Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

From and little bumblebee and ladybug.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Naptime / Big Girl Bed Update

Anna has definitely discovered the freedom that comes with being in a big girl bed. Each day when I go get her from her nap (or playtime as it has become) I hold my breath in anticipation of what the room will look like. Some days her babies are spread out around the room, some days she has gotten into her closet and pulled out all the shoes, some days the diapers are all laid out in a row, and yet some days the room looks just as I left it - could it be she took a nap!?! Anna is not overly adventurous and so to date the worst thing that has happened has been the removal of all of the baby wipes from their container (I no longer leave those out). Here's a picture from today's aftermath:

Naptime Aftermath

I think I'm ok with this. I would love for Anna to nap for three hours a day as she once did but I've started changing my expectations and naptime is much less stressful these days. I know I "need" a few minutes of downtime in the afternoon to regroup and Anna needs the opportunity to rest and so we are both getting what we need. I have secured and put away everything in Anna's room that could be a problem and so I feel comfortable with her being in her room without supervision for a little while. So for now this is working for us.

On a related note, as of Saturday we are pacifier free. Anna has given up sleeping with her pacifier in celebration of turning two. My husband took the lead on this one so I'll let you read about the experience on his blog.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Birthday Day

I woke up at 5:15 on Friday and hit the ground running. I was so excited that it was Anna's birthday and I had lots that I needed to get done. By 7:00 I had made muffins, brewed tea, straightened up the house, watered the lawn, fed Maddie and was anxiously waiting for Anna to wake up. Once I heard 'Mommy' I bolted up the stairs and entered Anna's room taking pictures and singing Happy Birthday.

Good Morning Birthday Girl!

We had birthday muffins complete with an Elmo candle and of course I sang 'Happy Birthday' once again. I loved seeing the huge smile on Anna's face - she knew the day was all hers :).

Happy Birthday to you...

Once Maddie went down for a nap, Anna and I got busy painting the pumpkins we got at Hill Ridge Farms. Daddy had taken us to Michael's craft store the night before to get our supplies and set up a nice painting area in the garage.

Our supplies:
- washable tempera paint: this paint took a long time to dry on the pumpkins but was very easy to clean up
- paint palette: this kept the paint colors from mixing for awhile
- brushes: we bought a cheap pack of various size brushes
- art smock: this was WONDERFUL; the one we purchased had long sleeves with elastic around the wrist which kept it in place and Anna's shirt sleeves from getting paint on them. I think I'm ready to tackle any art project as long as she wears this :).

Painting Pumpkin

The rest of the afternoon we spent running a few errands and getting ready for the party. At 6:30pm the guests arrived and we had a great dinner catered by Bella Italia. Here are a few of my favorite pictures.

Anna's Birthday Anna's Birthday Anna's Birthday Anna's Birthday

Now only one more birthday party to go :).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

As a two year old I can...

Brush my own teeth (though daddy helps me sometimes)

Posing in her Halloween Outfit

Make tacos...

Taco Making

Help mommy around the house...

Helping mommy

Show "issy" how to play with her toys...

Playing together

I love being two!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Anna!

Here's my beautiful two year old in her birthday outfit from Mimi.

Bday Picture - 4x6

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sitting Up

Sitting Up

How cute is this!! Maddie is now sitting up by herself - it seemed to happen overnight. She gets a little wobbly when she gets excited so there are now pillows on the floor in every room :).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Busy Times with Birthdays and Babies

Birthdays: We are nearing the end of the "birthday season" for our playgroup. On Friday, Anna will be the last of nine girls to turn two. Two recent parties took us to new places in the area.

Pullen Park: As a college student, I spent some time at Pullen Park but I had never been as a mommy. When we arrived we joined our friends for a ride around the park on the train. Anna did great! She waved at people as we rode around and she loved to make the choo choo sound. As soon as we got off of the train Anna ran over to the playground. I must admit I was a little disappointed in the playground equipment since it had very little for toddlers to do. I guess I have just been spoiled by all of the nearby neighborhood parks. After yummy cake and feeding the ducks, we moved on to the carousel. After our experience with the carousel at the NC Zoo I expected this one to be just as much of a disaster, but I was up for the challenge. A friend of mine held Maddie for me so that I had both arms to hold a screaming child if it came to it but Anna loved the carousel so much, she almost threw a fit when it was time to get off of it. For those who do visit the carousel at Pullen Park be prepared that the carousel goes faster and the ride lasts longer than any other carousel I have ever been on (i.e. I had a little motion sickness).

Kidos: Kidos is a new drop-in day care center at the front of my neighborhood and was a great place for a party. There was a lot of stuff that was age appropriate for a toddler and it is always nice to go somewhere that they can't break anything :). Anna especially enjoyed the train table.

Babies: All four of my friends having babies in October have now had their little girls and are doing well; next in line are the triplet girls coming near the end of the year. Of special note, baby Lily is now here! Lily was born on October 16th to my bestest bestest friend, Suzanne.

We have been busy lately and it doesn't look like things will slow down anytime soon - that's ok though because we are having so much fun!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hill Ridge Farms

On Saturday we headed north to Youngsville to Hill Ridge Farms. I had gone to the farm on several occasions during college but this was the first time my husband and the girls had been. We got there around 9:30am which was a good thing because the ticket line started backing up shortly after we got there (if you take cash there is no wait). The cost is $10 during the fall season (admission includes a pumpkin) which will be a little pricey in a few years when both girls are full price, but for now it wasn't too bad for all of the "attractions".

As at most events, Maddie was carried around in the Baby Bjorn while Anna ran from place to place. Anna jumped in a bounce house, looked at goats, played on the playground, went down a huge slide,

Down the big slide

played in a house full of corn kernels,

Corn play area

and took a hayride out to a pumpkin patch. It wasn't a real pumpkin patch in that the pumpkins were grown there - in fact many still had stickers on them from where they were purchased - but it was really neat to see all the kids running through a sea of pumpkins. Anna picked out her favorite and actually carried it around! I had no clue my daughter was so strong.

Anna with pumpkins

Monday, October 13, 2008

Madelyn's Baby Dedication

On Sunday we participated in the Baby Dedication ceremony at our church. Our church believes there are three important elements to the baby dedication ceremony:

1. Through prayer, the parents give back to God the very gift that He has given to them. The parents commit to giving their child to God and trusting His plan for their child’s life. They also commit to raising their child in a Christian home under god’s rule.
2. We believe that the gospel writers documented accounts of Jesus blessing children because they saw it to be an important element in a child’s life. When a parent brings their child to the Baby Dedication ceremony and the pastor prays over that child and family then they receive a special blessing from God.
3. It is important in the life of the church to surround the family and commit to praying for them and helping them raise their child to know Jesus.

How wonderful it is to stand on stage before the congregation and acknowledge that Maddie is a gift from God and that only through Him are we able to be good parents.

Just as we dedicated Anna with a life verse, we gave Maddie one as well - Isaiah 40:31

those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Here's the beautiful girl on the big day:


And Maddie and I before leaving home:

Mommy and Madlyn

And on stage (we're in the middle):

Baby Dedication at our church

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wee Walkers

This past week I took the girls to Durant Nature Park for a program called Wee Walkers. It is intended for those age one year and up and is basically a walk through one of the various trails at the park with a guide pointing out various "nature things". It was a fun hour but I must admit I wasn't quite prepared for the terrain. I strapped Maddie to me in the Baby Bjorn and let Anna run free. All was going well as we took the trail to the "Secret Creek" until we came to an area with rocks, which were slightly slippery, that dropped off into a creek. Not the safest place for a two year old and of course Anna didn't want to hold my hand. So I held onto Anna's sweatshirt hood for dear life while trying to balance myself and keep from taking Maddie and myself down. I hear there are other trails that are a little better for toddlers that they take whenever people come with strollers - maybe next time I can suggest this :). Another thing that I was not prepared for were the mosquitoes. I don't know why this took me by surprise (perhaps I was envisioning something not quite so woodsy) but I came home with TONS of mosquito bites. After about 35 minutes we emerged from the woods at the playground which was a perfect end to get the final energy out before naptime.

In hindsight it was fun (plus it was free!) but I have to admit it left me exhausted. I think we may give it another shot WITH bug spray.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Big Girl Bed

After Anna woke up from her nap (on the floor) yesterday, we decided to take the front off of her crib to convert it into a toddler bed. Here she is in her big girl bed:

Anna's big girl bed

Anna's big girl bed

Anna did great last night. She crawled into her bed and went to sleep and then called for us in the morning when she woke up (she waited for us to come get her before getting down). She did great during her nap today as well. I am so proud of Anna!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Here's what I found...

Per my blog earlier today, I went to see what Anna had done in her room while being loose during naptime:

Anna sleeping on the floor

Isn't that the sweetest?

Naptime Woes

Thump thump thump... thump... thump. I sit here listening to Anna move around in her room. In the past week and a half Anna has taken exactly two naps. No matter how early she gets up; no matter how much we run in the morning, Anna doesn't want to take a nap. Today after finally coaxing Anna to her room, I gave up the fight (rather quickly) and left her laying in the floor with her blanket and pillow. I'm guessing she didn't stay there very long before noticing her newfound freedom. If only we had a camera to see what she is doing in there (I don't dare open the door since it is rather quiet with the exception of her footsteps).

Life is changing. This week has been a battle with screaming tantrums (yes, I was the one with the irate child at BJ's) and an increase in the use of the word 'no'. Anna is almost two and I must admit I'm a little scared of what is to come.

Now I guess I better go check on her room :).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Maddie's Food Update

Maddie continues to be a really good eater. Our recent endeavors include squash and apples. This was the first time I had ever cooked a winter squash in my life (I have a feeling this will be a first for many vegetables for me :)). It was actually very easy and tasty (cut in half and place in a baking dish with a little water and bake) - I think I may make them for my husband and I. Here's me and the frozen squash:

Squash anyone?

Maddie loved the squash and ate every bit on the first feeding - part of that may have been that I only defrosted one ice cube worth. I now defrost two at a time but I'm not sure if it is enough - I'm still trying to figure out how much to feed her in a sitting. I remember this same struggle with Anna - how much do I feel her, how many times a day, etc. etc. I really wish I had kept a food journal so that I would have a general guideline to go by.

The apples didn't go quite as well as the squash. It took mixing the apples with a little breastmilk and rice cereal for her not to make a silly face.

On another food related note, Maddie has started getting a bottle of formula at night. Just as with Anna, I tried to hold off from giving Maddie formula for as long a I could, but my growing baby was hungry!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

TMX Elmo Makes a Comeback

After several months of exile, Tickle Me Elmo has finally made it out of the toy box. As I had previously blogged Anna was originally afraid of her TMX Elmo when she received it as a gift. I am happy to say that Elmo is now not only a hit for Anna but Maddie LOVES him as well.

Madelyn took a liking to the TMX Elmo