The Taynors

The Taynors

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Where do I even start!  This week has been surreal and the entire state of New Jersey (and parts of New York) is heart broken.  I'll start with the actual storm.

(please pardon any typos and misspellings... I am just going to type without worrying about editting)

My MIL was here babysitting Ryan two weeks ago on Monday and she said that she was already hearing about a big storm coming up the coast for Sunday, October 28.  By Tuesday, they were reporting that this storm had potential to be a hurricane and hit land fall around the Jersey Shore.  On Wednesday the state had moved into Hurricane preparation mode.  We all shopped and stocked up on batteries and water and candles and non perishables.  We all did the same thing we did last summer for Hurricane Irene and I think in the back of our minds, we thought this would be just like Irene.  We had no idea how wrong we were.

As of Sunday, we were in a state of emergency and all of the barrier islands and parts of town on the water were issued a mandatory evacuation.  Luckily lots of people took the evacuation seriously and the shelters at High School East and High School North filled quickly.  But of course there were plenty of people who decided to ride it out in their homes.  All of town was pretty much shut down by 4:00pm on Sunday 10/28. 

Monday morning 10/29  we woke up and it was very obvious that the storm was on its way.  It was already windy, raining, and had a very ominous feel in the air.  The weather prediction was that this was going to be a "potentially devastating storm" for many reasons.  First of all it was slow moving. Second the storm made a literal left hand turn and hit directly into the Jersey Shore (it was soooo weird hearing all the news stations saying that the storm was expected to hit right around Toms River).  Third, the storm was going to last through 2 high tide cycles, meaning that there was going to be a lot of water.  And lastly, it was a full moon!

During the actual storm we decided to stay at our house instead of going to my parents.   Our road floods on occasion, but we knew that we had the shelter literally across the street so we had a place to go in case of an emergency.  I was ready, bags were packed just in case, and we just had to wait it out.  There were plenty of times during that day that I was totally freaked!  As the wind picked up our back door seemed like it was going to burst in.  I guess because it is a newer door, instead of breaking it was bowing.  That created a place for air to whistle in through the two doors and it was making an awful, loud, howling noise.  I swear it sounded like a sick dog.  We spent most of the evening just watching the trees and hoping they wouldn't crash into the house.  Later at night when the worst part hit, the transformer at the end of our driveway was sparking and we could see the electricity coming out of it.  Of course Ryan could not sleep, and woke up crying every 20 minutes or so.  It was all very eery.  I think we sat for hours just watching the transformer waiting for it to blow up, listening to the sirens around us, and waiting for the power to go out.  Luckily for us, none of that happened. 

When we woke up Tuesday morning we knew that we were okay.  Some tree branches down and some shingles off the roof, but over all we got out of the storm in great shape.  We had lost all access to cable and Internet (even on our cell phones) so we had NO IDEA what was going on around us.  After a few hours, we decided to drive across town to my parents house, we needed to get out of the house and check out what was going on around town.  Listening to the radio was the first indication of how bad things were.  We started hearing the reports of the flooding, the emergency rescues, and that the Seaside Boardwalk Casino and Funtown Piers had collapsed into the ocean! 

It took a few days before it really all sank in.  We were hearing about the devastation on the radio but without being able to see it online or on TV I really didn't grasp it.  But by Wednesday (which happened to be my 30th birthday) it all became real.  I got on Facebook for the first time and saw all the pictures and comments people were posting, and we went to my aunts house and saw the helicopter tour of the coastline that showed all of the damage.  It was soooooo much worse than I had even imagined.  Our town and community is totally devastated.

The beaches are washed away, the boardwalk is collapsed and there is a roller coaster in the ocean, Pelican Island was totally under water, the streets of Silverton, Snug Harbor, Downtown, etc were completely flooded.  People were being rescued through their roofs, people were dying because they were trapped in their homes, and people were soaking wet walking down our street trying to make it to the shelter.  Homes were on fire because of gas leaks and other homes were literally picked up off their foundations and crashed down on other streets.  My aunt described it  as a monopoly board that someone picked up and shock all the pieces.  This is where the heart break comes in.  This is our town that is making international news because it was destroyed by a natural disaster.  We were not watching a far away town or state, we were looking at pictures of our homes and our life. 

Everyone knows someone (or multiple people) that has been directly impacted by this horrific storm.  My friends, friends parents, family friends, new coworkers, old coworkers, have all completely lost their homes because of flooding in this storm.  Apparently in the middle of the night there was a storm surge, and that surge did the most dramatic damage.  I head someone say they were watching it from their window and it literally came so fast that it looked like a tsunami.  This surge left homes with anywhere from 2-9 feet of water surrounding there homes.  Most of the people that I personally know all have the same story.  They need to gut their entire first floor of the house, get rid of everything, and now sit and wait for FEMA or insurance before deciding what to do next.  In the meantime, they have no where to live.  Its just devastating that they don't have homes to go to....thousands of people with no where to live!

Aside from the water issues, there are power issues.  Today is a week after the storm, and there are still almost a million people in New Jersey that don't have power.  So even if you still have a home... people are cold and have no water and have no heat or cable or ways to cook.  This had lead to people being desperate for gas for generators, people living in other peoples homes, or plenty of people staying in the bitter cold.  It is just awful.

There are times that this town feels like a war zone.  The high school across the street was housing the national guard and the local police department.  It was also a rescue center and a meeting place for all the different resources.  So 24 hours a day we have sirens and caravans of utility trucks and fire trucks.  We have people walking by with just small garbage bags trying to get to the shelter.  Then there are all the helicopters that are flying so low that they sound like they will land on the house.  Its all just scary. 

Like I said, everyone I know was personally affected by this in some way.  My personal devastation was my grandma's house.  She has owned a house on Pelican Island for over 100 years.   Their home was one of the very first ones on the island.  The house was filled with pictures of the way Pelican Island, the Seaside Bridge, Seaside Park, and the boardwalk use to be like.  They are one of the original families in town.  My grandparents met on the Seaside Boardwalk, my mother grew up spending the entire summer living in the beach house, and I (along with my brother, sister, and 16 cousins) spent our childhood summers at that house and on that boardwalk.  We have soooo many memories at that house, I can't even begin to get into the sentimental connections with that house.  And now it is a total loss!  No one is allowed over the Seaside Bridge.  It is being blocked and armed by the police and national guard.  The only way we know what is going on is by pictures and news reports.  For several days we had no idea what had happened to the house and we were just waiting for something.  One day while going through pictures that a random woman had posted on a Facebook page, we saw something that looked like Dee Bee's deck.  Then there was a second picture that was 100% her deck.  The problem was, this deck was on the opposite side of the island from where she lived.  It was our first sign that things were not good.  Eventually my uncle was able to get pictures from a friend of a friend of a friend.... that has never left the island.  In these pictures it is clear that the house is severely damaged and will most likely need to be torn down.  The whole front of the house was ripped off, it appears to be off the foundation, and there is a big "X" on the door marking it as condemned.  At this point, we still haven't been able to go to the house, see for ourselves, or try to gather our families belongings.... so there is still a lot we don't know.  But the bottom line is that our family home is destroyed. 

The aftermath as of today is that towns are starting to figure out where to go from here.  The barrier islands are still blocked off and no one is allowed to enter.  There is talk that it will take 6-8 months for them to clean up the islands and fix the utilities before any reconstruction can even begin.  Many homes are gutted and garbage just fills the streets waiting for the next step.  And thousands of people are trying to figure out where they are going to live on a more permanent basis until they get their homes back (if they ever do).

Of course their is always a light at the end of the tunnel and people can be at their best in a time of need.  Besides sadness, this week I have felt hopeful and extremely proud to live in such a great community.  The people long the Jersey Shore have really stepped up and helped the people of their towns.  People all around us are making donations to shelters and first responders, donating their time to help the shelters, distributing the donated items, feeding the people who are now homeless, cleaning out homes that have been destroyed, opening their homes to people who don't have power.... the list goes on and on.  Since Sunday, normal life has pretty much stopped and everyone is working to do something to help the people around them.  It is really an awesome thing to say.  I am definitely proud to be a Jersey Girl.

Its the little things that have been making me smile, for example, I have not gone past a single police officer that did not have cups of coffee and/or food on the hood of their car that someone had given them just to help keep them warm since they are working 20 hour shifts.  It just seems like most people stopped worrying about themselves and started paying more attention to other people around them. 

There have been many tears this week.   Little things like not being able to go for my Sunday run on the boardwalk this morning, makes it all seem real.  Seeing all of these places that have been so important in my life destroyed is just hear breaking.  Then seeing so many of our friends and family suffering with the loss of their home is heartbreaking.  And then seeing some of my favorite celebrities (Bon Jovi of course) putting together a benefit concert for OUR home town is just surreal.  Having the President of the United States touring your town in order to declare it a disaster area is just crazy.  None of it seems real.  I feel like I have said the words devastating, heart breaking, sad, and destroyed too much in this post... but there are no other words to describe what has gone on this week.

Anyway, tomorrow we attempt to resume some normalcy.  Schools are still closed, but Mike and I are back to work.  Its going to be a long time... a very long time, before things are back to normal and our state is rebuilt, but I can see the progress being made already.  I can go on and on and on about whats been going through my head this week, but I think this is enough for now.

**  Sometime this week I will come back and add pictures to this post.  The pictures are hard to believe.  Check back!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ryan's First Haircut... Well Just the Bangs

In my opinion, Ryan has beautiful curly hair that I LOVE!  But I have gotten sooooooo tired of people asking, "When are you going to finally cut his hair?!"  If he was a girl this would be easy, a little clip or pony tail, or a little head band and it would be great.  But that is not socially acceptable for boys (nor would I ever do that to him), so it has just been curly hair that hangs all wild.  I think its a great surfer dude look.  The back and sides are not the problem, its the bangs.  They really have gotten a little bit too long and they are always hanging in his eyes.  I can tell he was starting to get annoyed by them and I had to finally come to terms with the idea of cutting his hair.  The compromise was that I would cut his bangs, but I am not ready for the full hair cut just yet.

Reasons I don't want to cut his hair:
1.  I can't cut away the curls
2.  I am afraid that if I cut the curls off, they will never come back (I guess I was traumatized as a kid because that is what happened to my brothers curls and I can remember my mom always telling the story about cutting off his curls)
3.  Ryan does not sit still for 3 seconds, never mind the few minutes it would take to cut his hair.  Seriously, there is not a single thing that I can do to get him to sit still (taking 10 seconds to cut his bangs was hard enough).  I have done several other toddlers first hair cuts and they have been fine... but Ryan is not a normal kid and I think giving him a full hair cut would be mission impossible
4.  He likes to play with his hair when he is tired and as he falls asleep at night... I can't take that away from him!  It is seriously one of the cutest things ... pictures to follow.

Anyway, I totally see the irony in the hair dressers child being the one that desperately needs a haircut.

Tonight was the night.  Mike held him on his lap, my mom took the picture, and I made the cut.  It was seriously 1 actual cut and then a quick blending of the bangs and the side, the whole thing probably took 30 seconds.  But it was traumatizing none the less. 

Currently I do not like it at all, I think he looks like a giant dork (but my cute, lovable dork).  It is probably going to take me a few days to get use to it... or maybe a few weeks for them to grow back.  We will see how it goes.  Here are some pictures to document the event.
This is what his hair looked like before the bang cut...

Now here is the action shots... not the best pictures but you get the idea (side note... we choose to do this at 6:30pm.  I must have been going a bit crazy because this is normally witching hour at our house, not the best time for a first hair cut).

(please excuse the droolly, itchy mess that is my son by the end of the day... and they aren't really that short, the are just brushed to the side)
After bath time I tried to get a few more shots...

The problem I have now is that the bangs are short and the rest of the hair is long... but without cutting the rest of his hair, there is not much I can do about it.  Here are some pictures of the back of his hair.  Remember it's wet, so the back will be much shorter after it dries completely.

I know what you are thinking, a bit mulletish.  Oh well, he will have to deal with it because I am the crazy mom that will not cut off the curls yet.
He is about done with the pictures for the night...
And finally, the super cute, playing with my curls before bed time pictures...

Regardless of his long bangs or short bangs or whether he now has cute curls or a mullet...I love him more each day and he is my handsome little man!

Monday, October 8, 2012

So much on my mind...

I have so many things running through my head!  I find myself thinking "Oh I can't wait to sit down and finally write a blog post!" just so that I can get all of these thoughts off my chest.  Yes I am definitely one of those people that feels better/less stressed after writing out my thoughts.  I even considered making my blog private so that I could use it more as a journal than a public site... but for now I am not going to do that.  Since I don't have time to write about everything I want (seriously I have a list of topics I want to discuss), I'll just write brief ramblings about all of the different topics.

1.  Ryan update-  I have been really bad on updating about Ryan.  He is currently 19 months, he is exactly 50% on all of his size charts.  I don't have the records around me but I believe he is 26 lbs and 34 inches.  He is all boy these days!  He plays like a boy and acts like a boy... I love it!  He is really into Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Elmo, Thomas the Train, megablocks, balls (any kind... basketballs, baseballs, soccer balls, golf).  Ryan loves to put his Yankee hat on every time we go outside, he is obsessed with sitting in the front seat of the car and pretending he is driving the car, he is always cooking using his pots and pans set, he enjoys watching baseball and football, and he is always eating!  Two of my currents concerns are that he is still very slow in his talking skills and he still drools EXCESSIVELY! I personally think the two issues are connected... and I think it goes back to his birth (he had a really hard time nursing).  I believe that he has a week muscle in his jaw, or something like that, which is causing the drool and the speech delays.  Currently we are working on it.  We are practicing words, I have him repeat what I am saying, he is always blowing bubbles and sticking out his tongue (to work on the muscles).  I am going to hold off a little bit longer before calling the early intervention people.  I know everyone has an opinion on when to call and how many words are expected at each month... but for now I am going to hold off until he is closer to 2 before making the call.  Just in the past 2 weeks or so I have noticed a huge difference.  When he hit 18 months I think he had maybe 3 -5 words... but he is already up to around 20 since mid September.  I guess we will see how things play out over the next few months and go from there. 

PS last note on Ryan... I still have not cut his hair.  It is soooooo long (down to the middle of his back when its wet) but I just love the curls!  He seriously has the cutest, tight little spiral curls and I am afraid they will be gone forever if I cut them.  So even though his bangs are in his eye and everyone around me keeps saying "when are you going to cut his hair?!", I am not ready to do it yet.  So my surfer dude continues for a little bit longer.

2.  Work-  Quick vent... Mike and I have been working our butts off and I am tired and I miss my hubby.  He works all day and some nights and most weekends and then I work some days and some nights and some weekends... so bottom line, we never see each other!  The schedule works because we both get to spend time with Ryan and we don't need full time day care... but life is hectic.  The schedule is making time just fly by and we are definitely missing out on some of our favorite things (like football Sundays... can you believe I haven't had the chance to relax and enjoy a football Sunday yet?!?!  I miss the Sundays where I had dinner in the crockpot and we spent the day in our comfy clothes watching football with our friends).  This is not going to change any time soon... we have a few goals we need to meet before either of us get to lighten up on our work schedules.  This leads me right to my next topic........

3.  We want to move!  This has already been such a stress and we have just started the process.  We love our house but hate our street and property.  We are also very quickly outgrowing the space here.  Our house is very much "what you see is what you get".  We have a nice size living area, and the bedroom size is fine... but we are seriously lacking on closed space and extra rooms.  We do not have a basement, or office area, or play area, or laundry room, or storage space, or a garage, or a yard to play in, etc.  It is working right now because I have come to terms with the fact that my living room is also a playroom and there is nothing I can do about that.  We could technically have a second child here... but things would really be tight.  The baby would move into our guest room/office and we would have to move the office into our bedroom and then all 4 of us would be sharing the same bathroom.   I am already feeling a bit claustrophobic.

This summer we were very close to putting an offer on a house and putting our house on the market.  But things got very complicated because it was a house under construction and there were issues with a mortgage.  I guess spending the time planning for that new house really made us anxious to move.  So we have officially started our search.  The Prima's (the builders I use to work for) are currently building a new development that I am in love it!  Its in the North Dover section of Toms River, its going to be an actual neighborhood with quiet streets, and the homes are exactly what we are looking for as far as floor plans and size.  Unfortunately they are still just a little bit above our price range.  As of right now we have decided that it is just too expensive and we are not willing to be house poor.  They are building the neighborhood in stages, so there is still a small chance that we will be able to buy a home with them in a few years.

Here is my frustration.... now is a great time to buy because the prices are so low, BUT even with the prices being so low, the type of house we want is still out of our price range.  So we can stay in our current home longer and save more money ... in hopes that we can buy a home that we really want in a few years or we can buy a home in our price range that needs a decent amount of work but at least we are in the bigger home.  Its also hard to decide because there are some many variables... are home prices going to go up or down, are interest rates going back up, can we sell our house, are we willing to move further south and away from our family and friends to find a house we can afford, what school system do we want to raise our kids in????  Soooooo much to think about!  At this point, I feel like no matter what we decide we have to make a huge compromise.    I get frustrated because I feel like we are doing everything right... we work hard, make decent money, save a lot, don't over spend... but we still feel stuck! 

I am just anxious to know where we are going to be living and where we are going to be raising our family.  This had been the biggest stress between Mike and I over the past 3 months and I think we are both ready to just know what we are going to do so that we can start moving in that direction.

4.  Running-  I have been on my official half marathon training programs for about a month so far.  I am moving along but its been a slow start.  My goal is to run 4 times a week, and its different mileage each time.  Megan created the program for me... its 25 weeks and has me starting off slow since before this month I still couldn't run a mile without stopping.  At this point, I am up to running about 12 miles a week and I add on a mile or 2 each week.  Its still far from easy and I still don't "enjoy" running but I can see that I am making progress.  Last Sunday, Heather, Jessie, Kim, my Mom, and I all ran in a 5k Raise for a Cure and I was very proud of how I did (I was proud of how all of us did... considering none of us are really runners).  Anyway, I ran the whole three miles without stopping and I finished in 33 minutes.  I felt really good... it was just what I needed to keep me motivated.

So my ultimate goal is a half marathon, 13.1 miles and the race is February 24.  With colder weather coming up, I definitely need to do a few things to get me prepared for running outside.  Today I bought my first pair of official running sneakers and a ear band so that my ears don't hurt from the cold.  I also need some long sleeve running shirts and cold weather clothes.  Plus last week I signed up at Retro Fitness so that I have a place to go running on the treadmill if its super cold out (plus they have childcare for Ryan which will need when I have to go up to running 5 times a week). 

That is my status... who thought running this half marathon was going to be a good idea?!

5.  Things We are Looking Forward To
-Vegas with my very best friends in 30 days!!  We have been talking about going on a vacation to celebrate our 30th birthdays for several years now and I am excited its finally happening.  It will be so nice to relax with the girls, go shopping, spend the day in the spa,  sleep in, eat at cool restaurant, see a show, and just enjoy each other's company!  Yay for a girls trip!
-My 30th birthday and party!  I am actually very excited about turning 30 and can't wait for my 80's themed party.  Mike is throwing the party, with the help of my girl friends I am sure... and it will be great to have an old school party with my best buds.  Can't wait!
-Fall activities... Apple picking, pumpkin picking, trick-or-treating with the kiddies, friends thanksgiving, and before we know it, the holidays will be here!
-Ryan's first trip to Disney World!  And of course the Disney Princess half marathon!  Our trip is booked, the whole family is coming, plus the friends that we are doing the race with.... it should be a great trip. 

I could keep going, but this is enough for one blog post. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer is almost over... What?!

Holy molly, what a summer it has been.  I can not believe that it is almost over... and I am not even a teacher anymore!  In June I made a list of all the wonderful, fun things were were going to do this summer... and I can say we have only done about half of them, time just got away from us.  We have had so many adventures this summer that I have wanted to talk about, but no time to tell me stories.  So here is a recap of our craziness.

*Summer started with our awesome trip to Key West. 

*When we returned from vacation, I had two really busy weeks at work trying to make up for taking the week off.  I worked 4 jobs and Mike worked 2 this summer... so anytime we had time off the following weeks were a little extra busy.

*July 21 and 22 we went to Annapolis to visit my college roommate for her son's first birthday party.  I was off from work the following week, so I thought it was a great start to a week I was going to spend doing fun things with Ryan. It was a great visit, but ended with a twist.

*On the way home from Annapolis I started getting a weird pain in my back.  By time we got into New Jersey the pain wrapped from my back, around under my ribs, to my stomach.  We were still an hour away from home and I felt like I was going to die!  My whole body was in spasm, I was having awful contraction like pains, and I couldn't breath.  I really felt like it was a heart attack.  I knew I couldn't make it home, so we typed Emergency Room into the GPS.  To make a long story short, I ended up being admitted into the hospital and stayed there for 6 days.  I took them from Sunday-Wednesday to figure out what was wrong.  I had ultra sounds, MRI's, x-rays, blood test, a hida scan (worst experience of my entire life... by far worse than labor!), and an endoscope.  They tested pretty much every organ in my stomach area, back, lungs, etc.  The problem was, the pain continued but none of the tests showed anything wrong.  By Wednesday, after several consults with different Docs and Surgeons, we finally decided that based on my symptoms it was my gallbladder.  Thursday I had the surgery and was finally discharged on Friday.  Luckily the doctors was right and when they took out my gallbladder it was inflamed and filled with a crystal substance that was causing problems.  It was such a hard week being so sick, far away from home, and away from my baby.  Luckily my mother in law was able to take care of him for the week  and Mike and my mom came to spend most afternoons and nights with me at the hospital.  It was pretty nuts. 

*The following week I spent recovering from surgery.  I still had to watch what I ate, was super weak and fatigued, I couldn't lift/push/pull anything, no driving, and lots of rest.  Well all of those rules are pretty hard to follow when you have a toddler.  Basically I was not able to be home alone with Ryan at all.  Since Mike already took time off when I was in the hospital, I needed to find other people to help me all week.  Thank God for friends and family who all took time helping me with Ryan and helping me recover.  The light at the end of the tunnel was that we were leaving for another vacation that following weekend.

*The first week of August we went to the OBX with the Arzonicos and the Eberhardts.  It was the perfect week, lots of sun, beach, pool, and relaxation.  The kids loved having play buddies all week, the adults loved not having anything to do... it was awesome.  We have decided to make this family vacation an annual trip and we are already looking forward to next year.  I'll probably post something else about the trip so I can add pictures.

*When we returned from vacation, I was determined to make the most of the summer.  Up until this point we did not have a single normal week.  I can't complain because we did go on two great vacations, but in the hecticness of our lives we really had not enjoyed summer.  We had 3 weeks and they needed to be great.

*Of course it was not that simple.  On Monday night after vacation, I came home from work to a very sick Ryan.  He had a 104 fever and was super cranky.  The fever stayed high all night and he woke up the next morning even worse.  He was so lethargic, and just whining and crying,  and he wouldn't eat anything.  I did end up taking him to the doctor.  He definitely had a virus, and the Dr. believes it was Coxsacky.  That afternoon was so sad, he literally layed on my chest in and out of sleep for hours.  This boy never sits still for a full minute, never mind hours.  He had such a sad, pitiful look on his face and he was just plain miserable.  By Wednesday the fever was a little bit lower and he was coming back to life a little bit.  But then on Thursday, he woke up covered in a rash all over his body.  He still wasn't eating really, but was starting to seem better.  I would say by Saturday he was back to normal.  Bottom line, I am glad he is feeling better but disappointed that we missed another week of summer.

*So pretty much that brings us up to the last week or so.  I have been packing in activities.  We went to the beach, Blue Claws game, the park, Popcorn Park Zoo, story time at the library, swam in the pool, and we are planning a BBQ for Saturday afternoon.  In addition, I have been working my butt off... the last few weeks of summer are the busiest of the year with all the back to school hair cuts! 

That was our summer in a nutshell.  Lots of unexpected events, but overall we made the most of it.  I am actually looking forward to September, still have some warm weather so hopefully we can do a few more things from our summer fun list.  Plus its time to start planning my favorite fall activities... apple picking, pumpkin carving, my 30th birthday, friends Thanksgiving...bring it on!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Vacation #3- Key West

Mike and I just had the opportunity to go to Key West for a friends wedding (congrats Nick and Heather). I  had never been to Key West before and didn't really have any expectations either way.  It was not on my list of must go places, but I was excited to get to go on an adult vacation with Mike and our friends.  Well I must say, I LOVED Key West.  We had an awesome vacation.

We stayed at The Southernmost Hotel on the Beach and that was a great choice.  The hotel was beautiful, people were great, location was perfect, and it was right next door for the wedding reception.  If we went back I would definitely stay there again.

Our week was full of touristy things and wedding events.  It all started on Wednesday by renting a convertible to drive from Fort Lauderdale down to Key West, then when we arrived we pretty much got checked in and ready for the Bachelor and Bachelorette party.  I experienced my very first drag queen show... very interesting to say the least.  All the girls had a great time.  Unfortunately since we were up since 3am, I bailed on the party after the drag show...but the girls continued on with the bachelorette party.  Then Thursday we spent most of the day by the beach and pool (well Mike spent most of the day recovering from his bachelor party) and then we went onto Duval Street at night for dinner and to meet the whole gang for drinks at Irish Kevins.  Friday was our total tourist day.  We went to see the Southernmost Point, we rented bicycles to tour around the island, and we did a jet ski tour around the island.  Then we ended the perfect day with the rehearsal dinner.  The dinner was held on a sunset dinner cruise which was really beautiful.  I have lots of great pictures to post soon.  At that point, I probably should have gone home... but we all thought bar hopping was the better option.  I had TONS of fun...but definitely drank to much.  We stopped at Rum Runners, Irish Kevins, and a dueling piano bar.  Because Friday was a long day with LOTS of drinking, Saturday morning was spent in bed while the guys went on a fishing trip. Luckily it did not take me long to feel better, because I did a few of the girls hair and makeup for the wedding.  I was excited to get to spend the day with the girls and be a big part of the wedding prep.  Everyone looked beautiful, I had a fun day, and I made some money to help pay our vacation expenses!!

Saturday night was the wedding which of course was great.  Nick and Heather got married at The Reach Resort, on a Pier over the ocean.  The cocktail hour was up on the balcony overlooking the water and the reception was in a ballroom.  It was a great set up for a destination wedding.  We danced (and sweat) the night away.  I think Heather really loved every minute.  Sunday was our last day so we did a little bit more time at the pool and ended the afternoon/night with more bar hopping.  That night we went to Willie T's, Blue Heaven, and Better Than Sex for dessert.    Perfect end to a great vacation.

I feel very lucky to have been able to take this vacation with Mike (we reallllllly needed it) and to spend some quality time with a lot of our friends.  We decided we should go back and do it again in 2 years... I hope that actually happens! 

We need a Ryan update

It has been to long since I wrote about my baby boy. He is now 16.5 months old and wonderful. I love watching his personality develop each day. Here is a list of notable, Ryan things....

1. He is an average size baby, 50% across the board.... But he has the chunkiest thighs ( which we call his chunkers) and big fat feet ( currently in a size 6 shoe)!

2. He currently has long, curly blond hair. I just can't cut it, the curls are too cute!

3. Things he loves:  Books, shape sorters, climbing, swimming, playing with water (water table, sprinkler, the hose, watering can, baths, etc), going to the beach, "dusting" things around the house, playing hide and seek with objects, "helping" me put clothes away/do the laundry, Thomas the Train, Mickey Mouse, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, the Yankees (he cheers when the fans on TV cheer and knows the "Lets Go Yankees" chant), singing and dancing, his binky and monkey at bedtime, being outside, cats and dogs,

4.  He is still taking 2 naps a day...and doesn't seem to have much interest in dropping the 2nd nap yet.

5.  He eats better than anyone I know!  Here is an example of a typical days menu...Breakfast is all natural turkey sausage, piece of cheese, blueberries and bananas.  Lunch is a protein (plain chicken breast, or black beans, or gluten free/preservative free turkey breast), a green vegetable, and a yogurt.  Dinner is a different type of protein and a different type of vegetable and a fruit as dessert.  He still has never had a cookie or cake (with the exception of his birthday incident), chips, crackers, ice cream, chocolate, hot dogs, anything but water and milk to drink, anything with food dyes, cereal, and so many more foods that are normal for toddlers.  He really only eats fruits, vegetables, lean/plain proteins, and some organic dairy.  Lets hope all of these changes make a difference for his over all health.

6.  He understands soo much more recently.  He knows a little bit of sign language, but has pretty much created his own way of telling me what he wants.  It always amazes me how much he can understand and respond when I am talking to him. 

7.  He throws CRAZY temper tantrums.  Stops breathing, throws his body on the floor, is so strong I can't physically control him, and screams!  I can't wait to see what our future toddler years are like if we are already experiencing this.  But truthfully, it doesn't upset me. I can normally stay calm, waiting for it to end, and then talk to him until he calms down.  I have a feeling I was probably like that as a kid haha.

8.  He is a bit slower on the talking front.  At this point he really doesn't have many words... ma, dad, hi, bye, uh-oh, more, mine, and ca (cat).  But I am not super concerned at this point.  I know he is taking it all in and attempting to say things.  We will re-evaluate in a few months.

9.  He has mastered  a few animal sounds for cat, dog, cow, and chicken.  He even makes a low deep voice for a dog bark and a high soft voice for a cat meow. 

10.  He is super social and definitely a flirt.  At the Blue Claws baseball game last week he was walking around blowing kisses to all the teenage girls that came near him. 

11.  He HATES diaper changes.  It is a all-out battle most of the time.... one of us always ends up sweating and in tears :)

12.  His skin is still a mess, real bad eczema spots, rashes, irritated spots... we are working on finding the problem.  Poor baby.

I am sure there is sooooo much more I can write about, but that's what comes to mind today.  I'll come back and update if something great pops in my mind.  I am loving these super crazy, hectic, non-stop toddler days. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

What a Weekend

I was very much so looking forward to this weekend.  Months ago, I made plans with my college roommates (Amanda and Stephanie) to go to Atlantic City for a little get away.  We had a great time... shopped the outlets, drinks at the beach bar, dinner at Budakan, drinks at Caesars, and facials the next morning at Blue Mercury.  All in all it was a great girls day/night.  But of course the weekend couldn't go perfect...something had to make things more interesting.

First of all, while packing my bags for the overnight, my cat Same was playing with my clothes as I put them into the bag.  Finally he was getting on my nerves so I smacked him a bit to get him out of my way.  I guess he thought that I was now playing back, so he came back at me and  nipped my hand.  Unfortunately though, it was not just a nip and he really bit me thumb, going deep enough to really cut me and draw blood.  After smacking him with my shoe and yelling at him, I put a band aid on my finer and went about my business.  Within a few hours (while we were doing some serious outlet shopping) my thumb swelled up to twice its size.  The best way to describe it was that it looked like an over stuffed sausage.  It didn't hurt at this point, so I continued to ignore it.  By Saturday morning, I couldn't move it at all, and by the afternoon it REALLY hut.  So now its 3pm on Saturday and I obviously have a bad infection and need to see a Dr. ASAP....unfortunately there are no doctors open at that time, so it was off to the emergency room I went.  I felt so stupid going to the ER for a stupid cat bite.  But the swelling, redness, and pain was getting worse and traveling down my hand to my arm.  I knew I would end up really sick if I didn't get help soon.  So after soaking in antiseptic, an updated tetanus shot, and 2 prescriptions, I was free to go home.  The end result of that adventure is that the swelling has started to go down and it doesn't look to infected, but my thumb still hurts (and so does my stomach now because of taking antibiotics).

Of course my adventures don't end there.  On Sunday morning I was looking forward to finally spending some time with my family.  Mike and I have been working like crazy, so I was excited for us to be going with my parents to Monmouth Park Race Track.  As we are getting ready to go, Mike finds out that he has to go meet a guy for work, but only for like 45 minutes.  So the plan is for me to take Ryan to the track and have Mike meet us there after his Open House meeting.  About 5 minutes into my drive (with Ryan in the back seat) I get slammed in the back of my car by another SUV.  My body goes flying forward and Ryan is immediately hysterically crying.  Luckily I was okay and I jump out of the car to go make sure the Ryan is okay too (and thank God he was).  The girl that hit me, comes up to us hysterically crying saying that her flip flop got stuck under her gas pedal and she couldn't step on the gas.  So while I was stopped at the red light, she didn't slow down at all and hit me pretty hard.  My brand new 2012 Explorer didn't look so bad, but hear we are, 3 crying people on the side of Rt. 37.  The cops came and did an accident report and stated that my car was drive able and sent us on our way.  The end result of this accident is that my car will be in the shop for about a week, $3000 worth of damage, a scared baby boy, and a very sore momma.  Today, my neck and back are killing me.  Luckily I know a good chiropractor.

Lastly, I decided to go up to the racetrack with everyone anyway because the day couldn't get much worse.  By time we got there, it was super crowded and hot.  Ryan was cranky, and worst of all, Mike called to say he had to stay all day at the Open House and he wasn't coming to join us.  The relaxing day with my family was officially not going to happen.

This Monday morning, after what was suppose to be a nice fun relaxing weekend, I woke up with a hurt thumb, sore shoulder from the shot, upset stomach from the meds, and back and neck pain from the accident.  Lets hope for a better upcoming weekend :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dealing with Allergies

Quick background just to get up to speed.  If you read my 1st birthday post (or you were at RJ's first birthday party) you are already aware that we have discovered that Ryan has food allergies.  After much debate, we took him to a recommended pediatric allergist to identify what made him break into hives.  I also wondered if what he was allergic to had anything to do with his awful eczema and cranky behavior. 

After doing a skin test of just a few common allergies, we found out right away that he is highly allergic to eggs.  So at that time we eliminated eggs from his diet, even if it is just an ingredient in a bigger recipe.  I didn't notice any change in his behavior or eczema, but he didn't have any further breakouts for a while.  We also sent him to get a more detailed round of blood work to test for a whole list of common allergies.  A couple of weeks later (before getting the blood test results), after eating baked ziti and meatballs, he had another pretty serious reaction.  We pumped him with benadryl and washed out his mouth, face and hands, and he seemed to recover pretty quickly.  A few days later, Mike got the call with his allergy results.  It came back saying that he is allergic to egg, wheat, peanuts, almonds (tree nuts), cats, and dogs (in that order of severity).  These results were a punch to the gut. The nurse advised that we remove all egg and wheat products from his diet completely, continue to avoid peanuts and tree nuts, and try to keep the cats and Ryan in separate parts of the house.  Ugh!

So we have done what the doctor ordered and have been watching his diet super carefully.  We have also on our own decided to go completely gluten free and to remove corn based products (one day after eating a corn puff type snack, he broke out in hives all over his face and then had bad eczema for a few days).  That means no wheat, oats, barely, or corn.  At this point its easier to just say what he CAN eat instead of what he can't.  His diet includes fresh fruit and vegetables (nothing canned or processes because that normally means they have been mixed with gluten products), milk, cheese, and plain proteins (chicken, ground beef, ground turkey, natural sausage).

This change has been hard on sooo many levels.  One night, Mike and I were talking about some of the things we needed to start doing, and Mike looked at me and said "Wow, this is really going to change our whole life huh" and that is 100% true.  I'ts hard to find enough things that Ryan can eat, it's hard to prepare meals, it's hard to grocery shop, it's way more expensive, it's hard to go visit with other friends or other homes because we have to bring all of our own food, it's hard to pack him for daycare, and it's hard to come to terms with the fact that something is making your child sick and you don't have any understanding as to why (more about the why later).  And we haven't even gotten to the point yet where he understands whats going on... I am not looking forward to that.  Mike and I have not gone totally gluten free, egg free at this point, mainly because its so hard and expensive to meal plan, but if we are eating at the same time as Ryan, I do try to eat whatever he is eating.  Right now if he sees someone else eating, he wants it too... so I want to avoid the temptation for him.  I have been paying more attention to what other toddlers eat, trying to get some new ideas...but I feel like whether its the wheat or the egg... he can't have anything!

Have I seen any changes?  This is a hard question.  I would say his overall eczema has improved.   His cheeks aren't as raw and the spots all over his back and neck are better.  His mood seems a little bit better too, he is just a normal toddler now.  BUT even with all of the drastic diet changes, things have not gotten completely better.  There are still days he wakes up with screaming red cheeks, he still has bad eczema on his ankles, behind his knees, and on his hands.  He is still always scratching his face and legs and has a clear runny nose (all signs of allergies).  Bottom line is that I am still confused.  I am not sure what exactly he is having reactions too, are things better without the wheat or did it now make a difference?  I would feel better about this whole process if the change was more clear and I had a better understanding about what is going on.  We are due to go back to the allergist in a few weeks, and I may go to a second doctor too, just to get another opinion. 

Here is my biggest question, why?  Why do all of these kids have food allergies?  Why does every elementary classroom have 3 kids with epi pens?  Why do we have to have peanut free tables at lunch?  When I was growing up, there was maybe 1 or 2 kids in the entire school with food allergies... so what are we doing differently (wrong) that has lead to this food allergy epidemic (and asthma and autism epidemics but that's a whole other discussion)?  I am not buying the idea that just more children are diagnosed, because young kids today have allergies severe enough that they wouldn't have gone unnoticed back 20 years ago.  Something is seriously wrong, I just wish I knew what it was so that I could make the changes needed to keep my family and any future children healthy.  I am starting to lean in the direction that it is the vaccines that are making our kids so sick, but I have a lot more research to do before stating any opinions.

Thoughts, ideas, opinions, research are all welcome!!  I am looking for any answers people have for me.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

RJ Update and Schedule

I haven't really done an update since Ryan's first birthday, so here is whats been going on over the past 2 months.

First of all, his routine. I haven't posted about Ryan's schedule in a few months and I want to make sure I have it all on record.  Lets go back to the 9-12 month range...he was finally pretty regular.

Wake up around 7:00am and have a 6oz bottle.
Breakfast around 8:00
9:00-11:00 nap
6oz bottle at 11am
Lunch around 12
1:00-2:30 nap
6oz bottle at 3:00-4:00
Occasionally a late afternoon cat nap
Dinner around 5:30
Bedtime routine start at 6:30
Asleep by 7pm

The eating schedule did change gradually during these months though.  He started eating more solids and real foods, we dropped the 4th bottle, introduced a sippy cup, etc.  But the nap time was pretty regular... 2 naps, about 2 hours each.

At 12 months old there were a few more changes, like switching from formula to organic whole milk and weening off of the bottle.  He also started napping a little bit later and going to bed a bit later.  Here is our current schedule after making those changes. 

Wake up between 7-7:30
Sippy cup of milk and then breakfast about 8:00
Nap from 10:00-12:00
Lunch around 12:30 and then a sippy cup of milk after lunch
Nap from 3:00-4:30ish
Dinner at 5:30
Start bedtime between 7-7:30 (with a cup or bottle of milk) and asleep by 8:00

This is our daily routine, but I would say that after Ryan reached a year old, he became much more flexible.  Up until recently, he would be miserable and cranky if he wasn't sleeping by his normal nap or bed time.  But now he is able to stay up a little later or adjust his naps based on what we have going on that day.  I never thought this was going to happen and I'm excited to have reached this point.  For example... we were totally off schedule in Florida, but as soon as we got back to Jersey, he returned to his normal routine without much stress.  This will be nice once summer comes.

I am figuring he will drop that late nap soon and the morning nap will get pushed back later, but for now he seems to still want to take both.  I will keep it for as long as he wants.

Before getting into our current situation, lets talk about what Ryan's eating habits where like.  This boy would pretty much eat anything!  I never gave him something that he didn't shovel into his mouth.  He was a good eater and didn't give me any problem.  He just started getting to the point where he wants to feed himself, but when he uses a spoon or fork, food goes flying all over the house.  He gets frustrated, but I am sure he will figure it out soon.  At this point, he is eating 95% real food and only a little bit of baby food to supplement the fruits and vegetables.  He especially likes the smoothie pouches when we are out and about.

Here is a list of the foods he usually eats and enjoys-
green beans
sweet potatoes
grilled cheese
chicken pieces or nuggets
macaroni and cheese
ground beef or turkey
corned beef
french fries
sausage links
pasta and sauce
baked ziti

The only thing that he does not like so far... ice cream!!  He spit it out, twice, and then refused to take another spoon of it.  I am sure he will change his mind once summer comes. 

But there has a been a twist to Ryan's eating plans.  We recently found out why he is having these allergic reactions (he has had 2 serious reactions, and several mild reactions).  Ryan is officially allergic to eggs, wheat, peanuts, almonds, cats and dogs.  I"m going to have to right a different post about these allergies and what my game plan is.  It is obvious from my food list many of the foods Ryan loves contain wheat and/or egg so we are in the process of totally changing his eating!

New Skills
On a lighter note, Ryan has been so much fun recently.  Here are some things he has learned to do in the past 2 months.

-Crawl down the stairs
-Climb onto the couch by himself
-Climb up onto anything really
-Play with the cats
-Dance up a storm
-He can identify his nose, head, and feet
-He LOVES reading books
-HE talks all of the time, but he still isn't really using any words.  Currently, I don't think he really has any words, but he says mamama and dadada in general a lot.
-He can understand thing...hard to explain, but if I ask him to get his book he will go and get it, or if I tell him to go get his golf club, he will find it and bring it to me.  He understand "no" (even though he doesn't always listen haha), bath, cat, eat, food, go get your shoes, etc.  She even though he is not talking at all, it is pretty clear that he is learning.
-He suddenly can use sign language to tell us "more" and "all done"
-Throw a ball
-Go up and down his slide by himself
-He tries to lock the front door when we are leaving the house and going to the car.
-He loves to comb his hair ( I guess that's from watching me do people's hair all of the time)
-He can blow kisses and give really good hugs
-He is still drooling A LOT ... too much.  I am so over drool!

I am sure there is more, but that's what comes to mind as of right now.  I'll update again later when cute things pop into my head. 

Lastly, is 14 months to early to start the Terrible Twos??  hahaha  I think we are getting started already.  Ryan can throw a really good tantrum and had his first official meltdown in Target last week (because I didn't let him choke on a piece of pretzel).  I think he is going to continue to keep me on my toes and demonstrate his strong personality throughout his toddler years :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

2nd Vacation- Palm Harbor, Florida

Last week we went on our family vacation to Palm Harbor, Florida (right outside of Tampa).  Mike and I took Ryan for 5 days to visit my in-laws.  They have a house there now so its a great excuse for a little family getaway.  Here are the trip highlights...

Tuesday- We took Ryan on the airplane for the first time, and it went better than expected!  I was really nervous because Ryan normally doesn't sit still EVER.  He is constantly on the move.  He doesn't like TV, he doesn't sleep in my arms, and he hates being restrained.  So I couldn't image what he would be like on the plane.  I took a chance and went with the "skip a nap and make him extra tired so that he can sleep on the plane attempt."  Luckily we were pretty successful.  I waited and gave him a bottle at take off, and then gave him his lovey and binky that he only gets at bedtime and nap time, and I help him tight in my arms, not letting him get down to move around.  On the flight home he fought me for a while, but eventually fell asleep for a little bit.  But on the flight home, it was close enough the bedtime that he fell asleep and stayed asleep the whole time.  All things considered, it was not a bad experience!

Wednesday- early in the a.m. Mike and I went for a run on the causeway.  It was nice to have a place to go on a running path right along the water.  Then we took Ryan to the beach for the first time and we met up with Mike's Aunt Barbara and Uncle Wayne.  I am happy to announce that Ryan loved the beach!  He seriously sat in the sand and played with some sand toys very happily for about 3 hours.  I was nervous because it was getting into nap time, but he was great the entire time!  It was a perfect beach day, 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.  After the beach we went out to lunch at Captain Jacks and then took a walk through town. Tarpon Springs has a street with tons of little shops, bakeries, and tourist attractions which was fun to see.   Ryan slept in his stroller most of the trip.  Later that evening, Matt arrived to visit us.  We all went out to dinner at this great outdoor restaurant with good food and a live band.  The best part was that it had a great view of the sunset over the Gulf.  Overall  a great day.

Thursday- Another run in the morning, and then beach day #2.  Ryan was just as happy at the beach as the day before.  Then in the afternoon we took a drive up to Aunt Barbara and Uncle Wayne's new house.  They have a great screened in pool area so everyone went swimming, played volleyball and had a great dinner.  I am glad we finally got a chance to see their house and I think they were really excited for us to come down for a visit.

Friday- We spent the entire day at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.  What a cool zoo.  By time we got there, Ryan was ready for a nap... so he spent the first half of the zoo sound asleep in his stroller.  But when he finally woke up, he had an awesome time.  It was pretty cool because he really got what was going on.  He kept pointing to different animals and seemed to enjoy himself.  He got to feed a giraffe, go on a "safari" ride, and pet the horses.  Then we took him on some of the rides in the kids area.  I would 100% recommend this zoo for anyone that's in the area....its a great set up for kids of all ages.

Saturday- The vacation was just about over, but we squeezed in one more morning run and beach day.  One of the perks to going to the beach with a larger group is that everyone took turns playing with Ryan, and I had plenty of time to just lay in the sun!  It was a great end to a fun trip.

I will admit, a week with the in laws has its challenges, but I would say the trip was a success.  I was happy to be home on Saturday night and I think Ryan was too.  I spent most of Sunday getting back to reality, and Ryan spent most of the day sleeping (he was exhausted from a very busy week).  I am surprised how well he handled being so off schedule.  He still had 2 naps every day, but they were at random times and sometime in his stroller.   Then most nights he didn't go to bed til 8-8:30 which is way later than normal.  I guess because we were so busy and doing fun things, it didn't bother him to be off his normal routine.  And luckily, as soon as we got back to Jersey, he went right back onto schedule.  All is good in the Taynor home!

Here are some pics of the trip:

 Barbara and Wayne's house

 Sleeping at the Zoo

 Big boy walked around to see the animals

 Feeding the giraffe

 Honeymoon Island Beach

Family day at the beach

 Hanging in the Gulf

 Family picture while watching the Sunset

 Sunset on the Causeway


 Taynor Family

 Surfer Dude ready for the beach

Running and Working Out

I would never have thought that I would consider running and working out two different things.  In the past, if I even ran for 5 minutes... that would count as my work out.  But these days, they are two different things. 

I am really proud of myself for some of the changes I have made with respect to exercises.  I have finally gotten on a good schedule and I feel like I am back in shape (probably even better shape than I was before getting pregnant).  I actually think I got even better at making the effort to work out once I went back to work, because then I was on a set schedule.  I had certain days/times that became workout days.  Most of my blog posts are written more for my own record, and this is one of them.  Here is my current running and working out routine so that I have it when I look back.

I started working out at my brothers gyms (All Star Sports Academy) back in September and I have been going regularly ever since.  They offer classes at 7am, 9:30am, and 8:00pm Monday through Friday, and at 9:30 on Saturdays.  I go to all of the above.  My goal is to go at least 3 times a week, but I try for 4.  Currently my schedule is Monday and Thursday mornings, and Tuesday and Wednesday at 8:00pm.  I would love to go every morning, but working kind of gets in the way of that.  Its hard to keep motivated to go back out to the gym at 8pm at night (sitting on the couch watching TV is tempting) but I have become kind of addicted to how I feel after working out.  Sooo that's my goal for the week.  The best part about working out at Brian's gym is that it keeps me interested and motivated.  Every class is a little bit different, it mixes cardio, plyometrics, weight training, etc. all into one session.  Plus the people that work out there are great so it makes the classes fun.  I am glad I finally got up the nerve to start working out with him.

In addition to that, I am officially in training for the Disney half marathon next February.  I really really really want to accomplish this goal BUT that means I have A LOT of work to do.  As of last month, I could not run a full minute without feeling like I was going to die, never mind 1 mile, and definitely not 13 miles!  I decided I needed to find an actual training program and get started ASAP if I was really going to do this.  I am starting by training for a 5K, then I will move on to longer distances (like an 8 or 10K) and then start the half marathon program.  Currently I am on week 5 of a couch to 5K type program.  I am proud to announce that during my 3 mile run the other day, I was able to do the first 1.5 miles without walking and after a short break, I was able to run the rest of the time!!! Woo Hoo huge accomplishment for me.  Most people would laugh at this, but running a full mile is a big deal to me and my first step.  So its now part of my routine to run at least 3 times a week (Thursday and Friday evenings, and Sunday morning), sometimes by myself and sometimes with Ryan in the jogging stroller.  I have no excuse now that the weather is getting nicer, I just need to get out there and run as often as possible.

All of that being said, I feel pretty good.  I feel strong and healthy and in way better shape than I was a few weeks ago.  I really hope I stay motivated and keep this up for the long term!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Favorite Things

I have many topics that I want to blog about (currently I am only blogging about them in my head) but work has been super crazy.  The more I work, the less I blog... but I am going to make it my mission to get caught up on my blog when we get back from vacation.

Anyway, today I had a great day with Ryan.  I am really loving this age.  Here is a list of my favorite Ryan things these days.

1.  When he is so excited to read his books that he climbs into his book bin and sits with them.
2.  Our slow dances in the kitchen.  We listen to music a lot when I feed him lunch or dinner, and then we are done, I pick him up and we dance around the kitchen.  He loves it and I love it because I am sure the day will come when he will no longer want to dance with me.
3.  His extra social personality.  He "talks" to everyone (and everything including his toys), he waves to complete strangers as we walk past them, and he is always drawing attention.  He is my little social butterfly.
4.  When he is ready to get our of his crib in the morning or after naps, he throws his binky and lovies out of the crib.  Then when I go back in to get them, he points to them as to say "hey, how did they get our there!"
5.  Also when its time to get out of his crib, all I have to do is but out my hand and he will give me his binky because he knows he is not allowed to have it outside of the crib.
6.  His awesome, very wet, kisses on our cheeks.
7.  How he runs to the bath tub, trying to take off his own clothes, when he hears the bath water running.  After lots of months hating baths, they are now on his list of favorites. 
8.  All of a sudden, he understands how to use sign language for "more" and he uses it correctly all of the time.
9.  He points to things all over the house as to ask "whats that."
10.  He loves his "kitty cats".  He points to them, says kitty, pets them nicely, tries to give them hugs, chases their tails, and brings them their toys. 

I could go on and on, but those are my very favorite RJ things as of right now.

Ryan is 13 months and 2 weeks old.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Birthday Details- Construction Truck Theme

I have been wanting to write this post for 3 weeks now, but I was waiting on pictures to post along with it.  My friend Jill is a great photographer and she came to the party to take pictures, your the best Jill!   Here is how I went about planning and preparing for Ryan's first birthday party.

Theme- I picked the theme because I wanted something very boyish but I didn't want to do something that he is going to ask for in a few years.  So I figured trucks are very boy but not a common request (especially not construction trucks).

Decorations-  The initial idea came from a birthday catalog.  So I went to birthday express and did some brainstorming.  I didn't just want to buy the whole birthday set, but it was a good place to start getting ideas.  From there we did the basic things like plates, balloons, constructions hats and cones.

Banners- I wanted to have the birthday banners that a lot of people are using at kids birthday parties (happy birthday, high chair banner, 0-12 month pictures).  The debate was whether I should make them myself or have them done.  I know I could have made them and they would have been fine... but I decided to contact a friend of mine from growing up and ask her to do them.  She does a great job, and these banners came out WAY better than if I did them myself.  I highly recommend Uniquely Me Design if you are looking to have decorative banners made for any occasion (you can also find her on Facebook)!  Thanks Tiffany!

The Things I Made:  Now that I had the basic decorations and my banners, I had some ideas of what I could do to personalize it.  I did a little bit of research online and I found a file that contained all different things to use for a construction themed party.  You can print it all out using card stock paper and make your own decorations.  So from that file I made construction signs, the tags for the favors, labels for the water bottles, and decorations to put in with the food.

Then I wanted to do something with some of my favorite pictures from Ryan's first year, so I made a photo collage in the shape of the number 1 to hang at the party.

Food-  I kept the food pretty simple.  I ordered sandwich platters and between my mom, mother in law, and sister in law, they handled the sides and salads.  The party was at noon so I just did a light lunch.  I had beer and wine (its not a party in my family without the booze haha).  Plus I wanted to make sure everyone had room for dessert.

Cake and Favors-  My sister in law was the one to get us our awesome cake!  She found a baker by her that does beautiful custom cakes, and Ryan's turned out great!

In addition to the cake, I made home made "Dirt" pudding for dessert and chocolate cake pops for favors.  This was my first experience with making cake pops, the first round went terrible.  But once I got the hang of it they weren't so bad.  I would make them again for another occasion.  The hardest part was wrapping and tagging them after the chocolate shell hardened. 

And lastly, Gymboree had a whole construction truck clothing line this spring, so I was able to get a cute shirt that went along with the theme!

Overall, I think it was a good day.  I was disappointed about the abrupt ending but there is nothing I can do about that.