Wednesday, January 30, 2008

15 Month Checkup

Anna had her 15 month checkup this morning. What a surprise it was when they put Anna on the scale and she weighed a little under 24 pounds (she weighed 24 pounds 1.5 ounces at the last visit). The doctor said this is typical in a growing toddler for they are more interested in running around rather than eating. Also, for the first time Anna's height exceeded her weight.

Weight: 23 pounds, 15.5 ounces (70%)
Height: 31 1/2 inches (80%)
Head: 48 cm (95%)

While we were there I also had them check Anna's ears since many of her friends' colds turned in ear infections, thankfully Anna had no infection.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Fun at the Car Wash

Being the first day that the temperature has hit 60 in a few weeks, Anna and I headed out to the car wash to take care of the milk spills and goldfish crumbs that have been hanging out in the car since the fall. We went to one of the low water use car washes close to the house and I was pleasantly surprised. This must have been the gourmet car wash for it was complete with a coffee bar, huge greeting card display (??) and even a nice changing table in the restroom. Like most car washes, it also had huge windows so that you could see the cars going by. Anna loved it!! Every time the water would start and the wipers would start turning, she squealed and pointed in amazement. I think this could have kept her attention for an hour easily but our car was done 15 minutes after we drove in so it was time to head home. Now it's outside we go to enjoy the weather!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Speak 'N Say

We bought Anna a See 'N Say for Christmas. It has gotten an upgrade since I was little - some for the good and some for the bad. Rather than the long string to pull which I'm guessing is some sort of safety hazard, there is a pull lever. The age is 18 months so it is understandable that Anna is not able to pull the lever at this point, but when I pull the lever it makes these horrible jumbled noises. I thought at first it was the batteries and then when fresh batteries didn't make a difference, I thought maybe we just bought a defective one. However, two of my friends that bought one for their children said the same thing - the word are undistinguishable. How disappointing.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Date Night turned Family Night

Tonight my husband and I were going to have a date night - I think only the second or third since Anna was born. Anna has stayed with my best friend numerous times for Erik and I to do stuff, but rarely do we plan a night for just the two of us. With Anna being sick, tonight didn't turn out to be date night either. Oh well... we still had a nice night with yummy takeout, a friend, and a baby who fell asleep in her high chair at 6:00pm. Before we had Anna people told us we should plan a date night every month and while in theory that sounds great, it just didn't happen for us and I think that is just fine. We may have not formally gone out to the hottest places around town but equally fun for me were evenings of Scrabble, take out and Dairy Queen. To me it is more about spending quality time with the one you love rather than what we are doing or where we are.

Sick, Sick, Sick

This morning Anna cuddled up next to me with her blankets and pacifier; her eyes only half alert and I could see her trying to say mommy I don't feel good. The runny nose started earlier this week which didn't seem to hold Anna back from playing at full speed, but them the fever hit 101.8 and she started to slow down. So we now have a fever which comes and goes, a runny nose, cough and loss of appetite - poor girl :(. From our playgroup I think six or seven of the kids are sick, all with different symptoms. I hope everyone else stays well!

Friday, January 25, 2008

26 Week Checkup

Today I had my 26 week check-up. Check-ups these days are like clockwork - weigh in, blood pressure check, iron check, urine sample, measure the belly (uterus) and listen to the heartbeat. Today there was the additional glucose test. I personally "like" the orange sugar substance that you have to drink an hour before having your blood drawn. To me it tastes similar to those Lil' Drinks that I drank as a kid. My only "concern" of the day was in my weight gain which has been under the numbers in the prenatal books. The doctor (probably chuckling that a pregnant woman was wondering if she had gained enough weight) assured me that everything was progressing wonderfully. This pregnancy has gone so smooth which is such a blessing. I still think all of the exercising plus plenty of sleep have made it so. I must admit, I really enjoy being pregnant.

Turning 15 Months

Anna turned 15 months yesterday. Of course I can't see any noticeable difference in her as opposed to a few days ago, but I definitely feel she is starting to test her boundaries as a toddler. There is so much talk about "terrible two's" that I had no clue that the temper tantrums start much earlier. The hot topic of conversation with my mommy friends has become discipline and how do we handle our little ones who want to throw their food on the ground and do something that we have already told them 'no'. There are so many viewpoints and books out there that it reminds me of the countless hours I spent studying up on sleep techniques when Anna was an infant and how I stressed over it - - yet this seems so much bigger. No parent wants to have "that kid" who bites or who throws themselves down on the store floor and screams bloody murder, but it just might happen no matter how many books you read. I have in no way come close to figuring out the best way to discipline Anna, but here are few things we've tried to date:

- Saying 'no': Anna is a rather sensitive girl and sometimes a firm 'no' and a stern look are enough to deter her from her path and cause her to listen. Tonight as we went through the nightly ritual of Anna throwing food on the floor I told her 'no' and then she looked at her daddy, back at me, and then back at daddy over and over again. Yikes, has she already learned to go to another parent if one is not giving her her way?!?!

- Timeout: Several of my friends are against timeout at this age since the toddler doesn't really understand but I continue to use it on occasion. Sometimes Anna needs to be removed from a situation and redirected and I feel that by giving her a minute or two in a specific spot she has time to calm down and move on. I don't know if this has stemmed from that but lately whenever Anna gets upset and starts to throw a fit, she runs into another room or goes to the chair I put her in for timeout (at playgroup last week she went and hid behind a door!). Again, who knows what this means, but perhaps she's learning to take some time to herself to calm down????

- Thumping her hand: As many parents gasp in shock... this was a concept my mommy friends would not even consider a few months ago. There are times when I need to get Anna's attention and make sure she knows what she is doing is not acceptable (plus she could be putting herself in danger). This is intended to take some of the emotion out of the disciplining whereas if someone goes to smack their hand they could be using more force than necessary.

I have to be honest in that no matter what we do, there are several things that we have to continue to discipline Anna about over and over again - mainly throwing food or hitting back at us - and I'm sure this will continue for some time. The fun part of parenting has begun :). But I must say that turning 15 months has also brought many positives that make me look at Anna in awe and say 'wow, she is so smart'. Those are the moments that make me forget the tough times.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My Little Reader

Heather reading to Anna before bed

One of Anna's favorite things to do is sit in someone's lap and have them read her a story. Sometimes she will just sit and listen but mainly she likes to flip the pages as fast as she can. Reading time is also one way we settle Anna down before bedtime. A few of her favorite books include:

- Mommies are for Counting Stars by Harriet Ziefert and Cynthia Jabar (she loves to lift the flaps on each page)

- Good Morning, Good Night by Teresa Imperato (this is another book where you can lift the pages and then feel the fluffy animals)

- Mirror Me! by Julie Aigner-Clark (this is a Baby Einstein book with mirrors on the pages; Anna often gives the mirrors a kiss)

- Pajama Time! by Sandra Boynton (this may be more of a favorite of mine :))

- Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do you See by Bill Martin Jr. (I remember this book being read to me in kindergarten and it is still a great one; Anna's favorite page is the last one with all of the children)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pray for Ethan

Please be in prayer for our little friend Ethan who is going into his second heart surgery today. More information can be found on his blog.

The Ending to a Wonderful Trip

Exhausted after a great trip to Connecticut

We spent this past weekend in New Milford, Connecticut visiting with Anna's Oma, Aunt Kristal, Uncle Chris and Cousin Tori (6 years old). This was Anna's very first plane trip and I have to admit that I was a little nervous about how it would go. There are always horror stories about plane delays and screaming children but I am happy to report that our trip went very smoothly.

On Friday we arrived at RDU airport with bags full of goodies and toys. A nice addition was the car seat bag that one of my mommy friends let me borrow. This bag had a carrying strap and plenty of room to throw in diapers and blankets that could be checked beneath the plane. If we traveled often I would definitely invest in one of these. We quickly made it through check-in and security and had about an hour to wait at our gate. I found the time at the airport to be the most difficult for Anna wanted to be free and run around and did not want us directing her in any way. As my husband and I took turns chasing after her I noticed how different of an environment the airport is in that if we are out shopping and Anna does something cute people smile - at the airport people are annoyed. They look at you and think I hope that child is not getting on my plane.
Finally it was time to board the plane and my previous vision of us on the airplane was shattered when I realized we were boarding one of the small jets that seats 3 across. These are the planes that it doesn't look like you are going to fit into when you go through the door and most of the people flying take up their seat plus part of the aisle because the seats are so small. We, and all of our stuff, did fit of course but there was one point where I just started laughing. Here's a mental picture... My husband who has fairly broad shoulders is squished in the window seat with his pregnant wife at his side and his 25 pound child in his lap. There are 3 (!) carry-on bags at our feet and the guy in front of him decides to lean his seat back. My tray table is down supporting our laptop and beverages AND Anna has a sticky lollipop in her hand which she decides to swing around from time to time. Maybe you had to be there but I thought it was hilarious. The flight was an hour and a half and soon we were back on the ground with a happy child.
The return flight went equally well and we are now back home. Our next flight is in 2 months and there are a few things I'll remember:

- Snacks are good. Yes, maybe it is a little obsessive to feed your child through the entire flight, but food equals silence.
- Lollipops are questionable. I bought a pack of dum-dums on the suggestion of a friend who found giving her child a lollipop during the flight helped with her ears. I know I should have thought it through, but I didn't realize how messy they can be in tight spaces. I'm not sure if it helped with Anna's ears or not, but it definitely made her happy.
- The DVD player is great for a sleepy child. Anna was tired during both of our trips. Being able to watch part of a video while relaxing on daddy was good down time.
- Staying on the plane until everyone else gets off really eliminates that feeling of being rushed as people behind you push forward.
- Next time I can save room in the bags by bringing only a few toys, if any. If you are on a plane like we are on, how in the world do you get to them?
- It's good to keep the child close to the window because they don't know they can get down into the aisle.
- I found having a plan of what's next to be very helpful so that I wasn't rifling through our bags whenever Anna was ready to move on to something new.

Here are a few thoughts from my husband as well.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rhyme Time at the Library

Since it was cold outside yesterday my neighborhood walking crew decided we would take our little ones to the North Regional Library for Rhyme Time rather than take them outside. I had previously been to Baby Lapsit at the library which was intended for prewalkers but this was the first time I had been to this event. It is intended for walkers up to age 3. New for 2007, you now have to get a "ticket" beforehand so that they can limit the number of people in the story time room to 100 though admission is still free. We chose the 9:30am time slot and there didn't seem to be a rush for the tickets but the librarian told me that occasionally they have to turn people away. The program lasted for about 25 minutes and consisted of songs, the reading of a book and the most popular event, bubbles. Once the bubble came out the kids chased them around the room and then everything was over.

Anna was pretty shy while we were there. She sat in my lap most of the time and didn't interact with many of the other kids. It will probably take going a few more times before she will start to enjoy the program and to understand what's going on.

Busy Ball Popper

The number one toy around our house these days whether it is just Anna and I here at the house or if one of her friends is over is the Playskool Busy Basics Busy Ball Popper. The idea is that this toy shoots plastic balls into the air and then catches them in a tray over and over again. Anna got this toy last Christmas (at 2 months old) so she didn't have a lot of use for it at the time so I stored it away in a closet. We would bring it out whenever kids over 2 came to visit and they LOVED playing with it. Anna now gets the same joy out of it. If a friend comes over Anna will walk over to the ball popper, push the button (of course lots of loud music starts playing), and then Anna will dance with excitement. She even knows how to put the balls back into it if they roll out onto the floor. This seems to be a great toy for kids one year and older. Here's Anna and her cousin playing with the ball popper.

Tori and Anna playing with the ball popper

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Indoor Play Areas

I'm not a huge germophobe (or at least I don't think so) but there is something about an indoor play area that tends to have me running for the hand sanitizer. Maybe it's the kids running around with bare feet or the unidentifiable objects "stuck" to the play equipment or maybe its the dusty carpet - take your pick. On the other hand I think it is great that there are areas that parents can take their kids for free to run around when it is cold outside. Either way, I needed to make a trip to the mall today and I thought we might as well make our trip worthwhile so I took Anna over to the indoor play area. There were only about 10 kids there so it was much less crowded than normal. Anna and I found a corner of the play area where I didn't fear for her being trampled by the bigger kids and hung out right there for about 20 minutes. Anna found a lilypad that was only an inch off the ground and decided to stand on top of that for most of the time and watch the other kids. I too found it fascinating watching the kids and parents interact and it made me wonder what is the proper "playground etiquette" if such a thing exists. I watched as one kid beat on another boy with no parents coming to intervene, a little girl ran crying to her mother that the same boy had hit her and yet again as the boy doing the hitting chased a little boy from the play area into the mall - - once again no parents seemed to be concerned. Being the bystander should I have jumped in even though it didn't involve my child? Should I have taken off down the mall to make sure the little boys didn't get lost? I had no clue and instead with each incident would look around for the parent to make sure they saw what was happening. I'm actually glad that Anna is rather shy and chose to sit with me rather than try to jump in with the other kids - this is definitely not where I want her to pick up her playground manners. At last it was time for Anna and I to leave for a little boy had taken off down the mall with our stroller. Where are the parents??

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Late Night Reflections

Whenever Anna has a hard time getting to sleep at night, I usually sit up in the room next to hers so that I can check on her periodically. Tonight is one of those nights. It is 10:45pm and I think she has finally given in to her heavy eyes and dozed off - a late afternoon nap threw her off course for the evening. I don't know if it is a "mom thing" in general or if it is the impending arrival of baby girl #2 but tonight I was looking at old pictures of Anna and reflecting. Was she really that small? Were her cheeks really that large :)? So many stages and so much fun that I'm sad that I don't remember it all more clearly. Here's a quick glance back...

Anna all dressed up
Day #2 - my first experience ever dressing a baby! About 5 minutes after this picture was taken, Anna spit up all over the place.

Anna in her new Bumbo chair
4 Months - I was commenting the other day that I can now actually go out in public and not have every stranger commit on my baby's cheeks :).

Happy Baby
9 Months - Sitting and crawling so well; little did we know she was only a month away from walking. I remember wondering if she would always have that widow's peak.

Snack Time in her Chair
11 Months - Such a big girl - walking around, feeding herself, and her hair is finally starting to grow!

Helping make a difference

I was listening to the radio and a song came on about reaching the world and making a difference. My thoughts immediately jumped to a letter my husband and I recently received from the child we are sponsoring through Compassion International. The letter read:

The family gift was used on the completion of the house which they built out of the gift you last sent in November last year... They are now so excited because of this money that enabled them to continue with building the house because they were affected by the continuous rains

Wow! We, or more appropriately God used us to help a family build a house. Never before have I felt something so tangible in helping another person. I hope that through our involvement in this ministry we are able to teach our children about helping others.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Maternity Clothes

I absolutely love maternity clothes. They are just so cute these days and I find myself being drawn to clothes that I would never consider being a part of my regular wardrobe. The only drawback of course is that my frugal self has a hard time spending money on clothes that will only last a few months (when else in life do we purchase clothes that we know we will outgrow :)). I have been blessed to have lots of people share their maternity clothes with me and even found a few items at a yard sale where the lady was ready to give me her entire wardrobe for $5. But this past week I've been on a hunt for a few more maternity items that will hopefully make it through the end of the pregnancy. My quest was for a bathing suit for my aqua class and a pair or two of jeans. I'm sure there are several nice maternity stores around Raleigh that I could have gone to, but for my budget my main shopping areas for maternity clothes are Target, Kohls, Old Navy and an occasional glance at the sale rack at GAP maternity.

* Kohls - I enjoy shopping at Kohls for my husband but tend to get overwhelmed by all the clothes stuffed on the racks in the women's department - the maternity section is no different. To me their selection is very limited and they don't tend to get new items very often. A plus is that the sale prices make the clothes very reasonable.
* Old Navy - Old Navy is one of those stores that I frequently visit to see what's new but I rarely purchase anything. I did find they have great deals on short and long sleeve maternity t-shirts that give you a little extra length at the bottom, but that is about as far as it goes for me.
* Target - Another favorite shopping spot of mine but I have a hard time getting a good fit.
* Gap maternity - I always love their clothes and the fit is much better than their sister store, Old Navy, but my pocketbook and guilt don't usually allow me to buy (or even try on). This shopping trip however I did find a pair of jeans and after looking at the previously mentioned stores I decided to buy them (even at their $68 price tag!!) because I thought this was the end of the line. However, I will be returning the jeans today after finding two suitable pairs of jeans at Motherhood for less than the price of that one pair of jeans.
* Motherhood - Here's another store that has clothes packed in (or at least the one at Triangle Town Center) but the fact that it is packed of maternity clothes leaves you with the feeling that there HAS to be something there for you. After trying on 7 different bathing suites and 10 different pairs of jeans I finally left the store satisfied. I even came to the conclusion that at $16.99 a pair of jeans can fit "good enough" for a pregnant woman. The one thing at the store is that you need to make sure you have time to try on the clothes, in my opinion, since there is a no return policy on swim suits and a 10 day return policy on all other clothing.

I think I now have enough clothes to make it through April as long as the belly doesn't expand too much. Then with two little ones under the age of two I'll definitely be ready to send the clothes out for someone else to use for awhile!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Anna on her PowerWheels

It worked! Here's a video of Anna on her Power wheel car she got for Christmas. Thanks to my new mac computer, my husband was able to cut the video into a fun little clip.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Capturing Memories

A few days after Christmas we decided to use some gift cards that we had received as gifts and purchase a video camera. To me a video camera was one of those things that is a "nice to have" during certain moments, but I never viewed it as something that I thought we should buy. As Anna got older I found myself saying "we've already missed the first moments, why start now". However, when we discussed what to do with our Best Buy gift cards over the holidays it seemed the perfect time to buy one. We decided to purchase a Sony DCR-HC28 which was one of the least expensive cameras out there. My husband wrote a more technical review of the camera but I like that it is very light weight and can be whipped out and ready to go at a moments notice to capture those precious memories. I'm not sure that the video camera will be pulled out with great frequency but to me it has already proven invaluable. Due to geographic distances and other various factors over the past year, Anna's grandfather has never seen his two granddaughters play together. Thanks to the video camera, he has now.

I'm hoping to get a video or two of Anna out on my blog, but for some reason I'm having technical difficulties :), so maybe one day!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Daddy's Shoes

As I said in a previous blog, my husband was home from work for several weeks over Christmas and Anna absolutely loved having him around. Her #1 word became 'da-da' again and whenever dada was around there was lots of smiles and excitement. Now, more so than ever, if she sees him leave the house or shut his office door there are a few tears until I can redirect her in some way. Even now that I write, my husband called to me from upstairs and Anna took off running toward him, it's so cute. Here's Anna trying to find out what it's like to be in dada's shoes...

Daddy's Shoes

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy New Year!

It's quiet around the house these days. The festivities of the Christmas holiday have slowed and all of our family has headed back to their own homes. My husband was off of work for 2 full weeks and so we got accustomed to having him around the house as well. Now its time for Anna and I to get settled back into our routine (and get her sleeping again!). Anna is now officially in her new room and it's time to start making the nursery into a home for the new baby. I can already feel the "nesting" instinct setting in. I found myself getting out of bed one night at 11:30pm just to organize stuff! I am excited about what this year holds for our family.