Friday, April 29, 2011

Sippy Cup Success!




We finally did it!! We introduced the sippy cup several months ago to get Brady used to it and only used it for juice, but since he was too little to even hold his own bottle, we of course held it for him. A little over a month ago we switched to the sippy full time when also switching to real milk instead of formula. We were determined that we weren't going to hold it for him, but he had other plans. He would walk up to us with the sippy in hand and whine until one of us held it for him so he could take a drink. There was lots of screaming involved as well. I was determined to make him hold it himself, by holding his hands on the handles and letting go if he did so he didn't get any more to drink. This didn't go over well and we were desperate to keep him hydrated, so we let the issue drop, thinking one day he'd do it on his own. Wrong. Yesterday, we were at Gymboree, and after class, several of the younger babies were drinking from their own sippy cups and even one handed! Immediately, I made the decision that enough was enough and we weren't holding it for him anymore. After nap, Brady and I sat on the kitchen floor and instead of me holding his hands on the handles, I made sure he gripped them himself and I lifted his elbows to show him the right tilt. After about 20 minutes of screaming every time I let go and his hands dropped, we achieved slight success. Once Andy got home from work, he was a pro and hasn't tried to ask us to help him since! He's even good enough to go to the fridge when he wants a drink. We're hoping this helps a little with the minor food strike that he's on because he can control when he wants a drink in between bites. We couldn't be prouder of our little guy!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Weekend in Pittsburgh 2011



Easter was the first opportunity for us to travel back to Pittsburgh as a family since moving to South Carolina. Brady and I have traveled back alone, but not with Andy. We left mid-afternoon on Thursday and arrived at Nana and Dubby's around 1:30AM. We have just invested in a DVD player for the backseat because Andy can't deal with Brady's screaming on long drives. This was our first trip using it and it went well. Although, anytime Brady dropped his puppy blankie, there was screaming like he was being killed.






Friday was spent hanging out with Nana and Dubby. We also got a visit from Uncle Buks (who brought us pastries from Moio's YUM). Uncle Alex and his girlfriend, Lauren, also came that day, so Brady got to see him for the first time since Thanksgiving. Saturday, the Easter Bunny made his appearance at Nana's house. Brady was very excited and loved his Peter Rabbit. We also got to dye eggs and Brady loved how the eggs instantly changed colors when we placed them in the mugs of colored water.








Saturday night was
spent at Pap and LaLa's house (Andy's parents). Brady left out a carrot for the Easter Bunny and made sure to lay out the magic Easter key the bunny brought him last year, so that he could get into the house. Easter morning Brady got a basket filled with goodies from the Bunny. He loved just about everything except for the "remote control" car. The car moves when you shake the accompanying rattle or roll the ball in the middle of the car. It looks exactly like some smaller scale toy cars (made by the same company) and I thought he would get a kick out of it moving. I was wrong. It started moving and he started screaming. It got to the point where he wouldn't even cross its path because he didn't know what made it move and was scared it was going to move when he walked past. Since returning home, we have been working on getting him more comfortable with the car. It stays in his room, but he is more receptive to shaking the rattle or rolling the ball to make it move, but will immediately run and hide behind me the moment it starts to move.








Sunday evening was spent at my Mimi's house and B
rady got to hang out with his older cousins. The only people we were missing over the weekend were Uncle Chris Tramp and Aunt Kat since they are away at college. Monday the entire day was spent in the car, traveling back to South Carolina. We are still trying to get settled again now that we're home. We are thankful to be back in warm weather, though. It's amazing how cold it was up north, when last Easter (which was 3 weeks earlier) we were are wearing shorts!




Next on our checklist is getting Brady to drink out of his own sippy cup (I'm getting tired of watching the younger babies at Gymboree drink out of theirs one-handed). We are also going to be visiting Disney World and Sea World over Memorial Day weekend.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hollywild


When I was pregnant with Brady, I became aware of the What to Expect website and soon became a member of the board for moms expecting in February 2010. It was a really great network of women from not only around the United States, but from around the world. We all shared new and exciting things about our pregnancies and were even able to ask questions to get advice from others at the same stage of pregnancy. Once our babies were born, some as early as December, and others as late as March, we had less time to spend on the boards and eventually just decided to become friends on Facebook with anyone we had connected with so that we could stay in touch. When we moved down here, it brought us close to a few Feb 2010 moms just north of the South Carolina boarder in North Carolina. We decided it would be great to get together with the kids since they are all exactly the same age. We decided to meet in the middle at a petting zoo/wildlife preserve called Hollywild. It's named Hollywild because it houses quite a number of animals that have been in show business. Pictured above is Brady with the baby goats and two of the little boys we met up with.




Brady is fear
less and loves any dog he sees in a park or even next door in our neighbor's yards. Puppy is one of his few words because he has several stuffed puppies, his security blanket is a puppy and he just loves puppies! Of course now he thinks that all stuffed animals are puppies and also all live animals are puppies, but we're working on teaching him the difference. When we arrived at Hollywild, the first thing we did was let the kids run around and pet the animals at the petting zoo. Brady's favorite was the baby goats because they are very used to humans and expect any human (no matter how tiny) to give them food. This means they come right up to the fence and even poke their little heads through. Brady was laughing out loud and even ventured to pet some of them, and very carefully I might add.





We went on to check out the stage animals and saw a bear and zebra that had appeared in movies, commercials, and even music videos! We also got to see the lion that they used while drawing The Lion King, which Brady just watched a week or two ago for the first time. There were peacocks and roosters running around free for people to touch th
em and we even got to see several types of monkeys. The last stop on our tour of Hollywild was a safari tour. We loaded onto a bus in which the windows had been hollowed out so that you could reach out to pet or feed the animals we came in contact with. We saw several deer, cows, emus, tigers (caged of course), horses, zedonks (a cross between a zebra and a donkey), and even a rhinoceros. It was a great day and it was great to meet some new friends that we'd only ever known via the internet!




Friday, April 15, 2011

We're going International

Andy came home last night with flowers and asked if I wanted to hear good news when we went out to dinner or before we went to dinner (I had no idea we were going out). Brady had had a rough day and had just fallen asleep when Andy came home, so I said it wasn't a good night to go out and to just tell me the news. He said it was about his 4th and final rotation for Bosch and finally blurted out "We got Germany!" I was a little surprised because although we had some clue about heading to Germany, we were told it wouldn't be finalized until 6 months before we left, so we were expecting to find out in late July. We will be headed to Stuttgart for 6 months starting at the end of January or beginning of February. This is such a great opportunity for our family, because not everyone in the JMP program gets to go international and Bosch world headquarters is located in Stuttgart. If we had waited until later in Andy's career to go international, the minimum length of time to be there would be 3 years, so this is a more perfect situation so we can go and come back before Brady starts school, hopefully in fall of 2012. We have plans to travel throughout Europe because it's very cheap to take a weekend flight or train around the continent. We have plans to visit, London, Paris, Nice, Barcelona, Venice, Zurich, Saltzburg, Munich, and possibly others. Brady will be quite the world traveler at the young age of 2! He will have lived in more places in the first two years of his life, than either Andy or I in our entire childhoods (we never moved when we were children).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hippity Hoppity Easter's on its Way!






















Today, Brady and I ventured to the mall to visit the Easter Bunny. This is Brady's second year visiting the Easter Bunny and it's amazing how much different it was from last year. I have placed both this year's and last year's pictures side-by-side to show the difference. He was only 5 weeks old last year. I fully expected him not to cry when he met the bunny because he was so good over the weekend with the Coca-Cola polar bear and I was not disappointed. The only problem was keeping him from freaking out in line, because he couldn't wait to get to him. Brady is so ready for the Easter Bunny to get here, that he got into his Easter presents when I wasn't looking the other night. When I caught him, I realized the only way to get him to let go of a new and exciting toy was to get out a toy we had held onto and never brought out from his birthday. This toy happened to be a basketball hoop that lights up and sings about things like being a good sport and sharing. It came with two basketballs and less than 24 hours after opening it, we are missing one of the balls. We have looked everywhere and have yet to find it. Maybe the Easter Bunny will come and find it for us ;)





Sunday, April 10, 2011

Visit to Atlanta



When we moved down south, we decided it would be nice to make a day trip to Atlanta sometime since we live less than 2 hours away. Something Andy and I happened upon one night watching TV was that the Coca-Cola headquarters is located in Atlanta and they do tours. This immediately sparked our curiosity since we are big Coca-Cola fans (many of Diet Coke and Coke Zero). We started off our day in Atlanta by visiting the World of Coca-Cola which is located in downtown Atlanta. The tour started with a small introduction by a tour guide and a small, funny animated video about what happens inside a Coca-Cola vending machine (it showed a lot of cartoon characters and how they all work together to get the bottle ready for the consumer). After that, we were able to check out the rest of the exhibits on our own and the first thing we did was meet the Coca-Cola polar bear. Brady loved him and laughed out loud several times! This gave us hope that he will love the characters when we visit Walt Disney World at the end of May.


There were many great artifacts within the World of Coca-Cola and one of them was the world's smallest and slowest-moving bottling plant. We got to walk through a tunnel that showed the entire process and had labels for every machine and stated their function. Another room, archived the history of Coca-Cola and had artifacts from all of Coca-Cola's ventures over the years. One of the coolest things for me was that they had a part in designing and sponsoring the Olympic torches over several years. Andy got to hold the one from the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, which were happening when Brady was born. As you can see from the picture, Brady wouldn't be left out when his dad got to hold something so amazing.










There was a room that contained Coca-Cola pop culture items and this is where they had some really amazing artwork and artifacts. One of the things I couldn't resist was sitting on the couch from the Red Room for American Idol Season 4, when Carrie Underwood won. The last stop on our tour was the Taste Room where they had Coca-Cola sodas and drinks from all over the world and they were separated into Continents. Andy was quite fond of the drinks from Asia because they were really fruity. I enjoyed what is known as Bitter Lemon from England and we both agreed that Beverly from Italy was disgusting! We even got to try out the machine that allows for 106 drink combinations of Coca-Cola products. We had only ever seen it on TV and it was something we were itching to try. We tried several types of Diet Coke, Light Minute Maid, and Sprite Zero. Andy insisted that it would be momentous for Brady to try his first Coca-Cola at the factory, and although it was against my better judgment, agreed that he could have a SMALL taste. He seemed to like it, but it will be
many years be
fore he has another.


















Next on our list was lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, and then Brady and I hung out in Olympic
Centennial Park, while waiting for Andy to return the stroller and our souvenirs to the car. Brady very much wanted to jump into the fountain and it took all my strength to keep him out of the water. When Andy returned, we headed to Philips Arena, where we were going to take Brady to his first Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game! He loved hockey as a newborn, so we had a small idea that he would still like it. He was past due for a nap, so he was cranky most of the time and after the Pens went up 4-1 at the end of the second period, we decided it was time to call it a day. The final score was 5-2 in favor of the Pens, and they will advance to the playoffs as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.








Friday, April 8, 2011

New Home, New Car, and New Experiences

My friend Bethany Reese has inspired me to create a blog so that the family and friends who aren't on Facebook are able to hear about what we've been up to and also see pictures of our many adventures.

We hav
e recently moved to South Carolina, where Andy is working at the Bosch manufacturing plant in Anderson as a part of his two year-JMP program. We will be spending a full year here, until January 2012 and our last rotation has yet to be scheduled. Could be Germany or anywhere else in the United States. We are leasing a 3-bedroom house on a quiet street in Anderson. Brady and I often travel the 45 minutes to Greenville to attend Gymboree or other activities with our playgroups.





We have also purchased a new car! I am now the proud owner of a Kia Sedona. It is much roomier than my old SUV and we have great cargo space, which will make traveling so much easier. Last year, going to the beach, we had the trunk filled to the ceiling and on both sides of Brady up to the ceiling and we joked that we couldn't have more kids because there would be nowhere to put them. The only drawback that we have noticed so far, which we might not have if I hadn't made a trip home to Pittsburgh a week after we bought it, is that the power sliding side doors have a tendency to freeze when the weather is cold and water gets into the door after it's been opened after a snow. There is no manual override because the doors are on a track that must use the power option, so when this problem arose, my car had to sit in the garage at Casa Trapuzzano in Wash Pa until they water that had frozen in the door, finally melted. We also are the proud owners of South Carolina license plates, but as you can see, we are still holding strong with our Pitt Panthers plate frame.







In other news, two weeks ago, Brady and I tagged along with Andy to Detroit because he was headed to a conference for 5 days. We knew this would be a good opportunity to visit with our friends the Reese family. This also presented the opportunity for Brady to take his first trip on an airplane, so we could gauge how it would be on a possible flight to Germany without being nearly as long. We drove 2 hours to Atlanta (where we took advantage of their many Cheesecake Factories), and got on our departing flight around 9:25PM. This is right around bedtime for Brady, so we thought that he might sleep, but in the back of our mind were worried about his always-on-the-go personality, given that he wanted to walk up and down the terminal before we boarded. The flight did not go well. He immediately found the latch to the tray table and kept moving it so that the tray would fall down. He crawled from Andy's lap to mine and back again about a hundred times. The moment we touched down and started taxiing, of course he fell asleep! He was so asleep that he didn't wake up when we took him off the plane and put him in his stroller, which is very rare. Andy joked that Brady could stay at Nana and Dubby's house while we spend 6 months in Germany because the two hour flight was more than enough for him with Brady. The flight back was a completely different experience. The flight out of Detroit also left around bedtime, but was not full, s Brady was able to have his own seat (and yes, he got the window seat). Once we were in the air, he was content to stand on the ground and use the seat as a play bench.