Friday, December 21, 2012

2012 Pullen Park Holiday Express

All Christmas posts are late. I've had a ton of stuff going on in my kitchen!

So this year we actually made it to Pullen Park for their Christmas train ride (that's what I call it). I've wanted to go for the past couple years but for one reason or another it's just never happened. But this year - a few weekends ago - we did it. Grant is all about trains right now (not to worry, Monster Trucks continue to remain #1 in his little heart) so I knew he'd love the Holiday Express.

The park is decorated with lots of lights and they've got little fun stuff going on for the kids to do. There's a little stage with some entertainment and their playground area is of course open. They have to shut down their little boat ride because the unimaginably long line for the train has to wrap around that ride.

But they did add some cute little animal passengers.

Crazy long line.
I think we waited somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 minutes to get on the train. And Grant was so patient! I couldn't believe it. And every time he heard the train whistle blow he'd get this "Oh!" look on his face and freak out trying to see the train. He loved all the lights they had put up around the train route and really loved waving to all the people we rode by.
Family picture while waiting for the train
Still patiently waiting for the train.
I was hoping we'd have time to ride the train more than once. No such luck. The line stayed long from the time we got there to the time we left. But that was ok. Grant got to play on the playground, we got to walk around and see the lights (with Grant going "Pretty lights! See pretty lights?"), listen to some entertainment and then eat dinner. Which was surprisingly good for park food.

That looks says "No, Daddy, my pizza."
After dinner we went on the carousel. Ever been on the carousel at Pullen Park? If you do, I hope you enjoy feeling like you could vomit at any moment. It seems as if there should be a speed limit on carousels...and this one definitely exceeds it. But Grant loved it. We were relatively close to the front of the line so we asked what Grant wanted to ride. He immediately spied the ostrich (on a carousel?!) and yelled "RIDE CHICKEN!!". So I rode the other "chicken" and Husband held Grant on the ride while trying to keep from being thrown off (it was seriously going that fast).

Riding the "chicken".
We made our way to the car after that. It was worth going and I think we'd try to go again next year. They only sell a limited number of tickets so even though there were a lot of people it never felt overwhelmingly crowded. And Grant had a great time, which is all that matters :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Conversations With My Toddler

I seem to be having flare-ups of my undiagnosed but undeniable rheumatoid arthritis. It happens every so often and when it's pretty much hell. It's a pain that I can't describe. But pressure helps a lot. So for my wrists, I have braces that I wear when I need them to get me through playtime with Grant and then to help me sleep too. Last week I was wearing one and Grant noticed it immediately.

He came over and lightly touched it.

Grant: You have boo-boo?

Me: Yes baby, I have a boo-boo. A big one.

Grant: A big one?

Me: Yup. Mama's whole body is a boo-boo.

Grant: Ok. Who did it?

Me: Karma. Karma did it.

Grant: Kah-ma?

He walks away very slowly and peeks behind the end table next to the couch. Then creeps over and looks behind the love seat.

Husband: You know he's looking for Karma, right?

He totally was.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I'm a little late with this because I apparently hit my picture limit and have been working on how to fix that. IT pro I am not.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. How can you not love a day where you're expected to eat too much and then be lazy? Throw in some good company and I call that a great day. I'm finally getting around to getting some pictures up. We go over to Mother-in-law's house for Thanksgiving lunch...and this year stayed so long that we had dinner too! And it was yummy the second time around.

Eating at the table like a big guy!
(with Mama & Grandma snapping away with cell phones)
Grandma's house = playtime (and who doesn't need to play after a turkey dinner?). Ok, Grant's two so everywhere equals playtime. But at Grandma's house, he gets to play with more than boring ol' Mama and Daddy. And he gets to ride his tricycle inside...which he no longer gets to do at home.

How dare I stop playtime for pictures.

When I ask him to smile, I never know what I'll get :)

Moving on to dessert. I forgot I had brought the camera so I didn't take pre-playtime pictures. Behold the dessert table:

Look at that sugary goodness!

A kiss for his turkey cookie
Loving some Ho-ho Cake (Thanks for the recipe Mel!)

And playtime is resumed.

Grant loves to play with Aunt Debbie!

Sugar high! (Bandaid because he bumped his
head and only a Spongebob bandaid made it better)

 We headed home thoroughly stuffed and desperately in need of stretchy pants. But there was one stop before we went home. There is a house not far from my in-law's that lights up their Christmas lights on Thanksgiving. To say they go "all out" in the understatement of the year. The decorate every inch of their yard and house for Christmas. Some would call it tacky...I call it impressive (Happyland Christmas Lights if you want to find them on facebook). They had posted that they only had 75% of their decorations up.

Nothing says Christmas like Santa in an outhouse...

...or a T-Rex with a candy cane.
These pictures don't even do it justice. And I can't wait to go back after he's done!

I hope your Thanksgiving was as great as ours! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Conversations With My Toddler

We let Grant play soccer, football, and baseball in the living room. I know what you're thinking...because we get nasty looks or eye-rolls whenever we tell people that. None of the balls we use are hard and while things have been knocked over, nothing has been broken (yet).

So one of these nights while we were playing, Grant picked up one of the balls and without looking launched it straight at me.

He nailed me in the face. 

I didn't get mad, it was obviously unintentional. But I did want him to know that he needs to be more careful and that he shouldn't hit people.

Me: Grant! That hit Mama in the face! What do you say?

Grant: Thank you.

Ha! In his defense, that is the answer I'm typically expecting when I ask that question. It just totally caught me off guard. And Husband too, who I could hear laughing in the kitchen then said "Did he just say thank you?!"

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Liver Update

Back around the beginning of October I made another trip to Chapel Hill for a liver check-up with my specialist so I thought I'd do an update since I haven't had time to do one yet.

So the big news is that I'm off the steroid. Hooray for that! And the lingering effects are gone. Which means that I am no longer sweating like I'm having a hot flash for no apparent reason. Also the swelling and bloating is also gone. My doctor told me that being off the steroid will help me with weight control...he's so subtle.

Other big news: my liver levels are normal. They haven't been normal in almost a year. It's great news because it means that my medication is working and it doesn't need to be messed with right now.

I guess I've been officially diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis even though he hasn't "officially" said it. So far, it seems manageable. I'm not crazy about the "hepatitis" part of it so if I'm in a situation that calls for talking about it, I just call it a "liver condition". Hepatitis scares people into thinking that if I touch them or breathe on them that they'll get it too. Obviously, they won't...but some people are weird.

Another issue that's come up is that lot of people like to ask us when we're going to have another baby. "Is Grant going to be an only child?" "Are you ready for another one?" "When is Grant going to be a big brother?" I realize we have a child that is at an age where people generally announce a sibling. I really want people to stop asking. I realize that I'm no longer yellow and I don't LOOK sick...but my health is still an issue and will continue to be because this doesn't go away. If Grant has a sibling someday, and I really want him to, it will have to be carefully planned with my doctors (and I'm very unlikely to share about here). We would like to add to our family one of these days but that is our decision. Not one made because we have a two-year-old and it's what people typically do. My health is coming first. If Grant is the only child we have, then he will have a healthy mother who loves him and will hopefully be around a long time for him. I know it sounds like a lighthearted question when asked but it does not have an easy answer. And, frankly, it's no ones business but ours (unless we make it your business - and you know who you are because I/we already talk about it with you).

So that's pretty much that. I'm "getting better" but will never be cured. Well, who knows, maybe someday they'll have a cure for it but I think it's rather low on the list of diseases to cure. Now that the scary OMG-what-comes-next part is behind us for now, I'm adjusting to life on an immune suppressant which means I get sick often and it's harder to get rid of (although I did manage to escape catching strep throat from Grant recently). It's also a blood thinner so this fall is already a little rough because I'm very cold very often (and long term use can be linked with cancer...a "rare" side effect). I have to be on this medicine for two years before they'll consider reducing the dose but my doctor does have a plan to put this into remission, it just takes a while. My joints are adjusting to being off the steroid. As much as I hated most of the side effects of prednisone, it really made my joints feel good but now I generally always hurt somewhere. Overall, I'm just trying to get used to always feeling like something is "off" with my body. If my joints don't hurt then I have a headache, I'm lightheaded (I can't say I'm dizzy or I'll have to go to another doctor for that), I'm incredibly fatigued, or my stomach is messed up. All that aside, though, I'm better off than a lot of people. My medicine is helping to keep my liver in a time-out so we all just get along.

 PS...I was told once again by my doctor that I shouldn't drink or smoke (he did let go of the IV drug use thing). I tried to tell him that he really doesn't have to give me that lecture. I'm really not going to do it. I might be the only patient he has that's not even tempted by it. But he insisted that he's spent years arguing with people about how little is too much and that if I have a drink even three days before, it can mess up my blood work. So I nodded my head like a good patient but I have the feeling he thinks I was hiding a six-pack in the car. I'm perfectly ok with the idea that I'll never be able to have another drop of alcohol...but if he tells me I have to swear off ice cream, we're gonna fight.

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Little Trick-or-Treater

So Halloween was a big day. Grant had a party at school and they trick-or-treated around the other classrooms. Then he got to trick-or-treat around our neighborhood for the first time!

Ready to go with his little bag that
I've had for him since he was two months old.

He seemed content with staying home with our candy stash.

Why are we standing here with an empty bag?!
 Grant's Grandma came over to help us pass out candy so Husband and I could both go out trick-or-treating with Grant. Grandpa and Uncle Scotty tagged along to walk around the neighborhood with us.

 It was a bit difficult to coax Grant into walking to the first house. So Husband decided to carry him. But once there, he didn't want to walk up to their front door. I sort of figured that would happen. It's probably a little weird to have your parents tell you to knock on a stranger's door.

Telling Daddy he wants to go home.

Checking out the first house.

I think Husband knocked for Grant (I was behind them). And when the door opened, Husband told Grant to say trick-or-treat. I think he told him twice and I finally heard a tiny "Twik a teat". Husband told him to take a piece of candy but the boy who answered the door told him to take two. Grant said thank you (yay!) and when the door shut he pointed to another house with lights on "I need go dat way!" That was that. Every house got a trick-or-treat and a thank you. I was pretty excited about that.

We only went to five houses. Partly because Grant was chilly in his costume, but also because there was a disappointing amount of houses with lights on. I didn't realize how few of our neighbors participate in Halloween. And we only had two kids come to our house. That kind of made me sad.

Home with his loot.

When we got back, Grant got a surprise from Grandma & Grandap. A Halloween bucket loaded up with goodies!

A mix of candy & healthy stuff :)
He got to pick one treat to have before his bath. He picked a tootsie pop...this kid loves lollipops!

Even with the lack of trick-or-treaters at our door, we had a great Halloween. I know Grant did. And I'm so proud of him saying trick-or-treat and thank you to the people who gave him candy.  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Am I the only one wondering where October went? I'm a little sad that Halloween is here already. I didn't have time to decorate this year or even carve my perfectly shaped pumpkin! But I did at least make time to stock up on loads of candy for the 10 or so trick-or-treaters that will ring our doorbell tonight.

This will be Grant's first year as a trick-or-treater! I'm not sure how it will go. We've been practicing saying trick-or-treat but who knows what will happen when I try to get him to walk up to a perfect stranger's door. I see it going one of two ways: a) he'll love it and want to ring every doorbell in the neighborhood or b) he'll be scared and cry. The real purpose of this post is to share pictures of my little man in his costume. My intention this year was to turn him into a monster truck driver and make him a monster truck out of a big cardboard box. Ha! I don't know what I was thinking. My schedule for the last two months did not allow for such shenanigans. So I decided to go the store-bought route. I'm generally not a fan of them, but I thought what the heck. In my search for a Grave Digger costume, I came across a decently priced Spongebob Squarepants costume and that was that. Grant absolutely loves "Bob-bob" and he was very excited when I showed him the costume.

Since we won't be able to get great pictures in the dark tonight, I took some pictures over the weekend.

I also got him a little Gary doll (Spongebob's
pet snail, for anyone not familiar)

Did not want pictures...just wanted Brodie.

Yelling: "Bodie...where are you?"

I can not get enough of this one. Look at that face!
Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Conversations With My Toddler

I have always loved going to the grocery store. I could wander down the aisles forever...especially if I'm hungry. But I really love grocery shopping with Grant (at least, when he's happy). He's very entertaining and I can talk to him while we shop so I no longer look like the maniac who's talking to herself about what to have for dinner. Last week one day I picked him up from daycare and headed for a much needed grocery shopping trip. I swear I was shopping with the Tasmanian devil. Everything that came out of his mouth was yelled at the top of his lungs. He was extremely excited to be at the store.

It started when we were walking in and they had a pumpkin display with a huge spider.

Me: "Yes, baby. I see the spider. Do you want to pick out a pumpkin?"
Grant: "YES! I WANT THAT ONE! THAT ONE! THAT ONE!" He yelled while running around the display.

So we find a great pumpkin (seriously, it's the perfect size and shape) and head inside for cart. Of course, he spies the race car cart and has to ride in one of those. I hate them because it's a little like driving an 18-wheeler down a one-way street...but I indulged him. He handled that steering wheel like a maniac and if I stopped I'd hear "PUSH IT! PUSH IT!"

While we're wandering around the store Grant would yell out the names of things he saw (and presumably wanted to eat) like he'd come down with a grocery store version of tourettes.

Me: "Yup. Those are crackers..."
He got crackers.

Me: "Yup. Milk. See it."
Grant: "GET MILK!"
I needed it anyway.

Then he really went haywire while I was searching the eggs for a carton that had no broken ones. And of course, it was the busiest aisle in the store.

I knew for a fact he wasn't.
Me: "Shhhh. You pooped?"
Grant *nodding*: "YUP! I POOPIN!"
At this point every shopper in the aisle is staring at me like I should be running at break-neck speed for the bathroom.
Me: "I don't think you pooped. And maybe not so loud, ok?"
Grant *stage whispering*: "MAMA! I POOPIN! YOU POOPIN?"

So I find my eggs and make for the check out but not before Grant looks in the cart and suddenly remembers we have a pumpkin there.


I'm going to say it was my least boring grocery shopping trip to date. Who says two year olds are terrible :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

2012 NC State Fair

This is a favorite time of year for many people but not for me. I rarely "enjoy" the state fair since I have a job that requires me to work there and this year was no exception. I had intended to make our "fun" day at the fair the first Sunday (since I was off) but after being there for work I just couldn't do it. But for the last half of the fair, I had to go on a business trip to Greensboro, NC for a conference. And that nice break from the fairgrounds made me want to take Grant on the very last day of the fair. We managed to avoid the biggest crowded areas and actually had a good time. Grant had a great time! It's always fun to watch him play and discover new things.

That morning, having been told we were going to the fair, he kept reminding us "I need see cows." We assured him that he was going to see cows. "I need see pigs." We promised pigs. "I need see goat." (I guess he only wanted to see one) And we promised goats. And he got to see all that and more. Cows, pigs, chickens, goats, horses, bees...the works. Throw in the police helicopter and motorcycle and he was one happy little boy.

Amazed by the animals.
Probably my favorite non-Grant picture of the day.
Grant said "It's night time? They sleepin?"

Look at the ears on that cutie!
Grant loooves buses so we went through the school bus exhibit

 He got a little nervous but we made it out.

 And he was very excited about his bus-shaped eraser (and
sticker) that he got at the end!
Having made my way around the fairgrounds more than once (but managed to miss the fried cheese booth every time), I knew where to head next. The UNC-TV kids tent! I had noticed a cardboard figure of Buddy from The Dinosaur Train out front so I really wanted Grant to see that. He likes to watch The Dinosaur Train...and pretty much loves dinosaurs in general.

Very happy about seeing Buddy. Grant kept saying "Dinosaur camp out?"
Because he often picks out his Dinosaur Train book to read at night
and it's the one where they camp out.
Brief distraction of a race car. I think it took him about
10 seconds to spot it and make a bee-line for it.

Then back inside the kids tent where they had some cute
activities for the little ones.

Then we found some Linner (too late for lunch but not quite dinner?):

Always hungry for french fries. What kid isn't?
Then rides! I was very excited to take Grant on his first fair rides. We ended up on the merry-go-round. There was a monster truck ride that he was very excited about but it looked too small for me to ride with him and there was no way I was letting him ride alone at the fair.
"Hi Daddy!"
Enjoying a post-merry-go-round cake pop.
Our second (and last) ride of the day was the dragon ride. You sit in the belly of the dragon and it just kind of goes in circles. I let him choose between a pirate one and the dragon one that both did bassically the same thing. He picked the dragon one.
And I make really bad faces when I'm trying to get Grant to wave.
After that we headed back towards the car and stopped so Grant could say so long to Buddy. And exhaust some of the endless supply of energy.
Hugs for Buddy.
Running around like a crazy man!
So that was that. We made a quick stop for some roasted corn (double dipped in butter and sprinkled with salt - YUM!) and headed home. It was fun...probably the first time I've enjoyed the fair in at least 3 years!

He had a good time too.
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