Hello all! I just wanted to pop on here with the redirect for my current website, The Red Kitchen Project, since this site is no longer being updated. Please visit me here:

http://redkitchenproject.com/

Thanks!

Gracie

Jamie has two big boy beds! We haven’t set them up yet in his room (waiting for Hubby’s vacation in a couple days so if there are some harrowing first nights Hubby can just sleep in there with him without worrying about alarm clocks, etc.) but we have them ready to go!

Last week, the new boss at my office came to work with matching twin beds (frames, headboards, mattresses, box springs — everything!) that a friend had given him and he had no use for. Talk about perfect timing. We’ve wanted to update Jamie’s room this summer so the changes when the baby comes in December won’t be so hard on him (like giving the baby his crib and so on). So I jumped on the chance to take the beds home!

I took Jamie shopping last night to outfit the beds. God bless WalMart’s dorm room sales! (We bought him nice bed-sized matching blankets for $4.95 apiece!!) I took Jamie down the many aisles of sheets to see what caught his eye, praying it wasn’t some Nickelodien character he’d tire of in two weeks or something ridiculously expensive with 600 thread count. I showed him plaids, and prints, and polka dots, and bright colors — and do you know what my kid said?

“I want white.” I looked where he was pointing, way up to the top of the display, at the plain white $7 sheet sets. “Are you sure?” I asked him. “They have blue here, and look at this red! Or this bright green…” And he shook his head and said again, “I want white.”

What a good little boy. :) I can bleach white.

So, we picked up some white sheet sets, light blue blankies, mattress protectors, and bed pillows…and then Jamie passed by a display of those little travel pillows that had been made up with their own little pillowcases. He picked up one with a blue, red and white plaid and held it tightly to his chest, looked up at me with hopeful eyes and said, “I need this, Mommy” as he hugged it lovingly.

I figured as good a little boy as he had been all night and as simple as his tastes were, who was I to deny him the little $5 pillow he wanted to decorate with? His eyes lit up and he grinned this giant toothy smile when I said “yes” as he tossed it over his head to land in our cart. What a funny kid. I let him get one for each bed because the bill for everything was going to be so much smaller than I had expected. He could hardly believe his good fortune. Little rays of light were coming out of his head, I swear, he was so excited over those little pillows. He hugged one the whole way home. Adorable.

I’ll be sure to take pictures of Jamie with his big boy room as soon as we get it all set up. I had hopes of painting his room the same time that we swap out the furniture but I just don’t know how that will happen, so he may have to live with white walls another year. That’s life. (Unless Aunt Emily wants to come visit and paint him a choo choo train mural…just kidding, Em, I know you’re up to your eyeballs in projects.) At least we have a bunch of Thomas the Tank Engine wall decals he got from Grandma for his birthday last winter that we still haven’t hung up (because we kept thinking we were about to paint!). We can decorate with those in the meantime.

Either way, there’s one happy Jamie eagerly anticipating his big boy beds!

 

–Gracie

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Jamie has been having a lot of trouble lately with one of his little friends at school (we’ll call him “A”). A and Jamie are inseparable most of the time, yet Jamie comes home every day with bite marks, or bumps, or bruises, or scrapes, always attributed to A. Not having any idea if Jamie was only telling me his side of the story and there was more that I didn’t know, I talked to his school. I know that Jamie has no qualms about defending himself when bigger bullies are giving him trouble, so it surprised me to see him letting himself be picked on by A, who despite being an entire year older than Jamie, is literally half Jamie’s size.

After a conference on Monday about this, Jamie’s preschool owners started reviewing recent tapes of classroom playtime (bless that webcam!) and had another conference with me this morning. Apparently, Jamie is NOT defending himself, and they both feel it is because he knows A is so much smaller than him and he doesn’t want to hurt his friend, even when his friend is bullying him. It’s a sad situation, particularly because I’m sort of proud of Jamie for having such scruples at his young age, but at the same time, I don’t want him allowing himself to be victimized to preserve a friendship. I don’t want a two-year-old with Stockholm syndrome!

It’s also sad because there are also GOOD things that have happened as a result of Jamie’s friendship with A, namely the fact that only a few months ago we were discussing possible speech pathology options for Jamie’s slow speech, and now he’s talking a blue streak. A is very articulate (probably because he is so much older than Jamie), and Jamie seems to be picking more up from A in the speech department than adults have been able to impart on him of late. So there are good things, too.

But it had escalated last Friday when A stole Jamie’s hat, threw it in the trash, stole it back again later and then promptly tried to flush it down the potty. That’s when I spoke up to the owners about the growing trend of A’s bullying.

Today when I brought Jamie to school, I was given a two-page letter/action plan on the preschool owners’ observations so far and what to expect in the near future. Apparently, they have contacted a behavior specialist to start coming in to observe A’s behavior (apparently he’s running wild nonstop, and no matter if other kids occasionally cause trouble, Aiden is always the common denominator in every mischievous act). The specialist will observe, make recommendations, track progress, etc. until A’s behavior improves. Additionally, the school has conferenced with A’s parents, who are very receptive, and will be having them come in three times a week to watch remotely, then enter the classroom and “assist” A with friend-appropriate behavior to add consistency to his previously “parent-free” zone.

I was really impressed with the proactive nature and quick actions taken by Jamie’s preschool once they were more aware of the concerns we were having. It’s been handled so professionally, and they have really wasted no time in getting to the bottom of it, which I appreciate immensely.

Here’s to hoping Jamie has a great day at school today!

–Gracie

OK…I’ll just admit I don’t have a really good reason for waiting this long to start blogging again, other than that lots of things have been going on. But that’s the end of that excuse, so it’s time to jump back on the wagon. Here goes:

 

For anyone who doesn’t know already, I am pregnant! Jamie will become a big brother on or around December 3. We will find out at the end of July what gender we’re expecting. In the meantime, we’re just busy trying to figure out the logistics of the house with another baby and stuff like that. So far, we still haven’t done much. We still need another crib, if anybody knows anybody…

 

Let’s see…what else? Jamie has been speaking in sentences for a couple of months now, and it’s really come on like gangbusters, so you can have whole conversations with him now, which is completely awesome! He has also discovered that the most exciting thing in the world to his two-and-a-half-year-old self is…picking beans! Seriously, we took him outside over the weekend when we had to pick green beans, and boy, did he go to town on that! He filled up a grocery sack, and was so proud of himself! We finally had to cut him off so there would be some left for other family members to come pick. Here’s some photos of him picking beans with Grandma on Sunday morning:

 

Jamie and Grandma working hard in the bean field...

Jamie and Grandma working hard in the bean field...

 

Here's a good one!

Here's a good one!

 

All in a day's work...

All in a day's work...

 

So now that the beans are harvested, the next big chore is figuring out how to get Jamie to EAT the beans! Seriously, he is still the pickiest eater I have ever seen, and that’s saying a lot considering his father would have to start eating more just to be classified as “eating like a bird”…I think I’m the only one in the house who actually eats dinner instead of just poking a big whole in the food on my dinner plate. YIKES. So, anyway, I’ve been trying to concentrate a lot lately on ways to involve Jamie with food preparation in hopes of engaging his interest in healthy food a bit more. I’ve also been trying to eat healthier, myself, too in order to avoid some of the issues I had when I was pregnant with Jamie, like preeclampsia and frequent UTI issues. So, with a lot of inspiration from other mothers out there trying to feed their families nutritious, healthy meals, I’ve really been occupied lately with making 100 percent homemade foods as much as possible, so I know exactly what I’m putting into every dish (and what I’m not!).  A MILLION THANKS to websites like greenlitebites.com (my daily “healthy toddler mommy” inspiration) for making this seem possible.

 

Let’s see…what else…Oh! Jamie got to finally “hold” his cousin, Hazel, on his own (and by on his own I mean with grown-ups on either side ready to help out if she squirmed) like a big boy. He got so excited, and she did, too. Just look:

 

Here's looking at you, kid...

Here's looking at you, kid...

 

Right back at 'ya...

Right back at 'ya...

 

So cute. Well, I’m sure I could think of a hundred other topics to discuss since last I blogged, but really, who can top pictures of cute little kids, huh? Not me, so I will end my post here, with the promise of a speedy return.

 

:)

 

–Gracie

I give you, Hazel! These pictures were shot with my Motorola Razr on my lunch hour today at the hospital so forgive any graininess…I figure for a moment in time, I have the market cornered on online-accessible photos of exactly one human in the Universe, Little Miss herself, so beggars can’t be choosers. Better quality photos forthcoming as soon as I have some to post. In the meantime:

 

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I never did get her to open her eyes for the camera, although she would make occasional noises to let me know that she was not sleeping, as if to say, “I am NOT a trained monkey here for your entertainment; I will open my eyes when I feel like it.” Heehee! Already a sassy one.

 

She is SO cute and tiny. I wanted to hold her so badly but the universe decided to be particularly evil to me in the last 24 hours — I woke up in the middle of the night last night with a sore throat that hasn’t left yet. I’m so paranoid I’ll give the baby a cold that I haven’t touched her, even though I want to hold her and never put her down!!

 

Ashley is doing well after the surgery, too. All signs point to the family getting to go home tomorrow. Then the real fun will begin! :)

 

–Gracie

She’s finally here! My brother, Oliver, welcomed his new daughter into his arms this morning. Hazel Marie was born sometime around 10:00 a.m., tipping the scales at 6 lbs., 8 oz. According to Oliver, she has lots of thick, dark, curly hair and loves to stick her tongue out at people. Excellent. Like father, like daughter, I guess. Heehee!

My sister-in-law is doing very well after the C-section and last time I spoke with Oliver she was still waiting to officially hold her baby girl. I better start emptying all the stored data off our camera’s memory card because something tells me I’m about to fill it all up!

I am so excited to be an aunt! I cannot wait to meet my new niece! I have been sitting at my desk at work all day unable to concentrate on anything else…every time someone says something to me all I hear is, “Baby-baby-baby-baby-baby-baby-baby-baby-baby…”

Hooray!!!!!!

I’ll post more later after I’ve gotten to hold the precious little doll. :)

–Aunt Gracie

 

P.S. — I’ve updated the “Thomas list” below several times now as I’ve heard from different relatives, so if there’s something that still needs to be updated, please let me know. But I think it’s totally current. That little guy is apparently going to have QUITE the Thomas birthday and Christmas. Can’t wait!

It’s been a while since my last post. I was out from work with pneumonia for 3 weeks and computer time has been at a minimum since I’ve been back and playing catch-up. However, without further ado, I give you Jamie dressed as his favorite thing in the UNIVERSE, Thomas the Tank Engine, for Halloween last week:
One happy little engine!

One happy little engine!

Jamie LOVES anything Thomas. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s getting a train table for his birthday next month. The Thomas brand one was way too expensive, so he’s getting a less expensive table that comes with tons of Thomas-compatible track, and then we’re just encouraging friends & family to peruse the Thomas Wooden Railway line (there are like five different types of Thomas, none compatible with the others, but Jamie’s is “Thomas Wooden Railway System” and can easily be identified because they are non-powered, no-battery wooden trains with round, magnetic bumpers on front-and-back to connect to each other) as supplementary birthday presents to use on his train table.

 

I’ve already been fielding some preliminary questions about what he has/wants/needs as far as presents, and more specifically, Thomas, so here is a brief listing which I intend to keep updated by crossing stuff out as I know it’s coming to Jamie. Sheesh, this feels like a registry or something, but with so many family members in different places, it seemed like the best way to keep stuff straight so people know what his interests are, what he likes, and what he already has…so anyway, please do NOT feel pressured to buy him anything off this list (or anything, period, for that matter; we know what Christmas budgets are like!!), but I just thought I’d keep everyone posted this way and if it makes it easier on even one person, it’s served a purpose. :)

 

WHAT JAMIE ALREADY HAS:

-Salty

 -Thomas

WHAT JAMIE IS GETTING from various people for either his birthday or Christmas (at the time I write this posting):

-Gordon

-Toby

-Annie & Clarabel (Thomas’s two faithful coaches)

-Percy

-James (of course!)

-Emily

-Oliver

-The Aquarium Cars

-Sodor Engine Wash

-Sodor Caboose

 -Harold the Helicopter

-Sir Topham Hatt’s car

-Stop-and-Greet Station (This is a destination that is integrated with recognition chips to speak to the individual engines when they come through. So far I don’t know of any of the wooden talking railway trains that Jamie is getting, just regular wooden ones, so it would be cool if he got versions of some that would be identified and spoken to, though the little destination is pretty cool on its own even without that feature. It has a little door that pops open and Sir Topham Hatt comes out and says stuff, which Jamie will love.)

-Suddery Swing Bridge

WHAT JAMIE MIGHT LIKE TO HAVE:

-More trucks/freight/railcars for his engines to pull

-Small destinations to fit over the tons of track we’ve got, like little unload/load stations or whatever in the Thomas line…y’know, things to link his extremely generic table set to the “official” Island of Sodor where Thomas and his friends live

OTHER CHARACTERS JAMIE CAN IDENTIFY OR THAT ARE FEATURED IN THE VIDEOS HE ALREADY HAS :

-Molly

-The matching express coaches for Gordon would be very cool.

-Toad (Oliver’s companion)

-Mighty Mac the two-faced engine

-Edward

-Henry

-Diesel

-Bertie the Bus

-Stanley

And so on. There are about a trillion of these wooden characters. Actually, he would be thrilled with any Thomas item out there because our lives currently REVOLVE around Thomas and have for the better end of a year. Videos, books, coloring pages, toys, you name it–Jamie is FASCINATED with anything remotely having to do with the Island of Sodor and its Really Useful Crew. Speaking of which, it would be really cool to track down the original Rev. Awdry books about Thomas (what started it all). I’m not sure how they’d be listed on Amazon or elsewhere. I think the original name of the series was “Railway Island”…the first books are about 40 years old, so they may have renamed them now that Thomas is so popular outside of Europe as well. Who knows. The wooden trains are kind of expensive (start around $9.99) so we don’t expect anyone to go nuts here, and obviously he’s getting several characters, so again, please don’t feel like you have to give him Thomas trains. We know they’re pricey. I just know it’s hard to keep up on what little ones have, what’s popular, and all that, so I posted this for that reason. He will love anything people give him because he loves the people who give it to him and he has cool relatives. :)

 

Oh, and for those wondering, Jamie will be wearing size 2T in tops and bottoms this winter. He’s already wearing 2T shirts and is rapidly outgrowing all of his 24-month jeans. The next round of shoes will be size 7. For whatever that’s worth. I have seriously been slacking when it comes to keeping relatives up on this sort of stuff. Sorry.

 

On an unrelated note, check out the cool election pumpkin Hubby and I carved a couple weeks ago. It was way easier than it looked. We couldn’t believe it actually worked. It didn’t look much like him until we put the light in it, and then…POW! :)

 

Barrack-O-Lantern

Barrack-O-Lantern

Don’t forget to get out there and vote tomorrow!!!

 

–Gracie

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