Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fun with Flipper

On our first full day at Florida we awoke to a sunny blue sky and temps on the rise.

We had been told that many of the companies that offer deep sea fishing tours during the day also often offered seashelling tours where they would take you to a out on their boat to an isolated beach during low tide. Because these beaches were often only accessible by boat and off the beaten path, they were also still very much in their natural state (i.e. not perfectly combed and full of large seashells and other sealife). Not only was it something different to do, but it was something little man could do with us.

After a few phone calls we found one that was set to leave late that afternoon and return at sundown. So we booked our tickets and headed south to Marco Island to meet our boat.

When we arrived at the dock little man was so excited he could barely stand it. Not only were there boats, but also huge pelicans and seagulls sitting on the railings, waiting for the fishermen to come in for the day.

We boarded the boat and headed out to an isolated beach on one of the small key islands just off of Marco.

Then, we saw something in the distance.

Something us Kansas folk aren't used to seeing in the water.

Little man's eyes widened.

"What is it daddy?" He asked.

Little man had just met his first dolphin.

There were dolphins all around us. Although they were wild dolphins, they were apparently very accustomed to boats. Not only were they not afraid of the boat, but they would surface right next to us, much to little man's excitement.

But for the fact that little man has yet to understand the large difference between wild and domesticated animals.

As the dolphins would dip back under the water, little man would often call to them, just like he does to our dog at home.

"Dawphins come BACK!" He would yell. "Come back here!"

And just like our dog at home, they would not respond.

Fortunately for us, the channel was full of dolphins. I'm not sure if little man understood that, or if he truly thought the same few dolphins kept coming back to us.

We then had to explain to him why he couldn't pet the dolphins.

That discussion, however, didn't go over very well with little man.

We finally arrived at our destination and headed out to the beach. It was just our group and three others on the entire beach. It was low tide and the beach was full of washed up sea sponges, coral, conch shells, clams, urchins, driftwood and even a few starfish and a crab. As we picked along the seashells, (careful to make sure it was just a shell and not still alive which we definitely did our share of saving more than a few conch, starfish and urchins that day), little man was content to run along the beach, splashing in the water, stopping intermittently to pick up a shell and examine it closely.

And, of course, we had to build "beautiful sandcastles."

Complete with Herb the dragon and Princess Mommy.

As the sun began to go down, we boarded the boat and headed back. Little man was once again greeted by his new-found friends, the dolphins. We had hoped to also see a manatee, but they proved to be more elusive.

A short ride later and we saw the familiar dock and it's pelicans, still holding out hope for a fisherman or two.

"Bye-bye dawphins," little man said as we got off the boat.

And with that, he turned and waved good-bye to his ocean friends.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Beautiful Sandcastles, Herb the Dragon & Princess Mommy (Florida, Part I)

Little man's first trip to the beach was just a year ago, however we weren't sure how much he actually remembered of the trip. He had just turned 2.

However, as we boarded the first airplane and settled in for the flight, it became apparent that little man did remember the beach ... and was so very excited to be going back.

Last year, the first day or two little man was terrified of the ocean. He loved the beach and playing in the sand, however he was unsure of the waves and water. He gradually drifted closer and closer to the water until his toes finally touched.

Then we couldn't get him out of the water.

We had barely touched down in Florida when little man began to insist with all of his 3-year-old wonder that we go to the beach immediately. After what I'm sure seem liked an endless task of getting the luggage and getting settled in at the condo, we finally headed out. It was a bit cool the day we arrived (60's) so it wasn't exactly swimsuit weather, but we packed a light sweatshirt and headed out.

As we crossed the boardwalk and little man's ocean-blue eyes caught his first glimpse of the beach and water he immediately squirmed out of my arms.

All I saw was the silhouette of my little boy running with all of his might onto the sand. He stopped just at the water line and when the tide swept in and caught his toes, he squealed.

"Mommy, look at meeeee!" He said as he turned back to me, smiling as big as I had ever seen.

While last year's trip was mostly spent helping little man scoop sand into buckets, this year's trip illustrated that he has definitely grown up since our last visit.

This time, instead of merely scooping sand, we had to build "beautiful sandcastles."

Every time we went to the beach (which, of course, was daily) little man would spend the majority of his time erecting large piles of sand, which he would then decorate with seashells.

And these weren't just any sandcastles.

According to little man, a dragon named Herb lived in them.

I have no idea how he came up with the name Herb. However, it was a constant theme. With every sandcastle little man built, there was also a story about Herb the dragon who lived in it.

Along with a beautiful princess named Mommy.

And just when I didn't think the moment could be sweeter, little man would then stomp the castle to the ground, laughing all the way.

Maybe it was Herb the dragon.

{I just hope the beautiful princess named Mommy made it out first.}

Either way, our trip was marked with many, many sandcastles.

And many, many memories.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Back home ...

We made it back from Florida and were not very happy to be greeted by 14 degrees and snow flurries.

Little man definitely has the ocean in his blood. There was definitely something about the sand and the water that called to him. I've never seen him so content. More about that later ...

Still getting the sand out of our suitcases and hope to download photos soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Be Back Next Week ...

Our family is going on a much-needed vacation this week to the sunny Florida coastline. We'll return to the cold and snow next week (hopefully rested, relaxed and tan!) Until then, here's a photo from last year's trip and little man's first adventure with the ocean.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

In just a few short days our family will be packing up and heading to the sunny Florida coast for some much-needed rest, relaxation and SUN!

Last year was little man's first trip to the beach. He was completely terrified of the ocean at first, but before we knew it he was digging in the sand, running in and out of the water and chasing the "ducks" (aka seagulls) from one end of the beach to the other.

Hey, we're from Kansas. Not much need to the learn about seagulls here.

Ever since little man has frequently talked about the beach. We recently informed him that we would be going back to beach in just a few short days.

Well, a few short days for us ... an eternity for him.

"I wanna go to the beach," little man said as I bundled him up in his coat this weekend.

"Soon, we're going soon," I said.

Little man just sat there, his big blue eyes gazing out into the cold gray outside.

"I wanna see the ducks," little man finally mumbled. "Ducks at the beach."

Soon little man ... soon.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Big Boy Graduation

Little man has made great strides these past few weeks and is quickly reminding me of how quickly they do grow up.

This week little man was bumped up to a new "big boy" classroom at preschool. Although he had to leave Chloe behind in the other class, little man is loving the "big boy" class and all the responsibilities that come with it.

However, the journey to the big boy class was not an easy one. To be bumped up and given all of the privileges that come with being a "big boy" (more crafts, more play time) he had to accomplish one arduous goal.

Potty training.

Even when I was pregnant, my worst fear of motherhood wasn't labor, temper tantrums or even the loss of my beloved sleep.

It was by far and away the task of potty training.

I don't know why this task was so anxiety-ridden for me. There was just something about it that truly terrified me.

Now a mommy veteran, I can say that (like most other things in life) it really wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be.

However, I do have to give absolute recognition to his preschool. It's amazing what having a childcare provider who supports you as the parent and works with you will do in terms of potty training (rather than our previous scenario, which was very different).

While little man is still definitely my baby in many, many ways and pull-ups are still kept at our house for night time, long road trips, etc. I do have to admit that diapers are not one thing I will miss.

Now if we can just work on his aim.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Survivor: Family Wedding

In the post immediately before this one, I wrote about the impending family wedding and all the anxiety leading up to it.

My husband's baby brother wed his beautiful bride, Joanna (or, as little man calls her, "Jonana") this weekend.

My husband served as Best Man, while I was a bridesmaid and little man made his big debut as ring bearer.

It was very touch and go, but I am happy to report that little man made it down the aisle and was about as good as spunky 3-year-old can be when forced to dress up, wear dress shoes and hang out at a church all day.

I do admit, I was concerned as to what little man would do once those church doors opened and 200 wedding guests turned to look at him. Although he did pause slightly at the beginning, he took full advantage of his time in the spotlight and quickly turned to showman, twirling his pillow around and stopping to say "hello" to some people in the crowd.

Once the ceremony was over, the party animal was then unleashed.

Little man immediately took to the dance floor with his cousin, Carson (who is just 6 months younger) and the two of them showed off what had to be the best toddler dancing this side of the Mississippi.

In between songs little man would then go to table to table and con the guests out of the white chocolate candies that had been placed at each place setting as a favor.

If you were at the wedding and were a victim of this con, I apologize.

However, you can rest assured that you were not the only one conned out of your candy.

And as the day turned to night it eventually came time for little man to retire.

"But I want to go back to the pawrty," he said as he dozed off to sleep.

And with that my little man closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep, surely dreaming of the white chocolate snowflakes and the electric slide.

{little man and Papa at the Rehearsal Dinner}

{3-years-old and already making the ladies swoon}

{No, you can't take the doom down the aisle with you.}

{And then it was time to DANCE}

{party animals}

{"I want to go back to the pawrty, momma}

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


As if the holidays weren't hectic enough, the New Year has not brought our household the slowing, getting-back-to-normal routine it usually does.

This coming weekend my husband's brother is getting married and it's definitely a family affair - daddy as groomsman, mommy as bridesmaid and little man as ring bearer.

A little more than a week after that and we will be leaving on a jet plane for a much needed family vacation to Florida.

In the meantime, my mind is aflutter with all of the details to iron out: including hunting all over town for black toddler dress shoes and socks to wear with his suit on Saturday, sorting through little man's closet to find at least some shorts and shirts that will still fit for Florida and somehow finding the time to do something with my short, stubby and sad fingernails for said festivities.

As Saturday draws closer and closer I'm also growing more anxious about little man's debut as ring bearer. I have no idea what he will do when the doors open and he must walk down the isle of the crowded church ... without mommy. Furthermore, if he does make it to the front of the church, will he stand perfectly still like a little gentleman throughout the ceremony?

I think we all know the answer to that one. Three-year-olds aren't programmed for standing still.

And quiet.

Wish me luck ....

Lots of it.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Animal Farm

Recently little man has begun a new adventure in the world of imagination.


For the past few weeks, little man will frequently - and without cause - suddenly take on the persona of an animal and thusly act out said animal.

So far we have been visited by a "baby doggie," "baby lion," "baby piggie" and "baby sheep."

And no, I don't know why they are all babies.

Last weekend we were visited by some very dear friends of ours who now reside in the D.C. area. We were out to lunch at one of our favorite Chinese food restaurants when little man suddenly felt the animal kingdom calling.

And I suddenly had a baby sheep crawling around the floor of the restaurant.

Any and all attempts at bribing my new baby sheep to come back to the table with chicken lo mein or fortune cookies were thwarted.

And I was stuck with nothing more than sheer embarrassment and a three-year-old little boy who insisted on crawling on all fours and "baaaaaa"ing his way through lunch.

And yes, he really does "baaaaaaa."

Thank goodness our visiting friends are currently pregnant and already expecting their first, for I fear little man (or, rather, little baby sheep man) would have for certain scared them away from parenthood.

As I navigate through this new adventure in mommyhood I've decided all I can do is laugh.

For someday little man will be all grown and I will for certain be missing my little baby sheep.