Thursday, December 13, 2012

Santa Clause Is Coming To Town

Season's greetings!

I hope you like the new blog look! I have long lamented the fact that I do not have either the time or the talent to really get the blog design how I would like it to look. Enter Blogs For A Cause, which is a great little one-woman show that designs blog templates for a donation to a charity that rotates monthly. Also, part of the proceeds go to her own personal humanitarian causes, which right now is a trip to India. Win Win!

We have had the BEST time this Christmas season. Oliver is so excited by anything Christmas-related. He has enjoyed watching the old-school clay-mation Rudolph TV special, knows pretty much all of the words to "Jingle Bells", "Santa Clause Is Coming To Town", and says "Santa baby"often and for no reason at all. He loves looking at Christmas lights as we drive by and points out each house that has something lit up. He knows Christmas is Baby Jesus's birthday, and tells me he is giving me "sugar" for my present.

The Elf thing is sort of working. He really enjoys finding the Elf's new spot every morning when he wakes up, but half of the time when we remind him that we are going to have to tell the Elf about whatever latest bad behavior has just happened, O spits out, "I no want Santa come my house." So, that's how that's going. :)

Here are just a few recent pics. The first is a video of Oliver telling Pa-Pa he is a "silly burger." We have now attached "silly" to just about any moniker - silly kitty cat, silly elf, silly mommy, etc. Next is the Elf in all of his Elfish (Elfin?) glory. The third is a picture of one of my two new dining chairs! Hooray. Thanks for the monetary Christmas gift Mom & Dad. I can now remove the plastic outdoor patio chairs from my dining room. Yes, sadly, that was true. You can take the girl out of Lawton, but....;) Oh, also, I apologize for the slightly blurry tinge to all of my photos. Our camera quit on us, and my iPhone is just not up to snuff. Maybe a new camera will make its way down the chimney this year. Or next!

I doubt I will have time before the big day arrives, so here it is: Merry Christmas to All! I hope everyone out in blogland has a joyous and peaceful holiday. We will be in Florida visiting Grammy & Grandpa Coles so Santa is going to come twice - once before we leave and while we are there. My son is not spoiled in the least!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"I go Pre-1" and Other Highlights

I have not yet recapped Thanksgiving for the Coles family. Let's do that now, shall we?!
My parents and sister came to visit for the holiday. We were also blessed to have the Griffith family over for the all-important Thanksgiving meal, as Stacia was and is way too preggo to be travelling! We had a good spread and spent Thanksgiving day cozied up at home, watching the parade, football and whatever else happened to be on. I had a bit of a cold the whole time my family was here, so I admit I was kind of a pill, but hopefully, Oliver was cute enough to entice them to come back again to visit. The takeaway from the weekend was Nana teaching Oliver to say "silly burger". He now says it all the time, and it's pretty darn cute.

Other big news lately:  Oliver moved up to Preschool! He is now in the "Pre-1" room. He has been longing to go to Pre-1 ever since his friends left him in the Toddler Room all alone back in August was it? He got to visit every day for about a week and a half, and I thought that this past Monday, the 3rd, would be a breeze as his first full day since he was so excited at finally moving up. Naive Mommy moment! Tears! Lots of tears as I said goodbye to him in his new room. I was so sad, but then Charlie's mom let me know that when she dropped off Charlie about 10 minutes after Oliver, he was all smiles and hugs. Whew!
 I knew we might have a period of adjustment (such as coming home on Monday with SIX bags of dirty/wet underpants) but I did not factor tears into the equation! Fingers crossed he gets into the swing of things before Christmas Break comes and he's gone for a week and forgets everything that has to do with any sort of routine!

What else? Oh! we have an Elf! His name is Noah (my son may be a wee bit obsessed with the Clothier family, but hey, aren't we all?! :)) and Oliver does NOT like it when Noah the Elf moves around. He wants him to stay at eye level on the table at all times, where O can keep an eye on him. Oliver is very excited about all things Christmas, including Santa Clause. We will see if that translates into a successful lap-sit here in a week or so. :)
Below are some random pics of the last few weeks. As always, thanks for reading!
O scarfed down Stacia's chocolate pie on Thanksgiving!

Cutest little sheriff ever! (At Norie Roberts' birthday party)

Sleeping angel.

Yep, that's how we roll (in Daddy's car).

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tubes in, adenoids out!

It is the Friday after Thanksgiving, and I am updating from work at 4:00. Yes, that's right, I'm working the day after Thanksgiving and am still here at 4:00. Sigh. You can't win 'em all. I will post more about the Thanksgiving holiday next time, but first, we've got other ground to cover!
Oliver got tubes in his ears for the 2nd time last week. He has had fluid in them non-stop for about 6 months now and it's to the point where hearing loss and speech development are becoming a concern. The ear doctor went ahead and removed his adenoids at the same time. Poor guy! O was such a good sport heading into the procedure. We had to be there at 6:30 am and the procedure was scheduled for 7:00. Everything went really smoothly. Oliver happily went off with the nurse (turned and gave us a wave and that was it). So trusting....45 minutes later, he was one pissed-off dude. After several hours of being zoned out in front of the TV, the little guy finally shook off the pain and the meds and was pretty much his old self.
Grammy & Grandpa Coles came to visit last weekend to help out, so they were able to keep him entertained enough to distract him from his discomfort.
In fact, Grammy and Oliver's favorite activity during their visit was to cruise YouTube and watch different Christmas videos. I think we unwittingly turned Oliver into a YouTube addict. Matt found a toddler flashcard video on YouTube the other night and filmed Oliver. It's pretty awesome. So, we now have a YouTube video of Oliver watching a YouTube video. :)
More to come! Gotta get back to work. Slave to the man and all.
Watching Christmas videos with Grammy

Oliver does animal flashcards from YouTube

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween 2012 - We laughed, We cried, we took off our tail...

Halloween 2012 was a big occasion at our house this year as Oliver was old enough to kind of "get it" this time. He was a zebra! To be specific - Marty the Zebra from Madagascar. It was the first thing that came out of his mouth when I asked what he wanted to be about a month ago, so I just ran with it.
He is a really cute zebra, but not the most docile one.

Halloween festivities started on the Sunday before Halloween, at Stepping Stones' (daycare) Annual Halloween Carnival. He did really well at this event, even with the tons of people that cram into the hallways and classrooms. He was able to participate in the games this time, and was happy to win prizes, but mainly just wanted to walk around and show off his costume. Here are some pics from the Carnival. The little baby chick in the first pic is our friend Samantha Whaley. She was a cutie!

Actual Halloween night was a frenzy. We made it to our friends the Griffiths' house by 6pm, let the kids run around a bit (Noah, Charlie, Oliver, Madeline and Sam Whaley made up the group), ate pizza (well, some of us ate pizza. Oliver took 3 bites). Then, it was time for group photos before we went off to treak-or-treat around the neighborhood. And, that's where the slow and steady downhill of the evening started. Oliver, it seems, is not into getting his photo taken these days. Like, starting on Halloween of all days! Grrrr. Lots of tears anytime a camera was pointed his way.

He did enjoy the trick-or-treating part of the night, but was actually more interested in trying to get into people's homes than receiving his candy. Seriously. It's probably my fault. I watched WAY too much HGTV when I was on bedrest those 7 weeks. :)

We made a quick stop at our friends the Gudgells' house (where they were dressed as a hockey player and cheerleader, respectively), and then our last stop was at Mike Zerr and Tara Davidson's house, for their annual Halloween Open House.

Now, we have had an annual pic of the three boys (Oliver, Charlie, and Noah) on the same wall at Zerr's house and this year was going to be pic #3. OMG! My son refused to cooperate. Yet again. I think the photos we have of the three of them has him crying in all of them! So, needless to say, we ended the night quickly and took our worn-out zebra home - where he promptly asked for a muffin and yogurt before bed. Not candy! Who is this kid?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

OSU Weekend

We had so much fun the weekend of OSU vs KU here in Lawrence. We had a nice-sized posse of Pokes come up for the event. Oliver got to witness his first college football game - at least until the end of the 1st quarter when it started POURING and the much-delayed nap time reared its ugly head!

Matt, Oliver and I went to the little pep rally before the game to welcome the players to the stadium. The band, cheerleaders, Pistol Pete, and some very friendly OSU grandparents (not ours) were on hand for the occasion, and Oliver was wide-eyed and taking it all in from every angle! He was VERY interested in Pistol Pete....until we tried to get him to take a picture with the big guy, and then, well, he was not so interested in getting so up close and personal!

Also before the game, we hoofed it over to local watering hole the Wheel to meet up with the other Cowboys in our group, and the Three Musketeers (Noah, Charlie & Oliver) had fun wreaking havoc and running amok (Amok, amok, amok! - Name that movie!) amongst the crowd of orange and black that dominated the outside of the Wheel. All in all, it was a very successful weekend, with a win for the Pokes, and a win in the FUN category. I can't wait to take Oliver down to Stillwater to fully immerse him in Cowboy Country, now that he can (and does quite often) say "Go Pokes"!
O not quite the fan of Pistol Pete he thought he was!
Pistol Pete is still a little too close for comfort.
Hooray for big smiles!

Trouble comes in threes!

Monday, October 8, 2012


Another lunch hour, another blog update. So much has happened here in the last couple of weeks. I traveled to Baltimore for work, and then Matt met me for a weekend of fun in D.C. First stop to kickoff the weekend part was to spend a night with Uncle Steve and Aunt Rudi  at their beautiful home on the "bog" outside of Baltimore. Truly serene. And, Matt got to experience his first crab feast. And by crab, I mean the WHOLE crab. Not just the piddly legs. I think Steve & Rudi were in awe of his cracking prowess. I bet you would love to see pics of all 4 of us, wouldn't you?! Yeah, me too. Doh!
The Harrises were too kind in dropping us off at the metro station the next morning so we could ride into D.C. After checking into our exquisite hotel (The Willard), we hightailed it out to view as many monuments as we possibly could in a 24 hour period. It was awesome. Unfortunately, my sister was out of town, so we were not able to meet up with her while we were there, but it definitely gives us another reason to go back soon. My cousin Flagg is there as well, so, having so much family there means we definitely must go back. Being the historical nerds that we are, Matt and I love our nation's capital city and could visit a million times without tiring.
Okay, warning:  From here on out, there will be no nice, smooth segways from one topic to another in this post. The lunch hour only holds so much "hour" to check off the to-do list! :)

I did miss the little man while I was away, but he was kept very entertained by Grammy and Grampy Coles. Thanks a million to them for rescuing Matt from single-daddom and letting him slip away for a great weekend.

As this post's title might suggest, we have had a down-right love fest going on at our house lately. Oliver is all about giving hugs and kisses to us. Okay, okay, not just to us. Pretty much to everyone - His stuffed animals, his race cars, his friends Charlie and Noah, I think I even saw him kissing a soccer ball. Hey, no complaints here. I love this cuddly phase!

The weekend before this past one, we had a block party at the end of our street. It was kind of the block parties to end all block parties. A fire truck with real live fire men stopped by for the kids to get a tour of. Oliver was too scared to go up into the truck (until, of course, it left, then he cried b/c he wanted to go on it). There were 2 bounce houses that O made full use of, an Oliver-sized basketball goal (he's obsessed with "shooting hoops" these days), and, last but not least, HORSES! Two, very large, very gentle horses came by and Oliver was not too scared to ride them. So cool! I'm not sure how our neighbors are going to to top this year's next time!

This past weekend we headed out for our annual trek to the pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkin. I think I love it more than Oliver does. It is so much fun to get outdoors for quality family time and see other families enjoying themselves as well. And, this year we got to pumpkin hunt alongside the Clothiers, Griffiths and Whaleys. There were hay mazes to run through, cows and chickens to see, and jungle gyms to climb on. Throw in some kettle corn (it really is crack), and it was a pretty perfect 1.5 hours spent on a sunny Sunday in October.
OSU vs KU is in Lawrence this coming Saturday. There will be lots of photos to post of Oliver's FIRST OSU football game (or KU for that matter)!
Enjoying our time at the Newseum.

Oliver's first horse-back ride. And, it was on our street!

Oliver, Charlie & Noah at the pumpkin patch

Monday, September 24, 2012

Farmer Ollie

A couple of weekends ago, we all went on an adventure. Not all the same adventure, mind you, but fun times were had by all. Matt went to Vegas on his annual "boys' trip". And before you ask, no, he did not come home a big winner. A winner in life, yes. A winner in Vegas, not so much.
So, while he was off having a grand old time, Oliver and I actually flew down to Lawton to visit Nana & Pa-Pa for the weekend. I wasn't sure if flying with a 2 year old would be better than strapping one down for 6.5 hours in a car, but was willing to experiment. And, it went well! He was a great flier (for the whole 42 minutes we were airborne to OKC) and we had a blast out in the countryside at Casa Karen & Ken. I wasn't sure we would even make the trip at all, as Oliver came down with a serious bout of bronchitis that lasted almost a week. But, by that Friday he was well enough to travel. I was one exhausted Mama so it was nice to then be able to lean on MY Mama for some TLC and much sought-after rest! Oliver rode on not just 1 but 2 of Pa-Pa's tractors, saw some prairie dogs, a choo-choo train, ran through a real live fort at the Museum Of The Great Plains, and generally had a ball being the center of attention. Here are some photos and a video of our trip.
Also below is a video of Oliver's soccer dribbling skills. Matt plays on a soccer league and O LOVES to go watch and yell for Dadda. I can't wait until Oliver is old enough to play on a team and really hone these mad skills!

This past week was a crazy one, as par for the course lately at our house. I had to travel for work, so Grammy & Grampy Coles came up to help watch Oliver, as Matt then met me in Baltimore/D.C. for a weekend of play after work! More to come from that trip next time.
Now, I am ready to settle into the normal routine for awhile, and enjoy the great early fall we are having in Lawrence!

Friday, August 31, 2012

So much for August.

Aaack! I'm so behind on blog updates. Please forgive me! This month has been a straight sprint from start to finish. I don't even know what I have or haven't shared with you, so sorry if some of this is a repeat.
We'll start with our visitor log for the month of August. In 3 consecutive weekends, we had Grammy & Grandpa -aka "Peeka" Coles come and stay, and then Aunt Meghan came, and then Nana, Pa-Pa & Aunt Jenny came to visit. Whew! There was lots of showing off and ABC singing, and pottying (much to all of our amazement)! Of course, I, being the forgetful mother that I am, did not capture any of these fun moments on camera.
I also had a birthday in the last few weeks. Oliver has been singing "Happy Birthday to Mama" ever since the 18th and I must admit, I dig it. I can definitely get used to getting the birthday treatment from him all year long! :) Okay, okay: He also sings Happy Birthday to his friend Charlie, himself and our dog Preston as well, so I probably shouldn't feel too special.
Other Oliver highlights this month: He had a couple more play dates with friends, watched Daddy play soccer, ate out with the "Big Dinos" at the T-Rex Cafe (2nd time in 2 months), and broke the car door from a little too much enthusiastic pretend driving. Oops!
We are ready for college football to dominate the weekends. Somehow I have to figure out how to make watching a 3 hour game entertaining for a 2 year old....Go Pokes!
Oliver's first self-styled outfit. Yes, those are socks. Orange socks. With sandals.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Life's first challenge (or opportunity?)

We are in the midst of the dog days of summer, as you are all experiencing yourselves, no doubt. I am so over seeing triple digit temperatures! Hopefully, if history repeats itself (and the record-setting highs quit. Just quit it already!), our part of Kansas should start to see some cool down at the end of this month. That may just be my wishful thinking. Summer has always been my favorite season - until this year!

We have had many a weekend spent at a pool in Lawrence; either at the massive, outdoor public pool, the outdoor wading pool for little kiddos, or at our good friends the Gudgells' neighborhood pool (a godsend, fo sho). Oliver will be sad when it is too cool for the pool, but hopefully other fun fall activities will make up the gap - let's hope he enjoys watching football half as much as his daddy.

O last weekend at the Lawrence wading pool. That look on his face means he's about to do something he knows he shouldn't!
This past Sunday, we spent the morning at a new outdoor spot. Lake Mary. I didn't know Lawrence had another lake besides Clinton, but turns out they do. And it's purty. The walking trails were a tad, um, under-marked, shall we say, so we ended up taking a MUCH longer hike than we intended. Poor Preston didn't move a muscle the rest of the day! Oliver didn't either. Ha! Yeah right. We're only building up his stamina at this point, I'm convinced. That child doesn't wear out for nothin'!

Lake Mary or Mary's Lake

Great pic!

Preston was camera shy.

Anyways, the title of this week's post relates to the changing of the guard at daycare - Stepping Stones. Oliver's bestest buds are leaving him for bigger and better rooms. Both Charlie Griffith and Mia Kenkel are moving to the "Pre-1" room, which is the start of Stepping Stone's preschool program. Oliver keeps saying he is moving rooms too, but alas, he is not. Not until October at the earliest and then maybe even not until December. I see this as a chance for potty training to really kick into high gear. I tell him that once he learns to go in the potty and keep his underpants dry 100% of the time, he gets to go to Pre-1 too.
So far, this message appears to be falling on deaf ears.
But, at least he will always have playdates to continue to spend some QT with his friends. We had one this past Sunday at Mia's house, and it was a blast to watch the 3 of them play (sometimes not so nicely) together.

I don't at all like hearing the wistful tone that pops up when O speaks of his friends going to Pre-1. I know, I know, I am trying not to be a helicopter parent and just ride out this tough life lesson!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Exploring KC & First Official Haircut (Finally!)

Hello there Bloggettes,
July has pretty much flown by. Our weekends have been filled with birthday parties, pool time, and family fun days! Two weekends ago we spent our Sunday afternoon in Kansas City. We packed in several activities post-nap, and if you have small children and are looking for stuff to do in the KC area, here is my 2 cents:
1. Union Station - This was our first stop. I have only been inside Union Station once before, and it was pre-kid, so we weren't really sure what we could do with Oliver there, but, as it turns out, alot! If nothing else, there is a massively long and open space that is great for little kids to cartwheel down, run down, scream down, and/or any other sort of physical activity that involves traveling through space and time. Also, there is Science City. We hadn't planned on spending the $10 each (for adults), but we had some time to kill before going to the aquarium (next on the list), so we decided to check it out. Even though Oliver is technically too little to really understand most of the activities one could do at Science City, it is more than entertaining to wander around that place with any size of child. There are lots of tunnels and caves and elevators and flashing lights and bells and whistles to ooh and ahh at, and we definitely could have spent longer than the 45 minutes we had there. So, an A+ goes to Science City inside Union Station.

2. Sea Life Aquarium - This was our main reason for coming to KC. I had read good things about it and Oliver enjoys a good turtle, so we decided it would be worth it to fork over the $27ish dollars per person (adults). Hmm. I have mixed reviews on it. I am definitely glad we bought our tickets online in advance. NECESSITY! The general admission line to get in at 4:00 in the afternoon (which is when our assigned time was on our advance-purchase tickets) was crazy long. Like, I would never have made it into the building b/c my patience would have worn out about 15 minutes in. So, please make sure to buy your tickets ahead of time.
Okay, so we made it into the aquarium in a fairly short amount of time due to good planning on Mom's part (sometimes I actually do make good decisions). However, once inside, there was still a fair amount of standing in line waiting to get from one room to the next. And, really, it's not all that big. So, even with all of the waiting (read, pushing, shoving, crying kids EVERYWHERE), it only took us around 40 minutes to tour the entire thing. Oliver did enjoy looking at all of the fish, and there is one tank with sharks in it that got alot of oohs and ahhs, but in general, I was a little underwhelmed. If going again, I would try to go earlier in the day when it's maybe not so crowded. So, a B- goes to Sea Life Aquarium.
Legoland shares the same area as the aquarium, but we are not quite to that stage in life, so it will have to wait for next time!
3. T-Rex Cafe - Holy Theme-ville! Oliver's mind = Blown! Taking a 2 year old boy to a restaurant where there are giant dinosaurs everywhere you turn is hitting the motherload. He absolutely loved it and is still talking about all of the "big dinos" 2 weeks later. It was a hit. How was the food you ask? Who cares?! My child was entertained the entire time. And, they serve wine there, so I was good. :) A++ goes to the T-Rex Cafe. And, mind you, this was a place I would pass by pre-child and say to myself and others, I will never set foot in there. My how times and priorities have changed. All for the better, of course!

I bet you would like pictures and/or videos of this fun day in KC, wouldn't you? Yeah, me too. I had them, LOTS of them, on my iPhone, which got lost and/or stolen this past week. Sigh. Some days you're the pigeon, other days you're the windshield. Let's just say that last Wednesday, with a lost phone AND a broken air conditioner to boot, I was definitely the windshield.

Moving on! This past Sunday Oliver encountered another milestone:  A Haircut! A haircut with a real, live trained professional stylist, not just his mother running around with scissors trying to hold him down long enough to get a snip here and there to attempt a minimal amount of order amongst the chaos of his unruly hair. O did great! We opted for scissors over a razor, so he had to sit still for quite a while before the gal was done with him. No tears and he got Orange Leaf afterwards as a reward, so, all in all, it was a very low-key non-traumatic experience for him. He did great and he looks great, but he also looks very different. At least to me. Every day since Sunday, I have been staring at him, thinking to myself, "this cannot be my baby. This kid is so OLD-looking." Sigh. I think it will be a long while before he gets another professional cut!
Here is a before and after photo (he did not want his picture taken on the way to the haircut), and a video of the actual cutting process. Hooray for a slow Sunday at Supercuts! Oh, and a cute pic of Oliver and his best bud Charlie Griffith hanging out together watching a movie. That Mickey Mouse couch is getting alot of traction these days around the house. Another good purchase decision by Mom. ;)

Don't look at me, Mama!
Ice cream makes everything better.
2 minutes worth of video from about 15 minutes of snipping.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Oliver goes to the zoo & other adventures...

Last Sunday the Family went to the Topeka Zoo. It was our first visit ever. We went early to avoid the blistering heat. It was still hot, but bearable. Hey, speaking of bears, we saw some! :)
Oliver was finally able to see in person all of the wonderful animals he has only seen in book after book after book. He thought it was pretty neat. Except, the Topeka Zoo doesn't really have any monkeys, and well, monkeys are Oliver's favorite. I didn't really know that until there were none to be found, but now I do! So, we made multiple trips to look at lemurs and orangutans as substitutes. Oliver even got to feed a giraffe. Way cool! See video below.

In other news, I decided to take last Saturday and make it Hard Core Potty Training Day 1. I'm not sure what I was thinking, since the very next day we wento the zoo and therefore thwarted any progress that may have been made on day 1. But, this is my first kid and well, I'm not known for extremely well-thought-out plans. Half-cocked hair-brained schemes, yes. Amazing execution, not so much.
Anyways, we introduced training pants on Saturday and are now in full-on bribe mode for making potties. I'll keep you posted. Daycare has yet to pick up the torch and run with it. I still have to buy another round of training pants so that I am not spending every single day doing laundry - only every other day!

In other events, we celebrated the 4th of July with friends and a pool, and it turns out that Oliver is not the least bit fazed by fireworks. Like, the kid sleeps right through what I take to be probably a good comparison of what it sounds like to be in a war zone. We live by a field. Enough said.

Oliver really likes to play hide-and-seek these days, which coincides well with his early attempts at counting to the number 10! So, along with the giraffe video, here is a cute video of Olivery counting to 10 before finding where Daddy is hiding. Oh, and yes, as you can see in the vid, my house is not clean these days. I mean, really, what's the point?
Lastly, in parting, I am always thinking of creative outlets that are within the scope of my modest crafting abilities. Mind you, there are very few finished projects (see above about me and execution), but still, always looking...anyways, saw this funny the other day and thought I'd pass it on. I have a jar of wine corks sitting on the windowsill in the kitchen, just waiting for inspiration to find them. True story.
Any ideas? :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

2 Years of the OC

Hi there!
As promised, this blog is dedicated to the current state of two-ness the OC has miraculously achieved. Why is this feat so miraculous? Well, let's jump right in, shall we?!
Oliver's Top 5 of Two-ville
1. No fear. Still. None. Will dive head first off of couches, chairs, edges of pools, etc. How we have only gone to the ER once is quite simply amazing (and that one trip was my fault and am still riddled with guilt over the "nursemaid's elbow" incident).
2. Low-ridin'. My kid is skinny. If you've met my husband, this does not come as a surprise. But, seriously, we are still in 12 month pants. Even the pants with the adjustable elastic on the inside waistband don't fit when you make them as small as they go. We have tons of HUGE cute jeans, pants and shorts just aching to be worn. But, I resist the urge to break them out most of the time. Daycare can only handle so much of Oliver running right out of his pants, I'm sure. Seriously, that happens sometimes. I never got the experience of having the cute, chubby baby with lots of rolls and dimply thighs and cheeks. I did get a cute, skinny baby with acid reflex, who is awesome and I wouldn't trade for the world, but still, I do like a chubby baby. Like, this cutie! (Samantha Whaley @ Oliver's Bday weekend before last).
3. Baller. Shot caller. 
Good gracious do we have a ton of balls in our house! Soccer balls. Basketballs. Baseballs. Golf Balls. And Oliver loves them all. He LOVES them! He who does not sit still for nothin' actually asks to watch baseball, basketball, soccer and golf on TV (in that order), and will really and truly sit on the couch and watch, mesmerized. He especially enjoys baseball, which is the lowest ball on my list if forced to watch one of these sporting events. He is very good at dribbling a ball, has a mean throw (with his right), and packs a powerful kick (with the left foot. Always the left. Can't kick with his right to save his life.) He knows how to "shoot" a basketball, and seems okay with getting nowhere near the net ever. He says "miss" every time and just keeps at it.
Below is another pic from the party. O & his friend, Noah Clothier, and 2 basketballs that Oliver refused to let go of.

4. Catch me if you can. Chasing a dream. If you've ever seen me out and about and thought to yourself (but would never tell me in person, b/c that would just be mean), "Gosh, that poor girl looks so worn out. She could travel for weeks with those bags under her eyes." Well, let me tell you, it's because my kid is never happier than when he can run away from you and make you chase him. First thing in the morning when trying to get him dressed; when trying to get him to brush his teeth; when trying to undress him for a bath, when trying to put lotion on him; when trying to force him to take his medicine, and on. And on...Get the picture? And he is FAST. Freaky fast. Just a blur of skinny white butt flying by at breakneck speed around corners, up/down stairs, through doorways (see #1 above). His amazing laugh is kind of worth it to chase him around for a few minutes before laying down the law.
5. More water, please. Water. Oliver has loved water from very early in life and continues to be obsessed with water. We are signed up for swimming lessons starting in July, but I honestly think the lessons might be too basic for him. He kicks, dog paddles, can flip over onto his back and really likes to annoy me by dunking himself COMPLETELY under, head and all, whether it be in the swimming pool or the bathtub. He also drinks the stuff all day long.
O & friend Mia Kenkel. Notice the rolled-over waistband.

So, ta-da! There's my list of 5 of the top things that come to mind when I think of my son right now at this fun and crazy age.

And now, here are a few more pics of Oliver's birthday party at the South Park Wading Pool on June 16th, and his fantastically fun weekend in the Lawton, Oklahoma countryside with Nana and Pa-Pa (technically they might live in Faxon now. Wherever that is!). They graciously met O and I in Stillwater this past weekend and took him down to their house to spend a couple of days while I had a sorority reunion and a blast reconnecting with some amazing Tri Deltas celebrating our 50th Anniversary at Oklahoma State. Go Pokes! Oh, and Daddy got a bachelor weekend playing golf and hanging out with fraternity buddies. He has it so hard sometimes!

Hey look, it's a ball!
Grammy organizing.
O's friend, Charlie Griffith

Our family is so blessed to have so many friends to help us celebrate these special moments in life!

O was very excited to drive Pa Pa's "tractor"!

 Possibly my favorite picture EVER!
Gardening is serious business!
Apparently, bungee cords can provide hours of entertainment!
Life in the country is pretty cool!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

No cupcake TWO messy!

Oliver is 2! On Monday, June 11th, he turned "twooooo" as he says proudly. He was not very amused at being woken up by both of his parents singing "Happy Birthday" rather loudly. So, sadly I am not going to show you the video of the birthday wake up as there is alot of grumpiness involved.
But, he rallied quickly and thoroughly enjoyed his special day. We started off with opening a present at breakfast - sidenote, Oliver has a banana every morning. EVERY morning. Woe is he who comes to the table without a banana to present to his highness.
His first present of the day was a baseball mitt with velcro to help catch a soft baseball. No, the Coles family is not above finding shortcuts in life. :)
Anyways, I got to leave work early to take cupcakes to daycare and hang out with O and his crew in the afternoon. I have never received so many hugs in my life! I have also never seen so many snotty noses at one time. The mother in me was aching to get at these kids with some serious kleenex. But, I resisted the urge to overstep (for once!). I could not, however, resist giggling at the sight of eight two-year-olds chowing down on cupcakes. Holy Messiness! Oliver would not leave my side, so we called it quits a bit early for the day, went and picked up Daddy from work, and hung out at the wading pool for a bit before it was birthday pizza time and ice cream from Sylas & Maddy's. Another sidenote, if you are ever in Lawrence, KS, and have never enjoyed the deliciousness of Sylas & Maddy's, please put that on your to-do list, as you are missing out!
Then, it was home to open more presents and take a much needed bath. A perfect birthday for a perfect two year old.
And, the birthday fun is not over yet. Stay tuned for a recap of the big par-tay this Saturday! Also, I am way overdue for some stats on the boy and what is happening right now in his state of two-ness. I am working on the list, don't worry!

Frustrated face at Mommy's wrapping prowess.
Aha! He's got it now.
The makings of a slugger.
Did someone say cupcakes?
nom, nom, nom
Life is sweet!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sunday Funday

In 6 days, Oliver turns 2. How can this be?!
The terrible two's have commenced, and if crossing oneself truly helps the Lord deliver an extra dose of patience upon signing, I may just convert to Catholicism, like, yesterday.
Fact of the week: I had to order training pants online today. Babies are expensive, but potty training toddlers take the cake on pricey underthings!
Nana and Pa-Pa came to visit this past weekend, fresh off the boat of their Alaskan cruise. I'm pretty sure Oliver gave them a rude jolt back to the real world with his never-ending energy and tendencies to inflict self-injury at a moment's notice. But, he had fun and is still asking for them 3 days later. I failed to get any good photos of the grands with their grandson, mostly b/c we have officially entered the stage where all good photo ops immediately die once the camera is ready to shoot. How does he know to turn off the smile right when I'm about to snap?! Ggrrr.
I'm in the midst of final menu planning for O's birthday party which will be June 16th at a perfect-size-for-wee-ones wading pool in Lawrence. It's the same place we used for his 1st birthday party last year. It went well last time and as long as the weather is cooperating, my house will remain destruction-free again. And that's really the important thing here, right? :)
After Nana and Pa-Pa left on Sunday, we had some fun family time at a park near downtown. Here's the neat thing about having a kid. You tend to happen upon facets of your city you never knew existed. Like this sculpture in the photo below. Pretty, right? Who knew?! I am hoping we will make it to the Topeka Zoo for the first time this weekend. I am told it's pretty good and a good size for toddlers. And, who doesn't love a place with a song written about it by two of the all-time greatest musicians ever?! "Orangutans are skeptical of changes in their cages..." Ha! You have that song stuck in your head now, don't you?
Okay, check back soon-ish for a birthday recap and an emotional mommy taking a trip down memory lane.

First statue sighting in six years of living in Lawrence

I've tried to crop out most of the downer of what is surely an "Occupy Lawrence" RV in the background.
He keeps getting blonder!
A little underwhelming when it was discovered you can't actually step into the train anymore.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Motherhood in 2012 - Are we all crazy?

Hi. First, let me rattle off a host of apologies at the get-go. Sorry for the length of this post, sorry for the jumbled nature of its contents, sorry for all of the links, and sorry for all of the question marks. Mostly, I am sorry for all of you Oliver fans out there. This post does not entirely feature his cuteness this week. Gasp! What kind of mother am I to not post about the star of what this blog is supposed to be all about?
Well, funny you asked....
What kind of mother am I? I have been mulling this question over ALOT lately. I mean, the underlying theme of mommydom is always running amok in my brain, but I guess that I have really been obsessing over it since this lovely little photo came out.
Hmm...where to start? Lots of emotions ran through me when I saw this cover for the first time. The sheer shock of it, disbelief, a hint of disgust, yes, and a little bit of anger. But, I didn't really know who/what/where to direct these emotions and whether any of these emotions were valid.
Sooo...I decided to try to organize my thoughts. Therefore, this post is only meant to be part of an ongoing dialogue on whether any of us are going about this whole parenting thing on the right track. It is not meant to be my superior opinion versus anyone else's opinion. If you want to know what keeps me up at night (besides currently reading the Hunger Games series), it's some of the below:

A. The photo above was published for no other reason than to generate publicity for TIME Magazine. Thank you, Captain Obvious, I know. They succeeded. What I'm less sure of is how many people who noticed this cover actually took the time to read the article. The article is really over one particular parenting style that has emerged in the last 30 years - Attachment Parenting. Most of it highlights the creator of this style, Dr. Bill Sears. But, would you know that by just glancing at this photo?
Foot stomp! Maybe I'm being a tad too sensitive, but how dare you, TIME, try to turn motherhood into some sort of freak show, where we women are either: A. Not good mothers because we don't/didn't choose to breastfeed/stay at home/co-sleep/wear our children in a sling, etc. OR, B. We women are cuckoo for cocoa puffs by doing any/all of the above-mentioned actions. Also, how incredibly sad and depressing that our society has become so sexualized that THIS cover photo is the one chosen to entice readers, for the specific reason that it is provocative, the mother the most attractive of all of the mothers used for the article, the child appearing older than his actual age (3).
So, in the end, I have decided the anger I have been feeling IS rightly directed toward TIME, for these reasons and others, which are more aptly spelled out in this woman's blog posting. Melissablogs. (Please note that this link to Melissa's posting is probably the ONLY thing this woman and I have in common. But, I am trying to stay apolitical here, so, moving on.)

B. More ponderings spawned from the above photo. What is attachment parenting? Is it really as weird as the photo makes it out to be? Turns out, no. At least, I don't think so. See here for the 8 principles of attachment parenting. 8 Principles of AP And, please remember, these are infants and toddlers they are talking about here, not moody teenagers. Apparently, the average age for weening around the world is somewhere between 3 and 5. Say what?! Of course, I do wonder if this statistic is factoring in alot of poorer countries, where a toddler still might find his best nutrition source to be his mother. That is not the case in this country, of course, but in any event, attachment parenting does not mandate breastfeeding your child until he can ask for it by name, rather, it calls for letting the child take the lead in deciding when they are done with this nurturing/bonding process. Did I do it this way? No. Do I care if you do it this way?
The only principle that I really question with attachment parenting is the last one in the link. "Strive for balance in personal and family life." Gee, that sounds lovely. Shouldn't we all be doing this one? Well, yes again, Captain Obvious. However, from my personal experience, I didn't do a good job of making my marriage a priority after Oliver was born and I didn't practice all of the principles of AP. I think we all know that intimacy takes a bit of a hit after a baby comes into the picture. I can only imagine how much harder it would be to keep your marriage/relationship healthy and progressing if you are strictly adhering to ALL of the principles of AP - always feeding your baby, wearing your baby, attending to your baby's every cry, sleeping with your baby, etc. There are certainly ALOT of things I would do differently if I were to become a parent all over again. If you struggle with balancing motherhood and your marriage or want to avoid this consequence in your future, see this interesting perspective on the toll parenting and, specifically, attachment parenting, could take on your relationship. A Rabbi questions AP
The topic of keeping a marriage strong and healthy really deserves its own blog altogether. So, we'll move on.

Let me be clear. I am a firm believer in the WIT parenting style. Whatever ITakes, people! And, it takes a village. A BIG village, with lots of goats and shaman, and fun rain dances.
I digress.

I think part of why I personally could not/ did not adhere to the attachment parenting method is, drumroll, please....wait for it, wait for it.... work. Work! Hey, most of us mothers work these days. Has this registered yet with the American workplace? Like everything else written in this post:  Questionable. We have a culture today that promotes, nay, DEMANDS multi-tasking. "Women are the best multi-taskers in the world," says Dr. Sears Dr. Sears comments on Time article  Well, Dr. Sears, do you think that is by choice?
We multi-task because our very survival and sanity depends on it. And, while there have been strides made in helping a working mama out by introducing things like flex-time, job-sharing, paternity leave, and other measures in certain private companies, there is no law guaranteeing us maternity leave. Rubbish, you say -What about FMLA? I call BS. The mere fact that the name lumps in other medical reasons why one might have to miss alot of work means it's not addressing the specific need that is this: Mothers need to bond with their children. If we as a society are so concerned today about the state of the "family", and want to rid the land of abortions, reduce the need to pay for contraceptives, prevent bullying in schools, have happy, productive employees, etc...maybe our culture as a whole, workplace and all, should support motherhood just a wee bit more. Anyone? Bueller? We are the only westernized country to not have mandatory maternity leave (also the only one to have the death penalty, but again, different blog). FMLA gives us 12 weeks without getting fired. And, without getting paid. Really?! "To put it another way, out of 168 nations in a Harvard University study---, 163 had some form of paid maternity leave, leaving the United States in the company of Lesotho, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland." - USA Today, 2005 article,
Gosh, this makes me just want to jump up and burn the midnight oil for my boss, how 'bout you?
You may think I'm just lazy and don't want to work.
You would be right. BUT, I still believe that 12 weeks is simply not enough time to bond with the new being that YOU created. It's just not. And it sucks.

Moving on. If you are still with me at this point, God bless you! You must have beyond nothing to do today. I'm jealous!
Time. Ironic that TIME Magazine is the name that spurred me into this tangent. I read a really, really, really interesting study in Real Simple magazine- April edition, about women and time. How do we spend our time? Do we have enough time? What would we do with our free time? Yadayadayada. Others have linked the TIME article to the bigger question of Time in general. Are Women Enemies of Our Own Time? Why yes, yes we are. We also forced you men to eat the apple and ruined paradise. Evil b's, we are.
Real Simple has a cool tool to make your own pie chart that shows how you spend your time in an average day. It's fun! Your Time Pie Chart Tool 
Point of all of this being, we need help. We can't and shouldn't do it all alone. Remember when I said it takes a village? In order for our children to grow up and be productive, happy members of the free world, I believe they need role models who are the same. So, ladies (all the ladies!), help me out. Help yourselves out! Put down the laundry basket. Delegate. Do something for yourself every once in awhile. Do I take my own advice?
My husband cannot read my mind to know when I need a break, or when I want him to be the one to go to the store this time, or to unload the dishwasher this cycle. I have to tell him. He WANTS me to tell him! Men need to be told what to do. It's just how they are programmed. I have railed against this fact for most of my marriage, but I have finally come to terms with it. And it's okay. Matt is a good and decent person, is a great father and husband, and I have to let this one thing go. Is eye rolling involved periodically because of his inability to mind-read?
YES! :)

On top of all of these major life questions on how we should be raising our children, we now have to worry if even having children period is dooming them to a life of disaster and ruin Are Parents Destroying The Planet?

I need a drink. Is it noon yet?

Okay, what is all of this jumble leading to? What's the right answer? When do the questions end???? Yeah, I don't know. I just thought that by laying out my own questions and insecurities on parenting, I may alleviate a little of the self-imposed angst some of you go through on a daily basis, wondering if you're going to screw up your kids one day by what you're doing today. I only think that maybe once, twice-ish a week. :)
What I do know is being a parent, especially a mother, is hard. And awesome. We should be supporting each other in loving our kids the best way we can, not judging other mothers for doing something we haven't/wouldn't think of trying. Do you hear that TIME magazine?!
Love your kids. Love ALL kids. Love your spouse. Love your parents, because, holy cow did we not realize how hard they had it with US!

Last question of the day:  Someone help me understand 8th grade graduation. I don't get it! What is the deal? In my day, we got high school graduation. That's it. You shouldn't get an award for simply getting old enough to make it to the next grade. Should you? Is that the sound of helicopter blades I hear? :) Helicopter Parents
Just kidding. I think.