a magical freaking december

02.12.16

Christmas Activity Advent Calendar @ohbotherblog

I’m trying really hard to make Christmas magical this year, so I’ve decided we’re going to have a magical freaking December.

I found this Threshold Stocking Advent Calendar Garland on clearance at Target the day after Christmas last year and held on to it for a whole year to hatch this plan.

Christmas Activity Advent Calendar @ohbotherblog

Every day, the kids will remove a slip of paper from the numbered stocking to reveal what fun Christmasy thing we’re doing that night.

Christmas Activity Advent Calendar @ohbotherblog

For the First of December, we went Christmas decoration shopping (hey, sometimes you have to throw some practicality into the mix).

I’ll be honest, a lot of our “activities” consisted of me cross-referencing the Freeform 25 Days of Christmas schedule for holiday movies that are playing each night.

Other activities will include our Downtown Tree Lighting Ceremony, visits to various Christmas lights displays, making gingerbread houses, baking cookies, and probably just a good old fashioned piling in the car to look at Christmas lights.

Magical Freaking December, here we come.

the great outback give back

08.11.16

I’ll be honest: as a mom of two young kids, I don’t do much dining out. My kids are not quite fit for public consumption. But when a representative for Outback Steakhouse reaches out and asks you to do a sponsored blog post in exchange for some Outback swag, you sell your soul for some bloomin’ onion.

To celebrate Outback Steakhouse’s grand opening in York at the West Manchester Town Center (380 Town Center Drive in West Manchester Township), the restaurant is hosting a Charity Give Back event tomorrow, October 9, in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of York & Adams Counties. A portion of sales for the day will go directly to the organization.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016
11am–10pm
Ribbon cutting at 4pm

As a restaurant owner myself, I found it super interesting to do a little digging into the history of Outback Steakhouse. Four friends–Chris Sullivan, Bob Basham, Tim Gannon and Trudy Cooper–opened the first Outback in Tampa, FL in 1988.

“It was in very bad shape, and it smelled like alcohol,” Cooper said. They laid down the cheapest flooring they could find — wood reclaimed from an old basketball court. And the decor? “I was collecting things out of antique stores — bullhorns and sheep shears, some dirty rugby equipment that a friend had,” Cooper said. “The night or so before we opened, we sat here with a six-pack of beer and hung decor, literally screwing stuff to the wall.”

Things started off so slowly, “we used to have to get our employees to park in the parking lot to make it look like it was busy,” Basham said.

Holden, I’m sure, would appreciate Outback’s “no rules, just right” philosophy, so when we decide to venture out for dinner again, perhaps we’ll take a trip down unda’.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters: For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country. For more information, visit www.bbbsyorkadams.org.

#sponsored

growing up holdy

07.10.16

I’ve debated writing a post like this for a long time. I’m not sure if I was embarrassed, or if I didn’t want to overshare something my daughter might be upset about later, or if I just didn’t want to get into it. So I didn’t write it.

But as the months have gone by and I’ve talked about it more, and people have come to me with questions and help for their own kids, I’ve decided it’s time for this post. Because it is nothing to be ashamed about, because I think Holdy would always choose to help others, and because I kind of just need to get it out now.

Most of you know Holdy from my posts, from her funny faces in my Instagram photos and her fashionista hashtag, #whatholdywore. You know that she is fun and vivacious and silly and creative and strong and brave. She lives life out loud.

 

Someone’s starting Pre-K at York Day Nursery today! #weefees #ohbotherblog

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

But last winter, I started to realize that the size of Holdy’s emotions and reactions to negative situations seemed to be more extreme than other kids. She was frequently and easily frustrated. She would throw a tantrum on a dime: huge, Exorcist-style tantrums that could last for 45 minutes. I noticed that, as a tantrum was starting, she would rub her feet together–almost as if the emotion was fighting to get out of her. One time at school, she had kicked her shoes off during a tantrum and rubbed her feet together so vigorously that she blistered and bled. The physical aspect of her emotional reactions really scared me.

Parenting a toddler @ohbotherblog

There was also the defiance, which was off the charts–even for a threenager. Extreme excitability and impulsivity. Bedtime was a nightmare. We were getting some negative reports from school–reports that Holdy was bullying other kids, specifically picking out the meeker kids that she felt she could control.

I felt like I was always walking on eggshells, not sure which Holdy I was going to get. Everything came down to picking my battles–was this “lesson” worth the 45 minutes of horror that would ensue? I hate to say this, but I dreaded picking her up from school. I could feel my blood pressure rise every time I pulled into the parking lot. I felt like a failure.

People tried to reassure me, “she’s just three;” “all preschoolers are like that.” But I knew there was something more. So I made an appointment with her pediatrician and I started scheduling sit-downs with her teachers. And together we worked out a plan.

Holdy and I started attending family counseling in March. These sessions mainly consist of me airing my grievances while Holdy plays with the counselor’s toys. We work on behavior goals and tactics for me to try positive parenting and keep Holdy on track. Honestly, it’s more like parental counseling for me and I’m fine with that. I also took a Positive Parenting Workshop in the spring offered by Holden’s school.

growing up holdy @ohbotherblog

In July, I took Holdy to see Dr. Susan Mayes, a pediatric psychologist at Penn State Hershey, for an evaluation. In advance of her appointment, I, her dad, our counselor and her teachers filled out extensive questionnaires about Holdy’s behaviors. The appointment consisted of 45 minutes of alone time with Holdy and the doctor, while Holden played games that were actually various tests. Afterward, they brought me in for the recap and diagnosis.

And so I got the official word on what I had pretty much known all along: Holdy has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder combined type (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), often associated with ADHD.

I was a bit taken aback to learn that Holden was also diagnosed with dysgraphia, which is a difficulty with handwriting and letter recognition. According to the tests she took, Holdy’s IQ is in the “gifted” range and she did very well with puzzles, reasoning and vocabulary… but her performance on writing skills and letter recognition were very low, which led to the diagnosis.

I had just assumed she had terrible handwriting because she was four, but once I learned about the disorder, things came together. Holden doesn’t write her name in a straight line–sometimes she writes it like a box. Some of her letters are written backwards. Dysgraphia is a graphomoter disorder that will require a lot of remediation and accommodations.

So there it was. Out in the open and down on paper. Verified.

image

I felt… relieved. Relieved that this wasn’t all in my head. Relieved that I wasn’t just a terrible parent who doesn’t know how to control my kid. Relieved that there was help on the way.

But I also felt sad. Sad knowing that this is something Holden can’t control and doesn’t understand. Sad that this is something she will struggle with her whole life. Sad to learn that kids with ADHD and ODD frequently deal with frustration, low morale, and poor self esteem because they’re constantly being scolded.

So again, we worked out a plan. We’ve started wraparound services and Holden has a therapist who works with her at school a few hours a week, helping to redirect her when she sees Holden being triggered. Soon we will also have a therapist come to our home a couple of hours a week in the evening.

The teachers and leadership at Holdy’s school, York Day Nursery, have been amazing through this entire process. They truly care about Holdy and want to help her succeed. We’ve been working together to make accommodations for Holdy during her school day, including:

  • a behavior plan and reward system to promote attention and compliance,
  • cues, redirection, repetition, and rehearsal,
  • frequent and specific feedback,
  • limited distractors,
  • breaking tasks into small, manageable segments,
  • preferential seating near the teacher and between peers who are attentive,
  • subtle signal system between Holden and her teacher to be used when Holden is off task,
  • hands-on activities that allow for active involvement,
  • computer learning activities (because children with ADHD are generally attentive to and successful with
  • computer educational programs),
  • frequent communication between parents and teachers.

When Holden starts kindergarten, she’ll require an Individualized Education Program, or IEP, to help her be a successful student. If we decided to try medication, we’ll be able to do that once she turns five.

#whatholdywore @ohbotherblog

For my part, I’ve been trying very hard to work on my patience, to try to praise the good more than I’m pointing out the bad, to keep her on task, to not put her in situations where she’s set up to fail. It’s not always easy. 

Last week, as we were hurriedly driving away from a family dinner out that ended early (and badly), Holdy was writhing in her carseat, trying very hard to use her coping skills and deep breathing to ward off a tantrum. She told us, “I want to be good, but it’s so hard.”

So, we’re figuring it out. No day is the same. I often regret the way I react or handle our interactions. I still often feel like I’m failing her. 

Sometimes when I’m feeling bad about the situation, I return to Dr. Mayes’ assessment, which included the line:

Holden enjoys a warm and affectionate relationship with her mother (who accompanied her to today’s appointment) and was happy to be re-united with her after testing. Holden’s mother interacts with Holden in a very loving and therapeutic manner and uses excellent behavioral strategies and accommodations.

 

Me and my +1. @susquehannastyle #BestofYork

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

I also remind myself of the assessment summary:

SUMMARY: Holden is a very likable 4-year- old with superior verbal and nonverbal intelligence who has ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, and dysgraphia (difficulty with handwriting).

She’s going to have some challenges in her life, but it’s my job to help her get through them so that she can let her goofball self shine.

 

Born to be wild #weefees #yorkfair

A video posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

Home Sweet (New) Home

20.07.16

Downtown York PA living @ohbotherblog

We’ve moved! Yes, again. 

As you may know, I’m pretty involved in the revitalization of our Downtown. I work for our economic development organization, I own a business downtown, I’ve joined the board of a local charter school. Everything in our lives was converging upon Downtown… so we decided to put ourselves there too.

So, we bought this charming old house, built in 1912. The house was actually purchased last year, but we allowed the current tenants to hang out for a bit. So, come this summer, they moved out and the renovation began.

One full month of work: paint, floors, lighting, bathrooms. We’re so happy with the results–it’s amazing what just a little facelift can do.

Living Room: Before & After

Downtown York PA living @ohbotherblog

Dining Area: Before & After

Downtown York PA living @ohbotherblog

Kitchen: Before & After (the kitchen had been updated not too long ago, so luckily we didn’t have too much work to do here).

Downtown York PA living @ohbotherblog

Upstairs Hallway: Before & After

Downtown York PA living @ohbotherblog

Playroom: Before & After

Downtown York PA living @ohbotherblog

Kids’ Room: Before & After

Downtown York PA living @ohbotherblog

Kids’ Bathroom: Before & After

Downtown York PA living @ohbotherblog

Master Suite: Before & After

Downtown York PA living @ohbotherblog

Here are some of my most favorite rooms:

The Kids’ Playroom! 
The second floor of the house has three rooms all dedicated to the kids. Because they’re sharing a room (for now), we have room for a playroom and family room that’s all theirs. 

Downtown York PA living @ohbotherblog Downtown York PA living @ohbotherblog Downtown York PA living @ohbotherblog

The Kids’ Bedroom!

Downtown York PA living @ohbotherblog

The Kitchen!
We added the faux-tin backsplash and light fixtures as an easy pick-me-up. The little figurines on the cabinets are old liquor decanters painted by my Great Grandma.

Downtown York PA living @ohbotherblog

We even had time for a little DIY project in the few weeks since we’ve moved in. Funny story: I felt like the protruding wall in the living room was just begging for a faux fireplace mantel. A friend pointed out that there’s most likely an actual fireplace behind the wall–sure enough, there’s a chimney there! I’m not really into doing any more demo right now, so this faux fireplace will have to do in the meantime:

Faux Mantel Project @ohbotherblog

Downtown York PA living @ohbotherblog

We have a friend painting a chalkboard hearth for us to go inside–I can’t wait to post the final results!

We absolutely love living Downtown. We take a walk every night, we visit playgrounds, ride our bikes on the Rail Trail, walk to Downtown shops and restaurants, flag down the ice cream truck, check out local historical buildings, play Pokemon-Go and talk to our neighbors. I’ll share more as we continue to settle in!

Downtown York PA living @ohbotherblog

to my daughter on her fourth birthday

07.06.16

Christmas Card Photos 2015 @ohbotherblog

Holden, Holden, Holden. My little (not so little?) ham, performer, comedian, fashionista, artist, American Ninja Warrior, feminist, kitchen helper, dawdler, (sometimes) sweetie. You are four years old today.

Holden, my dear, you are something else. When I asked you two weeks ago what you wanted to do for your birthday you said, “punch someone in the face.”

(I should add that you did later request a hug from your mom and a kiss from your brother for your birthday. You’re sweet like that sometimes. You also said you wanted your Duke to give you soda for your birthday. Here’s hoping your requests will always be this easy.)

For the record, your presents this year are a pink baseball glove and a pink bike helmet. We’re all going to a York Revolution baseball game tomorrow night to celebrate.

Someone once described you as “living life out loud.” Mind you, you were only two at the time so your strong personality has shown from the very beginning (I’d even say from the months you spent kicking me before barreling into this world a week early). Everything about you–minus your tiny little body–is big. 

 

This freaking kid. #weefees #ohbotherblog

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

Big hazel eyes. Big joyful smile. Big messy perpetual bedhead. Big, bold fashion choices. Big singing and dancing performances (any time and anywhere). Big strangling hugs around your brother’s neck. Big displays of affection. Big, explosive meltdown tantrums.

You see, I’ve come to believe that you feel stronger than other people. You have really big emotions, kid. And that’s okay. We’re learning how to work with them. I’m learning how to work with them.

 

“I’m the boss.” #weefees

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

 

Four is the magic number I had hoped for the past two years would flip a switch and immediately imbue you with the ability to self-soothe, reason and empathize. I’m wondering if the last two weeks in particular have been your body fighting to get the last of the threes out of you. It’s been rough.

“Threenager” is a term I thought was invented by mommy bloggers for Facebook Likes. I’m here to tell you that the threenager is real. I have seen into our future this past year and I’m frightened. But luckily we have nine years to get our shit together, buddy.

It’s been quite a year. You started at York Day Nursery in the fall and it’s been wonderful. Your teachers are Miss Catie and Miss Nikki. You love to make art and every day you come home with at least six pieces of construction paper with various scribbles and random things glued to them. Every day, I throw most of these papers away. I’m sorry, dude. I promise that I keep the really good ones or the ones that have your hand or footprints on them, but this house would look like an episode of Hoarders if I kept all of your art. 

 

Happy Mother’s Day to me! Thanks #weefees!

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

 

I did, of course, keep this self portrait.

 

Holden drew a self-portrait. #weefees #ohbotherblog #kidart #accidentalpenis

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

 

You love to climb and play outside. You really are an exceptional climber, mastering the monkey bars before you were even three. I still legitimately want to find you some Parkour classes.

 

ANW #weefees

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

 

You took ballet classes this year on Thursday mornings at the Strand-Capitol. Your recital is this weekend and you’re dancing to an absolutely terrible song called “I Can Sing a Rainbow.” You seem to enjoy it but we won’t be returning after your non-dance-mom mom was chastised for providing you with the wrong shade of pink ballet slippers and not watching the required YouTube video to twist the pre-approved bun for you.

Holden the Ballerina @ohbotherblog

This seems like a good time to insert a plea to remember that I’m always trying my best for you and your brother. Even if that means you show up late to dress rehearsal with a messy bun and dirty tights while eating a cheeseburger because mom had to leave work early to rush you across town.

This timely internet-approved story came out the day after said dress rehearsal, so I’d like to think that this child is your kindred spirit and I want to remind you too to be the Hot-Dog Princess you wish to see in the world.

Hot Dog Princess

Speaking of hot dogs, they are one of the foods you will currently eat. Hot dogs, cheeseburgers, “peanut jelly sandwiches”–basically anything you can eat with your hands. I’ve been getting away with “charcuterie” and veggie “trays” lately. You also still of course love pancakes and eating breakfast for dinner. You could eat your weight in berries. You love carbs and pastries. When I asked what you wanted for your birthday dinner, you said “cheeseburgers, cake and marshmallows.” So that’s what we’ll be having.

 

Mommy-Holdy morning at @glazinyork before school. #weefees #breakfastofchampions #ohbotherblog

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on


So the eating is still a struggle for us. And don’t even get me started on the sleeping.

About five months ago, we moved GB’s crib over to your room to ease some of your bedtime worries. I debated over doing it because GB was such an excellent sleeper, but I remembered having trouble sleeping myself and the times I would drag my brother over to my bed in the middle of the night, so I decided to give it a shot.

It, surprisingly, has not been that bad. Bedtime itself is a little crazier, but for the most part, the sleeping through the night has gone smoothly. You do try every trick in the book to avoid going to bed–needing water, needing chapstick, being afraid of the dark, having to pee. I gave you a mini flashlight to sleep with and a dreamcatcher above your bed and every night, I tell you a story about the good dreams you will have that night. 

By the way, you literally sleep with two bags of junk in bed with you and freak out if I try to put them on the floor.

 

OH MY GAWD

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

About your roommate: GB. That kid adores you. Literally one of his first words was “Holdy.” He said your name a good several months before he said mine. Before you shared a room, the first thing he would ask when he woke up was “Where’s Holdy?”

Please don’t abuse that power, buddy. I hope you’ll always be his idol and that you take that seriously and strive to be a good example for him. You guys are partners in crime. You rile each other up. You’re pretty good at sharing with him, but he’s better at sharing with you. He likes to get his toenails painted so he can be like you.

 

#whatholdywore #ohbotherblog

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on


You continue to set trends with your outfit choices. We still use your hashtag #whatholdywore to share some of your best work with your adoring Internet fans, though like everything else (this blog included), I lapse a bit in updating it regularly.

 

#whatholdywore #chaps #ohbotherblog

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

You are four years old today. I could marvel at that fact and lament, “where has the time gone?” but I am daily reminded of the saying “the years are short but the days are long.” It’s all true. It gets rough sometimes (almost daily), but I’m glad you’re mine.

Happy Birthday, Punk. You are the best, most-challenging, most-joyful, most-infuriating thing that has ever happened to me. I love you very much. I will not let you punch me in the face today, though.

Blizzard Jonas 2016 @ohbotherblog

 

#sundayfunday #minime #madeinyork #snowbarn

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

 

At Miss Vio’s Fairy Tea Party Birthday @arthur_daughter

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

5 Years Later: Ladybug’s In Heaven

28.04.16

I had a really hard time finding this article that was written about my nanny after her death in 2011. I’m putting it here so I never lose it again.

Ladybug Tattoos for Nanny

Mike Argento: Ladybug’s in heaven

MIKE ARGENTO

POSTED:   10/26/2011 02:34:19 PM MDT| UPDATED:   5 YEARS AGO
 
Evelyn Snouffer had a thing for ladybugs.When she’d see one outside, she’d pick it up and hold it, hoping its good luck would rub off on her. Whenever she went to Atlantic City, she’d take her talisman, a stone ladybug that she believed brought her luck in her quest to wrest a few dollars from the casinos.

There may be something to it, if you believe in such things. Nearly every culture on Earth believes ladybugs bring good luck, probably because they eat harmful pest – aphids, mostly. In some countries, ladybugs are said to omens of good crops. Some believe they can grant wishes. The French believe that if a lady bug lands on you and flies away, it carries all of your ailments with it.

Evelyn didn’t go that far. She did believe they were good luck and she was crazy about them. She had ladybug pins and earrings. And, of course, her good luck token.

But don’t let that lead you to believe that she was some woman doting over ladybugs. Her grandchildren all called her “Nanny,” conjuring images of a kind of Norman Rockwell grandma, sitting in her rocking chair or baking cookies. That wasn’t her style.

She was kind of a free spirit. One of her daughters, Linda Hess, described her as her BFF, that she was a good friend and a mother. One of her granddaughters, Meagan Hess Feeser, described her as “badass.”

She and her granddaughter would try to outdo each other when it came to stringing together colorful chains of expletives, holding contests to see who could be more obscene, who could stretch the envelope further. Evelyn won a lot. Her favorite expression was “damn good.” Ask her how she was doing, or how her sandwich was, or how her cup of coffee tasted, and she’d say, “Damn good.”

For her 69th birthday, her granddaughter threw her an adult-themed party. She enjoyed it.

When she’d get together with her daughters and granddaughters, she was just one of the girls, going shopping or taking weekend trips to Cape May, a place she loved like no other. And she relished beating her daughter at cards – 500 rummy – something she did frequently.

Her daughter said she was always fun to be around. She knew how to have a good time and never passed up the opportunity to do so.

She first got sick in the summer of 2010. She started getting headaches and wound up at the doctor’s office. Some tests later, she got the bad news – she had a brain tumor. She didn’t make a huge deal about it. Even after the diagnosis, she still mowed her own lawn and took care of herself. She wasn’t one to mope.

She had surgery in October 2010 to have the tumor removed. She was recovering from that when she got sick again, this time, cancer. In the spring, as the ladybugs were returning, she had hospice care in her home. Her family took care of her, round-the-clock for 18 days, right up the end.

She died April 28. She was 74.

Her granddaughter Meagan wanted to memorialize her with ink. She’s a marketing professional in Owings Mill, Md. – she commutes from York – and is not heavily into tattoos. She does have another, the Hess family crest, which she shares with her mother and father.

Her initial thought was to have the words “Damn Good” inked on her body. She mentioned getting a tattoo to memorialize Nanny to her aunts and cousins and they were all for it. But some of them balked at having “Damn Good” permanently affixed to their bodies.

Someone suggested a ladybug.

It was perfect.

So during a Mother’s Day weekend trip to Cape May, the women, six of them altogether, spent eight hours that Saturday in a tattoo parlor, getting ladybug ink. The toughest sell was Linda Hess’ sister, Donna Wolfgang. She has no other tattoos and wasn’t crazy about getting one. But since everybody else was doing it, and mostly because of Nanny, she went ahead with it.

The next day, Mother’s Day, they gathered on the beach and spread Nanny’s ashes.

And not long ago, another of Nanny’s daughters, missing her family, moved back to York County from Florida. Her family had a party on the deck at Linda’s house to welcome her home.

Someone noticed that a ladybug had crawled onto one of the benches and stayed there. It sat there all night, as if it were hanging out at the party, as if it were taking everything in.

“It was like Nanny was there with us,” Meagan said.

Mike Argento’s column appears Mondays and Fridays in Living and Sundays in Viewpoints. Reach him at mike@ydr.com or 771-2046. Read more Argento columns at www.ydr.com/mike or visit his blog at www.mikeargento.com. Or follow him on Twitter at FnMikeArgento.

 

LEGO KidsFest

09.04.16

We took the kiddos (one six-year-old, two three-year-olds and a two-year-old) to the sold-out LEGO KidsFest last night at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg.
LEGO KidsFest @ohbotherblog

I saw the event advertised earlier in January and my desire to go was solidified after I watched the LEGO documentary Beyond the Brick: a LEGO BrickumentaryHoldy has been showing interest in LEGOs after playing with them at her dad’s house so I thought it would make a fun outing.

Despite the event being sold out for all three days, it wasn’t quite the madhouse you might expect. There were a ton of activities to do that were appropriate for all ages and skill levels, from straight-up coloring, to DUPLO blocks to advanced builds and competitions. Everything was nicely spread out so you didn’t feel like you were on top of each other. AND everyone attending, volunteering and working the event was super nice, so it was a great experience.

LEGO KidsFest @ohbotherblog

The kids loved building and displaying their own LEGO creations.

LEGO KidsFest @ohbotherblog

There were tons of LEGO characters to pose with, from Disney to Star Wars and super heroes.

LEGO KidsFest @ohbotherblog 

We actually had to stop the kids from building a few times so we could move onto the next thing. LEGOS are amazing, man.

 LEGO KidsFest @ohbotherblog

And of course, there was a HUGE LEGO pile in the middle of the arena for kids to (literally) dive in. Some kids were even making LEGO angels (of course, Holdy was one of them).

LEGO KidsFest @ohbotherblog 

 

#latergram Lego Pit at #legokidsfest

A video posted by oh bother (@ohbotherblog) on

Some tips if you go:

  • Check out this “Plan Your Day at LEGO KidsFest” link.
  • Parking is in the North Lot, as well as the offsite Elmerton Ave. lot and is $10 (cash).
  • The entrance to LEGO KidsFest is on Cameron Street, so it’s a bit of a walk. Though you can exit the event into the North Lot when you’ve finished.
  • There is a coat rack at the entrance.
  • There is a “Lost Parents Zone” to the right once you enter the event. You can fill out a card with your contact info and put it in your kid’s pocket, just in case.
  •  There is a “Dad Changing Area” near the DUPLO section so dads can get in on the diaper action too.
  • Rather than waiting in the super long lines at the concession window, grab a pizza from the smaller pizza table set up near the bathrooms. The line is shorter and the pizza is better.
  • Get a Farm Show milkshake!
  • If the line is too long to purchase anything in the retail store, talk to one of the employees and they’ll give you a “free shipping” card so you can order online.
  • Exit through the North Lot exit to be closer to your car (don’t forget to go back and get your coat if you checked it).

I have to confess that we actually own zero LEGOs because GB has only recently exited the put-every-thing-in-his-mouth phase. This morning I did just order a LEGO Starter Kit from Amazon ($7 cheaper than at the show)!

gb’s birthday clock photo: year 2

23.03.16

So, we have this tradition we stole from my friend’s mom. Every year on the kids’ birthday, I take a photo of them with a clock showing the time they were born.

Last year, GB almost slept through his clock photo:

GB's first birthday clock photo @ohbotherblog

But this year, we nailed it:

GB's birthday clock photo @ohbotherblog

Disregard the date; no idea why it says 3/24. 

PS – GB’s birth certificate is actually wrong and says 2:41pm, but I was there and remember the correct time of his exit.

Happy Birthday, Geebs!

to my son on his second birthday

23.03.16

Gatsby/GB/Geebo/Gilbert/Goose (that last nickname is a new one I’m trying out)–

You’re two years old today. What a big little man you are. I was rereading last year’s letter, which was all about how sweet and gentle you are and I just had to laugh. You’re still super sweet and lovey, of course, but you are now a full-fledged… toddler.

My baby boy is now a toddler @ohbotherblog

You get into everything. You started walking not long after your first birthday and have been on the move ever since. You’re like a ferret–you steal things and hoard them in various places. We once went three days without a TV remote until we found where you had put it.

Big shoes to fill @ohbotherblog

You have yourself quite a temper, though for some reason I still don’t find it as difficult as Holdy’s. When you get mad, you throw whatever is in your hand–your bottle, your Nuk, your toy, your shoe. Sometimes you’ll put your hand up to hit and when I tell you “no hit,” you look me dead in the eyes, walk over to the nearest wall and hit it, as if to say, “I’m wishing this was your face.” 

Toddler tantrums @ohbotherblog

We’ve been trying Time Outs, but when I sit you down to talk about your behavior, you always make a silly face at me by opening your mouth wide to diffuse the mood. “You’re lucky you’re cute,” is a phrase I say often.

Silliness diffuses anger @Ohbotherblog

You love paper products for some reason–paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, baby wipes. You’re fascinated by toothbrushes, so much so that I bought you two as your Valentine’s Day present. You are absolutely obsessed with vehicles–“hucks” (trucks)–and you point out every one you see. Every jeep, van, truck, car, or tractor, which makes for interesting car rides. You get the biggest thrill by sitting on a tractor; maybe we’ll go to Home Depot today for your birthday, haha.

My kid loves vehicles @ohbotherblog

Your vocabulary has grown tremendously. You ask, “what’s that?” all the time and repeat words and phrases so well that sometimes we have to laugh about it. You enjoy learning and seem to take it very seriously. One of your very first words was “Holdy,” and it’s still the first word you say every morning, asking her whereabouts. That’s followed immediately by “ballal” (bottle), which you request multiple times a day. Your newest phrase–much to my dismay–is, “I farted.” I blame your Duke for that one.

Moving into Sissy's room @ohbotherblog

You’re still a great sleeper, even after we moved your crib into your sister’s room a few weeks ago. I was hoping your presence would make sleeping through the night less stressful for her and that it would also bring the two of you closer. We have to contend with some silliness at bedtime, but so far, you’ve both been sleeping pretty well through the night with no issues.

You call me, “Baba,” and you’re my little buddy. Sometimes you surprise me by coming up out of nowhere and hugging my leg.

 

❤️

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

You’re very close with your Duke, who you spend every day with. You love to go on walks with him in the jogging stroller. I suspect Duke sneaks you sips of soda like he did your sister. Next month, you’ll be going to school with Holdy and I know Duke will miss his pal. I’m hoping that means Duke will be up for some nighttime babysitting to make up for it.

GB loves his Duke @ohbotherblog

You love to dance, preferring the Riverdance-style. We’ll be literally anywhere and you’ll hear a few strains of music and your hands are instantly in the air.

 

Greased Lightning #ohbotherblog

A video posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

 

GB Dance Party #babyfees #ohbotherblog #disneyside

A video posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

You’re sweet and silly and loving and curious. You start out tentative around other people but warm to them quickly (unless they’re the doctor). You are soft spoken (when you aren’t yelling and screeching with your sister).

Your best friend remains your Holdy. You guys are two peas in a pod and pretty much inseparable, although you are starting to exert your independence more. You feed off of each other, which means our evenings at home are often crazy.

 

Weirdos.

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

I’m so glad that you guys have each other and I hope you stay just as close as you grow, even though I predict there will be a lot of conspiring against me in our futures.

 

OH MY GAWD

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

They say the years are short and the days are long and that’s the absolute truth. One minute I was rocking my tiny little baby to sleep and I blinked and now he’s climbing on top of the coffee table (again. Stop doing that please.).

You’re growing into such a fantastic little boy and bring so much joy to our days. I can’t wait to see how you blossom at school. I know Holdy will take good care of you and introduce you to everyone as “My GB.”

Happy, Happy Birthday, GB.

I’m sorry I still haven’t made you a Shutterfly book.

Sheriff Woody won't wear his hat #babyfees #ohbotherblog #disneyside

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on

bedtime bedlam

15.02.16

We have a problem in the oh bother house. A big problem. A bedtime problem.

It started a few months ago, but we’ve now reached Desperation Point, peaking during the week we were snowed in (god, I hate snow).

Bedtime has become a nightly battle with Holden. She doesn’t want to go to bed. She doesn’t want to brush her teeth. She wants me to tell her one more story. She wants to tell me a story. She wants me to rub her back.

Once her door is closed, she immediately comes out five more times because a) she wants some water, b) the dog moved to the foot of the bed, c) one of her drawers is open, d) I didn’t turn out all the lights and close all the doors on the second floor, e) she just wants to see my face.

She gets up in the middle of the night because: a) she has to pee, b) the dog moved to the foot of the bed, c) she can’t find her flashlight that she insists on sleeping with, d) she had a bad dream, e) she doesn’t know.

During the snowstorm, she started wetting the bed at night, after having been Pull-Up free for months. After three straight nights of washing all of her bed linens, I gave up and went back to Pull-Ups. Her Pull-Up is now wet every morning.

It’s to the point now that we both fear bedtime. I’ve been trying various tactics to improve things.

Dream Catcher to improve bedtime @ohbotherblog

  • I’ve been using some random old Bath & Bodyworks Lavender Pillow Mist as “Good Dreams Spray.”*
  • I bought her a dream catcher.
  • I gave her a mini flashlight to sleep with.
  • I bought her a nightlight (that she refuses to use).
  • We practice deep breathing and talking about the good dreams she’s going to have.

When I was little, I remember I used to have trouble sleeping too. I’d make my mom leave the hall light on and my door open “just a crack.” I’d lie awake for hours. Sometimes I’d sneak over to my little brother’s room and pull him over to my bed with me.

Because of my experience, I’ve always thought I want the kids to share a room at some point in their lives. Maybe that point is now.

The problem is (or… it’s not really a problem so much…) that GB is an excellent sleeper. The kid essentially requests to go to bed and never fights it. He’s never climbed out of his crib once. Do I really want to mess with that?

Probably not. Not yet anyway… but I did find a super cute bunk bed for when the time comes.

Dorel Living Brady Bunk Bed @ohbotherblog

In the meantime, I guess we just power through and hope this phase ends soon.

*Here’s a cute recipe for “Monster Spray.”

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