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.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Conversations With My Toddler

Beginning last Thursday evening, Grant was pretty sick with a cold. Coughing...up all night coughing...keeping us up all night. You get the picture. Sick enough for me to stay home from work Friday with him because he looked completely miserable. And it pretty much continued all weekend with some highs but mostly lows for the little man (Friday night/Saturday morning including a serious low that featured a vomiting episode around 2:30 a.m.)

Sunday brought much improvement and Grant was ready to get out for playtime. But it was cold and raining so that wasn't happening.

Grant: I need ride bike.

Me: It's cold and raining. And you're sick. You're not going out to ride your bike.

Grant: I need ride tactoo. [That's Grant-speak for tractor]

Me: It's cold and raining and you're sick. You're not going outside to ride anything.

At that point he seemed to realize he was losing the battle and let it go.

For a minute.

He walks over to me and announces: "I need ride...Brodie"

At this point my parenting skills waver slightly because I laughed at him. I know I'm supposed to give him a firm "No" and perhaps a toddler-appropriate lecture on why he can't ride the dog. But he's not a dumb kid and I am 99.9% sure it was a last ditch effort get me to give in to the tricycle or the tractor. Which, of course, didn't work. He knew he struck out and went in search of his truck toys. Silly guy :)

Making nice with Brodie at some point over the weeknd.
Brodie is a little skittish about Grant's affections so Grant put
his hand on Brodie's face and told him "It's ok. It's ok." SO CUTE!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Recipe: Jell-O Marshmallows (Halloween Version!)

I came across this recipe shortly before the 4th of July, thought it looked easy and decided to give it a try for our cookout. My chocolate-hating-marshmallow-loving sister gave them two thumbs up. My marshmallow-hating husband couldn't keep his hands off them. And the two kids (Grant being one of them) at the cookout kept asking for more. I'd say they were a hit. Bonus: they're really easy.

Except for some water and toothpicks or sticks, those are your ingredients!
Stick your sticks (or toothpicks) into your marshmallows

 Get a little assembly line set up (the marshmallows are
easiest to coat when using a plate for the Jell-O powder)

 Dip your marshmallow in water and then shake off the
excess water (or blot it on a paper towel).

And then roll your damp marshmallow around in the Jell-O powder
and make sure the bottom and sides are completely coated.

Then you put them on a plate and let them set in the fridge
for about an hour. They for a tangy crust because of the
 Jell-O powder that goes nicely with the squishy marshmallow.
Jell-O Marshmallows
  • 1 bag of jumbo marshmallows
  • 1-2 boxes of Jell-O (whatever flavors you want!)
  • Toothpicks (or lollipop sticks)
  1. Put toothpicks (or sticks) in all your marshmallows. Make sure to push them all the way down so they'll stay in while you dip. Then arrange them on a large plate or tray.
  2. In a bowl of water (deep enough to cover your marshmallow when dipping) dip your marshmallow all the way in. Lightly blot the excess water from your marshmallow then roll the marshmallow in the Jell-O powder.
  3. Then put them back on the plate and once they're all coated put them in the fridge for about an hour to get nice and crusty :)
  4. Eat 'um!
Recipe Source: The Country Cook

  • When I made this recipe the first time (using blue & red Jell-O for the 4th) I used toothpicks because there were going to be lots of adults around to help the kids. This Halloween batch was for day care so I thought it might be easier for the teachers if I used lollipop sticks instead.
  • I love how adaptable this recipe is to any party theme! And it's such a fun and easy treat.
  • Just in case you're curious, this is how the 4th of July version turned out:


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

2012 Mountain Vacation

The vacation in the mountains that I mentioned in my Grandfather Mountain post and my Tweetsie Railroad post was a much needed vacation for me and Husband. I would say Grant too...but he's two, his life is a vacation. Husband's job is stressful and he's a "bring work home" kind of guy. I've recently gotten a promotion at work so things have been quite stressful there too. This vacation couldn't have come at a better time.

AND we got a great deal on it! Husband gets groupon deals in his e-mail and I don't know how often he really pays attention to them but I'm really glad he paid attention to this one. We stayed at Blue Ridge Village Resort in Banner Elk, NC for four nights for less than we would have gotten a hotel room for. And it was really nice. It was a one bedroom condo type thing but with a mountainy feel. We both kept joking about how it was nicer than our house. Aside from the separate bedroom, there was a giant bathroom (furnished with a pool sized tub), a living room/kitchen/dining area, and a nice private balcony where I enjoyed some coffee and reading during Grant's (and sometimes Husband's) naps. I don't think anything relaxes me like being in the mountains :)

Checking out the balcony (we were on the 3rd floor)


Having breakfast. I was able to cook breakfast for us every
morning which is way better than trying to get
everyone ready to go out for breakfast.

It didn't take long for Grant to make himself right at home.
 In addition to the awesome accommodations, the resort sported several amenities that I wish we'd had more time to enjoy. I spied the paddle boats right away so one day when I decided to take Grant exploring the place, we stopped off at the dock for a paddle boat ride. I thought Grant may freak out a little and I was slightly nervous about being out in the middle of the pond with him. Even if it was a little man-made one. But he loved it and couldn't stop saying "I ride boat! I ride boat!"

So cute in a life jacket.

They also had a playground.

And a mini golf course that we never managed to take advantage of (which is good because I'm horrible at golf of any kind and I'm also a poor loser). But Grant and I did go check it out on our exploratory walk.

Onward turtle!

Hey, did you not hear me?

They had lots of stuff to do there that we didn't do. They even had fun little activities each day but we never signed up for them (either we were planning to go somewhere or it was during Grant's nap time). But we definitely used the pool. Grant has not been swimming often, but he knows he loves it. So when I told him we were going to the pool, he said "I go swimmin'? I go swimmin'?" Then on our way to the pool he starts yelling "Waaaateeeerrr! I coooommiiiing!"

I gave him very minimal "swimming lessons"

He really loved being tossed around. He said "Again!" every time.

We definitely got some use out of the pool. Grant would get chilly and his teeth would chatter. I'd ask if he was cold and he'd say yes. I'd ask if he wanted to get out "No! Swimmin'!"

It turned out to be a really nice vacation. Sight seeing, parks, pictures, and shopping :)  And I'm hoping that we get to stay at that place again sometime.

Side story: on our way home we stopped at rest stop where a swarm of motorcycle drivers had also decided to stop. Grant loves motorcycles and one of the drivers (riders?) notice Grant checking them out and offered to let him sit on his bike. We said yes and Grant was surprisingly ok with a stranger picking him and putting him on the motorcycle. I snapped a quick picture with my phone...

...and that was when the very nice man asked Grant if wanted to hear the motorcycle run.  We did warn him that it would scare him. He turned it on anyway and promptly turned it off when Grant started screaming like he'd been run over. He had very good intentions and it was very nice of him to let our curious little man sit on his motorcycle. I'm thinking we maybe should have just told him no when he wanted to turn it on.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Tweetsie Railroad

Our second full day of our little mountain vacation took us to Tweetsie Railroad (or Teetsie Ri'road as Grant eventually called it). It was probably the place we were both most excited about taking Grant. Husband was excited because he loved it so much as a kid. I was excited because I thought Grant would freak out when he saw the train. The whole way there we told him he was going to ride a big train. "I ride bi' choo choo train?" he'd say. And we'd say yes and try to get him excited.

So we get there. And while he didn't freak out over the train, he was pretty amazed by it. We got there a few minutes before it took off for a trip around the mountain so we stood there so Grant could watch it go.

Look at that happy face!
So after it took off we asked him if he wanted to ride it. He said "Yeah!" with a nod of his head. They run about every 30 minutes or so and since we had time to kill we walked around the park a bit and had a late lunch.

Flash forward to when the train is filling up for its next run. We ask if Grant wants to ride, he says yes. I let him pick the car and the seat and we wait for Husband who was going to catch up after some picture taking. Everything with Grant right now is "I need" so when he surprised me by freaking out in the train car he yelled "I need get off! I need get off!" I tried to calm him down (the train was still filling up, so not even moving yet) but it didn't work. We had to get was causing a scene.

We made our way up the mountain to where they have animals and some toddler friendly rides. Including a small train ride that the bus driver suggested to maybe help Grant get over his unexplainable train trauma.
There were goats that got loose.

And some not loose ones too.
We worked out a way for Grant to feed them without making
contact (which I insisted on).

It made him happy.
Deer. Or "dee-yahs" as Grant called them...he's apparently from Boston.
They had some other animals too, but we didn't get very good pictures of them (emus, donkeys, llamas, and pot bellied pigs). So after the animals we hit some rides.

He had the boats to himself!

And we did the little train.

Which he loved.
It was getting late in the day and we still hadn't been on the big train. We asked Grant often if he wanted to ride it and every time he said no. So we headed back down to the "main street" area for a snack.

An ice cream lover like his Mama!

I also had the idea to walk Grant through an empty train car while I was holding him. Thinking that if I let him touch stuff but not make him sit down unless he wanted to that he wouldn't be so scared of it.

He pretty much whimpered the whole time.
From this point on I have no pictures. I was keeping it in the back of my head that the last train of the day ran at 5:00. So we're sitting on a bench eating our yummy treats and I knew it had to be getting close to 5:00. I asked Husband what time it was. It was 4:55. "Throw away that funnel cake and get on the train!" I sort of said it like a maniac. "He's not going to ride the train" Husband tells me. But I knew that if we could get on the train right before it left that once it got moving Grant would love it.

We get on the train and Grant gets fussy but I managed to distract him for a few minutes until we got moving. And I was right, Grant liked it! He was smiling and happy and I was all "Yay! We got him on the train!" But I forgot about the fight that cowboys have with guns (why in the world did my twisted head think they used bows and arrows??). And just in case you might not be able to hear the gun shots, they've got microphones. Grant jumped at the first shot and when I looked his bottom lip was poking out and he was a half second away from total meltdown. People in the next car were staring because he was crying so loud. But it was over kinda quick and once moving again, Grant was ok. Then came the cowboy & indian fight! At that point, while holding my hysterical child who I forced into this situation, I declared myself the worst mother in the world. We got moving again and the murderous screaming turned to toddler sobs. Then one of the cowboys came and gave Grant a bullet shell and told him that he was tough. He seemed to like that but was still eager to get off the train when it stopped.

He seemed to forget the train trauma rather quick and it turned into pride over riding the "big choo choo". It wasn't long once we got in the car that he fell asleep. That was quite a day he had (truthfully, I could have used a nap too). But there seems to be no lasting effects from the train ride that probably shouldn't have been. And it turned out to be a pretty good day. 
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