Sunday, May 31, 2009

One of the BEST Books Ever. EVER.

**I've never done a review on my blog, and no, no one asked me to or anything. We just love this book so much that I want to share it with everyone, because it's that good of a book.**

I love books. Love them. I think it comes from growing up with a mum who worked in an amazing university bookstore, so I spent lots of time there after school, waiting for her to get off work. I loved their kids section, they had such a great selection of books. Plus we had a great library system in Hamilton, the kids section was huge. Or at least, it appeared to be at the time... I don't know if it actually is... anyways. We had a good amount of childrens authors come to read to us there, it was great. I wish our library here could get childrens authors to read here.


When M started preschool at Carmichael, she started getting the Scholastic flyers every month to bring home. Heeeaaavvveeennnn!!!!! I loved those things as a kid, and now as a parent, I could finally order whatever books caught my fancy. And I ordered. Oh, how I ordered. The prices are just so great, who can resist! We've gotten some great books from that, but I want to tell you about one book that caught my eye. I'd never heard of it, but the bright colors and great illustration on the cover drew me to it, and I had to get it.

Let me introduce you to Grumpy Bird.

Isn't he adorable??? Don't let him hear you say that, it might make him angry. See, he's grumpy today. He doesn't want to even fly, he's so grumpy. Lucky for him he has some (equally well drawn and cute) friends around to cheer him up. Raccoon, Sheep, Rabbit, Beaver and Fox all find Bird's walking fascinating and decided to walk too, which ends up making Bird realize that he doesn't need to be grumpy when he's got great friends around.

The author is Jeremy Tankard and I have to say, even though he only has three books out at this time, for me his writing and illustrations (yes, he does both in his books!!) are in the same elite category of adoration as Robert Munsch. Plus he's a Canadian, just like Robert Munsch (and meeee!), we must make creativity really flow up there.

Sorry, back to the book.

The bright bold colors just catch your eye, and the storyline is so cute that you can't help but get into reading the book, voicing each animal in a different way, and getting louder to show Birds frustrations.

The kids love Grumpy Bird, they get really into it and now that we've read it so often they call out Birds replies to his friends. Even J loves this book, at 1.5 years he's hard to keep still to read to, but the bright colors and details catch his attention and he loves it. I often find him in M and Ps bedroom, looking at the pictures in the book.

This really is a perfect childrens book. It's not too many words that the kids lose interest halfway through, the illustrations are bold and whimsical and just demand attention. The storyline isn't boring for the parent either, I get as into the book as the kids do. And best of all, it's one of those books you can pull out when someone's getting grumpy (even yourself!) and by the end of the book, everyone is giggling and happy again.

Mr. Tankard also has Me Hungry! out, and just published Boo Hoo Bird. My mum was generous enough to snatch up Boo Hoo Bird for us at her local Borders, since our book buying abilities have been weakened from M getting out of school, and not many local places sell a good selection of books. Boo Hoo Bird is just as perfect as Grumpy Bird, and the kids are already getting into the boo hoo'ing in this book. I really hope Mr. Tankard keeps publishing childrens books, because I will definitely keep buying them. Now... we just need to get our hands on Me Hungry!

I'll stop raving about this book now, especially since the kids are outside on their bikes, and I have a feeling we might just need to read Boo Hoo Bird soon, in case of a fall or two.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Happy, Happy Birthday!

A very happy 29th birthday to CJ!

Celebrated with chinese food, a new barbeque grill and a bike. Score.

29 reasons CJ is great:
He's one of those sickening people that everyone likes and gets along with.
He's got faith in everyone.
He thinks he's really funny and he's not, which makes it funnier.
He's an awesome father.
He'll watch chick flicks with me with minimal complaints.
He's convinced me that basketball is a great fun sport, at least to watch.
He doesn't mind changing diapers.
He's great at surprising me. (even when that is jumping out of a dark room to scare the heck out of me.)
He supports my crazy ideas.
He cried when our children were born. (I love that.)
He loves his family, immediate and extended.
He's comfortable to fall asleep on watching a movie.
He's good at game shows.
He loves the outdoors.
He loves his job and does great at it.
He is easy to talk to.
He talks in his sleep and makes me laugh at what he says.
He tries hard at everything he does.
He's mostly fun to play board games with. Even if both of us hate losing.
He has a blast with the kids, and they adore him.
He loves to clean.
He treats us all like royalty, even when we don't deserve it.
He smells good. (hey, that's important if you're going to be with some one for eternity.)
He is the best guy I have ever, ever, ever known.
He will go "window shopping" with minimal whining.
He will try eating anything I put before him.
He'll go for take out if that food didn't work out so well.
He forgives really easily.
He loves me.
Happy birthday, husband of mine. As M says, we "luva luva LOVE you".

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Potty Training Woes

Yeah, I'm going there again. Sorry, but it's something that I have to deal with everyday because SOMEONE... *cough*
*cough*... still doesn't want anything to do with the potty or losing the diaper butt. Sigh. So we're sucking it up and getting some Pull-Ups and trying those, because bribery, begging and threats of no Thomas just don't work. Yeah yeah, they train in their own time, but M didn't potty train til she was 4 years old, and frankly, that kinda sucked.

We've tried:
Sitting him on the potty in front of the TV *didn't work. he happily sat there for 2 hours*
Letting him walk around nekkid *nope. he got very upset at the zig zag of pee following him down the hallway and that's it.*
Put him in underwear and tell him Thomas/Lightning doesn't like being wet *again, nope. poor Thomas.*
Sat him on the potty every 15 minutes *peed 2 minutes before and 2 minutes after being on the potty*
Telling him that they don't let big-little boys in to Disneyland if they have diapers on *yeah, I'm a crappy mum, but desperate times...*
Begging him *didn't work*

I'm on the mailing list for Huggies and Pull-Ups and they just sent me a grrrreat coupon for $5 off any pack of Pull-Ups, so it's not like it costs me a ton to try it. And I really think the "cool alert" just might shock P into realizing what's happening before he feels the trickle on his legs. He gets upset when he has an accident, so it's not like he could care less... I've looked around on the Pull-Ups website, and they have a new thing going on called the Potty Project, and it makes me feel like I'm not alone in the vast crazy world called potty training. Some great ideas, and great advice! I'm going to try to relax again about it all, and get CJ to relax too. If he had his way, they'd be born potty trained... if only.
Truthfully, I wish P went to the preschool M went to, because they worked magic with getting her out of diapers/Pull-Ups and into panties. They definitely did the majority of the work, and I think the "peer pressure" aspect really had something to do with it too. But P could care less that M gets to wear undies and is such a big girl, even his best friend is potty training and P doesn't care at all. So no peer pressure to work with I guess!
Hopefully Pull-Ups and rewards chart will work, because I'd love to have him at least partially trained when we go to SoCal for vacation next month. A soggy diaper at the beach is just so unappealing sounding!

Written in thanks to the Parent Bloggers Network, who clued me in to the Potty Project.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

These Kids

This girl...


I mean THIS girl...

is a graduate of the Carmichael Elementary Special Ed Preschool, and I could *not* be prouder. Last year she tested at 18-24 month range in many of the areas, and she has caught up AND surpassed in all the areas except for speech, which her speech therapist said she will probably test out of within 6 months!! When she first started at the preschool she was very shy and it took a lot to get her to participate and open up, and Miss Bonnie said that her classmates now seek HER out for playtime and activities, and none of her teachers or therapists have ever seen her ever be mean, even when being pushed!! (I have seen different, but siblings don't count with M I guess?) She stands up for herself but has never been aggressive. Even when someone was trying to get her off of a tricycle on the new "racetrack" at the preschool and was trying to tip her off, I hear! So we are on to Kindergarten come August, which her teachers and therapists all said they think she is more than ready academically. I'm worried because she is so shy in new situations, but her teachers are sending their notes to her new teacher and I'll get the chance to talk to the teacher (we don't know who it is yet) before she starts as well.

And THIS boy...

graduated out of physical therapy!! Shelly said that he's doing great with his walking and can do pretty much anything she needs for him to test out of needing PT. It was bittersweet for me, because Shelly has been so great with him and me, but my boy is getting big. His walking is great, he can get up from sitting to standing with no help, he's even climbing onto chairs and standing in them (almost gave me a heart attack when he discovered that one). Looks like we may be on to speech therapy though, the ped wants him to be evaluated. I'd rather get him into it now than when he's three, like our old ped waited with M. It still makes me so angry to think about that.

And then THIS boy who is the "norm" in our therapy family...

Got to live out a dream and visit a firehouse! Our awesome mothers group leader arranged for the group to tour the firehouse by our Stake Center, and P was in heeeeeaven. Got pretty freaked when one of the firemen got in full fire-fighting gear, O2 mask and all, and refused to stand by him until the fireman took off the mask and helmet, and still had to have his best friend Isaac stand with him for a photo with the fireman. (absolutely LOVE Isaac's "cheeeese!" face)

But he got to sit in the fire truck, see the lights go on, watch the water spray aaand....

Got to actually spray water from the fire hose! Oh, joyous rapture!

Overall, a great month of May so far, I'd say. CJs birthday and my mums birthdays are coming up, so my mum and stepdad are coming into town for Memorial Day to celebrate early, woo! Cupcakes-- I mean, family time!

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Got First Pick In The Mum Pool, nahnahnah!

So I like to brag about my mum. A lot. And to anyone. Sorry, but she rocks, so I'm gonna sing it to the world! And you can ask any of my friends that have met her face to face. She. Is. Awesome. Face it, I was first in line in the "pick your mum" line in Heaven. (maybe that's why I screwed up in the "pick your dad" line.... ah well, I made up for it in the "pick your second dad" line, so whatevah! (Yes, I really do say "whatevah" in real life. I am THAT dorky) ANYWAYS. At the request of The Parent Bloggers Network and in honor of Mothers Day... (look at me, ahead of the game for once! But if you moms have been given free reign to buy your own pressie, check out the Celebrity Mom Auctions on eBay. Totally want Jessica Alba's Mac stroller that she has up for bidding!)

My mum gave me:

A love of books
A weakness for Broadway musicals
A slight paranoia as a passenger in a car
A great family history
An appreciation for yummy ethnic foods
A great last name (come on, Campbell is just SUCH an awesome last name, I'll admit I miss it)
Blue eyes (well, they're my papas, but he's her dad)
So many opportunities to try new things (soccer, hockey, violin, piano, flute, clarinet, english seat riding, ballet, tap, jazz... I could go on)
The chance to spread my wings and grow on a completely different continent (Scotland)
An awesome step-dad
Faith that I could be a better person than I thought I could be
The nose to sniff out a good deal
A love of Toyotas
Faith to let me lead sometimes, even if I tripped up once in awhile
Belief that I could do what I put my mind to (I credit my VBA2C (vaginal birth after 2 cesarians) to her and to Mandy, both of them really helped me believe I could do it, so thanks Mandy too)
My sarcasm mixed with a bit of crazy
Pride in where I come from
Hope for the future (in terms of our long political discussions)
Love of a good British TV show (Hamish Macbeth, how I miss you)
A good solid upbringing
Great, long lasting friendships
Furniture when CJ and I got married
A complete weakness for Buche de Noel, oh yum.
A secret addiction to Law and Order
Inability to turn down caffienated sodas (it's got to be the genes, right?)
The ability to speak French
Fear of creepy crawlies
Being able to cry at the drop of a hat
The 17 year old cat that's sleeping peacefully next to me (though M is positive that Isis (the cat) is HER cat, no one else's)
A shoulder to cry/rant/sob/laugh into at any time
A built-in babysitter willing to drive hours on end to be here in desperate situations (I don't mean a date to the movies, I'm talking in terms of needing someone to watch the kids while I have surgery/pop a kid out/etc)
A great example to follow.

Love you, mum.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

How To Potty Train A Boy.

Step 1: Let him pick out his very own big boy underwear.. Since it's what his big sister calls her underwear, try not to laugh hysterically every time he calls his underwear "panties". (be aware you'll probably fail at not laughing.)

Step 2: The next morning, put the potty in the living room in front of the television, and turn the TV to the Disney Channel.

Step 3: Two hours later of him sitting half naked, happily watching Ooh and Aah (the monkeys), change the TV to "The Price Is Right" so you don't lose your sanity to overthinking the plot lines of "My Friends Tigger and Pooh".

Step 4: Now that he has a nice red ring around his butt, give up and put him in a diaper.

Step 5: 15 minutes later, change said diaper since it's already soaked to breaking point.

Step 6: Tell boy that Disneyland only lets big boys in if they don't wear diapers, so we can't go if he doesn't start using the potty.

Step 7: Change another diaper.

Step 8: Put him in panties big boy underwear and put him on the potty every 15/30/45 minutes, whichever you want to set your timer to.

Step 9: Clean up the accident in the kitchen that occured 2 minutes before/2 minutes after boy sits/sat on the potty and comfort boy who is wierded out that his leg magically got all wet.

Step 10: Tell boy that Thomas/Lightning McQueen on his panties big boy underwear doesn't like to get wet, so we have to put the peepee in the potty. Boy nods.

Step 11: Clean up accident on carpet and again comfort boy who doesn't understand why it keeps raining on his legs. Let boy apologize to Thomas/Lightning McQueen as you put panties big boy underwear in the growing lump of mini clothes needing washing, despite just doing them the night before.

Step 12: Slap a diaper on that big-little boy butt and admit defeat for another day/week/month.

Apparently my children aren't fans of potty training before turning 4, or at least that's what I feel like we're on track for. But they're so freaking cute and wierd, I think I'll keep them anyways.