Tuesday, December 31, 2013

10 Things Tuesday: New Tricks

My darling 18-month-old can be a lot of work sometimes. But he sure knows how to make up for it. Especially lately, Brayden is a constant source of amusement and entertainment for dear hubby and I. Some of our recent favorite tricks include:

For Christmas, Poppy got Brayden a miniature basketball hoop. This absolutely thrills me. Not only does Brayden love it, but it keeps my husband busy for hours on end as well. (Though I am getting a tad tired of the requests from a grown man: "watch me! watch this shot! from downtown! think I can make it? what will you give me if I do?")

Already better than Daddy...

Hide and Seek
Specifically hiding various objects in places Daddy & Mommy would never look. For instance...

Brayden has a stuffed dalmatian named Pongo that serves as his security blanket. Although he usually only gets Pongo for sleep-time, after a particularly traumatic Santa visit, I allowed him to have him during the day. When naptime came around, I couldn't find the darn thing anywhere. Thankfully, we have THREE Pongos floating around (anyone with a child who has a security item will understand) so I just gave him a different one. I still wanted to find the missing dog though, so I spent a good 45 minutes looking around. Couldn't find him anywhere. Daddy comes home from work and I tell him about the MIA toy. He looks everywhere too. Can't find him either. Finally, after hours of looking, we found the silly dog. He was stuffed into Daddy's secret stash of Lucky Charms under a cabinet. We looked in that cabinet a dozen times for Pongo, but never thought to look inside the cereal box!

The only way this story would be funnier is if Daddy
had found the toy when pouring his cereal the next morning.

One of the other hit toys from Christmas was a Magna-Doodle. Holy smokes, does Brayden love this thing. He plays on it constantly. Lately, he's been bringing it to me, sitting on my lap and demanding I draw something. I'll draw something familiar and he'll identify it in his own way - either by saying his version of the word, or by making the noise the animal I drew makes.

Dance Moves
Brayden has always been a dancer. But lately, he's added a new move to his repertoire and it cracks me up. He does the finger point (think old man or Chandler from Friends). I've been trying to get it on video lately and this is the best I could do.

Kiss Requests
I'm not sure when he picked it up, but now when he bonks his head or smashes his fingers inside something, Brayden comes running to me for a kiss. He reaches the injured body part out towards my face and then happily runs away to continue playing once I oblige. ♥

Stack-an-Object 3.0
First it was the dog cabinet. Then it was Mommy's bakeware. Now we're onto cereal boxes.

By far, my favorite trick. Brayden must help Mommy unload the dishwasher whenever it's ready. He takes each dish or piece of silverware out of it and hands it to me (and if I'm not looking, he walks over to the silverware drawer and reaches up as high as he can to put it inside himself). He also has been taking dirty dishes over to the dishwasher after meals, opening it up and putting them inside. Man, I love this kid.

Maybe I should rent out his services?

Guilty Conscience
I'm pretty fortunate that Brayden is a good kid. He doesn't really get into much trouble or mischief. And the few times he does something he knows is wrong, he comes over to tell me. Lets hope even an iota of this conscience lasts through his teenage years (stop laughing... I can dream!).

Pointing to where he colored on the floor.

Find it
We have a lot of word books at home (those books with pictures that you just point to and say the word for). Brayden loves them. And lately, whenever we get to an item that he has, he has to show me where it is. So one of his books has a crib in it. When we're in his room and I point to the picture and say "crib," he has to turn around and point to his actual crib. I love the reasoning involved in that skill. And even more so, he points to things that aren't actually there at the moment (he points out the window for "truck" or in the kitchen for "blueberries") and altered versions of objects (he has a snowman sippy cup that he points to when I show him a picture of an actual snowman).

Brayden has been throwing things for our dogs for a while now. Earlier this week, Brayden decided to join in the fetching fun. He would pick up the frisbee, run it across the room, drop it to the floor (or throw it a foot away), watch our dog bring it back to me, and then run over to me himself to retrieve it. He repeatedly did that for about 15 minutes. I was just sitting there. Enjoying not having to do anything to keep both my child and my dog amused. It was a joyful time.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Very Brayden Christmas

Less than a week until Christmas? Really??? It feels like everything is just sneaking up on me these days! Thankfully, despite the quick (and stealthy) approach of winter holidays, my little guy and I have managed to do quite a few festive activities. Some of Brayden's (or my) favorite ones are below (though admittedly, we've had so much fun with the daily things as well... listening to Christmas music, baking holiday treats, etc.). ♥

(For the super-enlarged view of the photos, click on them. And to see a few of last year's craft projects, click here.)

Decorating the Tree
Brayden loved it. Although he had some trouble hanging the ornaments himself, he had no problem telling me where to put each one (which might be why every University of Michigan ornament we own is at the bottom of the tree -- within his line of sight). He also decided that his fake fruit was the missing touch to the tree's decor (as I've found them in there several times since the tree went up).

Homemade Gift Wrap
This was my favorite project of the holiday season. I spread a roll of craft paper across our kitchen table, let my little guy sit atop of it, and watched him go to work. He loved having such a big canvas (instead of being confined to a piece of paper or small area like he usually is) and was coloring and painting in huge strokes across the sheet. I cut festive shapes out of sponges for him to use as stampers, and bought a cheap set of cookie cutters to use in the same way. We did this over two days (so I could keep advancing the roll and making more paper) and every time, it was a ton of fun. I used the wrapping paper for special gifts from little guy to all his family members.

Craft Projects
Just a few of the fun projects we tackled over the past few weeks: a handprint Christmas tree, salt dough ornaments (thanks to Grandma S. for coordinating this one!), a snowflake painting (I just taped down a snowflake, let him paint around it, and then peeled it off after drying), and a handprint wreath plate.

More Winter Fun
I couldn't resist posting the picture of my little guy in his snow bib and hat. We were getting ready to go out in the snow and he looked so freaking adorable I just had to take a few snapshots. He was so intrigued by the snow and kept begging me to take off his gloves so he could play in it. Once he finally touched it, he quickly decided it was not something he enjoyed. Brayden has also been in love with this holiday bear that plays Jingle Bells when you touch his foot (it was a gift to him last year). He's been carrying it around for weeks and snuggling up to it constantly. ♥

Santa Visit
As expected, this was the result of our recent trip to see Santa. Brayden was so excited about Santa until the moment when I handed him off. It must be a rite of passage for toddlers.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

33 Weeks!

Holy smokes... only seven more weeks to go. Really??? ♥

It's been six weeks since my last belly picture... and it certainly shows! I can't believe in a month and a half, we'll have another little baby in the house. :)

Baby: I'm in that part of pregnancy where baby is gaining weight like crazy. One-third to one-half of the baby's weight comes in the last seven weeks of pregnancy... which means the baby is gaining about half a pound each week. All of the baby's major organs are developed now (except for the lungs which are still maturing) and all five senses are in working order. They say that babies in the womb can now recognize and react to familiar sounds or songs. If so, we're going to have an entire family of Raffi-lovers since Brayden must listen to his music during car rides. (And since Daddy can't resist belting out the tunes even when we're not in an automobile)

Mommy: No complaints, as usual. ♥ I have been very blessed to have another healthy and happy pregnancy so far. I've been keeping extremely busy with all the things we have going on right now (holidays, traveling, room-switching fun, etc.) but am still trying to fit in some good prenatal care. I've been getting to the gym for some running and elliptical fun, and am working to incorporate prenatal yoga again. All of our traveling has certainly made it a bit difficult, but with any luck, the last seven weeks will be just as active as the first several months. I've been finding myself having a few random cravings (odd, since those typically come during the first trimester!) and the usual shortness of breath that comes in the last part of pregnancy. All in all though, things are going great.

Daddy: I think my sweet hubby is starting to get just a wee bit nervous about the additional work of another baby. Every time I excitedly remind him how close the big day is, I can see his panic level  rise just a little bit. :) Yes, the early days (and months) are a bit difficult... but so very worth it. Other than that (and pitching every University of Michigan athletic-related name option he can think of for our upcoming arrival), he's doing good as well.

Next Up: After next week, my doctor's appointments become weekly visits. Although I don't mind them (I still adore hearing the baby's heartbeat each time!), Brayden seems quite bored with them. It will be interesting to try to come up with new ways to entertain my toddler while waiting at the doctor's office (especially if I have any more experiences like last week... when I had to wait almost an hour!). Brayden is officially moved into his new room now, so we're just finishing getting the nursery ready for a new baby. There's not too much more preparation to go... other than settling on a name for the little one. :)