Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, I know this is a "family" blog, and this next post has little to do with our family, BUT I'm telling myself that Brandon will want to know about his Mom's love of music, namely Bush and Gavin Rossdale when he grows up. So, please allow me to gloat a little, and revel in the beauty that was Sunday night!!!

My 26th birthday present from Brian was tickets for Heather and myself to go see Gavin Rossdale!!!!!!!! ACK!!!!! Heather was going mostly just to go, and I was going because it is GAVIN FREAKING ROSSDALE!!!!!!!!! Haha.

A little background- I *LOVE* Gavin Rossdale. Love him. I fell in love with him during the infamous 1997 MTV Spring Break performance of Glycerine. From that moment on, he was it. Like any other teeny-bopper in love with an artist, I had a picture of him above my bed, surrounded by glow in the dark stars. Throughout my adolescence, he was always the favorite. Any new artist that came along never compared to Gavin. Heh. To this day, Gavin is always mentioned as my "it" guy. My celebrity crush. I <3 him!!! lol

Ok, I'm done gushing about him.

Anyway, rewind to a few weeks ago. I was driving home from somewhere, and heard that he was going to be at the House of Blues in May. So, I looked it up, and decided that I was going. I didn't care if I went alone, or if someone wanted to go with me. I was going. Brian decided to buy the tickets for me and Heather as my birthday gift, and the deal was done.

Sunday around 4, we pull up next to House of Blues and notice a bus. I joked that it was Gavin's bus, but didn't believe that it was. Heather and I had the valet park the car and we went to find the venue. We expected there to be a long line of people waiting for the concert since it started 3 hours later, but there was nobody there! So, we went down to the House of Blues restaurant to have dinner. After dinner, we went back up to the concert area, and there were 3 people in line. We sat down and held our place in line for the next 2 hours. While in line, we discovered that the bus WAS Gavin's and that he had come out of the bus and some of the people sitting next to us were able to get autographs and pictures with him! I was SOOOO jealous!!! Haha Once they opened the doors, Heather and I were able to get FRONT AND CENTER!!!!! The microphone was literally RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!!!!! It was perfect!!!! The opening band, Nico Vega, came onstage around 8-ish. They were really good! I was pleasantly surprised. Then, after Nico Vega's performance, they took a few minutes to set up the stage for Gavin. I swear it seemed like it took an eternity. Finally, the curtain opened, and Gavin came on stage. It was an AMAZING concert! He played a great variety of songs including Bush songs, solo songs, and songs from Institute. During the performance, he climbed onto the railing RIGHT next to Heather and I and - yes, I did the typical teeny-bopper thing, and touched him! Awesome! Can I just say that Gavin has the hottest abs imaginable?!?! Heather noticed that his wristband (that he had thrown on the stage when it started to fall off) was stuck to his shoe. So, she grabbed it, and gave it to me. How awesome is my sister?!?! :) There were many times during the concert that he made eye contact with me, and at one point focused and was singing....ack!!! It was awesome!!!! After the show, Heather and I ran out to be near the bus in case he was able to sign autographs and take pictures. Heather was convinced that he wouldn't be out for at least an hour, but he came out shortly after we got there! He walked RIGHT PAST ME!!! As he walked past, I asked if I could have a picture, and he said (something along these lines), "Yeah, just a second. I have to go get something really fast." ACK!!!!!!! Gavin Rossdale TALKED TO ME!!!!!!! Hahahaha. His manager came out and told us all to wait along the wall and that Gavin would give everyone an autograph and picture. So, obviously, we waited! :) I was able to get TWO pictures with Gavin and an autograph. I made sure to tell him that it was my very first concert experience, ever, and that it was a birthday present from my husband who was in Iraq. (Ok, so that was a shameless use of Brian's service, but whatever.) Then, we proceeded to have a small conversation. Here's the breakdown:

Me: "This is my first concert ever, and is a gift from my husband who is in Iraq."
Gavin: "Oh really? When is he coming home?"
Me: "Two weeks!"
Gavin: "Oh, and then he will be home for good?"
Me: "No, he has to go back to Germany in a month because that is where his unit is stationed at."
Gavin: "You know, I never understood that. Why are there bases in Germany?"
Me: "I don't know. Leftover from WWII I assume."
Gavin: "Yeah, I know, but why are they still there?"
Me: "I don't know."
Gavin: "Yeah, I just don't get it."
Me: "Me either, but they are closing a lot of them."
Gavin: "Good."

Hahahahaha.....I am such a nerd. There was a little more conversation, but I can't recall what was said. I got 2 pictures and an autograph! It was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is a slideshow of pics from the concert. Please excuse my hair. It is a hot mess thanks to Houston humidity. I swear it was cuter before the show! Hahaha

Friday, May 15, 2009

Parenting Technique vs. Luck

I must preface this post with a disclaimer stating that I do not intend to judge anyone on their parenting style, beliefs, or opinions. I am NOT an expert, and in no way, shape, or form is this post intended to suggest as such. This post is merely a means for me to take stock of myself, and note things that work and don't work for my son and my family. I understand that every child is different, and responds to situations based on their own unique personalities. I am basing this entire post off of my "vast" 15 month experience with motherhood (please note obvious sarcasm) and the things I have learned along the way. So, again, please try not to take offense to this post, and feel free to comment.

This evening, I was blown away by my son's willingness to follow instruction with little prompting. Yet again. From Brandon's birth, I have always voiced how Brian and I "hit the baby jackpot." He has always taken to every change so well, and has just generally been an easy going kid. Even despite my fears of whatever transition we are faced with, Brandon always exceeds my expectations. I am always so worried that he is going to not take well to whatever changes he has to adapt to, and am always so pleasantly surprised by his adaptability. Brian and I claim to be "lucky" and "lottery winners," but I question how much is luck, and how much is parenting technique. Granted, as I mentioned above, every child is different, and I am aware of this. However, I do believe that there are basics that, if in place, can help deflect some of the stress associated with parenting.

I believe that predictability and schedule are essential to parenting. Not only do I believe they are essential, I believe they are really the foundation of parenting and without them, it is quite easy to get "lost" for lack of a better term. From my own personal experience in parenting, and assisting with parenting some friend's children, I have learned that getting a child on a schedule they are familiar with and WORKS for THEM is vital. I believe that children thrive on predictability and routine. Now, obviously, some people take this to the extreme and do not allow any flexibility in the schedule and that is counterproductive. Brandon has had the same basic schedule since about a month old. It took that long to figure out what he was comfortable with, and what worked best for him. There have been changes to this schedule, obviously, as he has grown and developed. I believe that since he KNOWS his routine and knows what to expect, it has paid off. For example, this evening went as follows:

-dinner, bath, nightly hygiene, snuggle time in the rocking chair with his milk and a story.

After which, he was able to put his own cup in the sink, give Grandma and Grandpa a hug and kiss night-night, go to his room where he stood by his crib while I turned on his lullaby CD and then reached for me to put him in his crib but not without Mommy's hug and kiss goodnight. All of that is with very little prompting. I simply ask him if he is ready to put his cup in the sink and say night-night. The rest is all him. Furthermore, this is not the first night that he has done this. He has been doing this for weeks, and every night I am filled with pride for him and his great behavior. Again, I do believe that his willingness to follow the schedule is because he KNOWS what to expect. Now, the luck aspect may be that I have never had to "drill" any of this in to him. I simply started the schedule before he was mobile, and he just kept with the same schedule now that he is running around like a crazy toddler. I am aware that he IS in fact a crazy toddler, and he is not perfect (well, to me he is...haha) and he does typical toddler running around the house naked because he figured out how to take his diaper off. I just think that the predictability of our routine has directly influenced his ability to start initiating some of the items on our regularly scheduled agenda.

Another basic I believe is essential is consistency. I've recently made changes to his routine that I thought were going to throw him off, and cause a tantrum, but was pleasantly surprised when it took very little if any transition. I started taking him with me to the gym daycare and it was a disaster the first day. The gym daycare was my precursor to when he has to start daycare full time in July. I geared up for a long, hard road to a peaceful daycare schedule. I began going to the gym regularly, with the intent to work out for a minimum of an hour; however, prepared to leave if he couldn't calm down. Imagine my surprise when after the third time he went, he didn't cry. He didn't shed a single tear, and when I checked in on him halfway through the workout, he was LAUGHING and PLAYING with the other kids!!! It was amazing to me. I was so proud of him, as was Brian when I told him. Again, I attribute this behavior to consistency. However, as important as I belive consistency is, I struggle with it in terms of discipline. I am unsure as to how to discipline Brandon. Brian and I know that we are anti-spank. (that may be controversial, please refer to disclaimer again) While we are anti-spank, we are not COMPLETELY against spanking if it is the only thing that Brandon responds to. We haven't really gotten that far yet. We haven't really gotten to any "hard" part of discipline yet. Everything he does is age appropriate, and we don't see a point in spanking him for acting his age. He is exploring the world that he lives in, and while we don't allow him to run rampant and destroy everything, we do allow him the independence to safely learn cause and effect. Even if that means we have a mess to clean up. Messes are not a big deal to us. It is more important for him to explore and learn things then it is for us to have to spend an extra 10 minutes cleaning something up. Now, that being said, we don't give him crayons and let him run around the house. The result of that behavior is crayons on walls, furniture, and anything else within toddler reach. Instead, we give him crayons in his high chair for now, and as he learns the concept of crayons (as we just introduced them) we will allow him a bit more SUPERVISED freedom. As precaution, the crayons are washable, so that helps too. :) Brandon does get the occasional swat on the hand if he is deliberately misbehaving (touching something he KNOWS he isn't supposed to while STARING at my as I warn him not to touch). We just don't feel comfortable spanking Brandon, yet telling him that he is not allowed to hit. It just doesn't sit well with us. There has to be a better, less degrading way. Again, I reiterate that we have not experienced much "hard" behavior yet, so I am not claiming to be an expert in this field. I have admitted to struggling in the consistency department as sometimes I will use redirection, and other times I will take something away without redirecting, and others I will smack his hand. I use my "Stern Mommy Voice" and sometimes I feel as if it comes across as too harsh. Sometimes I feel like my stern voice is more of a yell than a calm stern voice. I am contributing that to the fact that I was raised with yelling, so it is natural to me. I work on this, and do feel guilty when I raise my voice to him and he cries. I don't want him to be afraid of my punishment. Obviously, I believe a healthy level of fear is necessary in parenting; however, I don't believe that fear should be based on fear of punishment. I believe the fear should be of dissappointment, and understanding their own lack of responsibility. How to balance on this fine line, I am not sure. I just know that I always want Brandon to know that he can come to us when he has made a mistake and not be afraid that he are going to physically or mentally hurt him. We never want to hurt him. We want to instill values and morals that provide the compass for him to make his decisions, and when he falls short of his responsibilities (as we KNOW he will) he is aware of how his actions affect others as well as himself. We want him to be self-motivated and make his decisions as to not let HIMSELF down, as well as us as parents. Now, all of this sounds great, but like I mentioned before, I am NOT sure how to GET to this place. I suppose trial and error is in order.

I am sure that there are more basics that I believe are essential, but I am REALLY tired and if I go on any further I am sure I will stop making much sense. Not to mention, this post is already rather long, and I doubt that many will read the entire thing anyway. Before I close this post, I want to restate my intentions. Again, this blog was NOT AT ALL meant to point fingers or judge anyone on their parenting techniques. Obviously, there are differences of opinion and that is what makes our jobs as parents so wonderful and confusing. I have many friends that do things completely different from how I would do them. I know many people that co-sleep with their child. Brian and I are against co-sleeping in the sense that we wanted to establish a solid ability for Brandon to sleep in his own room, by himself. This example is particularly important to me because as happy as I am that Brandon can sleep 12+ hours in his crib every night, I am a little saddened by the fact that I can't put him in bed with me and have either of us sleep well. He tosses and turns too much to sleep with us, and sometimes I just want to snuggle him. :) So, while I am happy with my decision, I am jealous of the snuggle time you co-sleepers get! Haha. Perhaps when he is a little older, I can let him sleep with us on occasion. I am also all for co-sleeping when they are sick. Luckily, Brandon hasn't really been sick to where he has symptoms that make him so uncomfortable it hinders his sleep. So, I do think that if he gets sick and wants to sleep with us, we will let him. I guess the point of giving this example is that nothing is ever cut and dry, and that the ability for a variety of view points is one of the beauties of parenting. eyelids are getting heavy. So, I am off to bed! Goodnight!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Funny Brandon Video

Hahaha, he is SO funny! Who knew that kids could make you laugh so much. :)