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Cabin Fever Desperation Relief

2015 March 20
by Becky

The nice weather is right around the corner! We’re looking at some beautiful weather  in the coming weeks, but don’t kid yourself, there will be chilly mornings and plenty of rainy days peppered in. Like today, Weather Channel said 70? It’s like 45. If you are like me, you spent the winter pulling your hair out beginning around 3:30pm, wondering what the heck your going to do to entertain post-nap or post-school kiddos, so the thought of ONE MORE DAY stuck inside is pretty unbearable.

Sometimes I drove to Ethan’s school at 3:15, gripping the wheel, panicking over how the hell we would get through the afternoon. We tried to plan play dates or little outings, but often, especially when the wind was blowing, the temps were low, and we had baby boy in tow, home was our after school destination.

So while we are getting sneak-peeks of spring, it helps having some ideas in the back of my mind to cope. Here are a few:

1. Building things out of cardboard boxes, AKA Amazon Delivery Fun

EthanCardboardCreation2. Dance Party! Crank the music, pull out the instruments, and dance till you sweat a little. Song suggestions: “Everything is Awesome”, “Thunderstruck”, “How Bad Can I Be?”, “Life Is Highway”, and “Monsters University Roar”.

3. Model Magic. AKA, the better playdough. This is a sculpting tool I can handle. Ethan likes to take his miniature dinosaurs and animals and cover them in the clay, saying they are “eggs” that will be hatching soon.

4. Legos. These can currently keep Ethan busy for looooooong periods of time, longer if we play the game where he asks us to build something like, say, a space station, to which we oblige only to watch him tear the whole thing apart to “correct” the design. It usually includes dismantling the entire creation and rebuilding it. He also wants us to build something, then pretend we are asleep so he can come “steal” the contraption…again to destroy it and make something new.

5.”Ostacle” course hilarity. A tunnel, a bench, a bed for jumping, and some open space is all you need to get creative. Run the course, as a complete goof-ball, in front of your kid. They will think it’s the funniest thing EVER.

EthanObsticle6. Take a bath. A LOOOOOOOOOONG bath. Extra bubbles, throw in a few “special” toys (think measuring cups, teaspoons, and squirt guns) and keep warming up the water. Jump in with them if possible! I can’t wait until Finn’s old enough for baths.

7. Play with Tape. Hand your kid a roll of painters tape and let them go to town. If they aren’t old enough to tear it, tear lots of different lengths for them and stick to the edge of a table so they can grab and go.

8. Preschool Workbooks. I find these at Target or craft shops, they have mazes and letter tracing and pattern recognition activities that are fun AND sharpen writing skills. I usually sit with Ethan to help him do these books, it helps him to know I’m there to assist.

9. Science Project. We put baking soda in a tray and let Ethan drip colored vinegar. The bubbles are exciting for a few minutes, then the mixing of vinegar colors become more intoxicating. I let him go at it as long as he wants until the mess becomes too much. There are dozens of other science project ideas on Pinterest.

BakingSodaAndVinegar210. Baking. Cookies, brownies, rice crispy treats, banana bread, shaped sugar cookies, cupcakes, you name it. For you healthy people there’s always celery with peanut butter decorated with raisins, homemade granola, oatmeal squares? If you are worried about having the tempting treats sitting around for a week just make half the recipe or only keep half, freeze the other half. Limit the output and you limit the calories. Or take half of the batch to your neighbor! Here’s a great recipe for amazingly soft and chewy cookies that are a snap to make and only yields about 12 large cookies.

11. Board games. We recently introduced “Sorry” and Ethan is addicted. We also play Dinosaur Dominos and Sneaky Snacky Squirrel. We don’t always get through a whole game, but Ethan’s patience is growing longer with each game. It’s also a great way to practice turn taking and sportsmanship.

EthanPlayingSorry  What are your favorite cabin fever remedies? How do you keep from going insane? 

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Brother to Brother

2015 March 13
by Becky

It’s SO hard to think of your second child’s development’s without comparing to their older sibling.

We are constantly having deja vu moments, exclaiming, “He looks JUST like Ethan!” It doesn’t help that Finn is wearing mostly hand-me-downs that bring swells of nostalgia and floods of memories of tiny Ethan.

So when the warm weather appeared, I pulled out the green striped onesie, just to get a glimpse of those pudgy arms, and I couldn’t help but take a few comparison shots. I showed Ethan the picture in his baby book and he was on board to help recreate the moment.

Note to self: recreating expressions in babies is REALLY hard.

But here’s our best effort:

FinnAndEthan2Ahhh! So cute.

First thought? OMG they have identical blond sprouts on those noggins. The hairlines seem different, but Finn had that little widow’s peak about a month ago and Ethan grew out of it after that picture so really, the hair is an identical field of blonde fuzz.

Two blondies in the HO-UUUUUSE!!!

Pinch me, I seriously never thought my kids would look like me. Having a husband with dark, dark features (grey hear withstanding), I just assumed at least one—probably both—would take after him.

(Insert giddy giggles here)

It’s tough to tell on a camera display, but once I got these two pics side-by-side I was shocked both by their similarities AND differences.

Clearly there’s an size gap. Tiny, premie Ethan weighed the same at seven months as Finn does at four. I honestly liked having a petite baby so I’m a little nervous about Finn’s growth rate, will this continue?? He’s filling out so fast, and man it’s hard to resist those chubby thighs.

The similarities are so perfectly cute. The button noses, identical chins, even the hands and feet are the same.

Here’s another I couldn’t resist.

EthanAndFinnCurlyRibbonOur friend Angela, always quick with a homemade toy, showed us how much babies love curling ribbon. A few weeks ago I handed some to Finn and he went at it…just like his big brother. Pulling the ribbon through his fingers and trying to chew it.

Again, Finn has fuller cheeks and body, but they are brothers for sure.

EthanAndFinn-Bath2

I can’t wait for these two to really start playing. Finn clearly can’t wait to get in the mix. He thinks big brother is amazing. (I’m holding Finn, he is NOT standing yet) As soon as Finn sits up, he’s getting into the bath routine with Ethan.

If anything, watching Finn is making us realize just how delayed Ethan was in those early days. He caught up, just like the docs said, by around 1.5 years old and is now ahead in more ways than we can believe. But Finn is a whole different experience. I guess parenting is easier the second go-round because we know to be flexible, know each little person does things in their own time.

I just hope Finn doesn’t pick up all the sass Ethan’s been throwing my way…it’s like a constant hostage negotiation around these parts.

What do you think? Am I seeing things, or do they look alike? 

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