Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quick updates

 A few updates from our house:

• A few weeks ago, we bought a tricycle from friends whose daughter has moved up to a bike. He's been having a great time with it, though it's challenging since we live at the top of a hill and have very little flat space to ride. I have no explanation for the expressions in the second and third pictures!

•We've been working on potty training & Ben is doing pretty well with it. He earned enough stickers on his sticker chart to choose a prize. He asked for a number puzzle and has enjoyed the nice Melissa & Doug one we found. We made the executive decision not to put in any batteries before we gave it to him- why does a puzzle need sound?! He certainly doesn't notice anything missing!

•A few weekends ago, Ben decided that the salad spinner was the Best Toy Ever. He spent the whole weekend playing with it, sometimes with magnets/other detritus in it, sometimes just making imaginary food for us.

• Inspired by his golf lessons with Papa, Ben has been practicing his swing. Golf clubs are usually whatever drum mallet he can find.

•We've decided not to take Ben trick or treating this year. He doesn't really grasp the concept of Halloween and he's in a phase where he's been getting anxious and taking time to warm up in new situations, even if he knows the people we're meeting. We felt that going up to strange houses would be more stress than it's worth. He & I are going to his Halloween party at school tomorrow and he can wear his cute Halloween shirt when we hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters on Monday. He's had fun with the pumpkin crafts we've been doing and the pumpkin he got to pick out yesterday as a reward for being a good helper at Target :)

•Tonight for his extensive crib concert Ben is rewriting "Baa, Baa Black Sheep" to span the rainbow. We've heard baa, baa white sheep, yellow sheep, and orange sheep so far. Also on the program are perennial favorites "Let's go, Royals," "76 Trombones," a rubato mashup of the ABCs with counting, and a Shatner-esque spoken word version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." He will occasionally pause and ask his animals (we assume) if they want to listen.

•Ben wanted to spend his pre-bed play time playing the piano. Ben chose the "Mommy Goes 'Round the Sun" song and we repeated it multiple times for different family members and their pets. He played the piano with great gusto on the "Boom!" part at the end of each verse. He is now trying to fit his full name in to the song as he sings in his crib. He still can't quite grasp that the order goes first middle last name; he keeps trying first last middle.

•At daycare, Ben is beginning the transition to the three-year-old room, spending short spurts of time there before returning to the 2's. He had a hard time at first but has been doing better going back and forth. Yesterday kept asking the 2's teacher if he could go to the 3's.

•Last week was the start of my third trimester. Baby girl is kicking up a storm and had a strong heartbeat at our appointment last week. We were kind of shocked when the doctor told us it was already time to start scheduling appointments every two weeks instead of monthly - hard to believe we're at that point already! We will be starting to transition Ben to a twin bed so he's used to that by the time she arrives and needs the crib.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Trip photos, part 2

Ben helped Mom go through her stash of scrapbook paper odds & ends by punching & gluing them for a collage. He would've played with those punches for a couple of hours every day and probably started trying to punch shapes out of everything in the house if we hadn't put them away after a few days.

Grandma refereeing as Dad & Ben race cars down the hallway:

Ben LOVED trying out Dad's golf clubs. Note that Dad is wisely standing far out of club range from the very enthusiastic toddler golfer. Please note that the slightly Unabomber look was entirely selected by the two-year-old despite not actually needing his hood up or sunglasses on.

Hanging out with my grandma:

On Sunday we went over to Tony & Jen's house to see their newly remodeled kitchen and play pinball & drums downstairs. Ben really did quite a good job exploring Uncle Tony's drum set and stretched on his tiptoes to hit every possible cymbal. It took him a little while to figure out the foot pedal for the bass drum.

Baby bump picture of me & Jen. She & Tony are expecting baby Gwen 3 1/2 weeks before our baby girl is due. Possibly some of the belly was because we'd just eaten lots of salad and pizza at Buddy's!

Mom had a small surprise gift for Ben every morning. He liked the big box and packing paper that his Magna Doodle came in almost as much as the actual gift. 

On our last full day in Michigan, we took Ben to Yates Cider Mill, one of our favorite places to visit in the fall. Their cider & donuts were a great treat! The cider mill was the first thing that Ben told his teachers about when he returned to daycare.

Two ducks were splashing around in the river. Ben had a great time watching them and quacking. 

He wasn't quite sure about the goats at first but insisted on seeing all of them and yelling "HI, GOATS!" and "BYE, GOATS! BYE, BABY GOAT!" before we left. 

He also helped Mom get her exercise by instructing her on running down the trail above the river. He kept repeating, "When I say 'ready, set, go,' that means you run." They'd then run about 8 feet before he'd stop and tell her the same thing again.

Crib concert & trip photos, part 1

Ben is in a singing mood again tonight. His crib concert thus far has consisted of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," "Hey Diddle Diddle," and a remix version of daycare's days of the week song ("Mondaaaaaaaaay, Tuesday, Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesdaaaaaay...").

We flew up to Michigan last week to visit my family & attend my sister-in-law Jen's baby shower. Dad brought Grandma up from Ohio for a few days as well.  We took Ben apple picking at the orchard, to the cider mill, to my favorite pizza place, and to see a marching band practice as part of the "boys' party" while Mom, Grandma & I were at the baby shower. We also spent a lot of time cheering on the Tigers, who were kind to my blood pressure last night and beat the Yankees to move on to the American League championship.

People seemed to like turning Ben upside down, possibly because he kept asking, "upside down, again!" We warned them that they were responsible for anything that fell out.

We went up to the Big Red apple orchard, got to take a hayride pulled by a tractor (Ben was thrilled!) and went apple picking. Ben also tried to pick up a giant pumpkin. He was thrilled to help stir and eat the applesauce that Mom & I made with some of apples we picked.