Posts Tagged ‘video’

Sunday night concert

Age 4 is great fun. We have a blast (nearly) every day. We spent an hour playing various instruments and then received a personal concert of various tunes made up on the spot – on piano, ukulele and harmonica – clad in underwear.

Here’s just one piano composition that made me smile from ear to ear.

Posted: January 31st, 2016
Categories: Leah
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Regression and Progress

In the last 4 weeks, Wes has averaged one accident every day. He’s been potty trained for nearly a year, but with warmer weather, it’s hard to pull him away from activities before his bladder explodes. I’m tired of doing extra laundry and changing sheets, and I can hear my irritation creep into a reprimanding voice at Wes. I’m also tired of getting mad.

octonautsWes is a great self-rewarder. He loves this cute British show on Netflix, Octonauts (he’s already planned his July birthday party with an Octonauts theme), and he’s set his own reward system – allowing two 10-minute episodes to watch after school but only if he “stays on green” throughout the day. If his behavior and lack of following directions lands him on either yellow, or heaven forbid, red, he does not allow himself to watch for that day.


I’m fully in support of this system. I mean, 20 minutes of TV a day isn’t bad. And it’s such a pleasant show that I don’t mind watching with him or hearing it in the background as I’m making dinner. What’s best is that HE instilled his own system for rewarding positive behavior. I can’t argue with it.

Since we’ve regressed in bathroom practice, I’m grasping at straws to find an encouraging reward like his own creation. A potty sticker chart seems almost juvenile for him, but I think it’s necessary since this weather isn’t going to get bad any time soon. His teachers haven’t said anything about accidents during the day – either it isn’t happening until he’s at home or the accidents are so minor that it’s nearly unnoticeable. (But, man, he STINKS!)

Another area of constant thought in my worry-brain is Kindergarten. As a child who spent first grade recess finishing seatwork while the rest of my classmates romped outside – which then led to a mid-year transition back into Kindergarten – I worry about Wesley’s readiness next fall. He’s a July baby, so he would be one of the youngest kids in his class. However, he is extremely social, confident and independent, and he absorbs everything I put in front of him.

My 3.5-year-old is READING. Holy moly. One free day last week, we picked up the first set of Bob Books, a great set for very early readers. A gradual introduction to sounding out words, Wes quickly understood enough to read the first book aloud after 5 minutes of prep. That excitement?! Contagious.

We have another full year to monitor readiness. Then the next decision is WHERE to send him to Kindergarten… In the meantime, I have to get a sticker chart hung up in the bathroom.

Posted: May 20th, 2015
Categories: Leah
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Today’s Special

VNHXJC2CUBGSRHCAs Wes is developing more likes and dislikes, it’s entertaining to see what he gravitates to. We don’t watch much TV as a family while Wes is awake, but we do allow a little PBS time while the adults are getting ready in the morning. Thomas & Friends is obviously a favorite because it’s full of talking trains. Now Thomas appears in conversations, along with his other favorites: tractors, clouds, busses, airplanes and firetrucks. He also like Martha Speaks, mainly because it directly follows Thomas on PBS.

This week I made the comment to Steven about how I used to get annoyed as a child that Thomas & Friends started taking over Brio train sets. And I started talking about how it all started with Shining Time Station, a PBS show that I didn’t really like to watch, but did anyway when I was home sick. It starred Ringo Star, who was a conductor the size of a ruler. He would tell the children of the small town train station, who were the only ones who could see Mr. Conductor, of course, stories of a fictional train. The show would then transition into the Thomas & Friends shorts.

Steven had no idea what I was talking about, as is typical. But the conversation got me all nostalgic about shows I enjoyed as a preschooler like Wes. With an older sister, I watched shows that might have been slightly above my age level, but I loved them all the same.

The Great Space Coaster theme song has been stuck in my head all week. I loved the giant elephant puppet in particular. A few shows were taped off Saturday morning TV, and I rewatched that VHS (complete with old commercials!) over and over again.

Zoobilee Zoo! I still catch myself humming this theme song. I had great admiration for Whazzat Kangaroo. She was beautiful – mostly because she resembled a pink ballerina. Apparently there are multiple full episodes on YouTube. Noted.

I remember wondering if all mannequins were like the guy in Today’s Special. What a cool idea for a show.

And then, remember Small Wonder? Truthfully, I don’t think this was a regular show in our “line up,” but the opening song and the shot of her robotic back amazed me as a child.

Equally as great as Small Wonder is Out of This World, which starred an alien who talked to a little girl through a prism. Of course, I can’t omit Punky Brewster or Alf, but I feel like everyone remembers those shows well.

I guess I had a thing for outer spacey, mystically magically great characters. Or, more likely, my sister did, and I just watched whatever she chose! These clips look so outdated, but it makes me feel happy and nostalgic. Knowing how excited Wes becomes over Thomas the Tank Engine, maybe he’ll be giddy over 30-year-old clips found down the road, too. I have a feeling Thomas will look the same in 2040.

Posted: November 7th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Recently (VIDEO)

I haven’t posted many videos in a while. Here’s a few of Wes to brighten up your day.

We posted this particular video on social media earlier this month because it’s so darn funny. Here’s Wes asking Siri (iPhone 4S) some tough questions. (You might have to turn up the volume on this one.)

Fascinated with rain at his grandparents’ house. And getting soaked.

He jabbers all day long, though he doesn’t have too many legible words. Just over the last few days has he added this phrase to his vocabulary.

Posted: April 30th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Have Toddler, Will Travel

Health permitting, we head to the Windy City for the weekend. Not gonna lie, I’m a little nervous about taking Wesley with us, who is just about 19 months old. Our late summer vacation to Hilton Head Island was perfect, but it was 85 degrees, we had access to both the beach and a pool, we had a condo for a full week, and he was just over a year old.

This mini vacation consists of a) big city traffic/lights/sound/wind, b) FRIGID COLD TEMPS, c) no car (we’re taking the train) and d) a picky eater. That’s right, it’s going to be 24 degrees in Chicago while we’re there. Don’t get me wrong, I’m stoked, but also fairly certain that this could be a bad idea.

Why are we going? We both need a break. We have gone to Chicago a few times, and it usually seems to be around this year. Wait. I should clarify. We went to Chicago in Feb. 2010 and had plans to go again in Feb. 2011, but Steven got terribly sick the day before so we had to cancel the trip. Boo. The hotel rates in February are fantastic, and I happened to score $75 nights at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, right off Magnificent Mile.

(Here’s :60 of our last trip to Chicago.)

Why are we taking Wes? Well, for one, he’s our kid. I think he’ll love all the sights and sounds, museums and pizza. He enjoys excursions and seeing new things. He even is pretty good at spending the night in a hotel. Annnd, I think if he didn’t come with us, we’d miss him like crazy cakes.


  • Our hotel doesn’t offer complimentary breakfast (FAIL). Wes demands milk FIRST THING each morning. I assume there is a fridge in our room, but can we be certain?
  • The in-room snacks in a 4-star hotel are priced to the max. We gotta create a distraction.
  • The weather will be coooold.
  • I have no idea if there are rules about kids in taxis or city buses. Do we have to walk everywhere?
  • We’re taking the train into the city. Gotta keep our stuff minimal as we’ll have to walk to the hotel.

d24a9375-2168-4c57-8a2d-5626b8dfb6dfSo. To alleviate my concerns about snacks and milk, of course, I made a mad Target run today. I’m pretty proud of my finds. Hey, did you know that milk boxes don’t have to be refrigerated?! Score. I stocked up on these for the morning cravings, specifically. I figured I should probably get snacks that were both healthy and provided portability, so I also grabbed some applesauce packets (Wes’ fave), fruit/veggie chews and some Annie’s yumminess. I really doubt Wes will eat or like the freeze dried peas and corn, but it’s worth a shot.

We’re planning to visit a couple museums and perhaps the Willis Tower to stay indoors as much as possible. But, I really want to check out Polar Adventure Day at Northerly Island, so I’m planning to bring lots of layers for the 3 of us. I fully expect to battle colds when we return; let’s hope they are worth it.

Contrary to my plans to bring layers, I’m challenged to pack light. We aren’t bringing the pack n play; instead, we’re borrowing a crib from the hotel. Of course, I’ll have to find room for Wes’ lovie, “Dee Dee,” and his two preferred blankets. Also, diapers, wipes, pjs, clothes… It can be done, right? The hope is to fit everything in two backpacks plus a small diaper bag, my purse and the umbrella stroller. That way we can cram everything into lockers at a museum on the way out of the city to avoid having to go back to the hotel.

I really have no idea about big city public transportation etiquette. I mean, people use taxis to get around everywhere, right? But I assume they have to follow car seat laws, so maybe we’re best going the bus route. “Children in open strollers are welcome on CTA…” Whew. (I guess I knew this, but I didn’t have a kid before!) 

It will be a fun weekend. I’m sure of it. Now, if we could just get over this new stomach bug that Wes caught, we’re in good shape. I would hate to have written this ridiculous post in vain if we have to cancel the whole trip.

Oh, and I just found that taxis and commercial vehicles don’t have to follow car seat laws. So put that in your back pocket.

What are your toddler travel secrets?

Posted: February 12th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Photo 3One thing I’ve noticed since Wes has been around is that I don’t play enough. I enjoy quiet, lazy activities, like reading, painting, journaling and catching up on Gilmore Girls (somehow I missed that bandwagon in college). Wes is also a pretty quiet person, but he’s much more active than I am. And what an imagination! Who knew a child less than 2 years old could make believe so well? His interest in discovering the world has taught me several “lessons,” which I’ll outline below.

Sure, I enjoy the outdoors, but it’s WINTER. I dislike winter. Except when it’s snowing and beautiful and the sky is purple, I stay indoors with a cozy blanket and some hot chocolate. Sometimes it’s hard to put down a book or turn off the news in order to romp around on the floor and build a LEGO house that gets destroyed in .08 seconds. But I do it. And I have fun!

One recent day when it snowed, Wes really wanted to be outside. I grudgingly bundled us up and surprised myself at how much fun we had, just walking around and making footprints everywhere.

He reminded me how falling snow is just plain magical. And come on, how cute is he with his sign language?

Photo 6A few weeks ago I made a big, and somewhat risky purchase. I bought a kitchen tower to keep Wes “contained,” entertained and safe while I work on dinner. It was a tough decision because it’s a little pricey, and this particular model is the runner-up to the even more expensive Learning Tower. I debated for several weeks which one to get for various reasons, but I’m glad I chose the one I did. (For one thing, it collapses and folds up for somewhat portability – this is a necessity for our itty bitty kitchen.) It allows me to have my hip and hands back, and it gives him a feeling of participation as he can see what I’m doing. It’s also great in the bathroom while brushing teeth – he can rinse his own toothbrush! We’ve also discovered just how fun it is to set in the living room and pretend it’s all sorts of things. An airplane! A tree house! Or best yet, a podium for public speaking.

Another lesson learned from my son: You can pretty much do anything or be anyone with the right props.

Wesley has had trouble getting along well with other kids his age. I really think his social skills have improved tremendously since enrollment at school. He has a chance to play alongside other kids, also known as parallel playing. This doesn’t mean that he’s actually participating in the same activity as another child, but he is close by, playing by himself. This still is important because it’s part of a gradual step toward community and sharing. However, I’ve noticed recently that he has been playing extremely well with, and not just beside, his cousins and his bestie Beatrice.

Photo 1 Photo 4

I had to include the above photo of his adorable cousin, Jeremiah. The poor kid rarely has his pants in the right place because he army crawls all over the floor, causing his drawers to fall right off. It’s hilarious. To make it even better, Jer managed to climb and plop himself inside the box of Lincoln Logs to be closer to his cousin, “Baby Weswee.” Also note that this peaceful photo of Wes and Bea was shortly lived. They are pretty much a married couple in 19-month-old bodies.

Lesson learned? You can do your own thing, and by yourself, even, but it’s just so much nicer to do it with someone else.

And lastly, Wes has shown me that life is FUN. Seriously. There’s so much stuff to do, things to see and people to meet. I feel like we get stuck in our own routine and become blinded to the amazing world and creation we live in. Wes has paved a way to open our eyes and rediscover our surroundings.

Photo 2

Be a goof! Go, have fun.

Posted: February 11th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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:60 with the Shattucks

Posted: February 5th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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The Post About Stay-At-Home Motherhood

Typically Steven stays home with Wes on Fridays, but this week was my turn to work four 10-hour days and spend today with the little guy. I gotta tell ya, it’s an adjustment to say the least. Granted, we’re early risers and really didn’t have to get up outside of the norm, but the whole “getting the entire household ready and out the door by 7” thing is tough. I definitely wore my Supermom cape this week and have been beaming with pride with my accomplishments.

Photo 3So today. The original plan was to wake up late, ease into the morning and visit my sister and the kids. My niece and nephew came down with a stomach bug, so I thought it would be fun to take Wes to the Children’s Museum instead. However, his 4 a.m. wake up-and-scream fest lasted nearly 2 hours (another blog post some day on night terrors), and I decided instead to make it a productive at-home day.

Based on how productive I was, and how great I feel at 9 p.m., I’ve come to the conclusion that staying at home full time might not be as terrible as I’ve imagined. Now, if you know me at all, it’s no secret that I love my job and would tell anyone that I prefer to be a working mother. But I’ve convinced myself that I would pull my hair out and drive myself crazy if I didn’t have an office position, deadlines and social outlet. Oh, the agony of it! Sure, I’d get to spend oodles of time with my only son and witness his milestones and accomplishments, but somehow my sanity has always seemed more important. Selfish sounding? I agree. We’ll get back to this thought later.

By 10:30 this morning, I had already: washed the sheets and started another load of laundry, handwashed the several-day-old pots and pans that were becoming a major eyesore, swept (vacuumed?) all the floors AND dusted our room. Whew. I was on a roll. Partly because Wes didn’t end up taking his nap like I thought he would, so I had some alone time while he talked to himself in his room.

We ate a leisurely lunch together, which never happens. We laughed and made funny faces at each other. Throwing on less grimy clothes, we left to fill up the gas tank – where I got hit on! (mind you, without showering or makeup) – and stocked up on necessities and not-so-necessities at Target. By the time we got home at 1:30, Wes was ready for his nap, so I finished several items off my list. Including my newly organized pantry:

Photo 1

It’s too bad I got the Ellen schedule all messed up, but I did get to see the last 15 minutes of Nicole Kidman giving her best impression of a kookaburra.

If you notice on my check list above, it says at the bottom, “remove poop.” Remember Jake, the Italian Greyhound who doesn’t like wind, rain or temperatures below 72 degrees? He certainly was having a fit during Blizzard 2012 and decided to do his business as close to the door as possible. Now that all the snow has melted away, our patio looks DISGUSTING. I think I deserve some sort of reward for scooping up multiple days worth of slushy, loose dog excrement.

Wesley woke up shortly after. The warmth of today was absolutely lovely, and we spent a long time enjoying it. He was beside himself.

In fact, the only way I could bribe him to go back inside was Baby Signing Time. These videos are slightly annoying, yes, but SO much better than other signing programs out there. Thumbs up. He smiles throughout the entire 25 minutes, and lately he’s been attempting multiple signs he hasn’t before. I caught him signing “day.”

Photo 4

Even after all that play time, I still had time to throw chicken in the oven, snap green beans and tidy the house before Steven got home. Alright, so Wes was on my hip for much of this time period. But he’s at the age where if he sees/participates in the preparation of dinner, he’s more apt to eat it. (He didn’t, however.)

Whatever was left on my list won’t take long as tomorrow’s chores.

It was a great day. I love my guy, and he’s thrilled when I’m home with him. There’s so much teasing, playing, laughter and all those wonderful things you associate with parenting on days like today. I know it was just one day. There are bad days, and they happen fairly frequently. But for today, I can resolve that I could be a SAHM. As long as I have a schedule to accomplish and realize I may not get everything done, I could do it. And throw in a few do-nothing days.

I’m trying to be less selfish and more accommodating for my family. Steven makes many sacrifices and works around the clock to provide for us. I sometimes feel like I skip off to my dream job, enjoy the day and the people and complain if I have a sick child. Reality check: I may have to be mom-at-home one day. I’m starting to get used to the idea, and it doesn’t make me quite so angry anymore.

Posted: January 11th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Christmas Break

This past week has been nearly perfect. Wesley is such a great kid when we’re all home, all day, every day, and I’m sure his mood is helped now that he’s (finally) finished teething. I’m spending my afternoon similar to the last several ones – lounging, snacking and a whole lot of cuddling – with some Gilmore Girls and Wii U thrown in there somewhere.

Our Ashbaugh family Christmas was a large one. It was the first time in several years that all the aunts, uncles, cousins and great grandkids were able to make it. Minus one spouse, we were a party of 33. It was truly special to have the nearly entire family together, and I know my grandparents loved it all.

Photo 1 (11)

Steven brought the Wii U to the extravaganza, and I’m pretty sure my favorite part of the day was my 2.5-year-old nephew’s attempts to contribute to the 5-person game, only to get stuck in a corner and announce periodically, “I just scored!” What a fun day.

Christmas Eve is always spent with my parents and my sister’s family. The kids are getting old enough to really get excited about the presents under the tree, and that makes Christmas all the more fun and special. We lost Elli to impatience halfway through our Christmas brunch, so the rest of the day was spent sipping coffee, eating biscotti and enjoying each other’s company. Perfect.

Photo 2 (7) Photo 3 (4)

Christmas Eve service was beautiful. However, I spent more than half of the service in the hallway due to Wes’ discouragement that the ceiling fan was, in fact, not spinning. He was adorable in his red tie.

Photo 4 (2)

We were lucky to have a laid back, quiet Christmas morning. Wes opened a few presents after we got coffee and actually woke up. By 1o am, we were in the car and heading to Ohio for Christmas Day with the Shattucks. I always enjoy the ride over on Christmas day because it was then that we made phone calls to family and friends with news of our engagement in 2006. It’s fun to reminisce.

Shattuck Christmas is always crazy with loooooots of presents and wrapping paper and chaos and then everyone veges out for the remainder of the day. We snack on clam dip, sausage dip and cookies all day long. It’s just wonderful. Wes followed Pa around the house all afternoon, pointing out the various clocks in their house. While Wes was entertained, I got to play with my silly little niece, who was fascinated with taking goofy photos of ourselves.

Photo 5 (1)

We headed home that night because BLIZZARD 2012 was headed to Indy. The next morning we woke up to only about an inch of snow, but it accumulated as we began hibernating for the next two days. We left the house only to shovel/play in the snow (of which Wes is not a big fan)…

…and to check out Christmas at the Zoo, which was amazing. The newly fallen snow made a beautiful backdrop to all the lights and animals at night. It is definitely worth doing again next year.

Photo 7 (1)

Since we’ve been spending so much time with Wes, we’ve noticed a few things. 1) He’s walking EVERYWHERE. He is getting fearless, and it’s totally unlike him. Now he’s even trying to climb stairs! 2) He eats far better if he’s sans tray in his high chair – sitting at the table. He’s pretty big stuff. 3) Transitioning from a 2-hour nap to a one-hour nap is happening whether we like it or not. 4) Grapes are like candy.

Steven and I do not go back to work until after New Year’s Day, so the rest of the week’s plans remain unplanned. Just soaking up family time and spending an afternoon here and there with friends is pretty much the best vacation ever.

Posted: December 30th, 2012
Categories: Leah
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Wes Walks the Line

Big news in the Shattuck house! Our cautious little guy has been taking a few steps here and there for several weeks, but just in the last few days has he been walking/toddling as much as crawling. So proud. And many, many thanks to Nicole, Wes’ First Steps PT! This is gonna be fun.

I caught him in action tonight. Complete with a face plant.

Posted: December 10th, 2012
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