decorating for christmas with/for/against a toddler.

Sam is literally why we can't have nice things.

No, actually, I mean that. That kid cost an arm and a leg and a kitchen remodel to get here and we literally can't have nice things because of him. What? I will remind him of this everyday. "Can I get a pony?" No. You got to be alive.

Moving on to my original point: in the greater sense of the cliché, he is why we can't have nice things or rather why we can't decorate for the Christmas the 'normal' way. Toddlers are mini terrorists. They just are.

First world problems: I can't decorate for Christmas the way I want to. God, my life is SO. ROUGH.

Anyways, this angelic, beautiful little boy face is absolutely in love with Christmas and we've been in the season for two whole days. Not like a normal amount of love, think Lenny from Mice and Men and Sam is going to love Christmas to death. It's going to be a great month for him - which is good because it's going to be followed by a terrible January when Christmas goes away and a sister comes in its place. It's not really an even trade for him and I get that.

Poster child for holiday spirit.
Anyways, decorating the house has been a little different this year and Sam and I thought that we would jointly compose this blog post to really emphasize what he's done to my beloved holiday. I'm going to be switching narrators here people so the grammar police can just go home now. I don't have time for you today.

Let's start with tree decorating. Sam has compiled a few ideas for your tree this year. He is like a young Nate Berkus, minus the talent and the vision.

"Don't be afraid to use the tissue paper you wrapped the ornaments in as part of your tree decorations. The pops of color and mix of texture are perfect additions to your traditional holiday décor."

"When placing your ornaments, spacing is an important thing to consider. I chose no spacing and also no hangers. Just throw the ornaments onto the tree and let it organically fill itself."

"Sometimes it's important to just stop, step back, and let the ornaments speak to you. Often they know where they belong more than you do. Once they have spoken to you through osmosis, throw it onto the tree. He will find his home."

"So many people get bogged down with whether to use classic or sentimental ornaments. I like a mix of both and also a mix of Hot Wheels on the tree. These do need to be delicately positioned with the utmost care. They are treasured items."

"Why keep Christmas Trivia cards in a box where they have to be pulled out one by one by guests? Instead, consider adding the cards to the tree as part of a literary/pop culture tree design. Scattering them below the tree also helps add to the holidays."

I hope you got some ideas for your tree. I can't tell you how happy we are with ours and how happy Sam is with it. He's very in love with his tree and plans to marry it. Remember the pumpkin carving post? I'm calling it a month in advance: that post will be repeated with the taking down of the tree.

Now for Christmas decorating from my point of view. Thanks Sam for keeping it interesting around here this season. And for forcing me to keep many of my items in storage OR in peculiar/different/new spots. Oh and for constantly redecorating my tree. That's super swell of you.

As you will notice, the number of stockings hung by the chimney with care is zero. Sam likes to table dance on the fire place - super safe - and I had this vision of sugar plums him pulling the easily reached stockings onto his head followed by the heavy metal holder. As fun as Christmas with stitches sounds...we will pass. So, when Santa tries to fill those none existent stockings on Christmas Eve, I hope he reads this post (I'll leave the computer open) and leaves Sam coal for ruining Mommy's mantle.


It's not surprising. Christmas bear is routinely killed. I find him maimed on the couch, under the table, by the tree. I don't know why. He seems like a lovely bear to me.

My assumption here is that there was a falling out of sorts. Someone said something to someone and Sam put them all in time out. All of this is hear say. I don't know why he did this but at least he hasn't broken them. Yet.

Not decoration related, BUT look who accurately depicted holiday driving?
He's a genius.

I love these Santas a whole lot, Sam, and they were very expensive. I do not appreciate having them in the bathroom this year but it's the only room in the house where I can trust that they will be left alone and not murdered AND where I can still somewhat enjoy them. Again. Thanks for ruining the mantle, kid - that's where these men belong. I also do not appreciate having nasty pink tile in a bathroom. This room is all wrong and not meant for red Santas. Or to be photographed. Or used. Or looked at.

Ok, yes, I could pack away the snow globes for this year and try again next year. BUT he's super into snow globes - they're so hot right now - that I don't have the heart. Instead, I get to cram them onto a tall window sill that they don't fit on or look good in and just call it. Snow globes will not be my Christmas hill to die on. 

This is my advent calendar. I like it. It's simple. My Dad gave it to me and I used it in my former teacher life. It's the puzzle kind where a picture is revealed.

THIS is what it looks like right now:

Sorry for the crummy cell pic. They can't all be winners.

Topless Toddler had an "uhhh ohhh" and pulled the boxes out. Thank god I have the above picture to easily redo the calendar, unlike this morning when I spent all of Sesame Street trying to put it together after he took every last one out (defense: it's a little hard - the pieces don't totally line up - and I am pregnant dumb, big time.) Advent calendar will be finding a new home in the morning.

Again. This is why we can't have nice things.

And this is just day 2. We have a long season to go.

santa pictures in all their glory.

Happy December.
Happy Christmas.
Happy it's the month where it's totally normal for kids to sit on a strange man's lap and have their picture taken.

Only month of the year that that doesn't seem to raise any eyebrows. Okey dokey.

Sam was stoked to see Santa.


Sam has no concept of Santa because he's a stupid baby. He does say "Ho Ho Ho" when I ask him what Santa says but I don't count that for anything. I think the understanding of Santa is even less than the understanding that "there's a baby in mommy's tummy." Witch craft.

So, anywayz, Santa pictures went super well.

SUPER well.

Sensitive Sam was doing a great job waiting patiently and we were just second in line for the day to meet The Big Guy. Sam had a good rapport going with Santa. Eyes were being made at each other, smiles and waves were exchanged. Things were looking good. OH! And Sam had deduced that Santa had candy with him which means he loved him already. He was *this close* to getting BFF necklaces with him.

EXCEPT slash UNTIL the kid in front of us did not get that memo and his parents also did not get the "deal with it" memo on Santa pictures. They didn't want a screaming picture, but they had a screaming child.  So they decided now would be good time to try to teach their 2 year old to forgo the natural instinct to not trust the stranger offering them candy. They also decided that allowing this meltdown to continue for almost ten minutes was totally fine.

Look, I'm not trying to knock their parenting style. I know, Judgy wudgy was a bear and I get it. Sorry. I'm just saying: know your kids' limits AND have some sense of well being for the line of people you are holding hostage. These are the same people who stop in traffic, try to merge while going zero, and hold up everyone all because they couldn't read the right turn only sign and now that's your problem. You know these people. I hate these people.

Sensitive Sam got all flustered watching this insanity and by the time this family decided to NOT take a Santa picture, Sam was already crying.

And yes, this will be the first of MANY times that I blame someone else's kid and parenting style for the short comings of my sweet angel Sam. He is a god and I tell him that every day (name the TV show that  epic line came from).

We did quickly shove a candy cane into Sam's mouth to quiet him and called it good. We know Sam's limits. Once the circle of trust is broken only candy and distraction can start mending it. Plus, the screaming/terrified/why would you do this to me? picture is a rite of passage. Just don't tell my mother - she is not a fan of the screaming Santa pics.

And it's officially December. My goodness. Where did the year go?

33 weeks: where's my turkey timer?

This photo? Stunningly accurate.

I don't actually see anything funny about this. This is EXACTLY how I feel right now and look. That turkey in my fridge that's about to be brined, stuffed, and baked into oblivion has it so easy... And some of his friends are even being pardoned! Where's my pardon? I could really go for a pardon right about now.

I'm stuffed full of baby right now. I don't actually know where more Kate is going to go but supposABLY she's packing on another half pound a week from here on out.

Actually, I do know where it's going. Right to my chubby little face. I've taken the 30-something week turn into Seniorita Puffy Face and there is just no amount of MAC makeup that can hide that or make it better. I need some sort of Death Becomes Her magic potion.

I also need Kate to tone it down a smidge.

1. She is crazy. She does crazy things in there, body parts are visible, and I do not appreciate having my insides danced on. She is Lionel Richie. She is dancing on the ceiling all day long.

2. I need her to knock off the contractions. Oh yes, those have started. Thank heavens they aren't doing anything - still tight as a drum - but they hurt like hell and the doctors have me on "light duty". Someone send that message to my employer, Sam. He doesn't seem to care.

3. I have finally started measuring ahead. Believe it or not, I was "right on track" with Sam until about 30 ish weeks. Then the belly began taking on a life of it's own. At my 32 week appointment for Kate, what had always been "right on" was suddenly measuring a few weeks ahead. Not a huge measuring ahead, but Sam ended the game only four weeks ahead in the belly so let's just say Little Miss is following nicely in her brother's giant footprints. I still do not believe she will be 11 pounds like him - she seems to still have plenty of room in there for her dance recitals. I'm holding with my guess of 9...

It's so nice to be dreaming and hoping, wishing and praying for just a 9 lbs baby. Not like I care. She's coming out the same way no matter how big she is. Go for broke, Kate. Make us proud.

33 weeks, people. Can you believe we meet the little Medical Miracle in just six weeks?

toddler arts & crafts / old country buffet

Sam has graciously offered to host Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Lie. That little turkey was all about having the big meal at our place, but once he found out about the cooking, cleaning and actual work involved in hosting Thanksgiving he was all, "see ya", did the baby microphone drop, and left this to me.

OR I said I wasn't traveling for holidays this year and if you want to see the child and the half cooked child, you best be coming our way.

I actually love hosting Thanksgiving. I think it gets a bad rap as this hellacious meal to prepare but it's really not that difficult. It's especially not that difficult when you are 33 weeks pregnant and your Mom and Mother-in-Law are basically pot lucking the meal to your place. Everybody is pitching in to feed The Whale (that's me) so it's making out to be a pretty simple Thanksgiving.

I will be contributing actual feed not just my winning personality and biting wit. I will be handling the turkey. This is the recipe I have elected to try from Allrecipes - feel free to weigh in on that and any other life choices you'd like to discuss. Now seems like a great time. Also, I will also be doing the cranberry sauce (I'm the only eater of it), green bean casserole (little less green bean, little more French onions), and some appeteasers.

Oh and obviously décor, ambiance, and atmosphere - pick your term.

Dead Weight Sam said he could help with the place cards. What a gentlemen. He doesn't even know what place cards are but saw an opportunity to give.

And an opportunity to color all over his face.

Toddler arts and crafts were this morning and let me tell you something. Have you ever considered giving your cat art supplies and seeing what would happen? Yes? No? Well I can guarantee that it would have gone better than this.

I rolled out the kraft paper to cover my very expensive, one of a kind IKEA table that I would be devastated if anything happened too...I couldn't care less what happens to this bad boy but having the kraft paper and the foresight to put it on the table before starting made me feel...

Wonder woman.

Anywhoo. To distract the native whilst I set up the rest of our future Pinterest Fail, I locked him into his booster seat with a couple of Crayola markers and said "have it, son."

That he did.

Uh. Oh.

Until a series of very accidental "uhhhhh ohhhhhhs" sent the markers off the table. Total accidents. Not his fault at all. It's not his fault that he held the markers over the edge of the table, let go, and watched them fall to their deaths (they didn't die - but they might as well have since I have a zero pick up policy for these kind of accidents.). Like I said, it was the marker's faults. They should have defied gravity.

Now I have the Wicked sound track stuck in my head. Anyone else singing Defying Gravity right now? We could sing together....

Ok. So it was time for paint. Basically, my vision was paint + paper + name = adorable. Actually, when I lower my expectations to just that, this didn't turn out so bad. I should try the same with my marriage (wink.).

Sam's vision for the piece was to turn it into an all you can eat painting buffet. I'm reasonably sure this was all the edible kind of paints - not like Willy Wonka snozberry kind of paint, but like the non-toxic, I don't *think* he will glow kind of paint.

We spent about 10 minutes doing this wrestling act while making our "place cards" (the term "place cards" will be in quotes for the remainder of the post to further demonstrate that these are in no way real place cards or something that twenty something Susie would ever have put on her table. 33 week, thirty something Susie? Hot damn. These look amazing.)

I believed that I could man handle Mr. Baby enough to get a thorough smattering of polka dots onto the paper to create a sort of turkey like shape. Sam believed that he could exploit my level of immobility and just do as he pleased. Point Sam.

In my vision world, these "place cards" had about 7 other colors and also had Sam's thumb print in brown for the turkey's head/body. In reality, I  called it after three colors and painted the brown on with a brush and called it good. Win some, lose some.

Super wish you could have been there for the clean up process, except that would have gotten the blog an NC-17 rating. Look. The kid was covered in paint head to toe. He needed a full hose down in the bath but I'm not about to get my clothes covered in paint too. I'm rocking a rotation of about 3 maternity looks right now - I can't afford any "uhhhh ohhhs". So, I stripped and we naked ran to the bathroom to get cleaned up. It was both my finest hour (no paint got anywhere) and my lowest (I ran naked through my house with a paint covered 18 month old). I choose the glass to be half full.

So, how did our "place cards" turn out?

{head shake}

Not exactly what I had in mind but maybe Sam can pull it out next year and not eat the supplies or be "all done" 30 seconds into the project. At least it's not a total Pinterest Fail. It's also not a Pinterest Win. Settle for a Pinterest Meh? Fine by me.

eating my words on that toddler bed.

Well that escalated quickly. Or went down hill quickly. Or went exactly as expected.

Good news people. Sam can READ! He obviously read the blog post from yesterday, was able to comprehend what I'd written (that's an important step in learning to read) and was able to apply ideas he had learned from the post into a real world setting. This kid is common core ready. Sign him up for Kindergarten ASAP. He is clearly insanely gifted.

I am also insanely gifted at Murphy's Law and eating my words.

Allow me to begin this seven course meal in eating yesterday's blog post.

Do you remember that super cute post from yesterday about Sam's toddler bed transition and how it's going pretty well? He falls out. It takes longer to fall asleep but overall, not too bad.

Do you especially remember this line:

Spoiler alert. One hour after I posted that, Sam "thought to do it". Or, as I'm assuming, read my blog post - so nice of him to support me - and was absolutely enlightened by the idea.

Guess who DECIMATED their room yesterday in a 1 hour 15 minute nap stand off that I LOST because he fell and hit his head? (For the record, I believe he hit his head on purpose so I would have to come and parent him.) I rarely lose napping stand offs. This was devastating to my motherhood batting average.

Thank God for monitors so at least I could enjoy the absolute trashing of his room. I would be so bitter if I just walked in and saw what I saw. At least, I feel like I got a good show out of it, totally got my money worth, and know all the stories for how we ended up where we ended up.

Oh also, remember how I said that meltdown blogging was more fun than "my kid handled it" blogging. Well that is still true even despite what I'm about to show you.

In Sam's defense, he wasn't maybe totally ready for a nap yesterday. He had given himself a sizable car nap on the way home from hell IKEA and though he was rolling around on the kitchen floor rubbing his eyes after lunch, I should have kept him up a wee bit longer. BUT then I would have missed all this so, meh. Tomato, tamato.

This is where the nap started after he crawled out of bed. My nice sweet boy reading to himself in his tiny old man rocking chair.

 Things started getting a little interesting here because 1. Piggy is not a bed friend. 2. He's never shown interest in under his crib or bed so this was my foreshadowing moment that this was not going to end well and a lot of other firsts were coming.

You may be asking yourself, where's Sam? Is this after you came and got him? No... not quite.... see below photo now:

He was in the closet retrieving friends he has either rarely met or never met before. This was the beginning of what would be a fabulous bed party and the first of several trips in and out of the closet. Also, Sam says it is necessary whenever entering the closet to also shut it behind yourself for maximum "ta da!" factor.

Clothes on the floor! Hey Sam - you figured out a great way to party! Actually, this was the second batch of clothing he pulled out or rather what's left from the initial clothing rave of 2014 because he definitely had a moment where he knew this was wrong and put things back.

That level of guilt and remorse quickly vanished. My assumption is that at some point he put his little white angel from his left shoulder into the laundry basket for safe keepings and went ahead with his new best friend: right shoulder red devil.

This is a fantastic view of the small intimate gathering of friends that Sam invited to join him on his napping adventure. More than 50% of those items came from the closet. He was really into expanding his friend group yesterday and growing his social network.

And this is when the "nap" ended.

He has unzipped the bottom of one of this clothing bins  and put himself into it. I did tinkle a little when I saw this. My only regret from yesterday's "nap" is that I didn't get to see him go into it, just the aftermath.

This is also when he hit his head. Apparently the canvas bin weighs 500 pounds and he wasn't able to stand up with it tutu'd around his waist so he fell backwards into his bed. I do draw the fun line at head injuries so I kind of had to get him.

And now, the view from the ground:

Proud boy chewing on half a plastic Easter egg.

Welcoming Mommy to the party.

Most of these friends had to do the walk of shame back to the closet.

Well done, Sam. Well done.

So. Great news. He is a normal child and will act accordingly in his room if he is not ready to nap. Apparently, I can't just lock him in there unless I want to deal with this everyday, which I don't. It was funny the first time.

He did make it all up to me with this pose on the monitor last night:

Graceful ballerina Sam prancing in his dreams.

the fun adventure of toddler bed transitioning.

Consistency has been a joy in parenting Sam. He likes routine. We like routine. Everybody wins.

Everyone knows kids do better with schedules. This is not rocket science. If you would like rocket science, I can have Chuck blog for a while and we will see how much you like that. Actually, odds are you'd like him more than me - most people do - so let's not. His side of the courtroom for the divorce is already pretty packed.

NE WHOO. We do routine and consistency and schedule well around here. It's the take away from my former life as a teacher. Everyday has the same outline. There's flexibility within the outline, but the structure doesn't much change.

Sam has loved this aspect of being our kid. As you'll remember from the Rug Meltdown of 2014, he likes his life the way it is. He is resistant to change, he is his father's son, and he is now facing the greatest life change of his baby career: Little Sister.

Obviously, the Rug Meltdown was a pretty good indication that things might not go super smoothly with Sam unless we back it up, take our time, and destroy his formerly consistent world piece by piece as opposed to all at once - try and introduce knew routines gradually.

SHOCKINGLY (and I mean shockingly) since the Rug Meltdown, he's handled everything else pretty well. He helped me move the changing table to Baby Kate's room. He was fine when the rocking chair left. To be honest, he's been thrilled that his room now has copious amounts of books and toys all reachable to him. So far so good. Which was also a little disappointing because I like meltdown blogging. Way more fun than "my kid handled it" blogging. Bleh. Terrible.

But now - pre Kate's arrival - we hit number one on the transition/life destroying/oh em gee list: transitioning from the crib to the toddler bed.

Without Kate's blessed miracle, accidental existence, I'm sure Sam would have slept in a crib until at least age 10. He's never tried to climb in. He's never tried to climb out. Aside from my ever expanding waist line there is no indication that this kid is ready, wants to or needs to transition to a big boy bed. Blame your sister, Sam.

We came up with a lot of ideas for how we wanted to do this to help keep up the routine and consistency of sleeping for Sam. My preference was to bury our heads in the sand and hope it all either goes away or just handles itself. Sadly, that was not an available option.

But a cheap toddler bed from Amazon was. For a whole $58 investment, we got Sam the cutest piece of furniture I have every seen. EVER. Toddler beds redefine cute.

Would I rather keep him in the crib longer and just do a straight to twin bed transition when he was much older, say 25? Yes please. Do I have a choice to do that? Nope. We've been sent a Kate and a Kate we will have. So a toddler bed we will have too. There are worse things in life than your free baby messing up the plans you made for your Cadillac baby.

We let Sam help us take apart the crib. Fully anticipating a Shirley MacLaine "Terms of Endearment" type meltdown, we thought he should be part of the process and also that I should be photographing the whole thing. This could be Pumpkin Carving 2.0.

He was so excited about the side coming off.
RUDE SAM. You are ruining a blog post I had already written in my head. And it was REALLY funny. RUINING IT.

He helped us move it to Sister's room and helped Chuck reassemble it. I helped myself to more coffee and supervising. I'm in more of a management stage in life/the pregnancy. I'm a foreman, not a worker.

Then we brought in the toddler bed.

It was love at first sight. Like most blogging moms, I wanted him to hate it, reject it, and spit in the face of this transition process.

Instead, I got the "oh this is the bed Daddy and I made together. I love this open air thing."

I mean, point us for the slow transition and getting him used to the toddler bed (we'd assembled it a few days earlier) but really, this was just Sam making lemonade when I clearly ordered lemons. Sam: you couldn't handle the loss of pumpkin life, but the loss of your crib, fine fine.

At least we get joy of watching him on the monitor trying to sleep in this thing. Day one: 40 minutes to go down, played around in the freedom of his room then crashed. Night one: 10 minutes of crying at the door followed by 10 minutes of staring, judgingly, at the monitor. Pretty uneventful. He hasn't destroyed his room. He hasn't pulled out all the clothes. I'm sure this is coming, he just hasn't thought to do it yet.

Since the first day, it's been a monitor screen shot party because an 18 month old trying to transition to sleeping in a bed is the greatest show in town.

Sam's Bed Transition {in pictures}:

Nap time number 1: Ol' William Wallace here was a little overcome by the new freedom in his life and needed some time with his toys. He hadn't seen them in like 15 minutes so it was a huge reunion tour.

The first time he discovered that knocking at the door was not going to bring me upstairs. It's been 6 days and he's still convinced this will work eventually.

Boycott of the bed attempt. He, ultimately, realized sleeping on the floor for nap time was not going to be the answer.

So he climbed into bed and took his first Resty Roo in the new bed. Win except he only napped an hour... beggars can't be choosers.

First night was a little rougher, but did start with a rave at the activity table. That thing was probably amazing in the dark.
But then, he cried at the door for "MOOOOOMA!!!" for a while and that just breaks your heart. If I had one. I did not come running. Sorry not sorry.

Eventually he fell asleep IN the bed, but fell out a few hours later.

And stayed there for a while. He crawled back into bed eventually. Basically, every night before bed, Chuck goes in and repositions his little baby body to help with the falling out. It's not really helping but it makes us feel better about our parenting.
 More greatest hits from the past few days:

One day light picture so you can see how "trashed" he makes the room. At most, ONE of those blue tubs will be pulled out and played with. This kid has not learned how to party yet.
Overall, not too bad. He's waking up a few times at night - either from falling out or just because - and then going to the door to knock for our assistance. Sadly for Sam, we do not accept collect knocking calls after 7pm so seeeeeeee yaaaa. He knocks a few times then crawls back into bed. He'll figure out eventually that we actually do love him less between the hours of 7 pm and 6 am, and just forgo any sort of night time Morse knocking code.

Surprise, surprise he is a bit tired these days because the sleep definitely isn't really restful yet (more like restless) but he'll get there. We have 8 weeks for him to get it down before Kate comes and starts her own anti sleep party. I'd like to be batting at least .500 on children sleeping through the night come January. I think we'll be there.

Until then, the monitor is better than TV right now.
Related Posts with Thumbnails