Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mission: Potty Training

I always said Mike would have to take the lead in potty training Ethan. I may have grown up in a third world country, and my years in the Army may have trained me to deal with not-so-favorable "potty" conditions... but I know squat about the first thing in teaching someone how to "point and shoot" -- although I understand the cheerio-target-practice might come much later.

We introduced his potty chair about 2 weeks ago. We put it right next to the toilet in the upstairs bathroom, and he knows what it is because he goes and sits on it everytime we say the word "potty". Every time he poops, he points at his butt. He just turned 19 months, but we figured it's probably never too early to introduce him to the concept.

We encourage him to sit on it before his baths and sometimes in the mornings before changing for daycare... he even pretends to flush after he gets up from it. Do we think he's ready? Hardly. I've heard of miraculous "trainers" getting the job done in a week -- someone at work had even suggested me taking a week off to potty train him. Frankly, I think he'll do it when he's ready. Right now, we just take it day by day... even if that song on his potty is super annoying.

At least my boy knows how to wipe! :)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Rooms that go Vroom Vroom

I'm happy to report that since we evicted Ethan (and his big boy racecar bed) from our room, he's done immaculately well in his newly transformed room! The crib is officially dismantled and tuck safely away and so help me, there is not a SINGLE trace of Winnie the Pooh in the room!!! YES!!!

Choosing the transportation theme was a breeze since I had already purchased the racecar bed. Although a sports fanatic by default (Ethan, not me), it didn't make sense for me to try to decorate balls around a car. But since we can't paint the walls, figuring out a way to "brighten" up the room (without giving Mike a heart attack) was a little trickier than I thought. Turns out that the only wall-friendly stick-ons they have are all Disney or Thomas and Friends or some other character that Ethan will probably get sick of in a month or so. I really wanted to keep it neutral -- I'm thinking... basic pallettes with cars, planes and trains that don't have eyes and ears. And this is what I came up with...

On one wall, I hung up three square canvas paintings. I had bought it a long, long time ago before I bought anything else, so it kind of became my starting point and my inspiration for the light blue border. I shied away from the checkered flag and instead went for a basic dusty blue removable border that I striped across the middle of the room to break up the boring eggshell white color. Then I used wall appliques of different types of cars and trucks that I found at Target to add some *pop* to the border. I bought the STOP and GO signs from a local teacher store (they have FABULOUS stuff for room decorations if anyone's in the market for it).

To try to alleviate our storage problem, we bought a cubical storage system and put canvas storage bins for half of it which actually worked out well. Small toys go in the bins, and I put the larger ones, including books (at least ones that he can't tear) in the open cubes. I put it right next to his toybox, so he knows that that's the side where we put away everything after we're done playing. Of course, there's the infamous city rug, although I haven't seen Ethan play pretend with his cars on it.

Above that are two shelves that we originally put for the nursery. I haven't gotten around to painting the actual shelves white to match the ones below. But I did put the caricature we had done of Ethan when we took a trip to the San Diego Zoo on there.

But his two most favorite spots in the room are his rocking chair and his foldout "couch". Just look at him lounge!

The room's not entirely done... there's a bare wall that I'm planning on hanging some photo collages on, and I'm still in search of some nice planes I could hang from the ceiling.

If skies were the limit, I would've painted a mural on the wall with roads and cars and planes flying overhead... but that might be another project down the road. For now, Ethan loves waking up in his racecar bed and sitting up to watch the cars and trucks along the wall (although when he says it, it sounds more like "cocks"). The best part of re-decorating the room is? I did it for under $200!!! hehe... my hubby is so proud....

Saturday, August 04, 2007

To Cut or Not to Cut?

Army regulations on hair grooming says:

"The hair on top of the head will be neatly groomed. The length and bulk of the hair will not be excessive or present a ragged, unkempt, or extreme appearance. Hair will present a tapered appearance and, when combed, will not fall over the ears or eyebrows or touch the collar, except for the closely cut hair at the back of the neck. The block cut fullness in the back is permitted in moderate degree as long as the tapered look is maintained."

That means Ethan is out of regulation... that is, according to his dad.

I personally want to grow his hair out, I think it would be really cute. I mean, I'm not talking shaggy-looking... but I don't want him to have a crew cut for the rest of his life either.


There's a debate in the house whether we should or should not take him to get his usual trim. Thoughts anyone?

Friday, August 03, 2007


After the recent debacle at the Mexican restaurant, I was convinced that we wouldn't be taking our "fun-spirited" toddler -- a name they had dubbed him at daycare -- anywhere public anytime soon. Of course, we completely forgot about that when we decided to take Ethan out for a family fun excursion last weekend.

First stop, the Charleston Ribfest.

My expectations weren't high, but I was curious so we checked it out. They had the usual rusted carnival rides and over-priced games, but my favorite part was when a midget-attendant (he really was a "small person", about an inch taller than Ethan) tried to pursuade my son to fish for a toy shark in a blow up pool. I had better ideas to spend $3 than that, but the attendant insisted and almost forcefully tried to put the fishing pole on Ethan's hands. Well, my little socialite wasn't about to be forced to do anything... so he threw the fishing pole as hard as he could and screamed like there was no tomorrow. I wish I had taken a photo of the attendant's face after that....

I have to say after paying a ridiculous entrance fee and a ridiculous price for a rib platter, I wasn't very impressed. My mood might've been skewed a little when we got in the mud-infested "paid area" (definitely not stroller-friendly). It became a chore just finding a place to sit without sinking. I thought the consolation would be the great food (especially for what they charge you for), but it really wasn't all that moving either.

So after a disappointing lunch and a quick ride on the circling elephants, we left in search for something else better to do. (I have to say, the best part for Mike might've been when I wrongfully directed him to use the ATM in a stripclub across the parking lot -- ironically, I didn't pay attention that the building had a sign that said "Mike's Fun Place").

Next stop, the matinee.

Now, I don't know what the general rule of thumb is for bringing toddlers to the movies, but I've heard that most theatres allow the little-little ones in the matinees. And we were hoping that if Ethan would sit through anything (other than the Wiggles)... it would be the Simpsons. So we made sure we had the essentials in hand -- sippy cup, pacifier, bag of M&Ms, and a whole lot of guts -- and bought tickets to a 4:00 showing. Of course, we forgot that it was opening weekend and the theatre was packed. Ethan actually did really well for 2/3 of the movie.. he laughed when everyone laughed, blurted a couple of "uh-ohs" whenever Bart got hurt, clapped when everyone clapped. We were optimistic he would actually make it through, but slowly became less tolerant of sitting still and wanted to wander around and touch people's heads. Before I started to get sneers, I took him to the side and we watched the rest of the movie near the exit (missing a shoe).

Overall, we had a fun-filled afternoon.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Starting them young

According to an article from Sports Illustrated, this is how much a professional athlete makes on average:

Basketball (NBA) -- $5,000,000
Baseball (MLB) -- $2,800,000
Football (NFL) -- $1,750,000
Hockey (NHL) -- $1,500,000
Men's Golf -- $973,495
Women's Tennis -- $345,000
Men's Tennis -- $260,000
Women's Golf -- $162,043

My thoughts:

1. I wish I were 7 feet tall, semi-coordinated, and can dunk for $5 million a season.

2. These are supposedly just based on salaries, and not endorsements -- which makes me hate them even more.

3. Yes, the careers of professional athletes are short. But if you manage your money properly, even 2-3 years in the higher-end sports can set you up for life.

4. I believe some talents can be innate, but most have to be honed from a young age.

Exhibit A:

We're training him young. Kid's got a good eye. Between basketball, baseball, golf, tennis, soccer and football... I say his chances are as good as any.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Working Cowgirl

The boss decided that it would be a good idea to take us away from the office for a couple days, rent a cabin in the middle of nowhere West Virginia, make us wear cowgirl hats and expect us to be productive. There's nothing like mandatory extra work disguised as a fun activity.

Frankly, I think it was rather ingenious. No civilization + no phones + no internet access = no office distraction. Closest distraction we had were the goats and cows who were grazing in front of our lodge.

For what it's worth, I appreciated the "time away", as short as it was. Uninterupted sleep... adult female conversations... a cold glass of Jack and punch... and guilt-free half hour dip in the jacuzzi --- luxuries I don't get to have often. So it was nice. But now it's back to the cubicle and a whole year's worth of work crammed into 30 days.

Yeee haw.


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