Settling In, Going on With Life

So it’s been about two or three weeks since we made the not-so-big move. We’re mostly unpacked, though my office is still in shambles because that’s the room with the most ’stuff’. Our place is pretty nice, though there’s a LOT of stairs. I’ve finally gotten that exercise that I’ve been putting off for the last 5 years. Hopefully I can get some pictures up soon, there’s a great view from our balcony window, maybe if there’s fresh snow tomorrow morning I’ll take a pic. Or maybe during sunrise, which is really pretty through the trees.

Initially when I started this blog I wanted to keep track of what was going on in my life, and lately I’ve only been putting in the major things, so I just want to list a couple of the little things, especially having to do with Ben since the guy is growing up way too fast!

  • I still have a job, and I am thankful for that. There’s been a lot of reorganization at X-Inc, and there were some tough decisions made. I’m glad I made the cut (or stayed under the radar) but I will honestly miss those that didn’t.
  • I love twitter. I’m the person who finds it interesting when other people post the most inane details about their lives. And although I might not tweet about every time I’m going to the bathroom, I will tell you when I’m having a delicious cup of pumpkin spice soy milk. Because I know you care.
  • Ben lives on a diet of Papa John’s cheese pizza, White Castle chicken rings, Edy’s chocolate ice cream and bacon. Once in a while we get some apples or a banana in there. Hey, just as long as he eats, I’m happy.
  • Ben is still not a fan of school. When I drop him off it’s like a man walking off to his execution. He’s walking, but he’s definitely in no hurry to get there.
  • Once I get this place unpacked, I swear I’m going to do some crafts. Seriously. My crafty finger has been itching for a while.
  • For a while there, Ben had a 180 average at Wii bowling. My dad had given him some coaching and the kid was awesome. But then my dad went to California for a month and the kid forgot everything. He’s really becoming a Wii addict. Currently he’s really into MarioKart, except for the courses in the castle because it’s scary.
  • Ben is starting to get really interested in reading. He can read simple words right now, but he’s still learning the rules. I don’t remember reading being so hard, but the English language is pretty tough. There’s so many exceptions! Like how the -gh in “light” is silent, but makes the i sound into the long i sound. Or the when you read the word “black” you don’t have to sound out the c AND the k.
  • I spend way too much time on Facebook playing games like farmville, cafe world and that zoo game.
  • “Glee” is awesome. Next year’s season seems so far away. At least “Lost” is coming back in January! Crossing my fingers that I’ll get Season 5 for xmas so I can have a marathon before the start of next season.

Hmm…I think that’s all for now. Hope you all have a good holiday, and I hope to post again before the end of the year!

My Little Lion

Whenever we used to go to parties where there was a face painter, Ben was always reluctant to get his face painted, even though he was always fascinated with the faces of the other painted children. He just could never sit still to have anything done, and couldn’t stand having someone touch his face.

Last year, we had gone to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market when we were in town, and there was a woman who was painting faces. I persuaded Ben to try it, and that it would be quick and easy. She did a quick smiley face on his cheek, and he loved it.

So this year, I asked him if he wanted his face painted again at the market. He was totally excited and even stated that he wanted to become a lion. His heart sank when we got there and there was no face painter to be found. I tried to distract him with other things, but he never forgot to mention the face painter.

Later in the day, though, the face painter came, and Ben went right up to her and requested to be a lion. I was a little nervous that he wouldn’t sit still for such a detailed job, but he was a total trooper and sat still the whole time, patiently waiting for his transformation.

He was overjoyed with the results, so much that he kept it on the whole day, complete with a little roar for anyone who asked, and he didn’t want to wash it off that night.

Now, he wants his face painted all the time. I’ll probably buy a kit off the internets since the Halloween stuff that’s out there is a little scary because most of them aren’t supposed to be used for kids his age. I’ll definitely post up our creations…heck, maybe it might even turn into a side job if I end up being good at this kind of thing!

First Day of School


Outside of the Park District

Ben started school last week, and as much as we tried preparing him, by reading books, watching movies and talking about it, he still wasn’t enthusiastic. Dave would even play a little game, something along the lines of:

Dave: Who’s 3 years old?
Ben: Me!
Dave: Who loves Wipeout?
Ben: Me!
Dave: Who’s a big boy?
Ben: Me!
Dave: Who’s going to school?
Ben: You are!

Whenever I would mention school, he would always ask if I was coming with him and when I would tell him that I would just be dropping him off but that I would come back and pick him up. He wasn’t too happy about that.

We’d enrolled him in a 2 hour a day, 2 day a week preschool at the local park district, just to get him used to being around other kids and being away from home. Previously, Dave’s parents and my dad would switch off days during the week to take care of Ben, so he’s not around kids much. During the summer we got him into a t-ball league and a sports class, but I’ve come to realize that he’s just naturally shy around other kids. That, and his favorite hobby seems to be clinging to me.

I was dreading the first day of school, because he cries when I drop him off at his grandparents’. How would he act if I dropped him off in an unfamiliar place? We were on vacation on the days they had the open house for his class, where he would be able to see the classrooms and meet the teachers. So his first day of school would be trial by fire - I was NOT going to stay there and hold his hand throughout the day. He had to do it on his own.

So the first day of school came, and as I drove him there he mentioned in the car that he didn’t want to go. I ignored it and since I was so paranoid, we actually got there several minutes early. So Ben got to hang out outside the classroom and see the other kids, and hang up his backpack on the hook. Once the teacher opened up the room, I led Ben inside, readying myself for the leg hugging that was sure to come.

Lo and behold, Ben saw a toolbench in the corner and immediately left me to go and play with it. I was surprised, but happy. His teacher told him he had to go and wait in line to wash his hands before he played with the toys, and he stepped in line and waited his turn. I talked to the teacher for a second about some paperwork I had to fill out, and stood in a corner to work on it. I watched Ben go back to the workbench and work on a project. He then moved on to the play dough table.

I hovered a bit, and so did many other parents. I wasn’t the only one taking pictures and holding my breath, waiting for some sort of meltdown to happen. There were a couple kids who were already hanging on to their parents, bawling their eyes out. There was a signup sheet outside the classroom to bring in snacks, so I stood there, strategizing the best dates for me to bring in something tasty. Ben walked out of the classroom and pulled me back in, asking “Where are you going?” I was caught! I explained to him that I would looking at stuff out there. I hovered a bit more, this time with Ben checking on my whereabouts every now and then.

Finally, the teacher was calling for class to begin. I didn’t want to make a scene, but I did want to give my little boy a kiss goodbye. I knew it was risky, but I wasn’t going to just sneak out. So I bent down and asked him for a kiss goodbye, and he gave me a kiss and went back to his playing, but he didn’t seem too happy about it.

A couple hours later, I came back to pick him up. The teacher opened the door and told the kids to stay in their seats until their name was called. I saw Ben sitting quietly at a table, waiting. Some kids didn’t listen and ran out of the door as soon as they saw their parents (I wasn’t the only one craning my next to see inside the doorway). When Ben’s name was called, he walked out of the room and grabbed his backpack, and was looking for me in the crowd of expected parents. I did this idiotic wave to him, and he had a smile as he ran into my waiting arms.

I asked him what he did in class, and his answer was “I don’t know” and stuck to that answer for most of the day. Even now, after 3 classes, he still doesn’t talk about class much. I told him that were going back a couple days later, and he replied, “No, I don’t want to go. I already went.” He doesn’t cry when I drop him off, but it’s obvious he’s not feelin’ the school thing. He’s made some art and things, and seems pretty proud of the stuff that he’s done. I guess it’ll take a bit of time to adjust from being the center of attention to having to spend time with a classroom of other small people.

Well, at least he didn’t cry!

Where the Fun Never Ends…til 2010

A couple weekends ago, we decided to go to Kiddieland, since we’ve heard good things about it and Dora the Explorer was going to be making an appearance. Kiddieland is a small amusement park in Chicago (actually Melrose Park) that’s been open since the 1930’s. This year is its last year - I did a little research and found that there’s a family dispute about the land (half of the family owns the park, the other half owns the land) and Kiddieland is not getting a lease renewal, most likely to make way for a more profitable gig, like a Costco or Sam’s Club. It’s a little sad - we just discovered this place this year, and it closes at the end of September, FOREVER!

That said, we’ll probably be going there a lot this summer, since unlike Six Flags, there’s a LOT of rides then Ben can ride here, on his own. He totally had a blast and didn’t want to leave. His favorite was the Mushroom ride, which is kinda like the Teacup ride at Disneyland. I couldn’t ride it more than two times in a row because I’d get so dizzy, but he got a kick out of all the spinning. I thought he was going to love Dora, but I don’t think he had anticipated that she’d be taller than Dave, which freaked him out a little, which is why he’s so far away from her in the picture…

Here’s some of our other pics from the day…


The kids in the back totally make me laugh.

More pics here

Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Work has been pretty tough lately, which has left me in a pretty sour mood. The weather has been pretty bad here as well, which hasn’t helped. Years ago I bought a cheap Elmo kite at Target, but we never got a chance to use it. Ben found it again earlier this week, and has constantly been asking to go fly it. I’ve told him that the weather was bad, or it was too late.

But today was a gorgeous, breezy day, so Dave took Ben to the parking lot by our house which had a nice field next to it. The kite flew nice and high, and I was surprised how well it worked considering the fact that I only spent fifty cents on it. We even let Ben hold on to the kite, and he took the job very seriously. It was some nice outdoor family time, just what I needed after the last couple weeks!

Here’s a couple pictures of our adventure.

I Paid $50 For This?

So did anyone catch the Pacquiao/Hatton fight yesterday? I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t…I mean, if you went to the bathroom, tied your shoe, or even blinked right after the fight started you probably missed it. It was an excellent fight, even though it was short - shorter than it took to sing the 3 national anthems, that is. Well, if they didn’t draw out the Philippine national anthem maybe that wouldn’t have been the case.

Anyway, I’d been watching the Pacquiao/Hatton 24/7 shows on HBO, so I was interested to see how Hatton would do against Pacquiao. Unlike the Dela Hoya version, they didn’t show a lot of Hatton sparring, so I didn’t know what to expect. But Floyd Mayweather Sr. was a big talker, and I almost believed him. Hatton looked like a guy who could punch - HARD. Could his hard punches negate Manny’s quickness? Manny was the same…working out, living with his entourage, loving every moment…he didn’t seem too worried, and I wasn’t worried.

The fight was AWESOME…for the first round, that is. Many knocked him on the floor twice, and Hatton seemed a little stunned at Manny’s quickness and the hurricane of punches that were flying at him. The second round was more even, with Manny getting a little sloppy and Hatton getting in some good punches. But right before the round was over, *BLAM* Manny throws in a left hook that drops Hatton to the floor. We were screaming and cheering, until we were concerned by Hatton’s wooziness. Once he started moving again, things were all good and we were rejoicing again.

Go Manny! Pound for pound best fighter in the world!

pacquiao-hatton.jpg

On a side note, one of our friends in California got Ben the AWESOMEST present - a pair of boxing gloves, signed by Manny Pacquiao. Not only that, but it said, “To Benjamin, “What’s that smell?!?”" Anyone who knows Ben knows that he says that all the time, sometimes when it’s a little embarrassing (like when he’s talking to people).

Still Eating Leftover Cake

See that birthday cake? That thing was HUMONGOUS! Seriously, it weighed more than Ben. I had decided to downsize Ben’s cake from last year, but when the lady asked if I wanted 3 layers instead of 2, I didn’t think that it would end up as huge as it did. Many people commented that it was one of the tallest cakes they’d ever seen.

So anyway, we had Ben’s birthday party last weekend. Rather than having a huge shindig with tons of people, we decided to have a smaller party at the museum with just kids. Which still ended up being a ton of people. It was a lot of fun, even though our time in the room was pretty short…I’ll post up more pictures later…

Potty All the Time

We are currently in the midst of potty training boot camp. We had actually started potty training Ben last year, but we didn’t want to push him. We got him his own little potty to use, and some really awesome cartoon themed underwear (which he calls “underpants”, thanks to the Mickey Mouse Club). He wasn’t really fond of the potty, often stating that he wanted diapers. We went a couple days last year with no pants or diapers, but I just ended up getting peed on.

This time around, Dave was around to help out, and we decided to ditch the little potty and move up to the big person toilet. Ben really enjoyed flushing it, so we thought we could use that to our advantage. Once again, we went pantless (well, not us, but Ben). I also bought some Reese’s Pieces (I know it’s wrong to give them food as a reward, but we were desperate), as well as printed out a Dora the Explorer potty chart and stickers. We followed him around the whole day, asking him every now and then if he had to potty. There were many false alarms, where he would say he had to potty, but we just ended up going to the bathroom holding him on his stepstool with no pee to be seen. Finally, we had a successful potty - though it was when my dad was watching him. He was so proud as he came down into the basement as I was working and announced, “I peed in the toilet!”

Over the next couple days he was at about 50% with peeing in the toilet…though he refused to do a #2. (Too much information? Too bad!) Finally, we made a breakthrough yesterday - we had less false alarms and he would actually pee when he announced it. He’s been delighted to get his Reese’s Pieces and put a sticker on his chart. And finally, right before bedtime, he stated to Dave that he had to poop, and agreed to go on the toilet.

You know you’re a mom when you’re ecstatic and totally psyched when your kid poops on a toilet for the first time.

We had a mini celebration where we hugged and jumped around, as Ben said, “That was easy” and agreed to do it again (riiiight!). He got a new car out of his massive car-holding truck that we had put away after Christmas. We’ll give him a new car every time he’s successful, and he’s determined to get all the cars AND the truck.

Just wanted to share!

The Little Man Turns 3

3 years ago today, I woke up early in the morning thinking that my stomach was hurting because the pantyhose I wore for a reception the night before was too tight. I was thinking to myself, “I knew I should have gotten maternity pantyhose!”. But as the pains came again and again, I realized that my baby was making an earlier appearance - 17 days early!

After a pretty quick and simple delivery (or at least that’s what I tell myself, though I do remember that there was an issue with my epidural, but hey, I felt NOTHING), our little baby boy was born.

And now, we’ve got this talkative, crazy, manipulative, silly ball of energy that makes every day of our lives an adventure.

Happy birthday, Benjamin!

(the annual birthday video will be coming soon!)

Cuties

On New Year’s Day, me, Marilyn and Fatima had a mini photoshoot with Ben and Jacob. It was much easier to pose both of them than it is when I take solo pictures of Ben - I think because they were having fun impersonating each other. Fatima and Marilyn probably have more pics than I do, since I was talking to the boys and taking pictures at the same time. The prom pose that they did kills me every time I see it. If only Maui knew what we were doing with his son when we were on the second floor!

It’s really obvious how tiny Ben is compared to Jacob - Jacob’s 2 months younger than Ben and has a couple inches and 10 lbs over him!