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Disney PLANES takes off! (A review and some fun activities for kids)

Disclosure: We attended the press preview for the movie

I took my 5-year-old son on a date this past Monday. We don’t get a lot of “just us” time together. So when we got the chance to see Disney’s PLANES in the theater, I thought that’d be the perfect mother-son date.

You see, I love Disney movies. Always have. When they started coming out on video, I began my collection. I had ALL of them. And I still – at almost 40 – love to watch the movies. This was no exception.

PLANES

There’s something about the characters in this Cars/Planes world that are so cute & adorable & a little bit goofy. As an adult, you can probably guess the ending of the movie. But when a kid sees it, they get completely caught up in the story. And it’s as much fun to watch them as it is to watch the movie.

Dusty.jpg

You see, Dusty is this cute little crop duster who’s bored with, well, dusting. He wants to be more. He wants to race. Of course, the other planes think that’s absurd, because how can a crop duster compete with jets and planes that are built for speed?

ned-zed.jpg

But Dusty trains, and works hard, and does his best to show everyone that you CAN do more than people expect of you. Even if you weren’t “built” for racing. And, of course, his loyal friends join him along the journey.

skipper-dottie.jpg

I asked my son what his favorite part of the movie was. He said it was when Dusty got repaired (after an incident – don’t want to spoil it). My son was so excited to see all the different airplanes, see them flying around and doing amazing flying tricks!

This might just be another one for the library when it comes out on DVD. I bet our youngest will enjoy it by that time, too. (Not sure my 2-year-old can sit in a theater that long, so his viewing may have to wait.)

I’m glad we didn’t wait to see it. The animation is – as always – amazing. And the 3D is great. It’s perfect for a movie like that.

If you wonder whether you should see it in the theater, go for it! We had a really great time.

Want to see a preview of the movie, if you haven’t already?

And here’s one more:

You can also check out RSN on YouTube for even more videos: http://www.youtube.com/RacingSportsNetwork

There are some fun things to do from the movie, too.

Download Race to the Finish! Activities

Download Coloring & Connect the Dots

And if you want all of this cool stuff in one place, then you’ll want to bookmark FlewTube. It has things like this:

  • Planes Trailers & Clips
  • Paper Airplane Tutorials
  • Features on Remote Controlled Flyer enthusiasts
  • Introductions to parts of a plane
  • Flight-related Disney legacy content

One last thing. There are games, too! Of course there are games.

If you haven’t already, give your kids the chance to take flight with the characters from Disney’s PLANES in two immersive games available now on the web!

Final disclosure: While we went to a press preview, we paid for all our food. I am already on Disney’s blogger email list, so I get emails with these types of links to free downloads and I chose to use them in my post. Opinions about the movie are my own; I was not asked to do anything more than provide a link to my review.

Gone in an instant

“Time flies” has become such a cliché, hasn’t it? But how else do you describe the way time picks up and grows closer to warp speed the older you get?

20120707_151429I still remember how much I wanted to start school when I was little. My brother would head off to the bus and I had to stay home. And now, in a twinkle, it’s my son’s turn to start school. About 3 weeks ago, we heard from the school that they would offer transitional kindergarten and that we should take a look since our oldest qualifies.

I hadn’t expected to walk down that path until next year, knowing he misses the birthday cutoff by about 20 days. An now, suddenly, that reality is thrust in my face. The reality that he’s growing up. That he WANTS to go to school. That time is going more quickly than I like. That my time of influence over him is dwindling and other people will at some point have more influence than we do. That I have to let go. That he’s such a sweet soul and is going to face difficulties with his speech and being a bit behind the others. That other kids can be cruel and no matter how much I want to protect him, I can’t.

That was brought to my attention last night in stark, painful reality. And it almost ended in utter tragedy.

We went to dinner last night with the daughter and her boyfriend. We hadn’t hung out together in a while, so it was nice to visit and have a good meal together. After we said our goodbyes, we went to the car. We were parked on the street, and it’s a busy one headed out to Shelter Island. While we were getting the little one ready for his seat, the oldest was impatient. We had asked him to stand on the sidewalk for a moment and then I was going to walk him to his door, since it’s the one street-side. As we were dealing with M, the wee one, F jetted out in the street.

My heart stopped as both John and I yelled “STOP!!!!” as loudly and forcefully as we could. There were multiple cars speeding by.

He stopped at the edge of the car, just a split second away from getting hit. Our future without two sons flashed before my eyes and I almost lost my dinner right then and there.

Daddy had a long, stern talk with F about being careful and not running into the street. And as I put M in his seat, I said a silent prayer of thanks that he stopped. That he listened for once (because sometimes he keeps going and we have to say stop more than a few times). And that we didn’t have to deal with the “what ifs” that came perilously close to coming true.

And so today, I am hugging my kids a little tighter, grateful for every hug, every mess, every moment. Because it can be taken away in an instant. And we came way too close to that last night.

I can’t keep him by my side forever. I know that. But it doesn’t make it any easier sometimes, this letting go. One of the things we have to get good at as a mom, even as it breaks our hearts to do so.

In spite of all that, though, I do want him to have fun, learn, and make new friends as he starts off on a new adventure, a new phase in his life.

Oh, the places you’ll go, son.

Today you’re three

me and my son

Dear Son,

Today you are three years old. It’s hard for me to believe it has already been three whole years since you joined us. You have brought so much joy and light into our lives. You’re funny. You’ll do just about anything for a laugh. You’re charming. That grin where you wrinkle your nose and squint your eyes is so very cute (but I’m on to you). You’re silly. You love to stand on your head and look at things, or use the wrong end of the binoculars to view your world. You’re sweet. There’s nothing better than hugs and kisses from you.

You are my little buddy. We’re together day after day, just the two of us until daddy gets home from work. You’re my constant companion. You keep me company. You want me to play cars all the time. You stand in my chair and run cars on my head while I type away at the computer. You give the best nose rubs and hugs. I hope you always have a special place in your heart for mommy.

You love to help. I hope you’ll love helping with your little brother. I don’t quite think you understand yet what it means. And I hope that it only brings you joy when we arrive home with him just days after your birthday. You and your brother will be exactly 3 years, 1 day apart. But I hope that you’ll always be good buddies.

I love you so much, little buddy. That will never change, even as we move into a new dynamic with our family. Happy 3rd birthday, little man. I cherish these years with you. I hope you do, too.

Always,

Mama

My son, the comedian

Our boy is trying to assert his independence. He’ll turn 3 in about 10 days, so it’s no surprise. He loves to have choices, so we offer him one thing or the other and let him decide. But sometimes he’s pretty insistent that he wants something even when we say no.

Especially when it comes to Go-Gurt. I don’t know if I should be happy we introduced this into our household or not. The kid really loves it. So I let him have one or two each day. But he’s constantly asking for more. And since he can open the fridge, he goes and gets one and presents it to me for approval. In fact, a few days ago he came to me, smiled the sweetest little smile, rubbed noses with me, and then produced a Go-Gurt from behind his back.

He’s a smart one, already learning how to work mama over.

Yesterday was a battle of wills. Every five minutes he was asking for a yogurt, then crying when we said no. It had been that way all day – the whining and battling. We were all getting exhausted from it. Daddy sternly told him enough was enough, and the boy came over to me, whining and putting his head in my lap. Daddy then told him he’d better turn that frown upside down and put a smile on his face. Again, sternly. The instant the word “smile” came out of hubby’s mouth, my son put on the biggest, cheesiest grin you’ve ever seen. It was immediate. I looked at him, then looked at my husband, trying hard to stifle a laugh.

Hubby’s face was turning red as he tried not to laugh. It took only seconds before we cracked up. Things went from super-serious, you-need-to-stop-whining-child to full-on tears running down our cheeks. I have never seen that child change his demeanor so quickly. It really was hilarious. By the time we finished laughing, everyone was in a better mood. And our sides were hurting. A lot.

Do you know how painful it is to make a 9-months-pregnant woman belly laugh?

Totally worth it.

The neverending week

STILL not caught up. Treading water. There are dishes in BOTH sides of the sink. The baby seat is still lost in the jungles of our garage. I still haven’t managed to complete some web copy and I desperately need to get it done. Also? Knee deep in resumes.

The work stuff is a good thing. Really. Trying to get as much done as I can before I take time off. But I swear my days are getting shorter and I just can’t quite find the time to finish everything. Especially with a clingy, demanding 2 year old attached to my hip.

Son’s hearing test was fine, so that’s a positive. They didn’t get to test each ear individually, thanks to his aversion to ANYTHING on his head. But it appears to be within normal range so they’re ruling that out as a reason for his speech delay. He’s never had ear infections or injuries, so we were pretty sure that was the case anyway.

Next steps, more evaluations.

And to add to the misery? Next week they’re paving our lot. Which means I’m either stuck in the house all day or stuck OUT of the house all day. No in between. Joy. Whose idea was it to pave just days before Thanksgiving? I really despise our management company. So much I might even name them one of these days.

Went to Java Mama today so the kid could have some fun while I worked. It was great, except for the other boy who kept pushing everyone and giving them headlocks. I mean, hugs. And even with repeated requests for her to WATCH HER DAMN SON, the mother was too busy chatting with about 10 friends and watching her baby in a stroller. That she could have taken IN the play area so she could watch her son more closely. Which she needed to do.

I never know how to speak up in those situations without getting so angry I make no sense. I fume and bite my tongue, unsure of the appropriate thing that will let her know her son’s behavior is NOT acceptable when it causes MY SON to hit his head. I am new to these waters, since it’s usually just me & my son hanging out at home. How do you handle misbehaving kids when their own parent seems content to ignore their bad deeds?

Snippets

I took off this afternoon for a little out-of-the-house and alone time. It was sorely needed. I haven’t been out of the house much this week and the one time I was? Doctor’s appointment. And I had to get right back because the boy was with Daddy.

But this afternoon, just before the boy woke up from his nap, I took off. Ran a few errands. Perused Michael’s and the bookstore. And then I picked up dinner and went back home to be with my guys.

A little saner, a little refreshed.

After I walked in the door, the boy was nowhere to be found. Turns out he was playing in the bedroom and didn’t know I was home. After I put down all of my stuff, I called to him.

He came careening out of the bedroom with a huge smile on his face. He ran up to me and I expected him to fling himself around my legs. But he grabbed my hand to lead me back to where he was so he could show me what he’d been doing. And then he wanted to play on our bed (which he loves).

His laughter and smile were the perfect welcome home.

Mom as Jungle Gym, A Modern Art Piece

I was in the dining room, squatting down to look at something on the bottom shelf of our baker’s rack. I didn’t even see it coming.

Whack!

A very large car starts moving over my back and shoulders.

Wait, let me back up. My son is obsessed with cars. It’s really anything with wheels. If an object has wheels, he must have it.

Earlier this month, he threw a fit over a rain gauge that had a tractor on it. When I finally figured out what he wanted, I got it down for him. And then he threw a fit because the wheels wouldn’t move on the stupid thing. It was the funniest and most pitiful thing, all at the same time. He was so disappointed that the wheels were immobile.

So we have these cars (Ridemakerz, which we LOVE) that have been sitting on top of our stereo since last Christmas. After we got home from Missouri, the boy noticed them. As in, would not stop until we got them down for him. Point, whine. Point, stomp feet, whine. Repeat. I really don’t mind him playing with them, so I got them down for him.

And they have not left his side since. He even sleeps with them now. These cars are not small. They’re about 10-12 inches long. But he loves them and runs them all over the place.

Me, included.

So this car starts running across my back. I’m leaning over enough that he can balance the car on my shoulder and it will stay. So he leaves the car there so he can go get the other one. He brings it back and runs it all over my back, too.

I’m amused, but also glad there are no cameras around.

I think that I’m my son’s favorite playground. He’s constantly running his hot wheels cars all over me, too. Or when I’m laying in the floor, he crawls across me. Over. And over. And over.

So I’m a jungle gym. Or a car track. Or just a really soft play toy.

And I actually love every minute of it. Being a mom is so cool.

Behind blue eyes

Matching Blue Eyes

When I found out I was pregnant, I really and truly wanted a blue-eyed baby. Boy or girl, blue eyes please.

My dad has the most amazing blue eyes I’ve ever seen. Blue as the sky and so bright. They are striking. I so wanted my little boy to have those eyes. Instead, he got the same blue that I, my brother, and my mom have. They sometimes tend a little more towards gray, depending on what color we’re wearing. But my dad? His eyes never change – they are always the same vibrant pools of blue.

So while it’s nice that my boy has the exact eyes that I do, I wanted to pass on something else. The poor kid already has so many of my traits that it’s scary. He never even had a chance. I’m sure he’ll thank me (and never let me forget it) later.

Transitions… and good customer service

The boy has been using sippy cups for a while now. We tend to use the non-spill versions since he’s in a mode where he likes to pretend he’s an Olympian discus thrower. My floors are constantly in a state of disarray with bits and pieces of food that sacrificed themselves to the whims of my toddler baby. You can’t step very far without crushing a cheerio or a piece of toast under your feet. That’s okay, they’re easily vacuumed. But the smooshy vegetables and ice-cold watermelon are a little much on my bare feet in the middle of the night. Let’s just say it’s hard to distinguish them from cat vomit in the dark.

So we bought some sippy cups that, while they are somewhat bottle-sized, have soft spouts and one of the two has handles. They’re called transitions, as in the transition from bottle to sippy. My child likes to bite and chew. So a soft spout is perfect for him. Give him one of the hard spouts and he turns away. (He already has an opinion on just about everything. I am in so much trouble later.)

Unfortunately, the soft plastic of the spouts tend to get a little gunky, no matter how diligent I am at cleaning them. Milk just tends to get goopy and icky. Add to that the chewing and chewing my son tends to do, and the sippy spout is to the point where I can’t use it – he has chewed extra holes in it.

Enter complications. The boy loves these cups. I’ve tried several other kinds. Doc Brown, some other Gerbers, and more. He tries them and then refuses. Doesn’t want them. Unfortunately, when I went back to the store to find them, they were gone. From everywhere. Gerber stopped selling them. In desperation, I started searching the web, even going to Gerber’s own site. No transitions cups. So I emailed them and asked what I could do.

And this is where Gerber went from good to great. They emailed me back within a few days and let me know where I could get replacement spouts and valves, the cost and how to order them. And then they sent me a couple of sets at no charge, thus saving much crying and wailing and knashing of teeth. We get to continue using the cups, which were serving their purpose just fine, but without the wear and tear from my sons very pointy – and well-practiced – teeth.

Thank you, Gerber. You went above and beyond, and I really appreciate it. It didn’t cost you much, yet you made this mommy very happy.

One year ago today

One year ago, I met a boy. He has taken over much of my life in this past year. But that’s not his fault. He had to rely on me for just about everything. It’s just the way of things.

Today, we celebrate the birth of our son, the great Boobah. He has changed so much over the past year. It really is amazing how fast the milestones fly at you. I can’t even keep up. But I love it.

Being a mom is hard. It’s getting up and caring for your child even when you’re feeling under the weather and they are fine. It’s pulling yourself out of bed at 5 when you really want to sleep until 7. Or 10. It’s making sure they’re fed before you are, because you can wait a 1/2 hour to eat, but your child doesn’t yet understand how to wait. It’s wiping tears, runny noses, kissing bruises, padding corners, washing bottles, and changing a heck of a lot of diapers.

It’s a freaking tough job. I do love it. Even as I wish for just a little time to myself to read, take a bath, take a nap, catch up on email, watch a little TV, or browse a shop. Even as I drag myself out of bed at 3 am to find a lost binkie. And especially when I get soaked from bathtub splashing.

Deep down, I always hoped I would get to be a mom. My parents are the most wonderful examples of love and caring, and I wanted to pass that along. I hoped that there would be someone to look at all of the pictures and hear all of the stories and just want to know where we came from. And a bit of what our lives were like. I want to leave a mark. We do that, in some small way, through our children.

But I never knew if I would get the chance. Hey, life happens and sometimes that chance can pass us by. I was lucky, though. It didn’t pass by. And here we are. My son is one year old. We survived with him only getting dropped on his head once! Or was it twice? (Oh, hai, CPS – just kidding!)

I’m still trying to find a way to balance being a mom with still being me. I’ve always found it easier to worry about everyone else ahead of myself. Maybe I’ll figure it out. Maybe it’ll continue to be a battle. Who knows?

I love that little guy of mine. And while I’m in no hurry for him to get bigger, I’m really looking forward to the adventures we’ll share.