Category Archives: New Skills

My Three Year Old Is Braver Than Me. And You. And Everyone Else.

When we went on vacation, one of the things I was really looking forward to doing was the Northern Lights Ropes Course. Basically, this is an obstacle course of sorts where you’re walking on swinging bridges, balance beams, tightropes, stairs, etc, all 30+ feet above the ground. I’ve seen a variety of activities like this on TV over the years and the  people who braved these things always seem so proud that they did something out of their comfort zone and I wanted that to be me even though I have the world’s worst balance.

So we get to Wilderness and my mind is made up. I’m going to do the ropes course. My husband thinks I’m nuts and when it gets to be time to do it, Mason wants to do it too. Well, like I said, I have ZERO balance and really wasn’t comfortable with the idea of being in charge of Mason while I was clinging for my life 30 feet above the ground (even though I would be harnessed, I know that wasn’t turning me into an Olympic gymnast in the balance department) so SuperDad elected to go as well.

Knowing we were first timers, a course guide went before Mason to help us get started. Then Mason went and then SuperDad. And you guys? I saw my little 35 pound son, my only child, walking across a rope 30 feet in the air and I almost puked all over. I didn’t even step foot on the first rope before going “Uh uh. No way. NOT going to happen,” I stared for a while and then had the person take my safety gear off so I could go watch my family die have fun.

ropescourse4(This one gives you a better idea how high up above the ground they were)

I got out my camera and start taking pictures – mainly of Mason and the ropes course instructor and a few of my husband, who looked as swooshy as my stomach felt. (I’m doing him a favor and not posting any of those pictures!) To make a long story (slightly) short(er), SuperDad went over three obstacles and then spent the next 15 minutes working his way back to the beginning point and Mason? Well, Mason and the course guide did every obstacle. Some of them multiple times. The guy was FANTASTIC with Mason and let him pick where he wanted to go next and WALKED BACKWARD and held Mason’s hand on the harder stuff.

ropescourse3Occasionally Mason would catch sight of me and call “Hi Mommy!” and give me a big smile and a thumbs up, and then it was back to business.They stayed out there the full half an hour and left no obstacle unturned.

(I’m so bummed this picture is so blurry, but I was still trying not to vomit at this point LOL)


As I walked around to get pictures from a better angle, I saw people everywhere stopping and commenting on my tiny little Mason out there, braver than could be. Fingers pointing, crowds gathering, everyone wanted to watch the little kid going with insane confidence over the course.  It was a sight to behold and I still can’t really believe he did it, especially after we BOTH bailed on him!


So yeah, my (then) 3 year old is MUCH braver than his Mom and Dad.


 *This post was NOT sponsored by Wilderness Resort. They did provide a free one night stay for my family but our time on the ropes course (or lack there of) was entirely my own idea*



Potty Training Help?

So, we’re at a crazy crossroads with potty training right now. Mason is nearly completely potty trained… while at daycare. He goes in the potty 4-6 times a day there and other than nap time, keeps a dry diaper all day long every day. He pees on the potty every two hours and as of last week, has been reliably pooping on the potty too. That’s fantastic, right?!

Well, it would be (more fantastic anyway) if he had anywhere near the same success at home. We ask him if he needs to go potty at home and usually we’re met with a “NOOO!! Don’t have to go!!” scream which is occassionally followed by him running away. He will use the potty at home maybe twice in a 12 hour day, compared to every time in 9 hours at daycare. Any mention of the potty at home gets him upset – if it’s not his own idea, he generally refuses to have anything to do with it. Occassionally, he asks to go directly AFTER he pees or poops in his diaper. In fact, I put the kabosh on “flushing the poopy down the potty” after it became obvious that he was THRILLED about watching me shake the poop out his diaper and into the potty. I was hoping that took away the “reward” aspect of pooping in his diaper but no such luck.

I’ve tried setting a timer to go off every twenty minutes in case he’s too distracted at home, I’ve tried copying his daycare schedule (they basically do potty breaks/diaper changes every two hours like clockwork) and nothing. Last weekend, we tried Thomas Undies and he was super excited and peed in the potty once; then an hour later, peed in his underwear and begged for a diaper so he wouldn’t “spill” again.

We have both a little potty like they have at daycare and a big potty with a special seat that he loves. He willingly climbs on the potty and pees when it’s his idea, so I don’t feel like he’s scared of it. They do jelly beans and stickers for prizes at school, we do jelly beans and things like toy cars etc at home, so it’s not a lack of rewards.  He is super proud and brags a lot when he does go at home – he’ll come running in the room and is all “Mommy, I a BIG BOY! I pooped in the potty!!” and wants a high five – so he gets that going in the potty is a great thing. But still the fact remains that he HATES going when we suggest it and will cry and scream if we try to press the issue. I just don’t get why he can be basically perfect at school and melt down if we even mention “potty” “pee” or “poop” at home….

So, other than feeling like a complete failure (since I KNOW he can basically keep a dry diaper alll day at school) what do I do?! Advice? Anyone? Bueller?

This time last year – Stop, Pajama Time! / The Pet Store Zoo / Fall Time Friday

Two years ago – Very Serious Sunday / Yay Penguins / 1st Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Swimming Lessons

In April, Mason finished up his third round of swimming lessons. I finally got SuperDad to come and observe and take pictures, and of course the one time he’s there (out of the 18 lessons we’ve had), Mason was in a horrible mood, refusing to cooperate, crying on and off, and just a little stinker – something he’s not done (at swim class) since he was 6 months old!

The swim classes are officially titled “Infant/Toddler Swim Class” and they’re for kids ages 6 months – 4 years. At first, I was really worried about the age variance, but the teachers do an awesome job making it something that all ages can participate in. As we sing songs and move around the pool, the babies are simply getting use to being in the water and feeling it on their bodies, while the toddlers (who are use to the water) are working on things like kicking their legs and floating. We also practice pulling up on the pool side and blowing bubbles, which is a big hit with some kids!

Since Mason and his buddy A have been in the class three times now, they are old pros. They both love jumping in the pool from the side, floating on their bellies and kicking, and A is often great about paddling his arms too. They both hate floating on their backs, but the more lessons we’ve been to, the more we’ve seen them really blossom. I would never expect my 2 year old to know how to swim (and believe me, he doesn’t!) but I absolutely love how comfortable he is in the water and think that things like floating and pulling yourself out of a pool can be life saving skills!

Anyhow, here are some pictures of our crabby second-to-last class.

He just spotted Daddy

Working on the dreaded back float

Happily jumping in the pool (Is it just me or is this not really a great thing to teach a toddler??)

“Alllll done”

We can’t wait to hit the outdoor pool sometime soon! And I know that’s not just me – Mason asks to go swimming ALLLLL the time! We’re also might try baby/toddler lessons at another area pool in July. They’re about half the cost, so hopefully that doesn’t mean they’re only half as good!

This time last year – Thrifting / Happy Birthday Eliot!! (and again this year, sweet boy!!!)

Two years ago – Graduated to his Crib / We Swore We’d Never…

Lesson NOT Learned the First Time

Saturday morning, Mason was playing in the kitchen while I sat on the couch in the connected living room, reading my book. SuperDad walked in the room and said “Have you checked on Mason lately?” and my response was “Yeah, he’s in the kitchen playing with his trucks. He just moved a chair a few seconds ago.” Much to my dismay, SuperDad walked in the kitchen to find Mason up on one of our super tall chairs, coloring on the kitchen counter… with a black permanent marker. Oops.

Later in the afternoon, I was in the process of buying shoes online for Mason while he played in and around the computer room. He’d rotate from playing with his tractors on the floor to climbing up into SuperDad’s computer chair and poking at his keyboard, to bringing me “food” that he had cooked (usually chunks of pocket lint or animal crackers in a pan). I was pretty amazed at the fact that I had actually managed to accomplish something on the internet without him begging to sit in my lap and bang on my keyboard or demanding train videos.

I kept surfing and Mason kept playing. After a while, he was back at SuperDad’s desk, scrubbing away. He likes to help clean and can often be found rubbing a paper towel or rag across a surface until it shines. Definitely not a behavior I discourage! A few more minutes pass and Mason says “Mason all done. Mason color! Mason color!” and I reply “Okay Mason, you want to go color? Let’s go color, you’ve been a really good boy!” I get up from my computer chair, turn around, and see this…

Yeah, he didn’t want to GO color. He’d been coloring the ENTIRE TIME. And again, with permanent marker. Crap.

Did you know that while 409 can clean permanent marker off a kitchen counter, it doesn’t touch marker on wooden desks? Thank goodness for Mr. Clean Magic Erasers!

Yeah, we’ll be finding a new place to store our permanent markers, that’s for sure…. Lesson learned, a bit slowly, but learned.

This time last year – First Finger Painting / Happy Birthday Chloe!
Two Years Ago – Happy 1st Birthday, Chloe!

24 Months!

Now that Mason is a big TWO years old, I’m not sure I’ll keep doing these monthly updates, but I think we’ll play it by ear and see how it goes – he seems like he’s changing SO much even day to day that I can’t imagine giving them up, but on the other hand, I really doubt anyone cares that he’s STILL in size four diapers, ya know? Maybe they’ll become “Funny things Mason said this month” posts in the future, but for now, we’ll stick with what we’re use to!

In his 24th month, Mason:

  • wore size 4 diapers and size 6 shoes
  • wore mostly size 18 month clothing. Most of the pants are still too big in the waist
  • weighed in at 26 pounds (10th percentile) and shot up to 35 inches tall(70th percentile) Holy growth spurt, batman!
  • lets you know when he REALLY wants something by not just saying “More more!” but signing it enthusiastically. This is basically the only sign he uses anymore
  • took swimming lessons for the third time
  • got a really horrible diaper rash
  • spent a lot of quality time with Daddy while Mommy worked lots of 12 hour days
  • spent the weekend at Grandma & Papa’s
  • got his first real haircut (photos coming soon!)
  • started doing some bedtime procrastination
  • graduated to the “Two’s” at daycare (new room with different teachers)
  • took an interest in Elmo
  • went sledding and played in the snow for the first time all winter
  • loved reading books about tractors, trains, Elmos (hahaha) potties, and puppies
  • passed his two year screenings with flying colors
  • became more demanding “Mommy do it!” “Daddy SIT!”
  • Favorite snacks were crackers, favorite meal was mashed potatoes or mac and cheese
  • hated eating soup at home but loves it at daycare
  • It hit 70º the week of his birthday so he got to hit the playground early this year
  • LOVED opening and closing doors
  • favorite non-toy toys were the broom and Daddy’s flashlight
  • threw some epic tantrums about coming in from outside

According to BabyCenter, kids his age should be able to name simple pictures in a book and name at least 6 body parts. He points out things in books ALL the time (usually over and over until you go “Yes Mason, that’s a WAGON!”) and he can POINT to at least 6 body parts, but the only ones he announces usually are eyes, ears, and hair. I’ll have to quiz him to see if he knows more! He should also be able to make 2-3 word sentences, which isn’t an issue. Many kids his age are able to open doors (oh my gosh, does he ever!) sing simple tunes (other than occasionally taking up “Row Row Row Your Boat” and “Old MacDonald,” he doesn’t seem very interested in singing) and talks about self. Other than “Mason ni ni” “Mason runnin!” and “Happy!!” he doesn’t really talk about himself. He’ll answer “Does Mason want to….” with yes or no, but isn’t randomly announcing his likes and dislikes. He is able to do their other two milestones – jump and walk down stairs. Some kids his age ask why and are attuned to gender differences. I’m okay that Mason isn’t there yet!

So, all in all, it was a big month for Mason and he’s right on track!

Happy 24 months, little man!

This time last year – My Little Grower / Helmet Update #5

Two Years Ago – Some Good News

Mason Makes Words

Mason has officially reached the stage where you have to be really careful what you say around him because he is repeating everything! I’ve caught myself saying stuff (Such as shouting “Okay!!” down the hall in an annoyed voice) and he immediately parrots it, tone and all, and I realize that it’s not only the words I say that I need to watch, but the tone of my voice and the way I express myself. It’s a whole new world – here I thought I just needed to avoid the curses!

Mason is so curious and is always asking “Momma doIN?! Daddy doIN?!” “Joe doin?!” and has started asking about people who aren’t around – this morning he asked “Grandma doin??” and then when I said Grandma was at home, his next question was “Papa (aka Grandpa) doing?!!?” and then when I say “Papa is working.” he sadly repeated “Papa workin…”

We did a random outfit change this weekend and we usually don’t change clothes unless we’re getting ready for swim class or bed. He instantly said “Simming?? Simming Ray-ray??” (His pronounciation of Aarron sounds like Ray-ray to me) and then when I said we weren’t going swimming, he said Simming? Ray-ray doin??” It’s a good thing their next swim date is less than a week away!

Anything that isn’t like it should be is broken. “Light broken!” “TV Broken!” He also demands “Light on” when he walks into a dark room, but doesn’t understand off yet.

We’re working hard on please and thank you and for the most part, he will parrot it when you say it or if you say “Can you please say please?” half the time he says “Peeez?” and the other half the time he says “Yah!!” and nods his head like “Duh mom, I can say that!”

Last night we stopped at a sub shop and when he saw the pizza spinning in the warmer, he said “Pizza! Pizza runnin!!” which totally cracked me up.

He has randomly said “Excuse me” after burping and if he bumps into you, he’ll pat you nicely and say “Sowwy” which is adorable. Those things must have been learned at daycare, because we haven’t worked on them at home.

He loves pointing out things he knows in books. His favorite things to point out are lights (of course), trees, kitties, tractors, and cows.

The other day his computer started playing the ABCs and he sang the “ABC” part right along and I about died from the cute. We tried to encourage him to keep going, but he was off and running with something else.

I really want to start taking better notes about what he’s saying because he cracks me up at least once a day, but when I sit down to write about it, I only think about the stuff I hear all the time. He’s saying a lot of 3-4 word sentences and I definitely want to share more here, so my goal for the next month is to get more down on paper!

What were some of the cute first things your kids said?

This time last year – Balance (one of my favorite posts)

Little Tree Hugger

When I was a kid, I loved reading books like “50 Ways You Can Save the Earth” and trying to do everything I could to be earth friendly. I was even a member of the Cool Kids Earth Club or something like that and was super excited to get my quarterly “Kids Save the Earth” magazine.

Well, it seems like Mason is following in my footsteps. His most recent obsession is lights. He gets very excited any time he looks up and notices lights (such as at swim class Wednesday night) but it’s evolved to much more than that – he’s become the light police!

The other night, I told  him it was time for a bath and he grabbed his wash rag and his water cup and ran for the tub but at the last minute, turned around and ran to the bedroom and pointed and said “Light! Light!” over and over again until I shut the light off. Then, we got to the bathroom and he said “Light! Light!” until I turned that light on. When we were done? He started crying when I left the bathroom calling “Light, light?” and he was  happy again once I shut the light off.

Same thing this morning – he ran into the computer room and cried “Eh oh! Light! Eh oh!” It’s like he totally knew that no one was in the room so the light shouldn’t be on.

I’m wondering if I can get him to help with the recycling next….

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This time last year – 7 month update

My Secret Mommy Confession – Toddler Artwork

At daycare, they spend a lot of time doing artwork. Every week, I’m bringing home at LEAST six art projects of all shapes and sizes and made of all sorts of… things. And today, Ive got a confession to make. Just seeing most of these atrocities in Mason’s cubby make me cringe.

I feel like, as a mother, I should be so excited to see each and every art project made by my little boy’s fingers. I should be wowwed by his mad art skills and have his creations hanging all over my house.

Instead, it’s just about exactly the opposite. I throw 90% of it straight into the garbage. Tinfoil with pudding rubbed on it? Garbage. Dead grass glued to a piece of paper? Garbage. Construction paper that was “colored” with ice cubes? Trash. A coloring book page with two lines scribbled on it? Garbage.

We’re still at the stage where Mason shows no recognition to any “project” we bring home, so I don’t feel TOO badly throwing them away, but I feel like I’m missing some sort of important gene that makes me incredibly excited about every crayon stroke he makes. Instead, I’m going “OMG, what do they expect me to do with a 10×14 paper with corn glued on it!?” I know from a clutter standpoint, we’re suppose to either scan or take a picture of the artwork so then we will have a photo to treasure instead of a giant wad of paper triangles glued to a coffee filter, but I’m not even moved enough to find this stuff photo worthy.

But I mean, really? Look at yesterday’s artwork….

(Yep, you’re seeing that right – a full piece of paper with some orange scribbles)

Don’t get me wrong, we keep a piece here and there and even have some stuff hanging on the fridge and we offer everything we possibly can to the grandparents. But most of it goes into the trash and some of it gives me the willies – I mean, can chunks of food glued to paper really be a good long term thing keepsake?!

So, is there a special place in Mommy hell for me? PLEASE tell me you guys don’t keep every piece of art that your tiny “would rather eat the crayon than color a picture with it” toddler does….

This time last year – Motherhood has Taken Over My Brain

PS – the lovely leaf  “art” up top? He obviously had help with it because you can see his tiny light scribble marks in one portion of the leaf and then the dark marks are all way harder than anything he’s ever done before and mysteriously well within the lines. Even the teachers must feel bad about the quality of one year old art LOL

18 Months

With all the Yo Gabba Gabba excitement, I didn’t get around to reminding you guys that Mason is now 1 1/2 years old!!! How did this happen?!!? I have to admit that this was the age that I always pictured him when eagerly awaiting the future. I also basically stopped researching about milestones/behavior at this point, so I guess I better resume that soon since I’m kid-clueless.

Anyway, at in his 18th month, Mason

  • still wore size 3 diapers
  • still wore mostly 12 month clothes with a few 18 month tops in the mix
  • weighs a little over 25 lbs according to the Wii Fit… with his clothes and shoes on.
  • Wears size 5 – 5.5 shoes and has more than I do!
  • started sleeping in till at least 9 am on the weekends. LOVE THIS
  • asks to go ni-ni at night and stands outside his crib
  • loves to brush his teeth
  • has started  to use the word my, usually with “My puppy”
  • his blue stuffed puppy is the only stuffed animal that gets the time of day from him
  • left the state for the second time
  • saw his first live show
  • attended his second camp fire
  • played outside for at least three hours every non-rainy day
  • askes to go outside (Side?! Side?!) repeatedly when it’s raining
  • got his first black eye
  • will sometimes say 2, 5, 6, 9, and 10 if you count out loud with him. Usually will only do 2 or 3 of the numbers though and doesn’t like to perform this trick several times in a row LOL
  • favorite toys are his shopping cart, his push penguin, and his toy bus or tractor
  • went shopping in the big mall with SuperDady for the first time
  • said his first three word “sentence”
  • loves to give the critters their items – throws Joe’s stuffed animals at him, tries to shove his pig ear or kong in his mouth
  • loves his grandma’s new kittens
  • keeping him OFF the dog bed is a huge challenge currently
  • painted with pudding, colored ice cubes, and whip cream at daycare
  • had his first fast food meal
  • is the “best eater” at daycare often having seconds and thirds
  • but hates eating at home.
  • Signs eat repeatedly and tries to get in his highchair but then hates everything we try to feed him.
  • is on a total pasta strike. Boooo
  • developed a huge fear of the bathtub
  • Is starting to get over said fear, thank goodness
  • started crying when I leave him at daycare
  • Yet runs from me when I come to pick him up
  • sold a lot of his baby clothes at the consigment sale and made over $200!
  • still hates diaper changes
  • likes to give random hugs
  • holds his hands behind his back when he’s feeling shy

I’m sure I’ve said this a million times, but it’s so much fun to see how much he learns in a single week. From the new words he grasps to the requests I randomly make that he follows perfectly, it’s so obviously he is growing in leaps and bounds mentally. Three weeks ago he was sobbing because he couldn’t get his shopping cart over the bump between the kitchen and the living room and now he is making the cart pop a wheelie and getting over effortlessly. All the little things that we take for granted that we know are huge challenges to a young toddler and it’s so exciting when figures new things out and the look of pride on his face just melts your heart!

Happy 18 Months, Little Man! We love you!

New Obsession

Mason has a new hobby. It’s adorable when I’m not in a hurry, but very irritating when I am.

Whenever I put him in his car seat, the second I reach for the strap, he barrel rolls out of his carseat, dive bombs the seat next to him, crawls up between the passenger seat, and starts “driving.”

Like I said, totally adorable if I’m not already five minutes late or at the end of my patience rope.

(The rolling thing has been going on for a few months, but I’m pretty sure the driving obsession started when he got to “drive” a police car at National Night Out a few weeks ago LOL)

This time last year – Another Picnic