Friday, January 29, 2010

Colin's Clubhouse

As it turns out, the best thing that you can do for a stir crazy toddler stuck in the house during a freezing rain storm is throw a sheet over the furniture and call it a fort. ;-) The weather here is all gloom and I am running at just about zero motivation at the moment. I was getting geared up to make homemade play dough for Colin thanks to a recipe from Kimberly, but I don't have cream of tartar and simply could not bring myself to bundle Colin up for a trip to the store in this weather. After trying everything entertaining under the sun, I finally tossed a giant sheet over the entertainment center and Colin thought it was the best thing EVER. He now has all of his trains and cars piled in that little corner "fort" and at the moment is trying to convince Enzo and Ferris to stay in there with him. Thank goodness for the little things!!

I have been doing lots of research lately and I believe that Colin will be starting a one day a week preschool class in the fall. There is a church just down the road from us that offers a wonderful preschool program with the option to attend on Mondays only from 9-2. This will be perfect for Colin...he will have just turned 3 and I think the experience will be crucial for him. He will have the chance to learn, play and socialize with other children, not to mention learn to listen to a teacher and not have me around. They run with the local school calendar and registration for next year is in a month! It is a good thing that I started looking early! We would have absolutely missed out on signing up. I am excited to think about Colin starting preschool, even just once a week. That sounds like such a big boy thing to do! :-)

Here is Colin coming out of his awesome fort. Yes, there is a giant train table where my coffee table used to be. Yes, my house is a huge playroom. ;-)

Inviting me into his clubhouse.

Look at this fine craftsmanship. hehehehe!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Is January Over YET?

GREETINGS! It has been a very rainy day here and as you can see from the photo above, we decided to end our boring indoor day with a little bit of chocolate fondue. It was just as messy as you can imagine, but Colin was in heaven. I got the brilliant idea from Jer's mom, who melted chocolate chips with a smidge of oil when we visited last weekend. When you melt them together, you get perfect fondue. We had a blast tonight dipping all sorts of fruits and pretzels in the melted chocolate goodness...what a fun evening!
Colin has continued his new schedule and not napped during the day in probably three weeks now. He goes to sleep between 7 and 7:30 and sleeps until 7:15am. With this new schedule, I am much stricter on bedtime...lights are OUT at 7:30. Colin is so exhausted that it is no problem...he is out like a light. Things have been going smoothly and I do love the free evenings with Jer. Colin has never even come close to sleeping for 12 hours straight before and I just love it. I will say that I am tired in my bones by the time 7pm rolls around, though. I don't have a single truly free moment during the day, so that is pretty taxing. However, the big nap time struggle that used to take up the entire middle of my day is now over and I like not having it hanging over my head. We can do whatever we want at whatever long as we are home for our early evenings. I am hoping that when summer rolls around, the longer daylight hours will push his schedule later...maybe sleeping from 8:30 - 8:30 or something amazing like that. I don't know for sure if that will happen, but I hope so. It will seem very strange to call it a night at 7pm during the summer months! We shall see!
I should also note that I finally got my HORRIBLE New Year's Eve haircut fixed amazing hairdresser Leslie is back in business after shoulder surgery and she fixed me up. She did have to take a lot of length off to salvage something, but it looks a THOUSAND times better and I feel like a new woman. Now I am off to grow it out...AGAIN.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Adventures

Our little vacation weekend continued yesterday and we kept up our local road trip. We left the house early in order to take Colin to the park before the rain started. It was scheduled to be a dreary day, so we knew that we needed to act quickly if Colin was going to get outdoor playtime. The rain started sooner than we expected, so we ended up back in the car and searching for something to do with Colin at 10:30am on a rain soaked Saturday morning. We were in Roanoke, so we found ourselves circling the new (and beautifully constructed) Oak Street in the center of town. We spotted The Book Carriage, a fairly new bookstore and coffee shop that I have been dying to visit, but keep forgetting about. We parked and ran inside...and ended up walking into my idea of heaven. The giant doors of the two story brick building opened up into my favorite thing on independent book store. It smelled of coffee and books and home. It was warm and cozy, filled with book displays and a children's corner stacked with new books, cowboy hats and princess wands. I was overcome by the sensation that I was inside The Shop Around the Corner from "You've Got Mail". The owners and employees were milling around working on various things with reading glasses perched on their noses and a sweet young girl was manning a very impressive coffee bar. We ordered coffees and a chocolate drink for Colin and began investigating every corner of the store. Colin played checkers on a big floor mat and found a bin of maracas. The back wall has books all the way to the top with one of those heavy wood ladders attached to the floor...if I could design my dream library at home, it would have looked exactly like this place. The owners talked to Colin and patted him on the head several times while updating us on the events they host. They have live music every Saturday night and two different story times for kiddos. I kept closing my eyes and taking deep breaths while wondering if I could live on their second story. We bought a giant "Where's Waldo" book for Jer and Colin to play with and finally forced ourselves to go...but I could have stayed all day long. I hope they make it....I can't imagine a place like that turning much of a profit in the days of Barnes and Noble, but what a JOY it was. I promised myself that I would buy a book there whenever possible in support of their mission. They have a big patio that I can't wait to park myself at when spring arrives and as soon as Colin can manage to stay awake past 7pm, we will be going to the live shows. It was the absolute perfect way to spend a rainy Saturday morning and I can't WAIT to go back!!!

After our wonderful visit, we decided to head over to Arlington for another much anticipated treat...lunch at Prince Lebanese Grill. We are big fans of the show "Diners, Drive-In's and Dives" on Food Network and we will always go check out local places that we see featured on the show. We saw an episode last week about Prince and Jer was beside himself to go...he has been craving Mediterranean food as of late. We made the trek over and it was absolutely AMAZING. It is hard to put into words how fantastic this place was. It absolutely fit the bill of "dive" and the food was out of this world. Colin and I shared the Hummus Mah Lahme with Beef Shawarma and it was INSANE! Jer ordered the Gyro Plate and we all shared Falafel as an appetizer. Colin ate a ton and was quiet the whole time! You know the food was good if Colin was persuaded to sit still and eat! ;-) I can honestly say that I don't remember the last time that I ate something so incredibly delicious and it is all I can do not to go back right now! What a wonderful find!!!

It was a fantastic day and Colin still managed to stay awake throughout the day with no nap...another 7pm bedtime for him. I am not sure if he will keep this up, but at least it leaves our days open for fun, even if our nights are now cut pretty short!
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