Thursday, May 31, 2012

water beads {as narrated by Liam}

Last weekend mom and I were going to set up the new water table we bought with my birthday monies, but alas, it was way too cold and way too windy. Then, on Sunday, when we were checking out the sales at one of mom's favorite stores, she spotted some water beads. "Water beads!" she said, "I've been wanting to try those." So we went home, dumped them in some water, and watched them grow.

The next morning, Mom put them in a tub for me to play with. First, she showed me how to scoop them up and dump them in her vegetable steamer. She said it was okay if we used her steamer since she doesn't cook much anyway.

Then, she dumped a whole bunch in a big tub and tried to make me stand in them. I let her know in no uncertain terms that I was not interested in doing that.

So we took it easy, trying one foot at a time.

Oh man, you guys, those beads looked delicious, too. I kept trying to sneak them into my mouth, but my sneakiness skills leave something to be desired. Mom kept catching me and making me throw them back into the tub.  Oh well. It was a good day.And I cant wait to break out that water table when it gets warmer.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Top It Off

It's no secret that Liam is kind of a hat guy. Craig has always been known for his hats, so as soon as we found out we were having a boy, I started searching for hats for Liam to wear. I was kind of worried that he wouldn't like wearing hats, but he does pretty well wearing them. Whenever we visit our favorite toy store, one of the ladies who works there says, "I always like it when babies wear hats." Since his first hat at 5 weeks old, Liam has amassed quite the collection of hats {mostly because I love shopping for them}.

We shop for hats at the same places we shop for most of Liam's clothes-- Baby Gap (the clearance section is great), Gymboree (we shop the clearance section there, too), The Children's Place, and Target. Here are a few of my favorites:

Clockwise from upper left:

1. Baby Gap {similar}
2. Children's Place {no longer available}
3. Gymboree {similar}
4. Genuine Kids from Oshkosh at Target {similar}

I am cohosting Toddle Along Tuesday with Melissa at Growing Up Geeky. This week's topic is places to shop! Do you have a favorite store, love consignment sales, or do your shopping online? Share your favorite places to shop for your kids or yourself. Maybe show off some of your fave finds, too! There are no rules here, except that you link up a relevant post (old or new) rather than your whole blog.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Life Lately, v. 4

Liam is a Flirt
On Friday, Liam and I stopped at the library to pick up a few books for our rainy, windy three-day weekend. I overheard one of the librarians telling another, "That's the one I was telling you about." Then when we walked up to the counter, she said, "He's such a flirt."

My Treasure
Liam and I did a little antique browsing this weekend. As I walked out of the shop empty handed, the proprietor said, "You don't need any antiques anyway. You've got your treasure right there."

Liam loves dogs. He used to just say "d-d-d-" excitedly whenever we'd see or hear a dog. Now he's started trying to say the whole word. The way he says his g makes it sound like he's growling. Craig and I joke that he sounds like a little monster.

*Also he's as easily distracted as his mother.

Big Boy {or not}
A few days ago, Craig got Liam a bottle. Ever since our trip, Liam really hasn't used a bottle, as he drinks his milk from a sippy cup now. I said something about Liam being a big boy now and not needing a bottle. A few minutes later, Liam got upset, grabbed his pacifier, and popped it in his mouth.  "Oh yeah, some big boy we've got here," Craig said.

Sideways. Crooked. Upside down. He doesn't care as long as he's got his paci.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Have You Dug Wall Drug?

I couldn't pass up stopping at Wall Drug on our way home last weekend. We had to take the obligatory picture with the Jackalope, Liam got his very own badge with an oath of office stating that he would "obey {his} parents and all authority figures," and the birthday kids got matching faux coonskin caps. It was a pretty amazing end to a good trip.

Monday, May 21, 2012

imagination as big & open as our skies

I need to give a shout out to my sister, who is the coolest 20-year-old ever. She may have spent her birthday hanging out with Liam and me at the South Dakota Children's Museum. When we pulled up, we both wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. There were kids running all over the place and a couple of buses outside. I should have known the place would be packed on a Friday during the last week of school.

A boy in one of the elementary school-aged groups, whose name was Liam, must have kept wandering away. The mother who was supposed to be chaperoning them said, "Where's Liam?" Liam looked around like "here I am." When I finally saw the older Liam, I got a glimpse of my future--blonde hair, glasses, and a Star Wars shirt.

Fortunately, by the time we finished eating lunch with my college roommate, the place had pretty much cleared out. I was a little worried that there wouldn't be many exhibits for Liam, but he really loved the place. I think his favorite part was pulling the pegs out of the giant Lite Brite. The garden and water exhibits were also a lot of fun.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Road Trip DIY

Every one-year-old needs a shirt with the mythical creature of American folklore that is the Jackalope for his first trip to Wall Drug. Right?

I recently discovered that this method for dyeing fabric works really well for covering up blowout stains on white onesies.

The website does a really good job describing the process, so I won't go into too much detail. I do want to share a few tips, though:

-Since I was only doing one onesie, I cut the recipe in half.
-When rinsing, it is best to make sure to rinse until the water runs clear.
-When I washed with cold water, I didn't have much trouble with bleeding, but I did run into a little bleeding when I washed with warm water. Fortunately, I washed the onesie with a load of towels, so it didn't really matter.

In order to create the transfer, I used these transfers and purchased the image from this Etsy shop. I printed the image on the transfer, trimmed the transfer as close to the image as possible, and followed the instructions provided to iron it to the onesie. 

When I showed it to Craig, he said, "Nice. You don't see too many items with the action shot of the Jackalope." Liam is going to be the most unique baby at Wall Drug.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

the future's so bright + the lost sock

The future's so bright, Liam's gotta wear shades apparently. I promised myself I would never be that mom who made my kid wear baby sunglasses just because they look cute. Yesterday, though, as Liam was shading his eyes with his hands, the nine millionth person stopped to tell me that I should buy Liam some baby sunglasses. This morning, as we embarked on our road trip, I couldn't resist picking up these shades. Liam thinks they're hilarious. He laughs as I put them on then pulls them off and puts them back on again.

Liam hates socks. Kick proof, high socks, ankle socks-- he finds a way to get them all off. When we stopped at 1880 Town today, I used the restroom in the gas station before making my way to the entrance. Ever since Liam has outgrown the baby carrier car seat, peeing in public restrooms has become nearly impossible. He somehow managed to pull his socks off and pulled himself up to standing using the door. So, there I was, nearly helpless as my child stood barefoot in a public restroom. So, I finished as quickly as I could, grabbed him and the socks, and turned around to flush. Somehow, just as I was flushing, the sock fell in. Now, we're left with a lonely sock.

I walked out into what felt like hurricane force winds, and as we approached the entrance, I counted three Head Start buses and two school Suburbans. Today just wasn't our day 1880 Town. Liam will have to wait until another day to earn his deputy badge from Marshall Jim Kinney.

Update: If you're visiting from the Toddle Along Tuesday link-up and want to see the things we actually did see on our road trip, you can look here and here. You can also check out more of our adventures here.

Road Trippin'

Road Trippin' by Amber on Grooveshark

Liam and I are heading out on a little road trip across the great state of South Dakota today. We're doing it old school with burnt CDs and NPR. We're hoping to hit up 1880 town (because, seriously, who doesn't want a free sheriff's badge?), the Children's Museum of South Dakota, and Wall Drug with some family and friends in between.Wish us luck.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Life Lately, v. 3

Grand Marshal
I picked up this cheap, lightweight stroller for a little trip Liam and I are taking this week and decided to take it out for a test drive this weekend. As we walked down the street, Liam waved and shouted "heyy" at passersby as if he were the grand marshal at some parade.

"I Knew It"

Liam and I spent our Mother's Day planting flowers. When I showed Craig these pictures, he said, "I knew it."

"You knew what?" I asked.

"I knew you only bought that hippo watering can for the pictures," he responded.

Okay, Craig, you caught me. It's from the One Spot at Target, though, and I couldn't resist.

Liam is an Old Man

I love dressing my kid like a little old man. Argyle sweater vests, button downs, corduroys, driving caps--I love them all. And I couldn't resist when I found this little cardigan with the barn scene on the back for 50 cents at the YMCA rummage sale. I can't wait for fall.

So Big Caught on Video (finally)


Yard Sale Season

As I was packing up a few of Liam's 12 month clothes, I realized that I have way more baby clothes than I will ever need, even if I do have another little boy, so I decided to have a little yard sale. I had originally planned it for last weekend, but the weather was terrible, so I decided to postpone it. On Thursday, I checked the weather, and it looked like we were going to have a beautiful weekend, so I put up an ad on Craigslist, and I woke up early Saturday morning to hang a few signs around town.

Liam's only job was to sit in the yard and look cute to attract the people. It was a good thing, too. One older guy said, "Now, I didn't see you in the newspaper." I guess I'm not on top of things enough to get my yard sale in the newspaper.

You know who frequents yard sales-- old people in search of kitschy shit (and me apparently). So, yeah, the baby stuff wasn't a very big seller. The I Love Lucy Barbie, the Grand Funk Railroad record clock, and anything with a pink flamingo-- all gone.

One lady said, "My grandson is already a lot bigger than he is." Then she looked over at Liam, and turned to me and asked, "Is he walking?"

"Not yet," I said. "Soon, though."

"Oh, well, my grandson is all over the place."

Just when I was ready to say, "Okay, you can leave now," she said, "He's cute, though, and look at all of those teeth."

That's right. He may be little. He may not be walking yet. But he's cute, and he's got a lot of teeth. Thankyouverymuch.

In the end, it wasn't all that stressful, we walked away with a few dollars in our pockets, and we celebrated by eating some frozen yogurt downtown, so it was a good day.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

For My Mom

I couldn't let this week go by without a little shout-out to my mom. Mom, thank you. Thank you for all that you've taught me over the years, things like making sure to hang items on my walls in odd-numbered groups, and that capri pants make short people look shorter, and horizontal stripes make you look wider. All of these are rules that I've broken at some point in my life, but I've never done so successfully.

And thank you for those big things you taught me, too. As I stand in front of my class, I occasionally remember you standing in front of us with that excitement-- shouting things like "Reading is knowledge and knowledge is power."

You taught me how to have fun, too, and to not take life so seriously. I'll never forget one Christmas break during college. You and I went for the local sports bar for supper, and we decided to play Keno. As the numbers showed up on the screen, you said, "C'mon, Mama needs more money to buy Christmas presents." Nothing like keeping it classy.

I love how much you love life, I love that you're a wonderful grandma to my son, and I am forever grateful for all that you've taught me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Life Lately, v. 2

Birthday Boy

We celebrated Liam's birthday last night with a small celebration-- cupcakes, grilling, fire, and friends.  It was a good night.

Mom's Little Helper
Tonight I was folding laundry. I noticed Liam watching me closely, so I showed him how to fold the blanket I was folding. He grabbed a pair of my underwear. I gushed, thinking he was going to help me out (not that I usually fold underwear, but it was cute nonetheless). He looked at them for just a second, and pulled them over his head giggling. What a goofball.

Liam's a Dentist
Drooling, red cheeks, and more fussiness than usual-- all telltale signs of teething. I swiped my finger around in Liam's mouth, and sure enough, there were two little nubs coming through on the top,  numbers nine and ten for this little one-year-old. Later on, I was holding him, and he stuck his finger in my mouth, checking my teeth out.  No new teeth for this mama.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cheap Thrills

Over the course of the next two weeks, Liam's toy box is sure to be overflowing. The funny thing is, you could give him a drawer full of old kitchen utensils and a box and he'd be just as happy as he'd be with a brand new flashing Fischer Price toy. (Most of the time, he's happier with the box and kitchen utensils.)

I hate to admit that it took reading a book to think to tape a picture in the bottom of a box, but I actually got the idea from Gymboree's Toddler Play.

When I discovered this activity to help fine motor development in toddlers, I was sold. All it took were some dollar store pom poms and an old egg carton. Once Liam discovered how much fun it is to scatter the pom poms all over the floor, he was sold, too.


Check out other cheap (or free) activities here.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Party Preparations

We didn't get to have the small birthday party we had been planning for Liam last week due to Craig's crazy work schedule, but we are planning a small gathering this week. I stopped at the party supply store on Saturday. As I walked in,  a woman was paying $125 for the decorations for her daughter's high school graduation reception. I quickly discovered that if I chose to buy the matching invitations party blowers, hats, banners, candles, and thank you notes, I could easily spend that much on my son's first birthday party. I promised myself that I wouldn't go that over the top for a party he surely won't remember. 

I started prepping the orange ice cream last night, which is much easier than I expected. I'm looking forward to trying it out once it's frozen. 

We also sent out invitations for Liam's family birthday party on May 19.

Finally, thank goodness for mothers in law who are into scrapbooking. Liam's scrapbook wouldn't have been nearly as elaborate had I been in charge of putting it together. My only job is to slip the pages inside those plastic sleeves, and thus far, I haven't even been successful at getting that done.

I'm guest posting today over at The Mommyhood Chronicles while Melissa recovers from her trip to Hawaii. Melissa started commenting on my blog pretty early in my blogging career, and I quickly discovered that she and I both had little boys who are just over a month apart. She is one of the sweetest bloggers out there, and I have to give her credit for giving me the idea to do the Saturday laugh posts.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Life Lately

The Other Liam

Shortly after Liam was born a friend stopped by with her two little boys. "Mom, there's another baby Liam?" her two year old asked. It turns out there's another Liam that lives on our street. If I don't redshirt Liam, they'll most likely be in the same class. The poor kids will always refer to each other as "The Other Liam."

A couple of weeks ago The Other Liam's mom was having a garage sale. We decided to stop by and pick up some clothes. Lately, Liam's been rocking a few of The Other Liam's old shirts.  

Snacks for Ages

Did I ever tell you guys how much I regret allowing Craig to convince me to get a Sam's Club membership? We stopped in a couple of days ago to pick up some groceries. We left with no fewer than twelve pounds of snacks for Liam. The kid should be equipped until he enrolls in preschool.

Imagine the following conversation:

Craig: Throw those animal crackers in the cart, too.
Me: (confused look)
Craig: What? He likes them.

What one-year-old needs four pounds of animal crackers?

Laid Back

Liam and I have been walking a lot more lately. It always makes me giggle a little bit when I peek over the umbrella on the stroller to see him with his little feet propped up, kicking back, enjoying the scenery.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

So Big

A couple of weeks ago, I taught Liam how to do so big. He learned it on the second try, so clearly, I am the mother of a boy genius.  I know that millions of babies in this country learn how to do so big before they're a year old, but I was so proud. This past weekend, I decided to try to teach Liam how to hold up one finger when somebody asks him how old he is.

First, I modeled it for him. Then, we did it together. Finally, I decided it was time for some independent practice. "Liam," I said, "How old are you?" He excitedly threw both hands in the air-- "so big." I guess we're going to have to keep working on "How old are you?".

Liam's too busy playing with his birthday present to show off his so big for the camera. 

Also, the winner of the Beautiful Oops book is Megan. Send me an e-mail with your address, and I'll get it in the mail to you.

Thanks to all of our friends both near and far for the birthday wishes. We really appreciate it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

One Year Old

*There are no pictures to go along with this post because the kid is too quick to get caught on camera these days. 

Dear Liam,

One year ago today I found myself caught up in the whirlwind that is motherhoood for the first time. You came into this world pretty quickly, and you still haven't slowed down. 

You aren't quite a toddler yet, which surprises me considering how easily you pull yourself up and around and crawl so quickly from room to room. Take your time, though, Liam. Your mama was an early walker, and she's probably the most uncoordinated person you'll ever meet. 

You have learned so many new things this month-- you clap, wave, and do "soo big" when I ask you how big you are. You have an ever expanding vocabulary. You say "mama" and "dada." You say "nana" when you're hungry and say "d-d-d-" when you hear the dogs barking. You occasionally greet your daddy with "heyy." You are Mr. Personality these days, too. Not only do you dazzle the ladies, but I caught a little old man waving at you at the store the other day. So sweet. 

You still love music. Last night I put on some music before bed, and you clapped along with the beat, danced around, and threw yourself on the bed. I hope you never lose that love. 

Liam, it's so hard for me to put into words how lucky I am to have you. You've changed me. You've made me a better person, and for that I am forever grateful.