Visiting Grand Mary and Papa

Grand Mary and Papa...I'm HERE!!!!! Actually, Grand Mary (or "Nannae" as I say it) met us at the airport. She even had a brand new carseat for me in her Jeep!

Here I am in Cary, North Carolina!
On Saturday, we went to Papa's book signing and discussion at this cute little bookstore in Fearrington Village. My mom loves little independent bookstores like these. She says they have so much character.
Grand Mary pushed me around outside while my Momma went inside to hear Papa talk about his suspense novel Sonnets.
Papa was one of five authors who talked about their mystery books. I made sure to make a grand entrance as the discussion panel was ending. I wanted to see Papa in action!
Papa, Momma, and me
Grand Mary bought me some new pjs at Target. These have my name on them... Little Monkey.
Trying to fill Papa's shoes. I guess I've got a long way to go!
Momma and I rode a really old carousel at Pullen Park in Raleigh. It went really fast! Momma got motion sickness and had to hold on tight to me so she wouldn't fall down. I took good care of her.
Then we went on a train ride around the park! There is a lake, and a playground, and bumper boats too!
I'm pondering a career as an astronaut.
Papa let me sit in his lap at breakfast one morning!
And he took us to Red Robin for dinner one night. They are supposed to have GREAT burgers! It's sad I am allergic to beef. But I sure did love my fries and ketchup!
Mommy says I'm such a boy...you know, opening my mouth with food still in it.
This is what happens to my hair on cooler, non-humid days...my curls straighten out. Mommy said she didn't recognize me. Maybe this could be the altering trait for a new superhero. It's not as cool as glasses, but it seemed to do the trick.
Grand Mary found me a John Deere tractor toy at a consignment shop! I had so much fun visiting my grandparents...I can't wait to go back. (Mommy, on the other hand, says she can. Unless someone flies with us next time.)

Thanks Grand Mary and Papa!! I love you!

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First Day at "School"

To get Carter excited about his first day at "school" (aka Mother's Day Out) yesterday, I introduced him to his own little backpack. We had been given this bag when he was born, and I have been waiting oh so patiently for him to use it. He immediately latched onto the word "backpack" and recited it all day long. As you can tell in these pictures, he didn't need any prompting to hold out and show off his new bag. He held it up like that all on his own!
I think the first day went okay. He whimpered a bit when I left and ended up snoozing for 30 minutes or so (we're still working on the one-nap-a-day transition), but he babbled and even sang(??) all the way home so he seemed to have fun. I think he was trying to recite some rhyme for me that perhaps they learned.

He didn't eat much of his lunch that I so carefully packed. As long as he isn't snatching food off his buddies' plates and indulging in all the good foods that his allergies sadly deny him, I guess that's okay.

The only negative? He came down with the stomach bug and we were up all night! Not sure if he really got it at school since that would have been a pretty fast response. I'm just praying Scott and I get spared this time around!

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A Few of Carter's Favorite Things

Sitting in chairs all by myself. Especially ones my size.
And not just ANY calculator...the Texas Instrument! I'm making my daddy proud. He was a math major, ya know.

French fries and KETCHUP!! (This shouldn't come as a surprise.)
Reading books.
And of course, one of my very favorite things....KEYS!!!

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My Little Man

My Little Man starts Mother's Day Out tomorrow morning. Today, we went for orientation and met his teacher, Ms. Ashley. I feel like I am sending him off to kindergarten already! While I am kind of emotional about this whole thing, I remind myself of these points:

1. It's only two mornings a week.
2. It's good for him to engage with other children and make friends.
3. I will probably be a better mom after having a few hours a week to myself.

Nonetheless, I feel like this is a HUGE milestone in my journey of motherhood. :) Wish us luck tomorrow!

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Little Did I Know...

As promised in my last post, here are my personal suggestions for making a flight a bit easier when you're flying alone with a toddler.

1. Pack small toys that you can fit easily into your carry-on. The following toys were huge hits with Carter: slinky, silly putty, Mr. Potato Head, travel-sized Magna Doodle, a few books, and one of those jelly squishy balls with "spikes." You can whip them out as needed for distraction. I also packed my laptop so we could watch an Elmo DVD.

2. Do NOT pack flashcards because they can easily be dropped and scattered all over the floor. I thought the pictures would entertain Carter much longer than a book, but they can be a mess.

3. Pack gummy fruit snacks. They were new to Carter, and the chewing can also help if their ears are popping.

4. Pack pacis as an emergency shutter-upper....or should I say soother.

5. Pack extra tissues, paper towels, Wet Ones, etc. to clean gummy snacks off hands, etc.

6. Pack some plastic baggies in case you have to change a dirty diaper on the plane. The stewardess even frowned at me putting a WET, non-smelly one in her trash bag. I had the baggies with me but figured I didn't need one.

7. If you're flying with your toddler on your lap (under age 2), request an empty seat next to you (if at all possible) when you check in. You're most likely to have a less-crowded flight on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. (Not sure where I read that, but it was true!)

8. If at all possible, NEVER fly with a toddler on a Sunday. You end up sitting next to business men who have no desire to be near a child. :(

9. While sitting in the very first row gives extra leg room and space for your toddler to move around, you can't keep you bags there but rather have to put them overhead. That defeated the purpose of packing my bag with all sorts of tricks and treats. I guess the lady who checked me in thought she was doing me a favor, but it actually made the flight more difficult. Luckily, that flight was just a 30 minute connecting flight.

Now, you may be thinking, "Great planning and good ideas. Very smart!"

Well, I'm here to tell you.... I thought I was all prepared, but when it comes to a true crisis moment or breakdown with your sweet child--I've got nothing for ya!

On our flight home, Carter was really tired because it was his nap time. The older man next to me had not looked pleased at all when we sat down. And this was the first flight we didn't have any room at all for Carter to get down or move. I knew he would not do well sitting in my lap the whole time. I was able to occupy him as we waited for takeoff. He fell asleep as we taxied toward the runway, and I thought, "This flight will be a breeze!"

My little angel snoozed away for most of the flight. Then, all of a sudden, he awoke and began crying hysterically! Crying like he hasn't cried in months! He then began hyperventilating to the point that he gagged three times. The lady across the aisle whipped out a barf bag, but luckily Carter only threw up once and it was more like spit up. He was thrashing around, hitting his head on the window, then on the tray on the seat. The man next to us started leaning further toward the aisle. I noticed Carter's outfit was suddenly wet in the front. (He drinks tons of juice and often wets through his diaper fairly quickly.) Within minutes, as I'm literally sweating from trying to control him, he pees again...completely wetting my pants and my seat as well. He cried like this for about 15 minutes. I apologized to the man next to me, and he didn't even say anything!!! I tried giving Carter a paci, juice, toys, everything....and nothing could distract him or calm him down. I really think his ears were bothering him because this was not the kind of crying when he acts out. These were "I'm in pain and somebody better help me" tears. Carter finally calmed down just before we touched down, and I waited with embarrassment and humiliation for everyone to get off before we ventured toward the exit. As soon as I saw Scott at the airport, I burst into tears. I had never felt so helpless and out of control in a public setting.

I suppose every mom will have a similar experience at some point. And when (if) you do, I'll be here to sympathize with you. :)

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Carter's Communication Style...Earplugs Recommended

We're currently in Cary, North Carolina, visiting my parents for a few days. I was very nervous to fly alone with Carter since he hadn't been on a plane in a year and is now very squirmy. I was also nervous because he has begun throwing fits if he can't get what he wants. I'll be posting flying tips soon for all you other mommies who are dreading such a catastrophe.

So, as I was saying, Carter has begun expressing his anger, frustration, or discontent with loud yells and screams. In one way, I understand. He's learning to express himself. While he has lots of words, he can't quite put any phrases together yet. But in the last few days, he has taken his communication style to a whole new level! On Thursday, my mom took us to a children's consignment store, and when we were ready to go, Carter made it clear he was not. He glared at us and yelled at the top of his lungs, eyes bulging out, as he tried to sustain the scream as long as he could. Well, his effort for such a little guy was kind of impressive, and after exchanging looks of shock and horror, Mom and I couldn't help but burst into laughter. We had to turn our heads so he wouldn't see. Let me assure you that if I'd been there with Carter by myself, I would have been crying, not laughing.

Trying to employ all the discipline tactics I have read about, I've tried whispering (vs yelling) so he'll pay attention, popping him, talking and attempting to reason with him, singing to him (another reason why I recommend earplugs), asking him to tell me what he wants, etc. Nothing has really worked 100% yet. Last night, after I took away a phone charger from him, he began to let out one of those lengthy yells. I thought I'd try walking away and ignoring it. As I walked away, he increased the volume of his yell ten-fold! But I will say...he did quit a few seconds later.

Finally, as Carter and I played on the screened in porch with my parents, my dad told Carter no for something. My little man released the loudest and most impressive yell yet. He even darted his eyes to each of us to make sure we were watching. My dad, having not witnessed this yet, starting laughing, which of course got us going. But as we looked away, he stopped.

Maybe the ignoring of the screams will curtail this issue. But I am not sure how much the folks on the plane tomorrow will appreciate this approach as he realizes his outburts won't get him attention. Pray for our flight home. :) And please enlighten me with some other ideas if you have any. If I can somehow catch one of these screams on video, I will surely post it. :)

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Carter on the Farm

Well, I finally got our pics from Kentucky to load! Two weekends ago, we went up to Scottsville and Bowling Green to visit Scott's extended family. We had a great time, as always! And this year, Carter was old enough to really take interest in the different aspects of living on a farm.
He liked (pretending) to drive the tractor with Mike.

I just had to get a picture of him on the tractor with him wearing his smocked tractor jon jon, so we re-created the moment. :)

Mike took us out to see the cows.
I just loved this picture. They have barns and buildings scattered over their miles of land. It's beautiful to be out there!
Mommy and Carter
Carter's face when he saw some more cows.
We visited the cemetery where many Brown descendants are buried. This is the headstone of my father-in-law's oldest sister (whom they called Lil' Ginny) and whom our future adopted daughter, Virginia Grace, is partly named after. It was neat to discover that she had the same birthday (Feb. 19th) as me!
Uncle Doc was celebrating his 87th birthday! Carter went up and patted his arm, saying "Doc, Doc." It was precious.
Carter got to be up close and personal with Iowa, Mary Jane's horse. And you can see Joan in the background of this picture. (and yes, both me and Carter were still in our pjs)
Mary Jane held Iowa still so Scott could seat Carter on the back of the horse.

Carter even got to take a spin on a four wheeler. Check out his facial expression that says, "Look at me, Mom. I am a stud!" (You might have to click on the picture to enlarge it so you can get the full effect.)
Les showed him how everything works.
Carter was feeling pretty cool.
Carter loved swimming at Tommy and Catherine's house. His (3rd??) cousins, Meyer and Sam, were also splashing around with him. We're missing pictures of so many of the relatives there, but it's clear to see that Carter had quite an adventure in Kentucky and will be ready for more excitement next year!

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