sister and her kids.  As always, we started the day with an apple brat with apple mustard.
 It was a breezy 50 degrees, we made sure Parker was bundled and warm.  Still nicer than last year, at least it didn't snow!  My parents neighbor Teresa made the sock monkey hat.
 Right on the shore.
 He was enthralled by the marching band that went through town just before noon.
 He is at an age now where he isn't content sitting in a stroller the whole time.  An added benefit of going on Friday is that we can let him wander (supervised) because it isn't as busy as Saturday.
 We were really looking forward to going on the train ride last year, but it wasn't there.  I was excited to see it back this year.  It was being worked on when we first arrived, but it seemed to be up an running a short time later.  Jimmy went with Parker on the ride.  It made it around a couple times...
Then it derailed!  Oh well, Parker still had fun!
That was the last thing we did before heading back to the hotel to take a well deserved nap!

I found a great little cafe/coffee shop that was near our hotel. Tap Roots was a true hometown joint.  The man working was so helpful and kind.  If you are ever is Ashland, WI I highly recommend stopping there!
They had a great soup and sandwich menu.  Perfect for a chilly fall night.  I had a turkey panini on fresh cranberry wild rice bread.  Jimmy had a reuben and we shared a delicious cup of white chicken chili.
We headed home Saturday morning and were able to relax for the rest of the weekend.  Another trip for the memory books!