Tuesday, July 14, 2009

All About Sam the Man

This week is all about Mr. Sam as big sister is spending the week in Nebraska with her grandparents. We miss the little lady, but we are enjoying making Sam the complete center of attention.

In honor of this week being all about Sam, this post is all about the little man.

*BEST BELLY LAUGH EVER! Sam's laugh is deep, authentic and contagious. Words cannot do it justice. I must record it and have it readily available during long, difficult days. It always lifts my spirit.

*Tickle monster. While the boy is quite generous with his laugh, he loves nothing more to tickle us. He will lift Mike's shirt to tickle his belly and he loves to grab my toes. He gets great joy in pulling laughs from us.

*Green Bandwagon. Sam must know how fasionable and trendy it is to be green as he has an odd fascination with turning off light switches. Turning them on doesn't hold the same appeal.

*Everything has its place. While I may not acknowledge that shoes kicked off belong in the storage bench, Sam certainly does. I spied him putting away my shoes tonight. He picked them off the floor, lifted the lid and tossed them in the bench.

And it's not just shoes. I caught him the other night pulling a dirty but wrapped diaper from the bathroom trash, walking it into his room, tossing it in his diaper champ and he even flipped the handle to push the diaper down.

Man. the boy certainly will earn his keep in this family, if he continues this organized streak.

*Babbles. My handsome man has the sweetest babble and the best inflections in his voice. I could listen to him chatter all day. I fear though once his vocab expands, we may never have a moment of silence.

While we miss our first-born sweetheart, we are enjoying our special time with Sam.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Meet Me in St. Louis

We are back in KC after four fun-filled and HOT days in St. Louis. What fun we had. The kids exceeded my expectations. They were so well-behaved and we avoided any major meltdowns. They handled the complete upheaval of any schedule without missing a beat. We made some amazing memories and I needed this time, more than I realized, to disconnect from my work life and just spend quality time with my wonderful kids and sweet husband.

In four days, we packed our schedule yet we didn't set a timetable for any activity. We followed the kids' lead and just enjoyed family time. The two big highlights for us were the zoo and the Magic House. Those RAWK! We also hit the arch, union station, the museum of transportation, the hotel pool each and every night, Ted Drewes on Route 66 (the one Alton Brown hit on Feasting on Asphalt) and dinner with good friends. What a great trip it was. Pictures to come, but we're tired and with Monday facing me, I'm keenly aware of the shock awaiting my system. A few random gems from the trip.

*Ella had an encounter with a sting ray. Sounds more dramatic than it was. It took a few patient attempts but she finally got the chance to feel one as it swam by her. In addition, she pet a guinea pig and brushed a goat. Sam was more interested in flicking the goats' ears than brushing them.

*Ella was quite amused by the automatic circle door (i.e. revolving door) at the hotel's entrance. She requested that each time we left and arrived at the hotel that we use that entrance. It's the little things people.

*Sam was continuously helping us pick up our hotel room as we would find random items in the trash. An APB is still out on two toothbrushes.

*Ella climbed a giant bean stalk, rode a three-story slide and tried Cinderalla's shoe on for size all within the same few hours.

*Sam remains quite amused by refrigerator doors. Open and shut, repeat.

*Who needs a attractions as Ella was the most excited about going swimming each and every night. She has to be part mermaid.

*Ella spent more time in the stroller than Sam. The boy refuses to be contained, making meals some of the more difficult times.

*We're done eating out. The detox starts tomorrow.

*Ella scared the SH*T out of Mike and I. She attempted to play frogger on a busy downtown St. Louis street. I aged 20 years, but I am attempting to block that painful incident from my memory. Oh the tears that flowed from both her and I. My heart only now is returning to its regular rhythm.

*Four days and three nights is plenty of time for this family of four to be couped up in one room together.

*I like to romanticize cuddling with my children throughout the night. However, it only takes one elbow to the head to be reminded that kids do not belong in bed with me.

*To commemorate our trip, Ella purchased a pink polk-a-dotted sting ray, while Sam came home with a giraffe stuffed animal and a monkey t-shirt (neither that we saw during our trip to the zoo.) Once the sting ray was purchased, it didn't leave her side, and is currently tucked safely next to her in bed.

*Ella demanded that we see the elephants as she specifically wanted them to see her Ellie (an adorable elephant stuffed animal) to the zoo. Yeah, I don't think they were amused.

Pictures to come and quite maybe some youtube videos.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hey, that’s my brother

When I was pregnant with Sam and before I knew he was a boy, I pondered the idea of what having another girl would mean for our family. We already had a plethora of girl stuff. (Have you seen Ella’s closet?! Ok that’s a post for another day! Hand-me-downs work best when crossing gender lines when it's from boy to girl -- not so much girl to boy). My knowledge and comfort level was stronger with girls than boys. (No clue then how to handle the fountain spray from a boy.)

In all seriousness, the thought I kept toying with was giving Ella the gift of a sister, a relationship and a bond that I longed for many times throughout my childhood. I enjoyed the idea of raising two girls and the collision of all that estrogen.

I do know the joys, and let’s be honest the physical pains, of having a brother. The brother/sister relationship is something worth treasuring, but it’s not like I would invite any of them to hold my hand while giving birth. I like to think if I had a sister, I would have. However, life dealt me a hand with three brothers, and for that I am blessed. My relationships with each of my brothers are unique and unlike the others, but we didn't share clothes or spend hours toiling in the bathroom, and I never went to my brothers asking for dating advice. All this was what I thought Ella could have with a sister. (Yes, it's a Pollyanna perspective on sisterhood but I was raging with hormones.)

In my wishing and hoping for her to have a sister, I had overlooked what having a brother would mean to her. It wasn't until Sam's gender was identified did I acknowledge life with a brother, like maybe she could be his sidekick in his Boy Scouts' magic show. (I had such an honor. I even sported my first dance recital outfit. Photos exist somewhere on said event but I hope they stay tucked safely in photo boxes.)

Of course I worried about Ella accepting a sibling into her life regardless of gender. Would she feel displaced? Would she be jealous that she had to share the spotlight? All normal fears when bearing the second child. Luckily, from the beginning, she was and continues to be an amazing sister.

Fast forward to the other night. We are enjoying a standard evening playing in the neighborhood. Ella and Sam have ventured over to our neighbor’s house where the kids have congregated. One of the boys is playing with a spinner gun -- something you would expect to see at a circus. As my kiddos enter the garage, the boy points it at Sam and casually pretends to shoot him. Ella without skipping a beat, stops dead in her tracks, glares at the boy and sternly states, “Hey, that’s my brother.”

The boy slightly stunned by Ella’s strong reaction shrugs it off. As he changes his focus, Ella walks up to Sam, throws her arms around him and reassures him with a “it’s okay Sammy.” Sam who was unfazed by the gun seemed more startled by Ella’s interference.

As a mom watching this unfold, all I could think about was how happy I am that my kiddos have a mutual adoration and respect for each other. Well, for this week anyway. Ella may never have a sister, but I hope Sam and her always appreciate the gift of each other.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Our Life the Last Month in Pictures

Has it really been a month since I've blogged? I almost forgot my log-in to blogger. I honestly have not had much time nor have I wanted to take the time to blog. Rather than me drone on and on about what we've been up to this last month. I thought pictures would be more appropriate. So without further adieu (whatever that is), I present to you the Bowling clan:

Take me out to the ball game -- Mike is a member of Crownvision at the "K", and he got a 10-game ticket pack for Christmas. He is enjoying spending some quality time with the boys in blue.

Bowling Bros at Baseball

Watching cars go round and round -- Outside of a minor tornado warning and a few rain delays, Mike enjoyed a two, make that three-day weekend at Kansas Speedway. I loved that he had fun. I enjoyed more that my brother brought one of my favorite people on the planet to hang with me. Love Miss Rachel.

Prime Seats Available!

Becoming a stay-at-home kid -- Sam was released from his daycare contract, and now his educational, mental, physical and emotional development rest in the arms of Mr. Mike. From this picture, you can see the torture on my son's poor face. (All kidding aside, Mike and Sam are having so much fun together. I'm not the wee bit jealous.)

Why do boys find toots so funny?

Super Gymnast Ella -- For the last eight weeks, Ella participated in her first organized, weekly activity. We chose gymnastic lessons mainly because Ella is enamored with Bailey & Madison, and Ella wants to be as super cool as they are. While she won't be competing in any future Olympics, the girl radiates happiness during lessons.

We also thought this was a great way for her to burn some quality energy. It also allows her hyper-competitive side to emerge.

Finally, one BIG road trip.
Any hotel/motel stay must include a pool visit -- Watch out summer, these kids are ready

Daring, slightly too brave child

Honoring my dad/Grandpa Mike -- The reason for our trek to the vibrant city of Grand Island, NE was to attend the dedication of the Nebraska Law Enforcement Memorial. After 17 long years, Nebraska honored all 130+ police officers killed in the line of duty with a simple, yet beautiful monument. While my dad died more than 27 years ago, it was an emotional day, yet a moving tribute to those officers. It was so important for me to honor my dad and the sacrifice he made. I also want my kids to know and appreciate my dad's legacy. The final pictures are from that wonderful day.

Nebraska Police Memorial

Flags at half staff

The wall from NE Police Memorial

Sam admiring Grandpa Mike's Name

These pictures are a small sampling of how we have been passing our time. This house has spring fever, and our summer is shaping up to be jam-packed.

I have more posts in my head, yet I have no idea when I'll make the time to blog, but I hope you'll be back to read the next entry.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Fashion

Based on the picture, bow ties and Sam don't seem to be a match made in heaven. While he may not enjoyed it, he tolerated the tie through church and long enough for me to snap a picture in the car. Who could blame him? We learned the next day that the poor boy was battling a double ear infection and some digestive issues on Easter Sunday.

Maybe I could have lessened his suffering by skipping the bow tie, but isn't one of the joys of parenting the privilege to dress our children according to our preference? We only have a few years to select our children's clothing, then, if they are like my fashionista, they let it be known quite clearly as to what fits their personal style. I decided early on that clothing was not a battle I intend to fight. My theory is as along as my children are appropriately dressed, then they are free to wear what they want. Luckily for us, E is in the midst of a feminine phase and is always asking if she can wear a dress. I like this stage, I hope it lasts.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday Sam

Happy Together
Originally uploaded by Amanda_and_Mike
I'm a day late, but what a busy and special day it was. We had so much fun celebrating Sam's birthday. I'm exhausted this evening and ready to call it a night. I posted pictures to flickr of his birthday party. While we missed people, we still had lots of laughs and lots of fun. Of course, it isn't a party without presents. Even with a smaller crowd, the boy still managed to clean up. Now, where in the world do we put this stuff?

In my attempt to save some money on this party, Tricia and I partnered together to tackle the cake and cupcakes. Any guess who did which one? Baseball cake & cupcakesTricia is quite the patient artist. Both were tasty, so while my cake was not as artistic as I hoped (helps if you give yourself more time to decorate), I had fun attempting to put it together. In retirement, maybe I'll learn how to properly decorate a cake.

Thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate this wonderful occasion. To Mr. Sam Sam, I am not quite sure where this first year went, but thank you for blessing us with your smiles and laughs. You are our happy little guy and we adore and love ya. Happy First Birthday, Stugga!