Friday, August 1, 2014

Happy Birthday, Papa!

Thanks for loving me. (This week.)
Thanks for walking with me. (In NC on the bank of the Haw River)

Thanks for throwing rocks with me. (Throwing rocks into the Haw.)

Thanks for playing instruments with me.

Thanks for taking me to see the Durham Bulls play!

Thanks for the shoulder rides!

Thank you for not judging my svelte bod.

Thanks for the walks and conversations.

Thanks for the shoulder rides (love 'em!)

Thanks for holding me up so I can watch the trucks in action!
Have I thanked you for the shoulder rides lately?

(Stan B sat on Mike's head and said, "Poo-poo!")
 Thanks for everything and I hope you have a great 100th birthday!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Words and Language

Eating his very first popsicle (a 1 part orange juice, 1 part water mixture.)

Stan B says a lot of new words on a daily basis. That last time I wrote about his language he was starting to string sentences together! You can tell he's really trying to speak in sentences because you can see it in his face and his almost stuttering of words wanting to spill on out. I feel like I'm close to the Stan Bearnese language but he still stumps me at times. For instance, the words for popsicle, motorcycle and basketball all sound very much alike. Turn up your volume and watch him say popsicle:

copapapapull from erin kawamata on Vimeo.

It sounds more like, "coppapapull". But I get it. He says Stelina's name like this:

shenana from erin kawamata on Vimeo.

Which sounds like, "She-na-na". He used to say it with three "na"s. Ha. He used to say his name either like "Nanny" or "Tanny" but recently he's been saying, "Tanley". I think Ss are still really hard for him to pronounce.

One of my favorite language times is in the morning. I should start recording his first word or sentence of the day. One morning he got up, from what I thought was a deep slumber, slid off the bed,  and shouted, "All done!" I couldn't help but laugh. Two mornings ago he woke up and he said, "Honey?" Other words he has said first thing are, "Tuka!", "Ball...truck...milky!", "Milky!", "Outside", "Foodie", "Poo-poo"...and so on. It's a fun way to wake up.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Sense of Humour

We are starting to see a glimpse of the Bear's sense of humour...or at least he thinks he's hilarious. He's pretty cute. The funniest thing (to me) that he says is, "Milky Holders". Which at first I thought only referred to my bras but now I realize it means my breasts. It's quite hilarious and of course when I laugh he keeps repeating it.

He also finds humour in things that I do and then laughs or repeats (or both). The other day we were in the kitchen and Stan B was talking to me in what sounded like gibberish but it meant something to him. Instead of going along with it, pretending like I new what he was saying, I said, "Eh?!" and made this expression with confusion and crooked brows. He looked at me and immediately started laughing. He starting speaking again and I interrupted him and said, "Wha?!! Eh?!!" and he thought it was hysterical. He soon started saying, "Eh?" in his own Stan Bear way.

Watch him saying Milky Holders and Eh? in the video below!

A Sense of Humour from erin kawamata on Vimeo.

P.S. Someone pointed out to me the strangeness of some of my spelling like humour with a "u" thrown in there...I blame it on an old friend of mine with British roots.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

California Dreaming, Part II

Another person that Stan Bear bonded with while in California was my brother, his uncle, Uncle Sean! Stan B has a lot of qualities in common with his uncle such as boundless energy, litter awareness, and being adorable. Here is a Stan B and Uncle photo scroll down with a video at the end!
With Stelina on the left!
Both of them enjoying Nana's reading of "Where the Wild Things Are."

Boo-boo show and tell


Bonding over baseball

Supporting Stan B through a possible Yogurtland brain freeze.

Love and comfort.

Uncle Sean reads a story from erin kawamata on Vimeo.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Moving Across Country With a Toddler (and a Cat)

Looking back at our 5 day, 6 night move from North Carolina to Idaho I have kind of forgotten how tiring it was and am remembering the successes that we made...for instance, we are all alive! We never had any unmanageable meltdowns! (Well, Mike came close while driving through Hell's Canyon.) Pre-trip I was the most nervous about the Bear. I knew he would do well the first day because he is a pretty good traveler and can do a road trip from NC to MD without a hitch...but 6 days of driving? I wasn't so sure. I had many people say, "Do you have one of those portable DVD players?" Nope... I had people say, "Good luuuuck on that trip with a toddler." Thanks...but like any parenting situation, you know your kid best. I tried not to let negative things creep in too much. I figured if it was complete torture we could go and buy a portable DVD player. I thought about our trip a lot before we left. We still had Stanley facing backwards in his car seat and were planning to keep him rearfacing until the age of two (that is what is recommended.) My plan was to change things up.
Here he is rearfacing with his basket of books and toys nearby.
The first day, I would have him rear facing. The second day I would face him forward because he would be two 2-3 weeks after our road trip so I figured it was o.k. since it was a recommendation, not a law. I figured having him face forward would be a fun new experience and that it would allow him to be a more interested traveler. I think it helped. My possible third day plan was driving with the windows down...but it was soooo hot. We did this on the 5th or 6th day as Idaho was much cooler than our drive through the midwest. Those were my brainstorms pre-road trip.
Second day, facing forward.
I also decided to put a basket of toys and books in the car next to him that he could sort of grab himself while we were on the road. Another helpful thing was breaks. Taking as many breaks as possible. Some breaks were over an hour long, others were just stops for gas.
I think this was in Kentucky somewhere.
Here is my list of helpful hints for anyone doing a long road trip with a toddler:

1) Change It Up. If your babe is still rear facing in his carseat and it's close to the time (2 years) to switch him facing forward, maybe it would be worth doing the switch-a-roo a wee bit early just to make the driving experience new.

2) Drive With the Windows Down. Of course only if the weather permits. And it's not something you have to do all day long. But every now and then it's nice. I think Stanley enjoyed feeling the wind on his face and the noise is relaxing, like a noise machine.

3) Put a Basket or Box of Toys Within Reaching Distance. This was great. Stanley couldn't reach everything so it was nice that my Dad was riding shotgun and could grab stuff just as easily and hand it to him. We had more than enough books, his truck, pipe cleaners, a puzzle, newspaper, finger puppets,  a ball, dinosaurs and more!

His truck which is ridiculously too big for a traveling backseat toy but he loves that thing and would play with it for a good amount of time.
4) A Grown-Up Helper. Like I said in number three, my Dad was so helpful. I could have done it without him but we would have probably taken more breaks (for my sanity) and it is just safer to have someone who is not driving to hand the wee one toys, books, food/drink or even just to play with one another.  Also it was nice to have a grown-up to talk to!
Newspaper entertainment. Cheap and easy.

5) Walkie Talkies. My Dad brought his walkie talkies. They were awesome. So this is essential if you are driving separate cars like we were. It was me, Dad and Bear in one car and Mike in the moving truck. It was great for Mike because he would get lonely sometimes. Plus, we tailed the truck and if Stan B needed a pit stop  we could radio Mike and tell him to take the next exit.

6) Stashing Toys in the Front Seat. We learned that having some toys in the front seat was nice because if Stan B seemed restless we could easily hand him a toy or play with the finger puppets. My Dad and the Bear played dinosaurs quite a bit. 

7) New Never Seen Before Books. I bought three books for the trip (only got to two on the road.) But they were really helpful. They were both about driving or trucks or the like and they were a hit. He spent a long time with both of them and really studied the pictures. It kept him well occupied.  

8) Pack a Cooler. Put food and drinks for the entire family in there. Not only will it save money on food but it's way nicer to stop at a grassy rest stop and eat rather than a restaurant or gas station. Many of the rest stops had playgrounds. If they didn't we'd just bring the soccer ball out and kick it around. One rest stop was along a river which was fun!
This was at a rest stop in Wyoming or Utah. He could have played on this dino all day long.
We saw buffalo at this rest stop in Wyoming. Can't see buffalo (usually) from a gas station! It was great.
Little Salmon of our last rest stops in Idaho.

 9) Bring Snacks. And bring them for everyone! We brought crackers, popcorn, granola bars, apples, grapes, oranges, peaches, avocados and nori(seaweed). This is also where a grown up helper is wonderful. My Dad was like the Bear's very own private server. Those no-spill snack cups are great because they minimize the amount of snack that ends up down in the car seat or on the floor of the car...that is until he figures out how to open it and starts balancing the container and lid on his feet. But I say, whatever keeps him occupied.
No spill snack cup/balancing toys.
10) Music. This is important. Bring it so you can dance in your seat, sing at the top of your lungs or let it become the soundtrack to your landscape around you. Stan B loved Tom Petty.

11) Small Musical Instruments. Like a harmonica or kazoo or recorder. We had a harmonica because I know he loves it. 

12) Playing Games. Games like, "Can You Say", "I Spy" - which with a toddler is more like, "Do you see a truck? Do you see trees? etc." 

That is all I can think of. Does anyone have any other screen-free toddler road trip ideas?

Friday, July 25, 2014

California Dreaming, Part I

Playing with rocks
When we got to Idaho we unpacked the truck and tried to settle in as much as we could before the Bear and I took off to California to see my parents for two entire weeks. We had a wonderful time. Not only did we get to hang out with Tuka for an even longer time but we got to spend time with Nana, my brother (Uncle Sean) and many of my good friends including Emily, Brian & Denise, Jenn, Shawnee, Masumi & Jessica, and Alison. The last time we were in California the Bear was maybe 8 months old or so. He was just learning to crawl and stand up. Here is one of the posts from that visit: Standing Stanley. This time (he turned two on this trip) he was better able to engage and bond with people. Especially those that he spent a lot of time with. One of the people he really took to was my good friend Alison. She's like my sister. I was trying to get the Bear to call her Auntie Alison or Auntie A but that didn't happen. He somehow started calling her Ali...but the way he says it, with a hard "L" (is that even such a thing?) it sounds like he's saying, "Addie". It's really adorable, I think. Ever since we left California and he sees a Subaru (that's what Alison drives) he says, "Addie!!!!" I have to explain that it's not her but it's definitely the same make and even, sometimes the same model. It's pretty funny. He does the same thing with Nana and CRVs. Anyhoo. Here is a Stan Bear and Alison photo-scroll-down with a short video at the end.
Opening his birthday present from "Ali"

Lookin' good in stripes at the Obon.

Storytime with Auntie

Sister from another Mister

Happiness is sitting on your Auntie's lap.
Storytime (that's Stelina on the right).

Watching fireworks from the backyard on the 4th.
Chalk love.
Alison, showing how it's done gracefully.
It was great seeing you Alison!
Here they are shuffling down the street:

shufflin' from erin kawamata on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Finding a Community

Stan B playing footsie with Auntie C at the dinner table

It's so exciting moving to a brand new place. During the packing and the move you know you will be losing the community that you created in the place you built your home but know one wants to think about that! So you push those feelings aside. It's not until you get to the new place and things start slowing down and settling in that those thoughts come back. You start to miss people...and you start thinking about how to create a community in your new home.
Lauren with Naomi
I loved meeting with these two ladies (above and below) every so often. We'd leave the tots at home and get dinner somewhere. This is our last dinner together before I left for the west. Not the best pics but very real and candid. They are great people and were part of our community.

Roxanne with Naomi

So, how does one find it again? I felt like it took 7 years to find it and once we had it ((((BOOM))))) it was time to leave. I know we'll find it again. I hope it doesn't take as long. I think having Stan B here from the get go will really help as he is the UNITER.                  

Hugs with Jacob
I think that finding a job, taking Stan B places, finding things that I am interested in doing will help get this community ball rolling. Both Mike and I aren't the most social beings on the planet, so it will take a bit of extra effort. But I'll need it otherwise I will go mad.
Stan B with his old next door neighbors
 We have met three of our neighbors and even eaten dinner at one of their houses...and I have pictures of his yard (wacky and wonderful).
With my favorite garbage guy, Harold
I know there will be gems here. Just like there were gems in California, New Mexico and North Carolina. 
Stan B with his neighbor friend, Sergio
I just want my treasure chest to be sparkling and full.