Monday, November 30, 2009

Product Review- Horizon Shelf-Stable Single-Serve Milk

I don't typically go out of my way to buy organic milk. The 2% on the shelf at the grocery store is good enough for us... as long as it is hormone free, which these days, we've found it difficult to find milk that DOESN'T come from hormone free/antibiotic free cows. (Have you noticed that about YOUR grocery stores?)

Here's the thing about this Horizon milk, though. It is shelf stable. You buy it in a case of 18 (we can only get the cases at Whole Foods, but I'm sure that you can get it other places, too.) and you toss one in the diaper bag or into the car when you're leaving for an outing. There's no need for a cooler bag, it doesn't need refrigerated.

When the time comes for milk (our time is always, as our kids love milk, but especially at nap/rest/bed time) you don't have to go searching for a convenience store. You've got an 8oz container of milk at the ready, and you didn't have to worry about keeping it cold all day.

So. Awesome.

In the cooler months (ha ha, September-May in PA) I keep the whole case in the back of the van. I don't even have to THINK about whether there is milk for later. There just IS! And when we get down to 1 or 2 boxes left, we head down to Whole Foods and buy another case. It takes us 3-4 months to use up the single-serve milks because we only use it on-the-go. I fill the boys' cups before we head out to wherever we were headed, and we use the Horizon milks for refills throughout the day.

They're great for weekend vacations, too, because you don't need a refrigerator in your hotel room.

If you have milk drinkers like we do, or a toddler who needs milk before going to we do... you should give them a whirl!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Little Vocabulary

Aaron is only 13 months old, and without going back to look, I'm almost certain Ian was only saying ... DaDa at 13 months. Ian did say "grandma" on his first birthday, but he only said it once.

Little Aaron, however, is developing quite a little vocabulary! It seems strange to us because he is "so young" to be talking, but I keep hearing that the 2nd child does a lot of things much faster because he wants to keep up with big brother. It is proving to be true at our house.

Aaron can say:

  • uh oh
  • hot dog
  • baby
  • ball
  • dada
  • mama
  • no no
  • papa <--new one this morning!
  • get down
  • upside down

and we're pretty sure he said rainbow this evening, and dinner, and Santa.

He's already a polly parrot, too!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Feeding the Chickens

We were going to go to the zoo today, Ian, Aaron & I, but the forecast "decent" weather was foggy and rainy this morning. So we changed plans en route and went to the National Aviary.

We get in there for free because we're members of the Buffalo Zoo. (Don't ask... we've always been members there, since our Erie days...)

It is free to park.

We pack our lunch to eat on the way home, so it doesn't cost us any money for food. And it keeps us from falling asleep on the way home.

Ian wanted to take his binacul-saurs (like dinosaurs?) with him today so he could see the birds better! It was his idea, really. I wonder where he learned that!

Yes, he is using them backwards. No matter how many times we try to correct him, he insists on using them the wrong way.

Tuesdays, they do tot time at 10:30, which includes story time and a song, and then they get to meet some of the birds up close and personal. Today, it was some silky chickens.

Ian is a total teachers' pet, and I guess it doesn't matter WHICH teacher, or even if the person doing tot time isn't even a teacher at all, just an employee at the Aviary. He had to sit next to her during the whole tot time. What a silly kid!

He was a little scared to feed the chickens corn kernals from his hand, but the other 2 boys at tot time this morning were doing it, so Ian gave it a try. It must not have been so bad because he asked to feed them 2 more times after the first time. :-)

Oh, and in case you are wondering... Aaron also really likes the Aviary. A lot. I just forgot to take any pictures of him today. Oops!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Toy of the Week

This week's edition of "toy of the week" is one that we got for Ian last summer, when he was about 15 months old, for our trip to the beach. Since then, it has gotten a lot of playtime, although Ian didn't seem to enjoy it as much as Aaron has been enjoying it lately!

This week's TOTW is... the Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Piggy Bank!

It isn't an elaborate toy, just a piggy bank with coins. It does play music, but our batteries are dead and it doesn't matter to Aaron at all. He will sit for 10 min at a time and just put the coins into the slot and then get them back out again. He loves it. And he's developing quite nimble hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

I saw this piggy for sale at Gabriel Brothers (discount store in our Area) for $8, but if you can't find it that cheap, I would still consider getting it for your 1 year old. In fact, I think the recommended age on it is 6 months and up, which is just about perfect. I wish we would've gotten it out sooner for Aaron. (and for Ian, for that matter.)

I happen to LOVE the "Laugh and Learn" line of toys from Fisher Price. We have quite a few of the toys in the line and all of them are well-played-with in this house. Thumbs up on this one!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Not Me Monday vol.3

MckMama didn't do a NMM today, but I already wrote this a couple days ago. So here I go with the VFB's first solo NMM post!

I don't have a lot to report from last week, it was pretty mundane. Neither of the kids did anything completely crazy and neither did I! I do have one good one, though, because when I was twittering about it, Roger said, "oh that's gonna make the list for next week!"

On Friday morning, Ian asked for a tootsie pop for breakfast. I let him have one. (We only had one anyway). I justified it in my head by noting that on Thursday Ian had yogurt for breakfast, snack at preschool, apples and grapes for lunch, a salami sandwich on 12 grain bread for snack, and asparagus for dinner. He had a pretty balanced day on Thursday, so sure, why not have a lollipop for breakfast on friday?! (Ha! And, sometimes we mamas just want to drink our coffee in peace. Even if it is only 3 minutes of peace.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2 pictures

I don't think I ever published that on the blog, but I wanted to. It was made by my friend Jennifer at Two Chickens and a Monkey. (Link over there --->)

2nd- This was Aaron and my free pumpkin ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery for my birthday:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A toy that has staying power

Do you have a young son? Or a couple of them, like us? Do you have the Little People Garage? I hope you do! Or at least you're thinking about getting one on Craig's List. Or maybe even paying full price for one. Or maybe you don't have young sons but you know someone who does...

I have never known a toy to get as much playtime as our little people garage has. Truly, our LPG is played with on a near-daily basis. (I say near-daily instead of just daily because sometimes we rotate it out and put it in another room for a couple days.)

Aaron is playing with it most right now, but Ian still plays with it too.

We got ours as a birthday gift from Uncle Todd & Aunt Carrie (my brother, Sister-in-law, and their family) for Ian's 1st birthday. And since that day, the LPG has seen action probably 530 times. (There have been about 547 days since Ian's first birthday.)

How's THAT for staying power?

If you're not sure that your boy(s) will like this toy, pop over to our house and give it a try first. That'd be fun. You should just do that anyway!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.


Good Morning! This Monday morning the sun is shining through our front windows and the crisp air is going to make way for another 60s-and-sunny BEAUTIFUL day here. Before I get to the things WE DID NOT DO this past week, I'll say something I AM going to do, is take the kids to a beautiful playground. We have to enjoy these beautiful days because all-too-soon it is going to be cold, gray, and gross here.

* Last Monday, I did NOT take my two children to get their photos taken to commemorate Aaron's 1st birthday. It was definitely not a full 2.5 weeks after Aaron's birthday. I also did NOT break a sweat while trying to wrangle them and get at least 2 good photos taken. (One of Aaron by himself, one of the boys together.)

* Also last Monday, I did not feed my sons countless numbers of dumdums lollipops while at the Apple Store getting my new phone. There is no way I'd be such a desperate mother that I'd let my kids suck down lollipops like they're chain-suckers just so I could get 15 minutes of "good behavior" while I waited for my new IPhone. I would never do that. I always have their health and well-being highest on my priority list.

* Last Tuesday I didn't have to take the kids to the doctor for shots, so I definitely did not pack new toys (that I purchased for Christmas stockings), new crayons, chips, lollipops, juice boxes, and band-aids into the diaper bag. I would never bribe Ian with a new Thomas train (or helicopter in this case) to sit in the stroller and not touch ANYTHING. I also would never dream of sticking a Dora band-aid on Ian's leg after he got a shot, even though the doctor's office does not provide band-aids because they are choking hazards, to distract him from the fact that he just got stuck with a needle and is now bleeding. Never. I always keep choking hazards away from my kids, even band-aids.

* On Thursday, I definitely wasn't completely disappointed that my husband wasn't feeling well on my birthday so we didn't go out to dinner. I was very happy, nice, and loving to him. I would never be such a brat to my husband because he didn't feel well.

* On Friday, I did not let Ian run amok at the zoo because it wasn't crowded and I felt safe letting him run ahead a little bit. There is no way I'd let my child get 30 feet away from me in a public place. I always keep my children at my hip. I also did not gawk at the penguins getting it on in the aquarium. I would never point and chuckle at something like that. I'm always very proper and modest.

* On Saturday, while raking leaves, there is no way I didn't notice Ian throwing one of his Wheel Pals onto the pile of leaves as I was carting it across the street to dump into the ravine. I most certainly did not SCOLD HIM for having a meltdown about me going across the street and making him stay in the front yard. I also didn't go back across the street, standing on the edge of a ravine, to search frantically for the stinkin' toy that Ian threw in there. I'd never risk life and limb for a silly little truck. (By the way, I didn't FIND the toy, and I wasn't Ian's hero afterwards... ;-))

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Finally, some vaccinations!

Today was Aaron's 1 year well visit. The peanut weighs only 20 lbs 7 oz and is 29 inches tall. He has fallen off the charts with regard to weight for his age. Not a big deal though because he is still gaining and his height/head circumference are around the 40th percentile.

Aaron finally got his first dose of seasonal flu vaccine. He'll need another one in a month. He also got 2 other shots, but, bad mama cannot remember exactly which ones they were. He didn't even cry for the shots at all! Just sucked on his lollipop and let the nurse do her work.

Ian had to come with us today (even though I really HATED the thought of taking two perfectly healthy little boys to the doctor's office in the middle of cold and flu season with rampant H1N1 all around us.) Ian got his seasonal flu shot and he also got the H1N1 mist.

I asked our pediatrician her honest opinion (as the mother of 4 boys) and she said if Ian were her's, she'd give it to him. "Because the kids who are getting it, are REALLY REALLY sick. In fact we're not letting them come to the office anymore, we send them straight to the ER. Aaron is very high-risk & he can't get it, so Ian needs to, and any caregivers of your boys need it too."

I trust her.

In other vaccination news, Aaron isn't getting MMR or Varivax until the spring. The pedi said, "no need to add THAT to the mix when we're just trying to keep him healthy through cold & flu season. We'll give it to him when the flu risks are diminished, and it will still be within the "normal" vaccination window for those two."

Yay! I'm really starting to love this pedi. She's great!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Vandervorts Do Disney 2009-Sat&Sun

First, let's all have a moment of silence for my beloved Iphone. I guess I know what my birthday & christmas present is this year. I'm sick about it.

Saturday 10/31, we woke up with the sun (Aaron was up early enough for me to catch the sunrise over the bay. (Across the main road from the hotel.) We dressed in our swimming gear and got right to the beach-loving as soon as the sun was shining. Even at 8am, it was definitely warm enough to be in the water/on the beach... and get sunburned!

Aaron had his first moments in the ocean. (Some might argue with me about how technically it was not the ocean, but I think it's close enough! Salt Water, Florida, ocean-dwelling sea creatures... yep, close enough.)

Ian, of course, adores the beach and he & Roger spent pretty much the entire day playing in the salt water, sand, etc. I am not crazy about oceans and such (I prefer the pool... unless you're talking about the crystal clear, beautiful ocean in Barbados. THAT was nice!) Murky water is not my favorite... but it was HOT. And Aaron was loving it, so I played along. Aaron & I sat at the edge of the water, where the waves would come in and lap at our bellies for a long time. It was actually quite relaxing & sweet to spend those moments with him in that way.

After dinner, my dad & I quickly dressed the boys in their Halloween costumes and took them across the road to the Publix grocery store for trick or treating. (I saw an ad for it earlier in the day.) When we got back, there were other hotel guests on the patio watching the sunset & they were delighted to see the boys in their costumes. One couple even had trick-or-treat candy on hand! The couple explained that in previous years, kids at the resorts actually would dress up and T-o-T at the neighboring hotel rooms. They hadn't had any T-o-Ters in several years and even considered not buying candy this year. They were tickled to have Ian & Aaron this year! I did feel bad for the boys, in their "Pennsylvania" costumes, as it was still about 85 when they were all dressed up. Ian & Aaron didn't seem to mind, though, they thought it was fun.

We packed our bags. We went to sleep. We got up at THREE A.M. to leave St. Pete Beach for the Orlando Airport.

Our flights home were fine. The boys were well-behaved. And that's the end of the tale. *sigh* Back to real life...

And real life- It included raking leaves, here are the "obligatory" leaf-raking pictures. If you're interested, click back to here, and see what was going on last year!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Vandervorts Do Disney 2009-Friday

Friday Morning, despite only getting about 2 hours of sleep and being vomited on approximately 7 times in the previous 24 hours, I helped pack up and we headed out for the beach. My parents (who were paying for the hotel AND staying a whole week at least) chose St. Petersburgh Beach for their location. I had never been anywhere but Disney in Florida, so it was fine with me.

^just a tiny little portion of the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort, our condo (2 bed, 2 bath, complete kitchen, dining room, living room, etc.) was the 2nd balcony up in the middle column.

Just after leaving Orlando (literally, we had been in the car about 5 minutes), Aaron vomited everywhere. He was covered head-to-toe, his car seat, his clothes, etc. It was so gross. We pulled over to the side of the highway and cleaned him up as best we could. Got back in the car and continued on. What else were we to do? We'd already checked out of the Wyndham and there wasn't really anywhere to "go" anyway. It's a 2 hour drive from Orlando to St. Pete Beach and both kids slept the whole way. I ate a gigantic rice krispie treat. It was the size of my arm, I think. Roger talked to me to keep me awake. (I was driving... stupid rental car rules... and Alamo trying to charge us an extra $10/day to have a 2nd driver on the vehicle.) On the way, I called Aaron's pediatrician in Pennsylvania to let them know what was going on. The nurse said that if he was still throwing up by 5pm, we needed to take him to an ER. She also said it was most likely a virus and it would pass after 24 hours (probably) and then he'd get the scoots for a day or two. (She was exactly right, that's exactly what happened.)

^before the barf...

^youngest kid with an Ipod?

We stopped at Walgreens and got Aaron some pedialyte, some sand toys, and a pair of flip-flops for Roger, who had forgotten his at home. Got all checked into the Plaza Beach Motel.

^hotel room window view

It was right on the beach. The closest to the beach I've ever stayed, unless you count being right on the beach at the Holiday Inn in Corpus Christi, TX.

^feeling better maybe?
It was SO HOT. I decided it was best for Aaron to stay inside in the air conditioning while we did the 5mls Pedialyte every 5 min for 1 hour regimen. Roger took Ian out to the beach and they had a lot of fun splashing around and building sand creations. Aaron finally perked up after having the pedialyte and he never vomited again after the car ride. He drank pedialyte most of the afternoon and was better by dinner time. We ate dinner at Crabby Bill's Seafood. I had the prime rib (ha ha ha) and it was delicious. I also had a Pina Colada. My first drink with alcohol in it in... probably almost 2 years. It was also delicious.

^from the restaurant

^From the Hotel Room Window

We watched the sunset from the restaurant. When we got back to the hotel, Roger asked my parents to watch the boys for a few minutes while we walked on the beach. It just so happened that somebody was doing a fireworks show a little ways up the beach and we got to watch it! Fun! Turns out Ian and my mom also watched it from the hotel balcony. Aaron was almost asleep when we got back so I nursed him and put him to bed. He got his nebulizer treatment after he was asleep.

Only 2 days of vacation left...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Vandervorts Do Disney 2009- Thursday

Well, Thursday last week brought change to our vacation. And I guess all I can say is that when you're on a trip with a 2.5 year old and a 1 year old, 1100 miles from home, you just have to roll with the punches.

Thursday morning we went to Hollywood Studios. If you can't tell already, I'll spell it out for you. I love the Magic Kingdom. I would be ok if there wasn't anything else AT Disney World, as long as there was the MK. So, going to Hollywood Studios, for me, was definitely just to see the boys' joy at meeting more characters, seeing the Playhouse Disney show, etc. Ok, Maybe I was looking forward to riding Tower of Terror, just a little bit...

We went straight to the Playhouse Disney part of Hollywood Studios. If you haven't been there recently, they have added a show specifically for the toddler age kids. It is an "episode" of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that uses some other PHD shows to create a birthday party for Minnie. I think it is safe to say, that it blew Ian's mind. He loved it. He was an active participant in every way, except at the beginning when he didn't realize what was about to happen and was yelling "STOP!"

Aaron liked it too. Both kids were dancin' fools.

After the show, we met Handy Manny and SAW the Little Einsteins and Jojo (from Jojo's Circus... which Ian has never seen because it isn't on TV anymore...). The line was so long to meet the Little Einsteins and Ian didn't seem to mind that we just waved to them and moved on.

We met Sorcerer Mickey (and got perhaps our best pictures with Characters from the whole trip). He was really kind, spent a lot of time with our kids (in comparison, we were not rushed through our meeting with Sorcerer Mickey at all. He signed Ian's autograph book, he interacted with both kids, he was helpful in getting a good picture and just very fun! We also saw the old guy, the kid, & the dog from Up. Sorry, I don't know their names... And Met Mr. Incredible. (Shoop Daddy as Ian calls him.)

As the day wore on and the temperatures rose, Ian's patience diminished. By the time we got over to meet Lightning McQueen & Mater, Ian was in meltdown mode. He did perk up momentarily when he met them, though.

Roger decided we'd had enough of the heat so we made a quick stop to do single riders at Tower of Terror & then went back to the hotel to swim. And all H-E-double-hockey-sticks was about to break loose. While at the pool, Aaron decided to get sick. He threw up ALL OVER me & him as we were toweling off to come upstairs. We thought it was just a fluke... swallowed too much pool water or something. And Aaron is "a puker" anyway. He has a really sensitive gag reflex and vomits probably once a week on average, even when he's not sick.

We wanted to have a nice "last dinner at Disney" so I called Le Cellier, the steakhouse at Canada in Epcot. They are usually booked solid and I really didn't think we had a chance to get in, but I tried anyway. To my surprise (and the guy on the reservations line, too) they had a cancellation for a party of 4 at 6pm just before I called. So we got to go to Le Cellier! As we were waiting for our table, Roger had taken Ian somewhere to entertain him & I was holding Aaron. All of a sudden, he projectile vomited ALL DOWN MY FRONT. All down my (white) shirt, my capri pants, my feet/flip flops, etc. I sent Roger to buy me a new shirt & changes Aaron's clothes, tried to clean up the best I could... They seated us and we had just nicely received our drinks and appetizers, when Aaron vomited on me again. Roger paid the bill and we left... before we ate. So much for Le Cellier. :_(

We had to quickly stop in the big gift shop to buy our souvenirs. Have I mentioned we hadn't purchased ANY yet because we were waiting until the last night? So... sorry if you don't get one, or if you do happen to, that it is not very thoughtful... I had baby puke saturating my underwear and was trying to hurry. All I got for myself was a purple shirt that Roger picked out to replace my puked-on one... and it also got puked on. As we waved goodbye to our last night at Disney World, we were pretty disappointed that it ended the way it did. More importantly, we were sad that Aaron was apparently REALLY sick on our vacation... *sigh*

Aaron was sick again in the night and only wanted to sleep in the buff, laying face-down on the leather sofa in the living room of the condo. ?? I have no idea why, but that was the only place he was content. So I laid half on the sofa, half on a chair pulled up beside the sofa and slept maybe 2 hours total. Friday was check-out-and-head-to-the-beach day, and I bet you're just DYING to hear how THAT went. It wasn't pretty, I'll give you that little clue.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Vandervorts Do Disney 2009-Wednesday

Last Wednesday, we woke early and made it to the Magic Kingdom for opening. We had a lot of stuff we still wanted to do there, so we wanted to make the most of Ian and Aaron's "best" hours. We rode Aladdin's magic carpet ride, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Aaron promptly nursed himself to sleep on the Pirates ride and proceeded to sleep for the next hour or so.

We met Jesse & Woody. Roger took Ian on Haunted Mansion. We rode It's A Small World again. Then Peter Pan's Flight, the Carousel, The Teacups, & Dumbo. (We didn't get pics of Dumbo or the teacups... have you ever tried wrangling a 2 year old & a 1 year old in a ride queue? Add in a camera & that... well, we didn't take pictures.)

We ate lunch in Pinnochio's. It is basically a cafeteria, but the kid's meals were decently priced. We headed back over to Toon Town because it was about 37,000 degrees. We let the boys play in the fountains again. Then I got to take Ian on the Barnstormer rollercoaster. (SO FUN! It is really like the best little kids' rollercoaster ever. Ian really, REALLY liked it.) After the fun in Toon Town, we were really, really hot and pretty tired. We bought some frozen lemonades and headed down to Main Street to wait for the parade. It rained on us for about 9 minutes. We let the rain come down on us. It felt nice! The parade was cute. Belle (of Beauty and the Beast fame) blew a kiss to Ian from the float, and he blew one back. She saw it and got a huge smile on her face. It was adorable.

Wednesday evening, I went to Raglan Road at Downtown Disney for a Mom's Night Out with my girlfriends. We had a great time. I had fish & chips and coke.

Little did I know, back at the hotel, Aaron was FREAKING OUT, crying so hard he was puking, etc. Roger had taken Ian to Downtown Disney (on a Daddy-Son night of fun?). They spent an hour in the LEGO store alone! I rode home from dinner with Roger & Ian. When we got back to the hotel, Aaron was sleeping in his bed, but my parents reported he had cried himself to sleep and had not eaten anything at all, plus vomited a couple of times. Poor baby! I'm so sorry!

On the plus side, we all slept pretty well Wednesday night!