Scavenger Hunt Gender Reveal

I can’t believe I’m already half-way through this pregnancy. With everything that has been going on in our lives, I have barely had time to focus on it.

Despite the busy-ness, 20 weeks came and so did the ultrasound to see if baby was healthy and, of course, whether it is a boy or a girl.

Our oldest is 4 1/2 and I really wanted the gender reveal to be special for him. On the day of the ultrasound, my husband and I dropped my son off at school and headed to the appointment. Where we discovered that everything was healthy (a very different reveal from my first pregnancy) and that the baby is a……….(you will just have to read this post to find out. :) )

My husband and I spent the rest of the day frantically getting our elaborate gender reveal together before we picked my son up from school and then we gave him his first clue:

The first scavenger hunt clue we gave to my son in the car on the way home from school.

The first scavenger hunt clue we gave to my son in the car on the way home from school.

The second clue on the front door.

The second clue on the front door.

Third clue in the bath.

Third clue in the bath.

This one was on the oven.

This one was on the oven.

The next clue was above his bed...

The next clue was above his bed…

A close up version.

A close up version.

The next clue hiding under the dining room table.

The next clue hiding under the dining room table.

Another clue behind the clock.

Another clue behind the clock.

Which led us back upstairs to find another clue and a book!

Which led us back upstairs to find another clue and a book!

The book

The book

The clue close up.

The clue close up.

The next clue by the toys. (Ignore the mess.)

The next clue by the toys. (Ignore the mess.)

Close up clue leading outside...

Close up clue leading outside…

The outside clue...

The outside clue…

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Leading to a tree...

Leading to a tree…

Which led to the most important clue of all...

Which led to the most important clue of all…

Hanging from the swing set was a big balloon...

Hanging from the swing set was a big balloon…

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baby gender reveal! 009

Here it is, the big reveal....

Here it is, the big reveal….

The confetti is BLUE!

The confetti is BLUE!

It's a BOY!

It’s a BOY!

Hurray! A baby brother!!

Hurray! A baby brother!!

After the balloon pop there were two more clues....one revealing a yummy treat,

After the balloon pop there were two more clues….one revealing a yummy treat,
Our BLUE cupcakes for a BOY!

Our BLUE cupcakes for a BOY!

And one telling our son how much we love him.

And one telling our son how much we love him.

Someone is a very excited big brother! Mommy at 20 weeks with baby number 2.

Someone is a very excited big brother! Mommy at 20 weeks with baby number 2.

Our gender reveal started as a nursery rhyme scavenger hunt, but turned more personal as I made the rhymes fit for our house and family. I LOVE the balloon pop part, which I ordered in this cute little kit from Etsy:

Balloon Pop gender reveal kit from Etsy.

Balloon Pop gender reveal kit from Etsy. It came with confetti for a boy or a girl.

I loved our gender reveal and we all had a great time going around the house searching for clues and finding out it was a BOY with the blue confetti. The cupcake part was pretty delicious, too.

What do you think of our gender reveal? Have you seen other gender reveals you just love?

I Can’t Do Anything Right

I can’t do anything right.

No, this is not a case of low self esteem or a pity party, but simply a statement of fact according to my four year old son.

I’ve been writing these sweet posts about how much I love him and how much I cherish motherhood but the truth is in the day to day over here, I’m drowning.

“Mommy my soup is too hot!” 

“Mommy, why did you put ice in my soup? I hate ice in my soup!”

“Why is my jacket inside out?”

“No, don’t touch it, I can do it!”

“Mommy! Did you close my mouthwash?”

“There is too much toothpaste on my toothbrush.”

“Read these words. You aren’t reading this story right.”

“Mommy! I said count to four like this (holds up fingers) you aren’t counting right!”

“Mommy there’s not enough ice in my drink.”

“There’s too many ice in my water.”

“Are you speeding, Mommy? If you speed you will get another ticket.”

“You sound funny. Are you trying to talk funny, Mommy?”

“I don’t like peanut butter on my sandwich!”

“Mommy it’s not a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if you don’t put peanut butter on it.”

“No, don’t put my socks on like that! I will just do it.”

“You are playing hide and seek wrong!”

“Mommy, you have brushed my hair wrong once again.”

The kid really says this stuff. I am living in a world of constant belittling. By a pint sized person.

That tends to a number on your self esteem and patience.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t just apply to me. My husband can’t do anything right, either.

Yes, we say “You can’t talk to Mommy and Daddy that way.” “Please think about your words.” “Instead of saying that, I wonder if you could try (insert more appropriate words here.)”

But at the end of the day, we can’t do anything right.

Remember when people said the terrible twos would be hard? And they lied because as it turns out three is like the age from hell? And then you thought that four would be better and it kind of was until your pint sized person decided that they already knew everything there is to know and you are no longer of relevance? (Is this just my thought process?)

I hope the grandparents keep their energy up. He’s moving in with them when he’s a teenager and I’m going to take a nice long nap. And probably mess that up, too.

 

 

 

Four and a Half

“Mommy, can you come check the temperature? It says 8 6. Well, I know I’m right about the 8,” he poses as he wiggles and tugs for my attention.

I leave my school snack making for a minute to walk with him to our thermostat, which does, in fact display an 8 and a 6.

“You’re right!” I say to a beaming four year old. “The temperature says 6-8. It is 68 degrees in our house. That’s pretty warm. And this part says 2-1. It’s only 21 degrees outside, that’s cold!”

“Aw, man, so I have to wear a jacket?” he bemoans as he stomps away.

“Yes, you have to wear a jacket when it’s cold outside,” I reply as I make my way back to school snack duty.

He grumbles as he slowly lays his jacket out on the floor and does the cool flip it over his head trick his teachers taught him at school.

“Will you zip me, Mommy?”

We fall into our usual routine of packing and zipping and shoe Velcro-ing as we make our way to the door and out into the cold.

These mornings have gotten easier, now that he’s old enough to do part of the getting ready.

As we drive to school he points out the letters on the license plates he sees in front of us.

He asks how fast I’m driving and says “Mommy, I saw the speed limit sign that said 5-4. So don’t drive any faster than 5-4.”

I assure him I won’t, knowing that this must be a translation of 45.

He discovers an 8 and a 0 and a 6 and reads the word STOP to me.

And then he tells me that he sees “many more deciduous trees than evergreen trees but Christmas trees are evergreen trees.”

When did he grow up?

This little one is so big and observant. He likes to make plans and study pictures. He seems to remember everything I say except for the parts about “please clean your room” and “stop chasing the cats.”

We are still working on letters and numbers but he sees and notices them all around him and is beginning to pick out words in our bedtime stories. It won’t be long before he is reading in the slow, focused, and melodic way all children start.

He has a strong sense of humor and loves to feel authoritative. (Sorry, cats.) He is compiling himself and his experiences into his very own version of life.

It’s a conclusion I come to over and over at various stages in his life; my sweet little boy is not so little anymore.

My sweet boy at 4 and 1/2.

My sweet boy at 4 and 1/2. (And part of my husband’s eye.) 

 

 

 

The First Snow

“You guys, you guys, LOOK!!!”

His feet stomped heavily across the upstairs hallway as he ran, interrupting the quiet calm of early morning sleeping.

We stirred a bit in our sleep, more startled than awake.

“IT SNOWED!!” He declared in an excited yell.

We pulled back our bedroom curtain to reveal the white blanket that covered our lawn.

“It’s so beautiful,” I said, and I couldn’t help but reveal a sleepy smile to the animated face of excitement that stared at me as I fought through the morning fog.

My husband got up with him and set him up with breakfast and I slowly composed myself.

Soon my husband left for work and my son and I were left to start our day in the blanket of snow.

“It’s snowing again, Mommy!” We watched through our picture window; his big, brown eyes shadowed by long lashes and mine still clouded with the remnants of sleep.

The snow fell softly, inviting us to come out and play.

We dressed ourselves in careful layers and stepped out into the world of white.

My son’s entire face lit up as he ran through the snow laughing at his footprints and the cloud his breath made in the cold.

We made a small snowman as well as we could with just a dusting of snow, and laughed as he tasted snow and declared, “It tastes like cold!”

Our snow day was short lived as school was still running right on time, and we marveled at the beauty of the winter wonderland that surrounded us on our morning drive.

“It’s amazing,” we admired, partially for it’s beauty and partially for my awe that my son still had to go to school in this. My own childhood in Georgia meant that it almost never snowed, and if it did school would unquestionably be closed.

The snow melted quickly as the morning progressed and by the time I greeted his sweet face in the car pool line it was almost gone.

He told me about his day which included playing outside in the snow and building a snowman at school; a life experience I never had.

Our exciting morning turned into a normal afternoon and as I put him to bed that evening he mumbled, “I can’t wait until it snows again.”

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Did you know that when I’m not chasing snowflakes I’m hosting a giveaway on this blog? Click here and enter to win!

Thanksgiving Scrabble

When I was growing up, my Mom had a Thanksgiving tradition of a game involving Scrabble letters. We would pass the velvet bag around the table and draw out one or two letters. Then you had to go around and say something you were thankful for that started with that letter. Literary concepts and thankfulness? My mom nailed it.

scrabble bag

Except I hated it. I had the dramatic teenage girl thing down (for years) and was quick to dismiss and roll my eyes. (Thank goodness I did not have to parent myself.) I thought it was cheesy. It’s a miracle my Mom kept me around.

Now that I have a family of my own, that is my very favorite Thanksgiving tradition.

My husband and I have been married for 6 years, but we’ve only spent two of them together. He has had to work every Thanksgiving since he started residency, so this is the fourth year in a row we are not spending Thanksgiving together.  I am not brave enough to embark on Thanksgiving travel alone with a toddler (even though I am totally supermom when it comes to traveling alone with a toddler) so for the past four years my son and I have had hod-podge Thanksgivings and one year we spent it completely alone, just me and a then one year old.

Still, I pull out my favorite memories from childhood on Thanksgiving. My mom’s amazing cranberry relish (no, really, it’s so good!), a turkey from Honey Baked Hams (because it’s so much easier and that’s what we always had growing up) and the Scrabble game.

My son loves picking out the letters, and even though we are still working on his letter sounds, he thinks it is a great game and associates the velvet Scrabble bag with Thanksgiving.

Even though my Thanksgivings as an adult haven’t turned out to be the family events I once hoped for, I am so thankful to pass down my favorite Thanksgiving traditions to my son. And I have so very much to be thankful for.

thankful letters

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

 

Living With Boys

Disclaimer: I have not been home a lot lately. I am swamped with nightly rehearsals for a Christmas show I’m in. (Remember it from last year?) So this means the boys are in charge. My house is not normally this out of control.

I walked into my son’s bathroom the other night to get his shoes he had haphazardly left by the bath tub and discovered pee. All over the floor. The place smelled like a port-a potty. Or a frat house.

I really didn’t have time to do anything about it at that very moment because my son and I were rushing out the door to get to one of my rehearsals for the Christmas production. After putting “scrub bathroom relentlessly” on my metal to-do list we headed out.

The next day, I wasn’t feeling well and my husband said he would deal with the bathroom. Which was so thoughtful!

And then this morning, I went into my son’s bathroom to help him get ready for school to discover that the floor was sticky and it still kind of smelled like pee.

“Why is this floor sticky?”

“Daddy cleaned it.”

“With what?”

“He squirted stuff all over it.”

“Did he wipe it up?”

“No.”

“Why won’t this water come on?”

“I don’t know. Daddy turned it off.”

“What?”

“Yeah, so I won’t waste the water.”

So now my son’s bathroom is layered in pee, covered up with “spray stuff,” and has no running water. There is also hardened toothpaste in the sink. Because it’s hard to brush your teeth with out water.

I also discovered baby powder all over the upstairs bathroom.

“Where did this powder come from?”

“Daddy used it.”

“For what?”

“I don’t know. Daddy’s not a baby, so that’s weird.”

I’m not even sure I even want to know the answer.

And truly, the amount of nudity I see on a daily basis from these two boys is astounding. I swear both of them do actually own clothes.

Don’t even get me started on how often I hear the word “penis.”

My husband once said, “Being married is not hard. Living together is.” That is an understatement.

Living with boys is incredibly strange.

I need some more estrogen in this house. Or at least a maid specializing in boy bathrooms.

Are you outnumbered in your house? How do you deal with it?

 

 

 

 

Waiting and Watching

I had completed all of my errands and found myself sitting in the school parking lot. With not enough time to drive home and be back in time I parked my car and waited.

A parade of little people soon trickled out followed by the soccer coach. My dad, sister, and brother all loved soccer and I so desperately want my son to like it, too, so he’s signed up for the after school session.

I couldn’t place him; he blended in so well with all the other parent hearts disguised in preschoolers.

I watched as he ran and stretched and played what he would later describe to me as the “cape game” which was the soccer coach’s attempt at organized chaos when directing 12 four year olds with soccer balls.

I know it was him, even from far away. I recognized his outfit that we had laid out together so carefully the night before. He was so proud of his new shark shirt that lifted a flap to reveal that shark ate pizza. (It’s actually quite adorable.) I recognized the new blue corduroy pants I just bought for him and his red hair that shines brightly in the sun. I recognized his run and his attention span and his mood.

He would tell me later that he liked soccer but it made him too tired and maybe he shouldn’t go back next week.

He didn’t know I was watching from the car. He didn’t know I saw him follow directions, and run with a grin stretching from ear to ear. He didn’t know that I saw him give the cape to another friend and that I watched him stand close to the coach so he could do his stretch just right.

He didn’t see my smiling from far away as I watched him laugh and play and that watching him made my heart swoon.

I don’t always know every detail of his day, now that he’s older and growing up and has his very own piece of the world. But yesterday I got to glimpse a small part of his life. His life separate from mine; his world that he’s learning to navigate all on his own.

I was watching him and finding myself in awe of this amazing little person I get to call my child.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Ponderings

This post is inspired by the prompt: 2.) Coffee Talk! Share your first pumpkin spice latte of the season with us.

I ordered my pumpkin spice latte (non fat, no whip), thanked the barista, and stood to the side in anticipation. It’s my favorite part of fall, my morning stop at Starbucks for a foamy pumpkin drink to compliment the brisk chill in the air.

I notice a mom sitting down with her son. Her hair is unwashed and her t-shirt is stained. She is wearing black yoga pants and sneakers and I don’t see any make up on her face. She is tired and happy and enamored with her little boy that coos and drools as they wait.

I see you, Mom at Starbucks. I see you rub your eyes as you try to capture some bit of sleep that eluded you the night before. I see you fidget in your clothes when the well dressed woman comes in to order. (I do it, too.) I see you smile adoringly at your son.

I see you because I’ve been you. I’ve been out, looking at the world through tired Mommy eyes. I used to wear the uniform of black yoga pants and stained t-shirts, unwashed ponytails and a make up free face.

And I wonder, if you know, that soon, very soon, you will be out of this baby phase? That black yoga pants and stained t-shirts will turn into jeans and “nice” t-shirts? That your hair will be clean and styled and make up will one day again become a part of your routine?

I only know, because I was there. I was in the baby phase and then, it seemed suddenly, I wasn’t.

The day I stood waiting for my Starbucks was a day that my four year old was in preschool. I was wearing jeans and a long sleeved shirt and makeup. My hair was washed and down and I had a morning of time to myself. And I wondered if it was even evident that I had a son at all? Strange to think it wouldn’t be when he’s such a large part of myself, but it’s unsettling when parts of yourself aren’t’ always with you.

Those early years seem so very long and exhausting and constant. And then, they are gone. Your days may still be long and exhausting but it’s a very different kind, and there’s a freedom in having an older child that allows you to welcome things back into your life that you had to let go of. And one morning you may find yourself alone in a Starbucks actually looking at the new mom with a little bit of envy, because the phase of life she is in is so very beautiful and so very fleeting.

But no matter what stage of Mommyhood you find yourself in, I think the morning coffee part? Is essential.

Mama’s Losin’ It

The First Week of School That Wasn’t

After a busy trip to the beach to celebrate my husband’s 30th birthday, followed by a week to Georgia to visit family, followed by an epic 4th birthday party for my son, it was inevitable that life would catch up with us.

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Excited at pre-k orientation!

My son made it to his first day of school orientation where we both fell in love with his teachers and his cute classroom.

And then sickness hit.

I had woken up hours early and made muffins and painted a chalkboard sign for my son’s first day of school. I was so looking forward to some downtime from all of the craziness and quiet solitude as my husband returned to work and my son started his first day of pre-kindergarten. (Also? How is he old enough for pre-k??)

Our first day of school was instead spent in bed after my son threw up all over the couch. Thank goodness for removable and washable cushion covers.

His four year old check up was that afternoon but by then he seemed fine, just a bit tired. Everything checked out well with the doctor and my son came in at a healthy 37.5 pounds and 3.5 feet.

I was hoping for a recovery the next day but instead he woke up with a 102.2 degree fever. My poor little guy and I spent the whole day cuddling on the couch.

By the last day of his four day school week he felt good enough to go and was actually ready to get out of the house. And probably ready for a break from Mommy.

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Cutest First Day of Pre-K picture ever.

He did have a great first day at school and how adorable is his first day of school picture??

His teacher is incredibly organized and communicative and has some adorable ideas for the school year. I think this is going to be his best year yet and I am so relieved to know we made the right choice despite all of my insecurities about school this spring.

To continue our crazy pace I had auditions for a Christmas production this weekend and worked my very first event for Richmondmom.com. This week was a bit more normal but after summer and all of our traveling I still have not caught up on laundry! (Or sleep. I’m never caught up on sleep.)

We ended this week of my son’s school with a very special treat; Disney on Ice! You can see my review on Richmondmom.com.

I think things are going to slow down…for a few days anyway, before all of the excitement of fall kicks in. :)

How has your fall gotten started?

 

Four

“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Noah, Happy Birthday to you,”

I sang softly into his ear as I rubbed his back.

We were waking up in an unfamiliar but extremely comfortable bed at the beach for a combination celebration of his 4th birthday and my husband’s 30th.

“I can’t believe you are four years old today!” I enthusiastically said as I watched his toothless grin appear beneath the haze of his sleepy eyes.

He gripped his Curious George lovey and snuggled close as he began to transition from his sleepiness.

“But Mommy?” he asked urgently once he had time to gather his thoughts. “Do you still love me if I’m four?”

I hugged him tightly as I responded “Of course I still love you! I love you every day, all the time, and I will love you forever no matter what age you are!”

“You will love me even when I’m sixteen?”

“Yes, I will love you even when you’re sixteen. I will love you forever.”

We slowly transitioned out of bed, because just beyond our bedroom door in the beach house all of his uncles and aunts were waiting. It was our very first combined sibling beach trip and it was so much fun!

But there in the midst of the excitement, I found myself staring at my sweet four year old boy, who I remembered as a baby and in all his in-between stages until now.

And of course I will love him, no matter how old he gets, no matter what he does, no matter who he becomes.

A Happy Birthday to the love of my life, my sweet little four year old.

 

Celebrating four years at the beach

Celebrating four years at the beach

My 30 year old and my 4 year old.

My 30 year old and my 4 year old