Monday, November 3, 2014

A Day in the Life of Mom

When we started talking about Halloween to JJ, he wanted to be a bad guy. He couldn't really tell us what a bad guy was or what he wore, but he stuck with the idea of being a bad guy for quite some time. As I wasn't exactly sure what a bad guy wore either (nor did I want to encourage the cool factor for bad guys), ultimately, we convinced him to be Spider-man. He was darn cute and he mastered the art of the web-slinging fingers.

However, on Halloween morning, JJ got the full bad guy experience. Well, as much as a two year old can really get. 

For a while now he's been asking about where I work and he's always quick to point out that I am wearing "work" clothes or "work" shoes. I've told him I work at the courthouse, but I don't really think that meant much to him. So I took the day off work and decided to create my own Take Your Kid to Work day.

As we pulled up to the building, I pointed out the big building and told JJ it was the courthouse. He loved it. He was so impressed with how big it was. We walked inside and luckily he made it through security without any problems. 

We first went to my office to drop off coats. JJ immediately stepped into my shoes and started typing up some reports. He was very impressed with his work when the "bird" (the American Eagle screen saver) popped up on the screen. I knew at that point that if he was impressed with that, he was going to have fun.
We then headed down to the U.S. Marshals Office. There were some "bad guys" in the jail cells, but the Marshals were very accommodating and let JJ see the one empty cell, separated from the "bad guys." 
The good news is - JJ was not a fan of being in "jail." Remember that feeling, kid!

To get the full experience, they took his mug shot.
Can't you just feel his remorse?
But he wasn't always the "bad guy." They made him an honorary Marshal for a few minutes. 
We then moved on to try on some more hats. We've talked about how Mommy writes reports for the Judge, so he gave the whole Judge gig a try. He might need a taller seat, but he was ready to put those bad guys in jail.
Watch out Judge Judy, here comes Judge JJ.
We checked out the American flag from the top floor while we stalled waiting for a court hearing to start.
When we got to the courtroom, the Marshals brought in the "bad guy" and JJ made sure everyone in the courtroom knew he was the bad guy (turns out bad guys wear orange jumpsuits - would have been a pretty easy costume). He also pointed out - a number of times, quite loudly- that the "bad guy" made a "sad choice." 

In preparation for the Judge to come out, I told JJ that when she enters the room we all stand up. Then we have to sit very quietly or we will have to leave. Apparently, he only heard the first half of those instructions. He stood right up, but when we all sat down, he felt the need to keep telling me to stand up. So that was the end of that and out of the court room we went before we were escorted out. 

I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure after this little adventure that Mommy's cool factor just got bumped up a few notches.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Night We Thought We Were Big Time...

I had my dream wedding on a beach. I gave birth to a beautiful baby. Both amazing days (although the birth one was also filled with vast amounts of pain, so amazing in the end, but had a few low points...). You'd think it would be hard to find a day to compare to those, but I did.

The day started out just a typical Monday loaded with a desk full of work I'm way behind on and a busy week ahead. That all changed around noon when Jeff called and said his buddy/ co-worker (we'll call him Jeremy because that is his name) couldn't go to the Yankees/ Royals game that night and he was giving us the tickets. 

At first I was hesitant. I recalled Jeff and Jeremy were supposed to go to the originally scheduled game that was rained out and Jeff had mentioned they were great seats behind the Yankees dugout. However, I also knew is was about 100 degrees outside, we would have our antsy two year old with us, and it was 100 degrees outside. Then I realized it was our last chance to see Derek Jeter, who JJ will tell you is his favorite baseball player, so I was all in. 

It turned out to be quite complicated. Jeff and Jeremy (I think mostly Jeremy) tried to call will call to get the tickets changed to our names which is apparently quite difficult to do. We almost just gave up, but in the end, Jeremy offered to go to the stadium, pick up the tickets, and hand them off to us (I'm not just rambling- this is important for later in the story!). Way above and beyond.

So we get the tickets and head into the stadium. I look at the tickets to see where our section is and realize they just say "CROWN Row D." I'm looking for signs to lead us to Crown and I see nothing. We finally ask and are directed into a special doorway and down an elevator. It's starting to kick in that these aren't going to be just regular seats.  

We walk into a room/ restaurant and are seated at a table and told that everything is complimentary, help ourselves. I'm starting to feel like I'm kind of a big deal. I am soon put in my place and realize I'm not the biggest deal when I order my beer at the bar, but the bartender puts my beer down to get another round for the guy next to me, George Freaking Brett, before he finished serving me. And you know, I'm totally cool with being served after George Brett because, well, he's George Brett.  

After we quickly binge eat some amazing food, we head out to our seats. Our seats are directly behind home plate in Row 4. Yes, 4! Not only are there menus on our seats listing all the free food we can order from the servers that come to our seats, but there are those cool little fans attached to the water bottles. Fans! If that isn't high class, I don't know what is. At this point, I'm actually believing that I am extremely wealthy and that I can afford these seats. 

We took a few pics right by the field (which probably totally gave us away as the poor people that never get to experience those seats!). 

After the ceremony for Jeter, the game is about to begin.  Jeter is in the batter's box, literally about 10 feet away from us. Like right here.

After I snap a pic, I decide to use my two year old son (who is wearing his Jeter shirt) to try to get Jeter's attention. We went down to the front - yes three whole rows down - as I hold JJ and tell him to wave at Derek Jeter. As we are waving, Jeter looks over at us and gives us a wave/ salute. The Derek Jeter. Waved - at us (honestly, I think it was mostly me, but I'll be nice and give JJ a little credit). 

I'm pretty sure my bucket list is now complete. It had one item- get Derek Jeter to wave at you. Check. List complete.
Look, Ma!  I'm on TV!
About two innings later, I'm still on a high from Jeter waving at me when some Royals employees approach us and ask if we (Jeff) is Jeremy. Jeff explains that Jeremy gave us the tickets. They then explain that somehow during the calls to change the name at will call, there was a mix-up. The company that was providing the tickets to Jeremy actually had two sets of tickets and we were intended to get the other set. Understandably, the guys who were supposed to get these tickets wanted to sit in our seats.  

So, on ESPN for all the world to see, we were escorted from our seats by Royals personnel. Yeah, I made that sound much more dramatic than it was. We obviously went willingly, and there was no good story like we were drunk or obnoxious and got kicked out (probably what my mother was thinking when she saw it on TV!). However, don't think we left that restaurant without making the most of the free buffet and drinks on our way out.  

We eventually went over to our new seats in Section 122.  Had I not tasted the Crown, I would have been absolutely thrilled with these seats.

But now it was like driving a Pinto after owning a Cadillac; it was like seeing the Eiffel Tower in Vegas after having been to Paris; it was like staying at the Holiday Inn after a night at the Chateau Marmont; it was like - okay you get the picture.

We still enjoyed the game and just getting that experience, even if for a limited time, against the Yankees for Jeter's last game in Kansas City, was unbeatable. And I feel like JJ advanced his baseball credibility because last time we went to a game, his favorite thing was seeing the moon.  This time, his favorite thing was clapping- big improvement!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I'm Only a Minivan Away From Officially Being a Soccer Mom

Minivans. Practical? Yes. Economical? Sure. Cool? Not even close. My favorite parenting tool to make fun of? Absolutely!

There. I figured if I'm going to piss you off insulting your minivan, I'd do it right away so you don't waste anymore of your time reading this post and you can go straight to the comment section and tell me how great your minivan is. Seriously - I get more complaints comments about my blog when I bash on minivans than any other posts. And I don't dislike you or think any less of you because you drive a minivan. I just find it an easy target, because, well, YOU DRIVE A MINIVAN!

Okay, back to what this blog is really about.  

Soccer. Wow! Just writing the word "soccer" reminds me that I'm probably going to get even more haters. I'm going for a record here, people!  

Apparently I'm feeling brave today because I am putting in writing on the internet for the whole world to see (okay, maybe just the few loyal readers I have will see this) during the World Cup on top of it all, that I hate (I mean with a passion hate) soccer.  

Yep. Never liked to play, have no interest in watching, and don't even care if the players are nice to look at. I like real sports (oh- that really ticked some people off!) like baseball, basketball, and football. Okay - maybe that went too far. Soccer is a sport. One that takes a great deal of endurance and a lot of foot coordination (of which I have none- maybe the cause of my hatred?). 

So, now that JJ is all of 2 1/2 years old, he is officially old enough to start sports. And his amazing preschool that I love so much actually has a coach come in weekly and coach them how to play. Side note - they are also offering track right now, too, but if I could name a sport I hate more than soccer, it just might be track (yes, there went five more readers). So, for this session, we opted just to put him in soccer.

So here's my problem. I want my kid to play sports, and as much as it pains me to admit, at 2 1/2, soccer is probably his best option. Don't get me wrong, the kid can hit a pretty mean wiffle baseball and occasionally throws the football in the direction of the person he is throwing it to, but running around kicking a ball is really about the extend of his true athletic ability at this point. 

The other problem? They have practice (I guess that is what you would call it) during the day while I'm at work, so I don't get to watch - which just kills me.  I mean seriously- how cute would it be to see a field full of 2-4 year olds doing jumping jacks and attempting to dribble a soccer ball?

However, we get a weekly e-mail from the coach telling us what they learn each week and rating how our kid is doing. Here is a sample...

Today was our third day of soccer. We learned about a "scissor kick," "pull back," and "heel kick." We started out today with warm up exercises and did our jumping jack blast offs before we started our lesson. Coach had us practice kicking the ball from one foot to the other without moving forward, so we were using just little kicks using the inside of our feet to kick it back and forth like a big grandfather clock or "tick tock dribbling." 

The rating system below (of how JJ is doing) is a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being Perfect.
Following Direction9
Pull back8
Heel kick9
Scissor kick7
NotesJJ has a strong heel kick. He is working on better control while stepping on the ball to "pull back" the ball. 
So maybe I'm jumping the gun just a little bit here, but (other than his scissor kick) I'm afraid my kid might be damn good at soccer! And that scares the crap out of me! I want to be an SUV driving baseball mom! I don't want to be a soccer mom. And I definitely don't want to drive a minivan!   

Monday, June 23, 2014

This One is for Little Man Jack

I'm taking a break from chatting about JJ and taking this opportunity to celebrate Baby Jack.  

This past weekend, we got to celebrate Jack when I co-hosted his mama's baby shower. As we were setting up, she (we'll call her Maria, well, because that is her name) commented that it all looked so great, it could be in a blog. Challenge accepted!

I first must give props to my co-host, Angie (yes, also her real name). She not only made awesome tortilla roll-ups and strawberry lemonade, but she found the adorable printable on Etsy that we centered our theme around.

Now, more importantly, meet Jack.

Seriously, is he not the cutest?  His mommy noted his special known skills so far include yawning, licking his elbows, and, obviously, sticking out his tongue.

Now on to the shower.

Thanks to Three Little Monkeys Studio based out of our own hometown, we had a good starting base with tons of these printables for labels, signs, a banner, and anything else we could need that we got off Etsy. In the end, I think the table turned out very Pinterest worthy!

One of my favorite parts was using wrapping paper for the table cloth (yep, idea from Pinterest!).  And, all the Little Man decorations from Three Little Monkeys Studio added the perfect touches.

And possibly my absolute favorite was these amazing cookies from Icings by Ang, also so proud that she is from our hometown (but takes internet orders and will deliver!). 

And they taste as good as they look!

So there you have it.  Our Pinterest-worthy baby shower.  Can't wait to meet you, Jack!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Llama Llama - The True Life Story

If you have a child between 18 months and maybe four-ish and you haven't heard of the Llama Llama books by Anna Dewdney, you are missing out.  They are regular reads in our house and many of them are very short, which is always a plus for the parent trying to get their kiddo to bed.  And some cover great topics, like bed time, being home sick, and missing mama. 

But as I was reading Llama Llama Red Pajama the other night, a lot of various thoughts starting running through my crazy head. 

Before I start with my blabbering, here are the words of the book, so you know what I'm talking about.

Llama llama red pajama reads a story with his mama.
Mama kisses baby's hair. Mama Llama goes downstairs.
Llama llama red pajama feels alone without his mama.
Baby Llama wants a drink. Mama's at the kitchen sink.
Llama llama red pajama calls down to his llama mama.
Mama says she'll be up soon. Baby Llama hums a tune.
Llama llama red pajama waiting waiting for his mama.
Mama isn't coming yet. Baby Llama starts to fret.
Llama llama red pajama whimpers softly for his mama.
Mama Llama hears the phone. Baby Llama starts to moan.
Llama llama red pajama listens quiet for his mama.
What is Mama Llama doing? Baby Llama starts boo hoo-ing.
Llama llama red pajama hollers loudly for his mama.
Baby Llama stomps and pouts. Baby Llama jumps and shouts.
Llama llama red pajama in the dark without his mama.
Eyes wide open, covers drawn, What if Mama Llama's gone?
Llama llama red pajama weeping, wailing for his mama.
Will his mama ever come? Mama Llama, Run Run Run!
Baby Llama what a tizzy. Sometimes Mama's very busy.
Please stop all this llama drama and be patient for your mama.
Little llama don't you know, Mama Llama loves you so.
Mama Llama's always near, even if she's not right here.
Llama llama red pajama gets two kisses from his mama.
Snuggles pillows soft and deep. Baby Llama goes to sleep.

And now for my blabbering...

First of all - it was spot on with how JJ lays in bed, then needs a drink, then calls for Mama (actually - he peaks out his door, looks down the hallway, and hollers, "Cass!"  It's the only time he calls me "Cass" and one of these days he's going to discover that usually I'm in my bed across the hall watching his every move).

Second - It gets a little scary.  When Baby Llama starts to panic and realizes he's in the dark without his mama and his mama might be gone (yeah - scary for a kid!), these are the pictures:

Third and finally- I realized this is a great book, but in this book, Baby Llama goes to sleep after Mama comes in just one time. That is so far from my reality. I decided the book needed some tweaking to represent a night in our house. Therefore, I proudly present to you,  the newest book in the series, Mama Llama Flannel Pajamas.

Mama llama flannel pajamas. Reads a story to Baby Llama.
Mama kisses baby's head. Mama can't wait to go to her bed.
Mama Llama flannel pajamas, is ready to watch her Netflix drama.
Baby Llama wants to play, Mama Llama wants Cabernet.
Baby llama in his pajamas, calls out "Cass" to his mama.
Mama says, "Get back in bed!" Baby Llama ignores what she's said.
Llama llama red pajama crawls into bed with his mama.
Mama doesn't know if she can handle, Mama's busy catching up on Scandal.
Baby Llama starts to fret, because of Mama's empty threat.
Baby Llama goes back to bed, and lays down his precious little head.
Mama Llama starts to hope, can I finally watch some Olivia Pope?
Baby Llama starts boo hoo-ing.  Mama wonders, "What is Daddy doing?"
Mama Llama flannel pajamas, hollers out for Daddy Llama.
Daddy and Baby start to jest.  Mama reminds them it is time to rest.
Mama's about to go to the Ritz, so in some peace she can enjoy some Fitz. 
Baby llama in pajamas, quiet in bed without Daddy or Mama.
Mama wonders- will it last? But all too soon that moment has passed.
Baby yells out through the house, "I need help finding Mickey Mouse!"
Mama walks across the floor.  Mama threatens to shut his door.
Baby Llama's feeling tough.  Maybe I should call her bluff?
Mama Llama reads his mind.  Mama Llama does not look kind.
Baby asks for another hug.  Mama can't resist her cuddle bug.
Mama Llama gives one last kiss, Baby falls into a sleepy bliss.
Mama Llama returns to her bed, visions of Jake Ballard in her head.
Mama wishes that just one night, Baby would go down without a fight.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Major League Baseball Through the Eyes of a Two Year Old

It's tradition in our home - when the Yankees are in town, we must go to a game. This is not an easy task working around nap schedules and bed times, but we make it work.

It is also tradition that I will write a blog about it every year.  

This past weekend was the big weekend and we decided since the Saturday night game started at 6:00, that would be our best bet.  

We watch a lot of baseball at home, and even thought JJ doesn't really pay attention, he was excited to see Derek Jeter. He woke up from nap excited and ready to go.  

As we walked into the park, I realized how my baseball experience has changed since parenthood. Tailgating used to be my favorite part, but as we walked past all the beer drinking, washer playing parties, I was perfectly content to walk into the game perfectly sober with my two favorite dudes. 

We got there a little early, so we grabbed a bite. Although JJ didn't think it was right to throw the peanut shells on the ground, he thoroughly enjoyed the process of breaking open the shells and eating about 1/2 of a peanut out of each one. It didn't last long though, because he kept wanting to go "Play Yankees." I still haven't quite figured out what he thought it meant to "play Yankees."

We went ahead and found some seats (no, not our assigned seats in the upper deck, just some empty seats near the kids' area. I didn't see much point in going all way to the top when we wouldn't be sitting in them for long. Also my reasoning for going cheap and getting the nose bleed seats. I know- shame on us.).  

There were rows of empty seats which JJ was convinced where that way so he could run though every single one of them. 

It was time for the National Anthem and my kid made me proud. We showed him how to put his hand on his heart and the two year old with a very limited attention span kept it there during the whole song.  

Before the game started, Reggie Jackson (yes, THE Reggie Jackson) walked right past "our" seats into a reserved area. Jeff gave him a "Hey, Reggie!" and Jeff got a head nod in return. Jeff may have peed himself just a little with excitement. 

We watched 1/2 an inning and tried to point out how the batters were trying to hit the ball. I'm not sure he got it, but Derek Jeter got to bat, so JJ cheered  and clapped for him. JJ also spotted the moon, which was quite exciting.

1/2 an inning. Yep, that was all the baseball he could handle. After that we headed to the kids area where he road the carousel and slid down the slides. They have a small field where kids can hit and then run the bases, so we paid our $2 for a token for him to give it his best. While we waited in line forever (of course, just before his turn, they had to clear the area to do a between innings game for the big screen and that is when the Royals went on a run and it seemed liked the longest inning in this history of baseball- at least to JJ) JJ tried on the helmet and thought he was pretty cool.  

However, when it was his turn to bat, he wanted nothing to do with the mandatory helmet and he wasn't about to take off his Yankees hat. 

Side note- while Jeff was attempting to get JJ to wear said helmet, he let a girl, sixish, go ahead of him. Her father (maybe grandfather) first complained that the plastic bat had too many dents and demanded a better one. Then, the girl gets up to bat and has clearly never held a bat before as her hands are about a foot apart and she stood directly behind the tee. She finally hits four balls in about 10 attempts and takes her run around the bases, having no clue she was supposed to run across home plate. But at least she had the good bat with no dents! Really, guy?  

Back to my story- JJ finally gets the helmet on (sort of) and hits he easily hits his four balls. 

Jeff has to run the bases with him because this is a first and who knows where the kid would go on his own. He took first base pretty wide, but got the hang of it by the time he rounded second and third. 

I think Jeff was about to have a heart attack by the time they made it home, but they crossed home together with a smile (kind of). 

We played a little longer and I think we headed home during the fourth inning (not sure since as I mentioned I got to watch 1/2 an inning!).  Again- slightly different from the olden days when I insisted on staying for the entire game, no matter what! 

When we got to the car, I asked JJ what his favorite thing was. His answer, "The moon!" So there you have it - major league ball park, the Yankees, Reggie Jackson, peanuts, running the bases, and JJ liked seeing the moon.  FYI- he said Derek Jeter came in second (please - nobody tell Derek that!). 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Little Man is in Preschool!

First off, no, I haven't quit blogging. I've just been crazy busy and my little hobby has had to take a back seat. Sometime working full time and chasing a two year just wears you out and even the little energy and brain power it takes to write a blog just can't be found. More about this at the end, but right now- on to the important stuff...

Today is a big day. Like a blog worthy day. So I will muster the energy and write this blog.  

Today is JJ's first day of preschool! I realize some of you are scratching your head because many preschools start at age 4. I'd like to say my little dude is just a genius, so he is that far ahead, but really, it is just how his daycare/ school works. They have two buildings, the infant academy and the preschool. At 2 1/2, they move them to the preschool (I think this is a Montessori thing, but I still don't fully get that concept. I just know he learns a lot and it is a good school). 

So over the past few months, some of JJ's older friends have left his room and moved up to the big kid school. He has not stopped talking about how they are at the preschool. Therefore, when we toured the preschool a few weeks ago, he was beyond excited and ready to go. Like that day. He hasn't stopped talking about it since.  

All weekend, he wanted to go to the preschool, so when we woke him up this morning and told him it was time to go, he hopped right out of bed and was dressed in record time. He chatted the whole way there and even sang a little song about how he wasn't going to his old school.  

He got ready so fast, we got there early and had plenty of time to take some fun pictures.
Hooray for Preschool!
I was a little worried that once we got inside and it was time for Mom to leave, he would get clingy. Once again, the kid proved me wrong and just took the teacher's hand and sent me out of the door.  

So there it is. I have a preschooler. Not sure how that is possible, because I'm sure he was born just a few weeks ago, but alas, it has happened.

Back to me and slacking on my blog writing.  I still love writing and I'm not ready to give it up.  However, I am ready to slow it down a bit and take back a little of my own personality.  I will keep my Facebook page dedicated to The JJ Project, but I am converting my Pinterest and Instagram back to my name.  You can (and should) still follow me on both and most of both of those pages will stick be focused on JJ.  I will still write blogs and hope that you all keep following me.  You may just have to be patient and rely on Instagram for your JJ fixes. 

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