My Son Hates Santa

In retrospect, I should have known it would go poorly. 

We were at a friends house, and EH was just getting settled in playing in the living room with the other kids.  We were standing in the back of the room, and every couple of minutes he would look for us, call "Mama" and then run over to me and drag me to the toy area.  I was always successful at getting him started with a new toy and then quietly walking away, but we were only there for about 15 minutes before "the event" and so I really should have known.

We heard the jingle bells approaching and everyone in the room stood up and started walking towards the doorway.  This meant that EH's view of us was now obstructed and there were strange noises happening. He started yelling "Mama? Mama?" and running towards us, and you could hear the panic building in his voice.  But there were a lot of people to walk through, and even though I was heading towards him as well, he rounded a corner just in time to come face-to-face with the big man himself, and seriously, you would have thought that someone hit him with a taser gun or something equally as crazy, based on the chaos that ensued.

He started wailing - and by wailing, I mean WAILING - and I quickly scooped him and took him to the other room.  But he was nearly inconsolable, and didn't even want to be held.  This meant that the next ten minutes or so looked a lot like this.

And sometimes like this.

He would momentarily calm himself down, and then suddenly remember the monstrosity that he had just encountered and the sobbing would start all over again. 

We tried to talk to him in soothing tones about "Santa" and all the stuff that goes along with Santa, but he wasn't having any of it.  "Ahhhh!!! I no like Santa!!!" was all he would say for a considerable amount of time. 

At one point when he had calmed down a bit, I carried him into the room, but he immediately started crying again.  So back out we went.  "I no like Santa," he stated again, quite firmly. 

Once, Mrs. Claus even approached EH to give him a coloring book, but the ear piercing wailing quickly scared her away.

So while the other kids sat on Santa's lap, told him what they wanted, got candy canes and coloring books from Mrs. Claus, and then sat in a circle listening to stories? 

We watched.

From the back of the room.

And even then he considered that to be far too close to those terrifying red and white people.  "I no like Santa!" he reminded us. 

All conversations went something like this:
EH: "I no like Santa, Dada.  You like Santa?"
DH: "Oh yes, EH, I like Santa very much?"
EH: *curious head-tilted stare that clearly stated "You're crazy, dada."* "I no like Santa."

So, needless to say, EH did NOT sit on Santa's lap.  He didn't tell him what he wanted for Christmas and he didn't get a candy cane from Mrs. Claus.  She did leave a coloring book for him, but we ended up forgetting that, and I'm not sure that he would have touched it anyway, since he knew who it came from.  We purposefully dressed him up in one of his nicest sweaters and we brought the good camera because we thought FOR SURE we were going to the best Christmas-card worthy photo of EH and Santa ever. 

It is comical how OH SO WRONG we were about that. I am fairly certain that EH will forever be traumatized from that experience, and I think it quite possible that if we tell him who brought his Christmas morning presents, he will abandon them all together, because if we learned one thing from that night, it is that EH "no like Santa."

But after Santa left?

Right back to being a cute, friendly, charming, cheesy-smiling, talkative, and cute-as-ever toddler. 

Him and Santa just weren't meant to be.

Fall Fun in the Leaves!

Raking leaves (or rather, blowing leaves) hasn't been a ton of fun in the past.  It's still a lot of work, but having EH around to enjoy the leaves has made the work much more enjoyable.

We had beautiful weather this past weekend, and he had a blast playing in the leaves!

He loved picking the leaves up and throwing them in the air.  There was a nice breeze that allowed them to catch a little and blow and he thought that was greatest. 

He spent some time jumping in the leaf pile with his dada (who acquired a tick in the process, but thankfully they left EH alone) and obviously had a blast.

If that's not a look of pure toddler joy, I'm not sure what is!!!

And at the end of the day we let him try on the leaf blower, and I'm not sure that he could have looked prouder than he did walking around holding onto that leaf blowing tube.  It may have resulted in a huge tantrum when we finally forced him to go inside, but it was worth the cutest and the smile at the time.

After 2+ years of wanting him to have fun in the leaves we were so glad that this was finally the year!


Last week I was in Providence, Rhode Island for a conference for work.  Although I didn't get to see a whole lot of the city other than a quick driving tour from my sister-in-law, I did have an amazing view out of my hotel window.

19th floor of the Omni hotel, overlooking downtown Providence

DH played single-daddy that week and it is an understatement to say that things did not go well for him.  I think both daddy and son were glad to have mommy back.  It also didn't help that it was a crazy busy week for DH, with travel on both weekends surrounding the week I was gone.

I like traveling for work, mostly since I only have to do it once or twice a year, and I enjoy having a chance to visit new places in the country including San Diego, Forth Worth, and now Providence.  But having a toddler definitely makes it more challenging, and I did miss the little guy.  However, I'm hopeful that I can continue to go away whenever the opportunity to presents itself since I do think it's always a good experience!  After all, I'm probably never going to stay at a fancy Omni hotel on my own dime!

Same view, but at night

Providence is a cute little town, and it had a city feel while also seeming really clean and friendly.  Perhaps some day I'll have a chance to go back and visit with more free time.  But all in all, I enjoyed my time in Providence!

Halloween 2013 - Still no candy!

For the third Halloween of his existence, EH did not go trick or treating.  We were all ready to take him this year, but it was raining like crazy and since he didn't know what he would be missing - and since it would still be more for us than for him - we decided to stay home.

We practiced carrying around his pumpkin the weeks before

But his Halloween costume didn't totally go to waste!  This past weekend we had our annual "Fakesgiving," when DH's side of the family gets together to celebrate Thanksgiving prior to the event itself, allowing us to celebrate Thanksgiving with both sides of the family without any conflict.  The morning after Fakesgiving we put all of the cousins in their costumes and set out on a hayride in the back of a truck - except that EH refused to get into the back, and insisted on sitting up front.

Have I mentioned that we are deep in the middle of the terrible twos?

Have you ever seen a serious monkey driving a four wheeler? I have.

EH's penchant for throwing tantrums means that we are often those parents who have to remove their screaming toddler from the restaurant or wherever we may be.  It also means that all of the other children nearby walk away looking like saints compared to the devilish child that EH becomes when he's in full blown tantrum mode.

But when he's dressed like a monkey, it's hard to stay mad at him for long.... especially when he's a monkey driving a tonka truck.  Too cute. 

On this particular day, EH's tantrum resulted from him wanting to be the ONLY one driving the little tonka truck, and our insistence that he takes turn.  Have I also mentioned that he's not very good at sharing?

So, I promise you that he was a cute little monkey, even though I couldn't get him to stand still to pose for a photo.  His little cousins were an owl and a bunny this year.

One of these years I'm sure that EH will go trick-or-treating, and I figure from that point on, there is no going back, so I'm glad that we were able to avoid the rain but still get to enjoy our little monkey!

Big Boy Bed

About two weeks ago EH's sleeping habits started to take a turn for the worst.  This coincided nicely with the timing of when DH decided that it was time to take away the num-num (EH's name for his pacifier.)  I say that "DH decided" because I really was against the idea of taking the num num so cold turkey, without any advance notice or thought.  It was really hard on EH, and on me.  And then of course THIS coincided nicely (NOT) with EH developing a cold.  So, not only was he not sleeping because he was sad about his num num, but now he was waking up in the middle night because of a coughing fit and he had no way to soothe himself back to sleep. This meant that I was waking up multiple times per night to soothe him and rub his back, and DH was spending 30 to 60 minutes in his room each evening because now that the num nums were gone EH didn't want to go to sleep unless one of us was in the room with him (which always resulted in him wanting to play instead of sleep.)  I quickly lost all patience with all of this and one night I alllllmost gave him a num num in the middle of the night, until DH agreed to take night duty the next night.

Needless to say, the past couple of weeks have been a big hot mess when it comes to toddler sleep.

So, where was I going with this?

Well, shortly after the num num's went "all gone" and the cold symptoms alleviated a little, EH decided he didn't want to sleep anymore.  He wouldn't fall asleep on his own, which was devastating to me because he had always been so good about going to sleep without needing us there.  On top of all of this he was napping poorly - sometimes only 30 minutes, which resulted in a very cranky toddler come evening.  He would wake up in his crib and just start screaming - he almost never fell back asleep (which almost always happened when he had a num num.)  He also started to swing his leg over the rail of his crib.  He never jumped out, but he was always close.

So around this time my mom was asking about where EH would sleep once he no longer fit (or would tolerate, in his case) the pack and play.  I pulled out the toddler travel bed that we purchased that is essentially a foam floor bed.  It rolls up into a bag about the size of a pack and play, and can just be rolled out onto the floor.  It's really quite cute.

When we pulled this bed out, EH started playing and laying on it, and I decided that it was time to see how he would do sleeping outside of the crib.  He was interested in this new bed, and I talked to him about sleeping in a big boy bed.  That day for his nap (it was a Sunday) he laid down on that floor bed, didn't fuss, didn't cry, and then proceeded to sleep for three hours and fifteen minutes.


With that sort of success I said "Screw the crib!" and that night at bedtime we did the normal routine - milk, books, teeth brushing - and then went back into EH's room.  I set him down on the floor instead of putting him in his crib and asked him where he wanted to sleep.  He plopped down on the floor bed, I covered him up, gave him a kiss, and left.  I put a gate up outside of his door in case he decided to start wandering around but it wasn't necessary - he didn't make a peep, and he slept straight through the night!!!! It was a amazing!

The floor bed itself is a cute green and brown design that happens to match his room perfectly, but I put a pee pad down and a sheet to protest - good thing, because he leaked out that night!

Those results have continued over the past week, and the floor bed has been a godsend.  I know that some of the success is simply related to the novelty of this new bed, since he's been getting increasingly confident about the fact that he can just get up and walk around him or to the door.  But for the few nights that he slept great, it was all worth it.

We finally decided to buy a toddler rail for his crib and we removed the front crib rail last night.  We talked a lot about sleeping in a big boy bed, and I even read him an Elmo book on the subject.  He seemed excited about it and kept talking about the "big boy bed" but when we went back in the room after brushing his teeth, he seemed afraid of the toddler bed, and instead decided to sleep on his floor bed again.  I didn't want to push the issue so I let him be.

He woke up early this morning crying around 5:45, and I went in and rubbed his back.  He fell back asleep and when I went into wake him up at 7 a.m. he was in his "big boy bed!"  I laughed out loud and took this picture (which was taken in complete blackness - the camera on my phone is awesome!)

He apparently decided that he was ready to try out his "big boy bed" for real. 

I love the floor bed, and I would keep using it forever if it meant that he would continue to be this dream ofa  sleeper.  BUT, if he happens to decide that he wants to sleep in his big boy bed I would be thrilled, since the floor bed takes up quite a chunk of space on his floor!

In case anyone is wondering, the floor/travel bed is the Leachco Bumpzzz Travel bed.  The zipper on the bag of the first one we received broke off the first time we tried it, so I was initially super annoyed, but their customer service department was quick and easy to deal with and they sent me a replacement bag within a couple of days, so I still highly recommend the bed, especially since he's had such amazing results sleeping on it!

We have a few weekends coming up that are going to involve travel and most likely (now that he probably won't want to use the pack and play) him having to sleep in this bed.  So, I'm glad that he's used to it and hopefully he shouldn't have any transition issues!

Asking For Your Help

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the blog post that DH wrote for the Be Good, Be Safe, Have Fun Run that he's helping to organize in memory of his mother.

Well, now it's my turn, and I'm going to ask for your help.

First, go read the post.

As a bonus, you get to see a picture of adolescent DH as well as one where he's standing on his head.  These are not things you get to see very often.

Then, go to my race page and make a small (or large, if you're that kind of person!) donation to the race and to the charity, Supporting Kidds. 

Anyone who has been reading this for any length of time knows that I never ask for favors.  I have never before asked you to donate money, or to vote for my cute kid or dog on some annoying website that you have to register for and then receive endless emails from.

I don't do that because I only ask for favors when it's important.  And now is one of those times.

Please, please, please consider making a small donation.  If 20 people each made a $10 donation, or 40 each made a $5 donation, I would meet my goal (and a few more would send me over it!) Some people are embarrassed to make small donations, because they think that it makes them look cheap.  I disagree.  A $5 donation would tell me that you support our cause, that our blog posts moved you, and that you're thinking about us.  That's means a lot.

And if need more motivation, think about this.  The charity that your donation goes to is called Supporting Kidds.  They provide support and counseling to young children who are grieving the loss of a parent.  Those of us with kids have probably thought about things like life insurance if something should happen to us while our children are still young, but what about the emotional side of a child dealing with grief? Are we as mourning parents prepared to help our kids deal with that and understand what happened?  Probably not.  I'm sure I wouldn't be.  We need organizations like to be there to pick up the pieces for our families should tragedy ever strike.  And whether you have children or not, imagine a small child, crying and asking where his mama is and not understanding what "death" is, and trying to explain that to him - I think we can all imagine why services like this are important. 

So, again, please click over and read my post (and read all of the past posts as well!) and consider making a donation, no matter how big or how small.

Your support means the world to me!

A One-Legged-Turkey Problem

For the past couple of weeks, we have had a problem.  It's a serious problem, but a ridiculous sounding one.  You see, we have a one-legged-turkey problem. 

This stupid one-legged turkey - we now refer to him as OLT. Yep, he's been around long enough to have a nickname - has been hopping around our yard for nearly three weeks now.  I first noticed him on a Thursday morning, stumbling around eating apples that fell off of our tree.  At that point I thought, "Aww... poor turkey got hurt and lost a leg.  I'm glad he found something to eat." 
Now, two weeks and half a dozen dog baths later, I am all "Let's buy a slingshot and kick that bastard's ass!"  
Lol...oh, how my tone has changed.  
To be honest, I am experiencing major internal turmoil over this issue.  The bleeding-heart-animal-lover-side of me is fighting with the Montana-style-"get-off-my-land-and-don't-mess-with-my-dog!" side of me. 

See? When he lays down - which he does quite frequently given how tired his one leg gets - he actually looks like a cute little duck

But I am ready to be more aggressive.  Murph finds great pleasure in rolling around in turkey poop, and I seriously cannot believe how much that bird poops.  I've given him at least four baths in the past two weeks, including one morning before work, it really threw off my morning.

The turkey was still over in the side yard, thinking about coming over for apples when I took Murph off the leash and noticed he was a mess.  In my rage, I ran off of the porch in my bare feet and work clothes and started running up our steep hill, yelling at the stupid animal, who didn't seem phased at all and clearly didn't consider me to be a threat.  He took one hop in the other direction then turned his head around and just watched me make a fool of myself.  In that rage I also neglected to remember that I had let Murph off the leash, so he got all excited about my yelling and his dirty hide ran up the hill, barking away at the turkey, completely unleashed. Fortunately Murphy was distracted enough by the word "treat" (which he did NOT get) that he came back without any problem, and sadly, even with all of that drama the turkey barely moved an inch. 

Day later, the turkey remains undeterred. 

Yesterday he brought an entire hoard of turkeys - at least 8 of them - to the yard with him, as well as three deer.  I felt like we were living in a zoo.  Three days ago I saw him across the street and up the road and thought that surely that was too far of a distance for him to come back any time soon, and I thought that maybe - just maybe - he would get hit by a car if he tried to come back to our side of the street.

No such luck.

So, we still have an OLT in our yard, we still have a dog that rolls in turkey poop, and I have no idea how to get rid of him.

Does anyone know when turkey season starts? 

2nd Birthday Bonanza

EH's second birthday party was SOOO much better than his first.  Besides the fact that he napped horribly on the day of his first bday party, I tried to do everything myself just to save money, which I know now is so terrifically stupid.  It is worth EVERY PENNY to spend the money to make the day less stressful and more enjoyable.  I would gladly spent a thousand dollars and relax than save a hundred and stress.  Oh how perspective changes in just a short year!

We started the day by sticking a candle in some cream cheese and trying to teach him how to blow it out.  He found this to be great fun - and he was actually successful a few times - but after he grabbed the candle and got hot wax on his hand, we decided it was enough practice. 

This year's party included many more little kids than last year, so as a party favor we gave every child who attended a twisty straw cup, like the one you see in EH's wheelbarrow below.  We also got out all of the fun outdoor toys that we owned, so that there was plenty for all of the kids to do. 

The swing set was a huge hit with everyone.  The day had started out overcast and slightly rainy and we were worried that we were going to have to shift the entire party indoors or into the garage, which is definitely NOT the ideal scenario.  Fortunately the weather cleared up, the sun was behind the trees by the time people started arriving, and the low humidity meant that everyone was comfortable and happy!

For birthday cake I ordered an almond torte and gobs for the adults, and a little personal smash cake for EH.  I added the little dino figurine from Toy Story to make it a little more personal.  This year he didn't even try to smash the cake at all! So, I was able to cut it up into 4 pieces - EH got 1 and three of his friends got the other slices. 

When it came time to actually blow out the candles, our morning practice didn't do much good.  You can't tell from this picture, but he's actually trying really hard to blow those candles out.  He just didn't open his mouth in the right way to direct the air.  So during one of his blows, DH sent a gust of wind from behind and blew them out.

As expected, he loved his birthday cake.  And the novelty of the straw cups and the fact that I only put water in them meant that EH drank more water that day that he probably had in the entire month prior.

Then it was present time. I wasn't able to get many pictures because I was busy helping EH with opening, but let's just say that he got LOTS of trucks, lots of games, and some cute clothes!  He had fun opening his gifts this year.

After that it was back outside for more fun.  EH enjoyed his new dump truck by sitting down in the middle of the corn hole game and declaring "It's my birthday and I'll do what I want!" 

We let him have his day.....

He stayed up until 9:30 p.m. - an all-time latest record since he started sleeping through the night.  He did sleep in some the next day, but not enough to make up for the late bedroom, so it took another day or so to get him back on schedule. 

But all in all, it was totally worth it.  Worth every penny spent and every minute of cranky toddler the next day (which wasn't much, honestly.)

I can only hope that his future birthday parties are just as enjoyable!

Be Good, Be Safe, Have Fun Run blog post

As some of you might know, DH's family is planning and hosting a 5K Fun Run/Walk in November in memory of his mom, Cathy Hartman.  It's called the "Be Good, Be Safe, Have Fun Run."

In an effort to raise awareness for the event and donations for their chosen charity, they've set up a blog where people post memories or stories about Cathy, and then ask readers to support them as runners. 

I've written a post, and mine will be going up in the next couple of weeks, at which time I will surely post about this event again, and even shamelessly ask you to support me in making a small donation. 


But today is DH's day, and in many ways, I think it's even more important to support him and his brothers in their fundraising efforts.  So I promise that if you decide to support DH as a runner instead of me, I won't hold it against you.  In fact, I consider any donations made to either DH or I a donation to both of us as a team.

Click here to be redirected to DH's post on the Be Good, Be Safe, Have Fun website.  Read his post, wipe away your tears, and then go back and read the ones that have already been posted.  Then, be sure to come back in a couple of weeks to read all of the news one that are up (there are only a few there right now.) 

In case you need motivation to click over to the site, here's a little snippet from his post:

What do you do when your Mom dies?

What do you do when the most relentlessly positive force – who had been there for you throughout your whole life – loses a long and draining battle to cancer at the age of 63? When she was the parent you called every single day for your entire adult life, not out of obligation or immaturity, but because she was someone worth talking to, because she had stories to share, advice to give, and oodles of support for everything you attempted?

What do you do when you hold your Mom’s hand as she dies in a hospital bed, and blink to find that it’s 10 days later, and you are holding your wife’s hand as she gives birth in a hospital bed, to a perfect first grandchild your Mom couldn’t wait to meet?

What do you do when a newborn’s tears are flowing before yours have even begun to dry?


Please go and read the rest, and consider making a donation if you are able.  Any amount, no matter how small, will help a charity that supports children who are mourning the loss of a parent.  It's a good cause - I promise.

He's 2!

August is a bad time to have a baby for someone who works in higher ed.  August means long nights, weekend hours, and not much time to celebrate a birthday party!  We had a wonderful party, but I've been working so much that I haven't had time to post a single picture!

He's 2.  TWO.  Can you believe it? I can't!

I have some posts started to recap his second birthday party (which went sooooo much better than his first, for a thousand reasons I'll outline in a post soon, I promise!)


I got my first real harvest of the summer today - one cucumber, Swiss chard and tons of green beans!

The challenge now is convincing EH to eat green veggies, something he has recently been protesting.

Cool Cat

I think he's ready to go to kindergarten.

And he would definitely be the coolest kid.

First Zoo Trip

We took EH to the zoo for the first time on July 5th.  I mention the date specifically because it was probably not the best day to take a not-quite-2-year-old to the zoo.  The day after the 4th of July... everyone on vacation... kids out of school... steamy hot July temperatures and humidity.... it was tough.

I preface with all of that because in all honesty, it was more stressful for us than we wanted it to be.  I do think that EH had a great time, and he seems to have taken in more than I thought he did, but it was so hot, and so crowded, that we had a hard time keeping him near us, and a hard time seeing many of the animals, because the crowds were so big and lines so long that we just wanted to get through.

So, if you take nothing else from this post, let it be this - go to the zoo on a random weekday.  In the fall.  Not around a holiday.

And I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time.

So you'll notice that this post is relatively short on pictures, and all of the above explains why.  All of the pictures below are from the first 15 minutes that we were there.  After that, all of the time, energy and attention of three adults were spent keeping track of a tiny toddler amidst crowds of people and wild animals.

So, here are the highlights of what we captured on (e)film!

 First up - Kangaroo enclosure!

Some of the most fun he had the entire day was riding this turtle. Fun and cute - win/win!

Plus I got this great, frameworthy picture of EH with his dada.

He also had a blast watching the sea lions swim in the tank (and loved the aquarium in general, even though we don't have any pictures from that.)

And of course, the petting zoo, where he touched both goats and sheep!

I know that the zoo is going to be a really fun and awesome place to take him in the future.  We purchased a membership, because as long as you go at least 3 times in a calendar year, you will get your money's worth, and I do want to take him more often now. 

It's just that after that last experience, I have dreams of taking him on a school day in November or December, when it's cool/cold, but not snowing, when there are no crowds and we can just explore and have a grand old time.

I'm already looking forward to it!  If you have a zoo membership too and want to go with us sometime, let me know!

EH's Summer Vacation

Last week EH spent 8 days at his Grandie's house, all of those with his daddy and some of them with me as well.  It was his summer vacation in a sense, and he had a ton of fun.

Some of the highlights include:

1. Spray Park!
 He absolutely a blast at the spray park. The first time he went with his dad on a sunny day, and it was relatively crowded.  The second time he went I was there as well.  It was overcast and raining most of the time, plus the water wasn't working for the first 40 minutes or so that we were there.  There was another family there with their 4 year old, and Evan started playing with one of his trucks, so we stayed and talked with the family, who was in town from Atlanta for a wedding.  They left shortly before the water started running again and then we had the entire spray park to ourselves!

We left when EH literally started to turn blue.  And he still threw a fit about it.

2. The Fair!
We went to the Mason Dixon Fair on Thursday night, and there were a lot of firsts for him!  He got to ride his first merry-go-round, his first train ride, first baby goat encounter, he got to sit on multiple John Deere tractors that were out on display (and was quite possibly his favorite part), ate french fries for the first time, and received his first fair stuffed animal, won by his Grandie. It was a big night!!!

This fish is now formally known as "Grandie Fish."

3. Boat Rides!
EH went on multiple boat rides during his vacation week, including two different stints at driving the boat.  He was so serious when he was at the wheel, taking his responsibility very seriously.

First it was just a boat ride....

 But then he got to drive the boat!

And for those of you still with me here, I'll close with a video of Evan's boat driving experience.