Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Family Conversation at Last!

Tonight was a milestone in our household - our very first dinner where all of us (well, us and the two oldest boys) participated in a full-fledged conversation. Typically, our "family conversations" go something like this:

Hubby: Boys, how was your day at school today? What did you learn about?

Boy #1, age 4: It was great! We went on the playground.

Boy #2, age 3: Playground - lalalalalalalla! (opens mouth to display food for all parties at the table to see) We play cars on playground - lalalalalal (more food display)

Boy #1 (laughing):
HAHAHAAHAHH! I SEE YOUR FOOD!!!! Mommy! Drew's not eating like a gentleman. Nobody wants to see your food in your mouth, Drew!

Boy #2: Lookit my food on the table, Cade! (spits food out)

Me: Drew! That's enough! That's time out for you - please leave the table and I will call you in three minutes.

Dinner concludes.

But tonight, all four of us managed to communicate on a singular topic. It went like this:

Me: Honey - I was in the Best Buy shopping center today so I thought I would stop by and pick up that Guitar Hero III game you saw in the paper on Sunday for $20. I wanted to surprise you, bu they were sold out. I was totally bummed.

Boy#1: Daddy already get Guitar Hero!

Me (surprised): Oh, really? When?

Boy #1: When we went to look at TV's!

Me (surprised again): Oh, really?

Boy #2: It doesn't work with our guitar!

Me (suspiciously): Oh, really?

Hubby (sheepishly): Yeah. It turns out that you can use Rock Band with Guitar Hero guitars, but not vice versa.

Me: So now we have the game, but no guitars to play it with?

Hubby: Pretty much.

Boy #1: Don't worry, mommy! We can just buy more guitars!

Boy #2: lalalllalalallala (opens mouth to display food). Look Cade! See my food!

Ok, so it ends the same, but look at all the progress we've made in the beginning of the conversation!

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year, New Name, New Focus

One of my New Year's resolutions was to spend more time blogging. Although I love to write and supposedly blog for four different blogs, the arrival of Baby #3 this past July has significantly cut into my available writing time. All all of my blogs are neglected - this one, I'm sad to say, the most severely. Even the name (Two Kids Two Close) is outdated since the aforementioned third child arrived almost SIX months ago. I've written before about my struggles to find material for this blog. So as part of my resolution, I'm taking another stab at not only updating the name, but trying to give it a renewed focus.

It occurred to me the other day that I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how in the hell to parent boys. Being a girl and further, the oldest in a family of all girls, I really don't know anything about boys. Getting to know my husband over the past decade or so has provided some insight, but not much,since his ways are often still a mystery to me.

At Christmas, my aunt sent me a copy of Dr. James Dobson's Bringing Up Boys, probably in the hopes that I would read it, catch a clue, and get some control over my kids. Although I have absolutely NO time to read and if I did, I would be starting the uber-addictive (or so I hear) Twilight series, I figured it was in my best interests to clear time for this reading material before I do some permanent damage to my kids. I am about halfway through it, and I've already gained some valuable insights, which I will share in my next post.

But for now, just thought I'd kick off the year by announcing my new and improved focus for this blog - parenting all boys. And who knows, since I've experienced living in a family of all girls, I may throw in a little compare/contrast here and there. Stay tuned for lessons learned from Dr. Dobson later this week and Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Win a Moby Wrap!

Seems like I have lots of friends in the Atlanta area with new babies and you guys gotta get one of these - the Moby Wrap. We're giving one away over at Baby Bunching - drop by and comment before Sunday 11/23 to enter to win one!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Million and One Reasons Why I Love Target

It's no secret that I love Target. In fact, since I had children, I shop there pretty much to the exclusion of everywhere else except the grocery store. It is one of the great sorrows of my life that my Target is not a SuperTarget. But hey - it recently got a Starbucks, so I'm not complaining.

Today I found another reason to love Target. They were the presenting sponsor of Woodruff Art's Center's Free Family Day. We decided to brave the crowds and drag the kiddies to this event in Midtown after church today. What a fun time! Plus bonus points for scoring a free parking spot right in front of the High Museum!

My oldest son's favorite activity was the instrument petting zoo, where he got to check out wind, brass, and string instruments. He was mildly disappointed that percussion instruments were noticeably absent, but that was remedied with a quick trip to the African drumming room.

There were tons of crafts - kids were able to make swords and scabbards, their own mini-museums, instruments, hand puppets, and bucket hats (my son went back three times to keep adding to his before the masterpiece was finally deemed "finished"). There were sidewalk murals and chalk drawings in front of the High. There were performers galore, courtesy of Young Audiences. Admission to the High Museum was free, although the only thing my kids were interested in there was running up and down the spiral ramps, which pleased the staff of the High to no end, as you can imagine. There was an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performance (which we missed because my kids were hyped up by then and we figured we should spare the ASO the pleasure of their company in the audience). And a ton of other stuff that we never even got to. We were there for three and a half hours and we probably did a third of the available activities.

We finally left only because my middle son was literally falling asleep on one of the Target bullseye doormats in the common area. I think it was a bit much for the poor little guy. But all in all, a beautiful way to spend the day and we hope they do it again next year!

PS - Did the Target free day at the Children's Museum as well earlier this summer - not as many "extra" activities but a great way to see the museum for free - just be sure to get there early or expect a line.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Parks Galore

Fall in Atlanta is my absolute favorite time of year. Maybe it's because I grew up in Houston, which has exactly one season - summer - but there's nothing I love more than to be outdoors in the crisp air with the changing leaves.

Even though it's still a little early and warm for fall, Atlanta's optimal playground season has already started. With the stifling summer heat behind us, our family is enjoying a triumphant return to our favorite area playgrounds!

We always like to learn about new ones, so I've posted some of our favorites in the hopes that you'll share some of yours.

  • Piedmont Park - The new Mayor's Park playground is awesome! With lots of fun equipment and soft rubber (read: no wood chips) surfacing, it's worth hours of entertainment. Plus, ride your bike or push the stroller around the park when you're done. Bonus: the newly re-designed playground now has a conveniently located and clean restroom right next to it - yay!
  • Centennial Olympic Park - read my post on this from a few weeks ago. So much fun that we actually went several times even in the summer heat because you can cool off in the fountains afterwards.
  • Brook Run Park in Dunwoody -multiple playgrounds for big and little kids and lots of space for dogs (or little boys, in our case) to run. Also features a Children's Adventure Garden.
  • East Cobb Park - multiple age-appropriate play structures, bike/walk trail around the park, clean restrooms, a babbling stream for wading, plus plenty of open space for picnicking and kicking a ball - what more could you ask for?
  • Chastain Park - play on the equipment or walk the trail around the park. If the ball fields nearby are empty, your little ones can poke around there and kick/throw a ball around.
We've also got our favorites here in Smyrna, where we live, but we like to take advantage of the weekends to explore new parks in other parts of town. Share your favorites that are drive-worthy!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Clifford, Junior League of Atlanta, and Super Why

Saturday was a big day for us. We started off at Barnes and Noble to check out a special event featuring Clifford. After a Clifford reading and a visit from the Big Red Dog himself, we scored Clifford's "autograph". Somehow my kids just weren't in the mood so it was kind of a bust for us, but other children enjoyed it. And we did get Clifford's paw print "autograph", which is going to show and tell with my oldest son this week.

On to the Junior League of Atlanta's Building a Better Community Week Fire Station Ice Cream Social. Held each year at the Moore's Mill/Howell Mill fire station in September, this event was started post-9/11 as a way to honor our community's fire fighters. Kids have a chance to check out the fire engines up close, interact with real-life heroes, and enjoy tasty ice cream. The firefighters get really into it and even put on a little demonstration for us where they extended their ladder all the way and climbed to the top. I was volunteering for this event and my kids arrived just after the trucks had to leave on a call, so they missed the truck action. But my oldest informed me that since his last birthday party was at the fire station, he was really just there for the ice cream. Which he enjoyed immensely. Event was a hit.

Last stop of the day - Happy Healthy Kids Day at Georgia Public Broadcasting. This free event was open to the public and featured storytellers, bands, magicians, face painting, crafts and games. We went because my kids are HUGE Super Why! fans and the gang was making an appearance, along with Word Girl, Curious George, Clifford (on tour in Atlanta that day, apparently), and Princess Presto. I'm not sure if this event has been held before or not, but I kind of thought it would be us and 5 other people. Instead, half the city of Atlanta was there. The place was packed and we even ran into several people we knew. By the time we got there, Super Why! had long since gone, but we did wait in line 40 minutes to see Curious George. It was a little crazy since the event was spread across 4 floors of the GPB building and almost everyone there had a stroller, but there were fun crafts and activities for the kids. Probably more appropriate for pre-school/early elementary kids than older school-aged kids. A major shout-out to all the GPB staff and volunteers - they were unfailingly polite and helpful and really made everyone feel welcome. I hope this event repeats next year and I hope they move it to a bigger/more horizontal venue. Thanks, GPB!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Baby Faire a Bust for Me

Promised an update on Baby Faire, but thanks to my own personal baby, the past week has been so crazy that I am waaaay overdue for a post. No time for a ton of details, but here's the upshot:
  • There were less vendors than I expected and frankly, less free stuff. I paid $8 to get in and I'm actually not even sure if I got $8 worth of free stuff.
  • I did get one cool thing - check out my product review post on Baby Bunching for Toddler Bites, a nifty gadget I picked up at the Faire.
  • I was a little miffed because they fooled me into registering on a computer up front, claiming that vendors would "scan" my bar coded name tag and automatically enter me in drawings to win free stuff. Instead, only two vendors actually had scanners. So I ended up filling out cards at the places where I wanted more information and every other vendor got my information whether I wanted them to or not. Plus I paid $8 for them to get it. AND I didn't win any free stuff. Bummer.
  • There was some kind of anime convention going on at Cobb Galleria at the same time as the Baby Faire. Weirdos dressed up in costume + babies = sketched out parents.
The verdict: Graco, Chicco, Babies R Us, Medela, Playtex, Avent, Dr. Browns, and others all had extensive booths with tons of products. Great event for first time moms looking to get info for registering. Not so much for third-time moms.