Saturday, February 26, 2011

Family. It's About Time.

Do you remember that Mormon commercial that they used to have on TV where the kid kept asking his Dad to read a book with him or play ball with him, and his dad would always say he was too busy working. And then right before the Dad went to bed, he realized he never played with his son. So he puts his work away and goes and reads goodnight stories to his son and then they say "Family. It's About Time."

Maybe that wasn't exactly how the commercial went, but it was something like that.

Well, they did a great job with getting the point across in that ad, because the tagline has stuck in my mind for YEARS. "Family. It's About Time."

Today I experienced that entire commercial, first hand.

We've really been struggling with Preston lately. We think it's the "Terrible Two's", but you never know. It could be a combination of that and the fact that we recently moved and so he's had a lot of change to get used to, or the fact that he's just growing up and getting new emotions and hormones flowing through his body.

Whatever it is, he hasn't exactly been an angel. And Preston, up until recently, really has always been an angel. Seriously. If you know our Preston, than you know that he's a good boy. He's always been obedient, happy, and has always played nice.

But recently, he's been extremely disobedient (we're talking flat out says "no" to your face and does whatever the heck he wants, despite what you've asked him to do or not to do). He yells a lot, and for things that he really doesn't need to be yelling for (like getting him a sippy cup of water when he wanted milk, and he so has a freak out). And he's totally been beating up on his poor little baby brother, even though we've asked him to be gentle and nice.

We keep thinking it's just got to be a phase and in a day or two he'll be over it.'s been a good couple of weeks and he's still a terrible two.

It's exhausting! I normally don't like it when others give me unsolicited parenting advice, but lately, I've been asking anyone and everyone what do we do about Preston? What can we be doing better? Is this typical? How do we deal with certain situations? I even asked my Mom how do I handle Preston when he yells and disobeys (She has a lot of experience with this type of toddler since she claims my older brother was way, way, way worse than Preston...haha...sorry Mike!).

Tomorrow both Will and I have to speak in Church, and being that it is Saturday, we really needed to work on our talks. All other attempts to work on them during the week sort of failed - mostly to do with just being exhausted from parenting and not having time (quiet time) to really study. So we agreed that today we would trade off. Will would watch both boys while I got to lock myself in my music studio to work on my talk for a few hours, and then we would switch.

The day just didn't go very well.

Preston was up and out of his bed playing with his toys in the hallway at 2:30 a.m., 5:30 a.m., and then was completely up-and-at-em for the day at 6:45 a.m. Taylor also woke up about 5 minutes later. So guess who was up at 6:45? Yup. This also meant that Preston was getting testy earlier on in the morning since he didn't sleep enough. So a lot of whining, yelling, crying, pouting, and so forth went on...

As the morning proceeded, by 9:30 a.m., I was ready to tell Will that I just needed some personal time and was ready to jump in the car and go for a drive. Had it not been for the 6 inches of fresh snow outside, and that I didn't want to leave Will alone with both kids I would have totally done it.

My next best option - grandparents.

I called my parents to find out if they were planning on driving back home from Oregon today or not. I was hoping that if they were going to be home, they could take the boys for a few hours so that Will and I could both work on our talks. However, the answer was negative and we were out of luck because G&G weren't going to be home until tomorrow.

I was able to get some time to work on my talk, but not without Preston hanging out in the office with me, using my studio headphones jack extender as a pretend paintbrush on the wall, and also punching zillions of holes into all of my printer paper with a pencil.

I could feel the stress inside me burn. It had been a week of dealing with a terrible-two's toddler and I just needed a break. I kept giving Will looks, like "I'm going to go crazy if Preston yells at me one more time for not getting his way."

By late afternoon, I decided to finally learn how to use my new sewing machine and sew Preston's Lightening McQueen pillows and blanket that I'd promised him over a month ago. It took me about 30 minutes of reading through the user manual to figure out how to put thread on the bobbin, and set up the needle and spool. All during which, Preston stood right next to me and asked over, and over, and over "Make Mcqueen pillow? Make McQueen pillow?". (which, by the way, makes it very hard to read instructions during that). When I tried to explain to him that it was going to take mommy a LONG time to make his pillow, he would throw a fit and whine for his pillow NOW.

I also kept getting so annoyed that all Preston wanted to do was lay on the material while I was trying to cut it. He would mess up the alignment while I was trying to pin, and not to mention he would get dangerously close to my super duper sharp sewing scissors and I swear I almost stabbed him twice because he flung a body part too close to them.

My sewing project, which I was doing for him because I wanted to be a good mom and be nice, only set me on edge and stressed me out.

It was after I finished his pillows and blanket, that I remembered the catch phrase "Family. It's About Time.". It went through my head like a reprimand for the way I had been acting all day long towards my toddler.

As I reviewed the day's events...I realized that none of this was really Preston's fault. In each situation, it was clear that Preston only wanted to be with me, to do something with me, to be involved, and to be loved, to be paid attention to.

Boy did I feel like mother of the year.

It was at that moment that I decided to change my tactics.

"Preston, you want to come downstairs and help mommy make some cookies?" I asked.

"Okay!" he answered.

We went downstairs and into the kitchen. I put Preston up onto a tall stool so that he could help me. He got to be the keeper of the chocolate chips until we were ready for them - which he was very excited about. I explained to him everything we were doing, including every ingredient we would put in. He helped pour in the salt, sugar, and the flour. And the chocolate chips of course. If he whined about something, instead of getting upset at him, I would try to put myself in his shoes and be more understanding and reply in a loving tone. I gave him lots of praise for everything he was doing to be such a good helper.

Grandma Lindsay, if you are reading this, by the way, when I asked him if he wanted to help me make cookies, for some reason the first thing he said was "Grandma Lindsay make cookies!". And for the next few minutes kept telling me that you were coming to our house to make cookies. :)

After the cookie dough was all mixed up, I gave him his own special cup filled with a few spoonfuls of cookie dough. He kept exclaiming "Mmmm yum! Chocolate!". When he was halfway through his stipen of dough, he wanted to put the rest back into the bowl and mix it. Ah, what the heck I thought. Nobody but us is going to eat this - haha.

We put some dough on a cookie sheet and cooked them, and then put the rest of the dough in a freezer container - but not before we snitched some more.

Preston had dropped several chocolate chips on the floor, and because we are trying to teach him to pick up after himself, I asked him "Can you go and pick those up please?".

He looked down at the floor, thought for a second, and then said, "No, they too far away." Instead of getting upset that he wasn't minding me, again, I put myself in his shoes and realized "Yeah, he is on a super tall barstool. Those chocolate chips really ARE far away for him!" and then I bent down and picked them all up myself.

We washed the cookie dough off of our hands, and then I asked him if he was hungry. Lately, he's been very picky and emotional about meals and if we ask him if he's hungry he'll yell "NOO! I don't want to eat!". So I asked him if he wanted some scrambled eggs. Surprisingly, he said "My want scrambled eggs!" in a pleasant tone.

So I made the both of us some scrambled eggs, and we sat down and watched the last 20 minutes of this week's episode of The Biggest Loser together. During the entire time, I would give him smiles and funny looks, and tell him what was going on. "That person lost 10 pounds! Can you count to 10?" and he would say "10 pounds!".

Once he was finished with his eggs, I cleaned him up and put him in his pajamas. He willingly let me (which lately he has thrown fits when it's time to put PJ's on). I asked him if he wanted to sit on my lap and finish watching mommy's show. He said "Okay" and hopped up on my lap. I gave him lots of hugs and snuggles and rocked him back and forth.

Within 10 minutes, he was asleep in my arms. I looked down at him and with my fingertips, traced the features of his face. There were those eyebrows, long eyelashes, and soft skin that I used to touch and admire when he was a baby. Yep it was him - still the same boy, but just grown up a bit. Same little baby nose, just bigger...and more toddler like. I ran my fingers through his hair and swept it to the side and gave him several cheek kisses.

The show had been over for at least 5 minutes, but I wanted to sit there longer and just hold him. Eventually I carried him upstairs and laid him down in his bed with his new McQueen pillow and blanket. He didn't even wake up at all. I tucked him in and closed his bedroom door.

I felt fulfilled, and happy. And most of all, I felt so much love towards Preston.

Even though many times before I have known Preston just needed some personal time, I would do it dutifully and I think he knew it. But tonight, he did feel loved and like he was getting very special time with his mommy.

Family. It's about time. Isn't that the truth?

I'm not saying that our problems are all solved now and things will be perfect from now on. But I can say that I have been humbled, and now know that I need to be better, like I was this evening, more often.

I'm so grateful for this lesson in love.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Taylor's 6 Months Stats

He looks a bit concerned in that photo, huh. Haha. I thought it was funny, so I had to put it in here.

Just really quick, Will took Taylor in on Tuesday for his 6 Month Wellness visit with his pediatrician. We still haven't found a new doctor in our new town yet, and so Will took him to our old doctor in Sammamish while I was recording in the studio all day in Seattle. 7 hours on the violin....very tiring, but productive.

Taylor weighs an even 19 pounds exactly, which puts him in the 75% percentile for weight. (Preston was 20 pounds at 6 months)

He is 27" inches long, which is also the 75% percentile for height.

And his head is 17 3/4" - which is 75 - 90% percentile.

To put it in perspective, he was born at 8 pounds exactly, and so he has gained 11 pounds in 6 months. For a little guy, that is pretty incredible I think. And it's all from breastmilk, no formula or solids (that is until last week, we started him on some green pees and rice cereal). I would like to talk to whoever is in charge of my weightloss and find out why I haven't lost 11 pounds if he's gained them. Haha.

He was 19 and 3/4 inches when he was born, and so he is grown 7 and 1/4 inches. He is wearing 6-9 month clothes right now.

He has been following his "curve" and is growing exactly how he should be, so that is good news.

He still hasn't rolled over yet, and so we were instructed to make sure he gets more tummy time. He can, however, sit up on his own. It will be weird if he starts to crawl before he can roll over.

He has a really horrible eczema patch on his right elbow that has been there for a few months. We've been putting Aquafor on it, but it just hasn't been going away. So his doc gave us a perscription for eczema. He is also getting a lot of red dots on his legs, which he scratches and it seriously looks like bug bites all over. It looks terrible. The doc said it's because it's winter and since he's prone to eczema, his skin is all dried out. So we're putting hydrocortisone on his skin every day to prevent him from scratching like crazy.

We're still working on the sleep training. It will go well for a few days, then he will revert, and so on. It's been a very frustrating process. He had 7 vaccinations at his doctor visit (yeah, 7!!) and he was very cranky for 2 days straight afterwards. He would not go to sleep unless he was being held. To say the least, we did not get much sleep either.

We're supposed to give talks this coming Sunday in church - on "Reverence". With the lack of sleep going on in our house because of Taylor, and with Preston's crazy "Terrible Two's"....we're wondering exactly if we are prime candidates for this talk or not. lol.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pictures of the Week

Our sweet Taylor...

And Preston and I...

Does anyone know where we can send this guy off to 2 year old obedience school for a week? The "Terrible Two's" have finally manifested in Preston, and we're all suffering LOL. All parenting techniques that previously worked on him, no longer do.

Maybe Grandma's house.

And as for this one, sleep training school anyone?

Maybe we can find patience bottled in a pill. I could definitely use a little more of that lately.

I know, I look at that cute adorable face and think "How could that angel possibly be any cause for a patience pill?".

Please, I invite you to come visit our home at 12 a.m., 2 a.m., and 5 a.m. and find out why. I can give you a hint that it's not for smiling and cooing.

This one ran a marathon on Saturday and came in 3rd place in the Mens Division, and 4th overall. Good job babe!

Sorry it's blurry, but what can I say. He ran so fast that he was blurry. Okay that's not really true, I'm just a terrible photographer.

And that's a quick wrap up for the week at the Thomas household.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

6 Months

Guess who turned 6 months old today?

Yup! Our little Taylor man.

(Above: August 17th - his birthday)

(Below: 1 month old - Sept 17th - at my friend's wedding)

(Below: about 2 months old (Oct. 16th) - at the Pumpkin Patch)

(Below: 3 months old - Nov 17th)

(Below: almost 4 months old - Dec 12th)

(Below: 5 months old - Jan 17th)

6 months old!
(these pics were taken a few days ago....Feb 14th)

and he's eating some solids now! Yippee!

We gave him some rice cereal for the first time (in those pics) a few days ago, and he wasn't so sure what to think of it. But since then, he's had rice cereal twice and also some peas. He really loved the peas and I practically couldn't get it shovelled into his mouth fast enough. He seems to have gotten the hang of eaten from a spoon pretty quickly too.

Some of Taylor's skills are:

- Sitting up unassisted (he's been doing this since he was 4 and 1/2 months old, crazy early huh!)
- Grabbing objects (and he's fast too)

- Being very vocal

- Great eye contact

- Smiles a ton! All the time

- Being a super happy baby, except when it's the middle of the night
Stuff he loves to do:
- Watch Preston
- Grab Preston, touch Preston
- Snuggle Mommy
- Grab your face and pull it towards him in a "I want your undivided attention" sort of way
- Squeals and screams
- Play peekaboo with a blanket
- Bounce on your knee
- Be thrown in the air (not all the way, we never let go)
- Be tickled!
- Play with his toes
- Chew on his fingers


I said I would take some exterior shots of our home sometime, so while the kiddos and I were out walking the other day I brought the camera. So here it is...

That big grassy area across from us is protected wildlife/water preserve area, and so they just built a walking trail around it last year. It's a quarter of a mile long, and we all enjoy walking along it almost daily. Will uses it to train - believe it or not yesterday he went 10 miles on it. That is a LOT of loops.

On a clear day, you can see the Cascade Mountains and the water too.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

I made this for Will....but you guys can watch it too. :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Snow Picnic

A couple of Monday's ago, we went on a little adventure with my parents (a.k.a. Bramma and BamPA (because that is how Preston says his their names)).

We drove up to Mt. Shuksan, which is where the Mt. Baker Ski resort is. The two mountains are next door to each other.

It was a perfectly sunny day and though it was pretty cold, it wasn't terribly cold - so I didn't feel bad about taking the kiddos out into the weather.

We'd been so busy unpacking after having just moved, that it was the perfect thing to do to get away from everything and just have fun. So without further adieu, I'll just let you browse at the pics. It's pretty self explanatory - we ate hot dogs, hot cocoa, and beans and then went snow shoeing afterwards. Well, Will went on skis with special skins on the bottom that make them so he can climb up hills without sliding backwards.

I had Taylor in the Baby Bjorn in front of me, and Will had Preston in the backpack. We had fun!

Gee, one would think Preston wasn't too keen on the whole snow thing.

Ok, yes, you showed us that you know how to pick your nose...

I absolutely love this photo...

We've been busy sleep training Taylor, if you want to know how it's going, you can read about it on my mommy blog. :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Product Review for CSN Stores

We were contacted a while back about doing a product review for CSN Stores on our blog. I've heard a lot of different people who have found really cool stuff on their website, from anything like stylish furniture, modern bedding, or in our case - kids items. People always seem to be very happy with their products and find their website very easy and convenient to navigate. And they have products in various price ranges - so there's usually something for everyone.

We've decided to review one of their products on our blog here, and they were so nice to let me pick out the product. Preston is outgrowing his high chair, and so we thought "Hey - we'll review a booster seat! Perfect!"

So very soon we'll be posting our review about this fine seat you see here:

There were a ton of booster seats to choose from, but I decided on this one because it looked like a great in betweener. As in, I could put Preston in it to eat, and Taylor could sit it in to play with the toys too.

So as soon as it arrives and we give it a spin, we'll letcha know how we like it. In the meantime, check out the CSN Stores websites. Girls, they even have shoes and purses. ;)

I will soon be reviewing one of their great products, but in the meantime be sure to check out their site. I promise you will be surprised with all that they offer!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Before and After

The Living Room before...

The Living Room after...

In the 18 years this home has existed, the walls have never been painted. They needed it in my opinion. What a difference a little color makes, right?