Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I hold you.

That's what Calvin used to say when he wanted us to hold him. But that was weeks ago, back when he was small, and now he says "hold me!" because he's big and grown up and so so smart. He also says "I come, too!" while scrambling to collect his "guys" (Bear, Grinch, Dog, Snowman, Hop, Elmo, Cookie, Teddy, and Mickey — can't go anywhere without that motley crew) so he can tag along whenever one of us leaves the room. Every single item of clothing he owns, no matter how large, has been dubbed "tight." He's charmed his teacher with his many exclamations of "holy cow!" and any time we ask him where something or someone has gone, he says "MEXICO!" Which is then followed by a garbled "Adidios!"

At night he requests his favorite bedtime songs by name: "John" (Are You Sleeping), "Twinkle," "Sunshine" (You Are My Sunshine) and, recently, "Jesus" (Jesus Loves Me). He insists on choosing between his Pooh (daytime) or Mickey (overnight) diapers at every diaper change. Once I told him the sun goes to sleep at night, and now whenever the sun is setting on our drive home from daycare, he whispers "Shhhh...sun sleeping." He drags the step stool across the room and up to the kitchen counter and says "I help" whether I'm cooking dinner or doing dishes — and if there's something on the stove he insists on being held so he can watch it cook. He shakes his finger at Matilda and tells her "no no no no no!" when she sits next to his chair at dinner, hoping for a crumb or two. He is always game for a ride on the "train" — Nate's way of getting him to climb on his back for a trip down the stairs. Recently he ran over to climb on the train, wrapped his little arms around Nate's neck, popped a surprise Cheerio into Nate's mouth, and said "yum!"

And last night, despite my efforts to convince him otherwise, he slept with a spatula.

He's completely adorable. And exasperating. He wants to do everything himself. Make every decision, open and close every door, turn off every light, feed the dog, choose his snack, wash his hair, fill his sippy cup. The mere offer of help — without any physical action — results in a chorus of "No no no, Mama. No Mama, NO! I do it!" He vigorously waves me off, fearing I might take away his opportunity to show us how big, how smart, how independent he is. He's growing in every way possible, and he wants to be sure we notice.

As if I could miss it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Card-carrying members of the NRA.

As if. The only thing that we might belong to that has those initials is the National Restaurant Association, which I just made up. But we could totally pass for NRA members, couldn't we? Look at Nate's squint! Look at me coolly blowing on my freshly-fired gun!


On Saturday night, we went out with our good friends Scott and Brenna. Nate's mom and dad took Calvin overnight, the Vuongs worked miracles to secure a last-minute babysitter, and the four of us had a double date. Over dinner, Brenna asked if we had any romantic Valentine's Day plans. To which Nate replied "Why, yes! We're going out to dinner with our friends Scott and Brenna and then going bowling. How about you?"

We've never been big on Valentine's Day at our house. Except for the first year we were dating, when Nate made me a fancy dinner and HUNG FLOWERS FROM THE CEILING. It can only go downhill from there, right? Besides, I prefer to show my love to my husband every day. But there will, of course, be flowers waiting for me when I get home. And yes, that is a statement, not a question. And also a bit of a threat.

So, our uber romantic Valentine's Day date consisted of stuffing ourselves to the gills with steak and crab, a million rounds of skeeball, and bowling. Turns out Nate and I suck at bowling. I didn't think I sucked, but I do. Especially next to Brenna, who is like Mrs. Bowling Minnesota or something. It's so hard to have friends who are cooler than you. Unfortunately like 99.5% of mine are. Which isn't saying much — I'm some kind of dork (did you read that first paragraph?).

Scott was never quite able to cut the string in the game with a dangling Nintendo DS despite a solid $15 worth of effort, and by the end of the night I was on a first-name basis with the teenager working the arcade ticket counter because this 31-year-old woman is too, uh, special to use the newfangled coin card technology. But Brenna beat Scott at bowling and won the right to sleep in yesterday, and Nate redeemed himself by bowling a turkey, so I'd call the night a success. And Calvin is now the proud new owner of a foam football, some girly stickers, a plastic dinosaur, and some other weird crap we were able to trade for our 350 tickets.

That's right, 350 tickets.

We may suck at bowling, but we are AWESOME at picking easy games that give you lots of tickets. Breyers FTW!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thankful for Thursday [Crabby Abby Edition]

I'm cranky today. My toddler is driving me bananas. It's freezing cold outside, again. I was late for work because I forgot something at home. I'm hungry.

For all those reasons, I am going to force myself to sit down and write a Thankful for Thursday post. I don't know why, really. Something about being thankful even when you don't feel like it blah blah better person blah. Whatever. I'm just going to do it.

1. Clinique Touch Base for Eyes in Petal Shimmer. You guys, I have eyelid wrinkles. This is a fairly recent development, and I just have to say I expected a bit more time on the whole aging/falling face thing. Feels like I'm really starting to look my age, which is just shy of 32. I should not have eyelid wrinkles or fine lines in my early 30s! (Kids, wash your face and wear sunscreen.) And recently I noticed I was getting that gross eye shadow crease in my eye, where all the color bunches in one wrinkly line by the end of the day. I used to use eyeshadow primer all the time but once I had Calvin spending $15 on primer just didn't seem worth the trip to the mall or the cost. But as soon as I noticed the gross eyeshadow crease I hightailed it to the mall and let me tell you — it's worth the trip and the money. Also worth the money: eye cream. Buy it while you're still young and use it. Use the heck out of it. It's too late for me, but it may not be for you.

2. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Oh, dear sweet Mickey. Where would I be without you? Probably even further into crazy town. I love you. Thanks also go to Comcast for offering MMC on demand. Bless you, large corporate conglomerate. I don't care if you are ridiculously overpriced and our only cable option. As long as you continue providing me with a few precious moments of peace after work everyday, I will gladly continue writing you obscenely large checks every month.

3. Reruns of How I Met Your Mother. For the past 5+ years, I have watched Friends reruns every. single. night. before bed. It's the comfort food of television for me. I watch plenty of primetime sitcoms, but all of them lack the familiarity and lovable goofiness of Friends. But, back when I was on maternity leave, I started watching How I Met Your Mother through Netflix. I think I watched all four seasons in about two weeks. I love it. And now it's on Lifetime every. single. night. at the same time as Friends. Which is actually perfect, because now if an icky Friends episode is on (like the one where Ross and Rachel are on a break and he sleeps with Chloe the copy shop girl), I have an alternative. Whereas my only previous alternative was the news. Sadly, I would absolutely choose Ross and Rachel on a break over the news. And I really hate that episode.

4. 98% fat-free hot dogs, Laughing Cow cheese wedges, fruit, and Weight Watchers ice cream sandwiches. Without which, I would be five pounds heavier today. Oh, and a special shout-out to the mega water bottle/straw cup thingy I got from the hospital when I had Calvin. That thing has been getting some serious use the last week and a half. And some interesting comments from passersby at work. I guess it's kind of weird to have a large cup that says "MATERNITY CARE" on the side at work, huh? It's hard to know what's appropriate when you grew up in a household where all the pens, pads of paper, and staplers said things like "Cymbalta" and "Ortho Tri Cylen" on them.

5. Dog Days are Over by Florence + The Machine. I totally love this song. Sometimes I play it on repeat at work because it makes me super productive. And because I not-so-secretly hope to annoy my coworkers.

6. Goodwill. Am I the only mom who makes a decent living but still gets great pleasure out of dressing her child in clothes from Goodwill? I've started scouting it out a few times a month because I get the coolest stuff there, including really great deals on barely-worn brand name clothes for Calvin. (Half-price Toddler Thursdays, y'all!) I love it. In fact, I think I might have to dedicate an entire post to my Goodwill finds sometime soon...

7. A new job! Nate has a new job and I can finally post it because he gave his notice at the hospital yesterday! It's been a long road, but God has been good to us and Nate was offered a nursing job at the hospital where he wants to work (right near our house in downtown St. Paul), on the floor where he wants to work (Med/Surg), and in a shift that is flexible and will work for our family (day/evening rotating). I am so proud of him and so grateful for God's provision and faithfulness these last few years. Also thankful for the truckload of vacation time Nate gets to cash out from his current employer, which leads us to Thankful for Thursday item number 8:

8. The adorable and quite cheerful red pedestal table in my living room. :) (You had to know if I was obsessed enough to post it on the blog I was obsessed enough to buy it, right? Nate sure did...) It wasn't in the budget when I posted it, but we made the decision to set aside money for it this month and then the buying process sped up significantly with the news of Nate's new job. Good thing, too, because there really were limited quantities. I LOVE it. Although it does make our couches look a little tired and now I need new artwork and pillows...

9. Snuggle time with my cute little boy this morning. Cal's started saying "No no no Mama!" and waving me away every time I get near him, so it was kind of nice to hear his cries for me this morning. Even if it was at 5:15am.

10) An upcoming date night with my valentine, thanks to my kind in-laws.

Okay, I feel better. :)

Happy Thursday!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Car ride.

Yesterday, while driving to the mall.

Calvin, from the backseat: Cars!

Abby, driving: That's right. Lots of cars! How many cars do you see?

Calvin: One, two, three...

Abby: Good job, sweeti–

Calvin:...four, five, six....

Abby: Wow! Yes, that's right! Six car–, eight, nine, ten!

Abby: Um, what?

Two minutes later.

Abby: Hi!

Nate, calling in response to Abby's page at work: Hey, what's up?

Abby: Did you know our child knows how to count to ten?

Nate: He does?

Abby: Yes! He just counted to ten. Like, counted ten cars on the road as we were driving!

Nate: Really?

Abby: YES! He's a genius! Our son is a genius! What are they teaching him at that school?

One minute later.

Calvin: Talking about. Talking about. Talking about.

Abby: What are you talking about?

Calvin: Dinos.

Abby: You're talking about dinos?

Calvin: Yeah.

Abby: What about dinos?

Calvin: Bad dinos. (A reference to the book Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs!)

Abby: Oh, the dinos were bad? What did they do?

Calvin: Um...

Abby: Did they empty their mommy's recipe box onto the floor?*

Calvin: Yes. On the floor.

Abby: Oh? And what happened to the dinos when they did that?

Calvin: Um...time out!**

*Guess who pulled that neat trick earlier in the day?
**Guess what punishment was instituted after refusing to help pick them up? It took an hour, a time out, and a few tantrums, but those recipe cards got picked up and I was not the one to do it. Any doubt I had regarding the effectiveness of time outs at his age has certainly been erased, thanks to that little conversation. His genius is going to be his demise...
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