Zoo and Choo Choo

 My parents bought Zach a membership to the Houston zoo for Christmas this year and Alex has already been there with Zach. Twice. I had to print out the email confirmation as he was could not wait for the hard copies to come in the mail.

We were both looking forward to taking Zach on the zoo train. It is allegedly very good (everyone says) and he loves all sorts of trains now. We got there before the train even opened, I bought the tickets as the boys wandered around, then stood in line to get a good seat. I did sneak Zach on for free on accident, saving myself $3. I thought under 2 was free and didn’t realize until I was in line that it is under 1, so I had to lie to the 15 year old ticket taker and tell him my baby was 11 months old. He is just tall for his age. Thankfully he was not talking to anyone when we walked by.

Zach liked the train a lot at first. He couldn’t decide who to sit with, Alex or me and repeated “Choo choo! Choo choo!” about 65 times. Then the “conductor” blew the whistle which was very loud given our good seat close to the whistle…that was the beginning of the end for Zach and the choo choo. He immediately wanted to sit right next to me gripping my shirt and then the train started moving. He was in a word, horrified. He did not cry but had a look on his face like we were possibly torturing him and the tears were just behind those big eyes. He was on my lap now and could not get any closer without being under my shirt. I immediately whipped out the snacks (my child is going to have a snacking problem, PS, as I bribe him with goldfish daily) and he was OK with the experience. We hopped off early and went over to the playground and the afternoon was saved.

21 Months and counting

Last week Zach turned 21 months old. He is barreling towards 2 years old so fast now it is becoming harder to ignore. As with all his stages, part of me is happy and part of me is devastated that he is getting further and further away from a little baby. I thought I would list some things that he is doing right this second so I can look back and enjoy how big and still little he is.

1. He has started to run. It is a very awkward flat footed run and his right arm does not seem to really get into the swing of things – but it is a run none the less.
Favorite time to do this: when his dad comes home.

2. He says two-word sentences. For about two weeks now he has been starting to string words together. His first was “Night, night, Norman” followed by “Bye, bye, Abby. Bye, bye Katia”.
Favorite time to do this: “Mommy shoes! Mommy shoes! Mommy shoes!”

3. Zach will push/pull anything. In Toy’s R Us I let him push a truck around next to my shopping cart. He was beyond thrilled. He also likes to push around the ottoman and kitchen chairs. Yesterday he pushed the chair all the way into the kitchen with his milk cup on top. He thought he was a really big deal.
Favorite time to do this: When I am cooking, he pushes his chair up to the island to “help me”. I have to hustle and get the much safer step ladder (No Mom and Dad not the one from Jane’s house) for him to climb on up.

4. If there is a door that is open in our house, rest assured Zach will close it. When we are getting ready in the morning I routinely have to stop what I am doing and open the bedroom door since he has closed himself out. Note: if anyone reading this has door handles that are levers and you do NOT want your child to wander freely around your house, I highly recommend switching them out for the rounded ones. Luckily we have those on the outside doors. Luckily.
Favorite time to do this: When I need him to get a move on, like in the morning when he wants to close the doors before leaving the house.

5. I love the hand holding most of all. I think this has been going on for about a month or so, it was not right after he started walking, but I love it. Just the sight of those tiny fingers gripping mine makes me all sorts of sappy. And him holding Alex’s hand just sends me right of the edge.
Favorite time to do this: Walking into school and up/down stairs.

He loves her

Our friends Jason and Stephanie joined us for the day at the River and brought my favorite kiddos Jett and Rory. Alex and I have know Jason and Steph for years and have known the kids since they were both born. I adore them like they were mine. This is the 2nd time Zach has met them and he just fell in love with Rory. She is just about a year older then him but just a little taller so he thought she was there to play with him. Rory thought Zach was there to FINALLY have someone to be able to take things from like her brother, who is 4, does to her. There was a lot of “mine!” coming from my child, which I found very, very funny.
At one point Rory ran past Zach knocking him down and her dad made her say she was sorry and hug Zachary. The second her arms were around him, Zach threw his arms around her in what could only be called a bear hug. If bears had a big milk belly. She could not shake him for the rest of the day.
I don’t know how exactly they walked down the steps hand in hand, but all I do know is that Zach was thrilled and Rory was nonplussed. But also sweet and darling and I loved her for being annoyed with my baby and still holding his unsteady hand. I want to put her in my pocket and take her home with me.
This is also how Zach started to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and strawberries. He stole them from Rory. So now all I have to say is, these are Rory’s ___ and he goes to town. We really need to see them more often.

You can run…

Against all better suggestions I signed Zach and I up for Gymboree and Fundamentally Music classes each week. One on Tuesday and one on Thursday with our playgroup meeting in between. This was a desperate move stemming from being cooped up in the house with a very mobile, very verbal, busy little man. I just had to GET US OUT. And as is my nature, I took it a bit too far.
Three days of activities is too much. Three days of activities plus work is waaaaay too much. I am exhausted and we have only done it 1.5 weeks. We have 10 more to go. I am not kidding, unfortunately.
So last week after I flew out of work to scoop him up and hustle over to 45 minutes of Gymboree (where all he wanted to play with was the basketball hoop, PS) I was beat. All I wanted when we finally got home was a snack and some quiet. Ha, ha, ha, ha. So I pulled one of my mother’s techniques and closed myself in my closet (which I naturally thought was crazy years ago when she did it). I would like to break with this caveat – my closet is not that big. Yes, you can technically “walk into” it, but then you just circle in place.
I had left Zach in the kitchen digging through my purse and grabbed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, told him I was going to change and snuck away. What? Our house is baby proofed, worse case he would fall down and really he does that all day. Plus it is not like we are in a two story house, I can hear him if he screams. 
So I am eating my sandwich, standing in my closet enjoying the silence, with one ear listening for him, when I hear a small creak. It is the doorknob turning. Next thing I know he is exclaiming “Mommy!”, closing us both in the closet and wanting my sandwich. Which he does not normally eat. Ever. Nothing sticky. At. All.
After I stopped laughing, I gave him the rest of my sandwich and tried to leave the closet. This was unacceptable, he wanted to eat sitting in my lap. In my closet.
I guess we both needed some quiet time.


I can just close the doors

When we moved into this house 2+ years ago I was pregnant with Zach. This house has about 200 times the amount of storage as my loved bungalow in the Heights, one of the reasons we liked it. My plan when I saw the below cabinets was to use them to store toys one day. They are in the back den, where we live basically, and deep enough to hold even bigger toys. I promised to keep them free of junk and clutter to “save” them for the baby’s toys….
Well, though I didn’t forget my plan it was somewhat delayed and I finally got tired of the piles of toys spilling out of too small storage bins stacked next to the TV. I would just stare at them while watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey. They were taunting me. I couldn’t take it any longer.
So off came the doors which I primed and painted with first green paint (it was all I had for a base color) and then with chalkboard paint on the left and right cabinets and magnetic paint on the center one. The back of the shelves got a fresh coat of “Poolside” blue paint and I laid down cork contact paper. I love, love the functionality and Zach loves, loves to open and close the doors. Each day when he comes back it is like a whole new world, opening the cabinets to rediscover his toys.
Yes, all those items on the top were inside the cabinets. Well, not the drill.
But all the rest was stuff that needed to be thrown/given/moved away.
Seriously, gross.
Priming the doors
All done! So much brighter and more spacious!

River Trip

This weekend a handful of friends, Alex, Zach and I headed over to Canyon Lake, my parent’s place on the Guadalupe River. Alex had to work a bit late and leave early on Sunday (still a far cry from not going at all last year) so I enlisted help in form of Alison, Melissa and Alison’s BF Chris. Thank HEAVENS for all of them on the 3 hours there and back. Zach did really, really well – with much entertaining from Alison & Chris for sure.
The river was running a perfect speed for tubing, but too fast for Zach. The water is also always a chilly 64 degrees, so him getting in was not happening. He spent most of his time in the plastic pool and napping. He really enjoyed sleeping in his pack-n-play in the bathroom. Yes, he was in the bathroom, again. This is now the 3rd time we have stuffed a pack-n-play in a bathroom. I highly recommed it.
Hopefully next year he can at least go boating or swim down at the damn. But for now it was enough fun to wave bye-bye to each and every toober.

Strapped to an old highchair eating “applesauce”.
Shhhh don’t tell him it is yogurt and FiberOne yogurt at that.
Look familiar? Yes, we drove 3 hours so he could do just what he does at home.
The water is really, really, really cold.
Waving to the toobers and paddleboat.