Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Anna's Table

Birthdays usually come early in our household because once we buy a present for someone we can't wait to give it to them. We actually did pretty good with this since we waited a whole two weeks after purchasing it before putting it together :). Here's Anna at her new table.

Anna's new table

It has been a hit! Every morning Anna goes right to the table and starts coloring. As of now, I'm leaving the crayons, coloring books and Color Wonder markers where she can get them whenever she wants; if they start traveling around the house we may have to rethink this. I really (REALLY!) like that Anna can now pick up her own crayons if they roll off the table rather than having to constantly pick them up; this makes coloring a more fun and less frustrating activity for me :).

Today Anna wanted to have snack at her table which is so adorable. The only problem now is she is at puppy height.

The table we ended up buying was the Kritter series from Ikea. We liked the bright colors and stability of it, not to mention it was reasonably priced. Now, back to coloring...

Hi Dadda

video

Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy 5 Months, Madelyn!

Madelyn, almost 5 months

She's eating like a champ, constantly rolling over and starting to sit up by herself. What will 6 months bring!?!?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Going Bananas

Maddie had her first taste of bananas last night and she loved them. I guess you could say I "made" my first baby food but really it seemed too simple to even say that - why did I buy this pre-made before? I took part of a ripened banana (Anna gladly ate the other part) and mashed it with a fork; I added a little breastmilk to make it a thinner consistency and 30 seconds later it was ready. Tonight I'm going to make squash and apples to store in the freezer for when Maddie is ready for them. This could be fun afterall.

Maddie's 1st bananas

Friday, September 26, 2008

Back to Marbles

My husband was off of work today so we thought we would head downtown for what has become our annual trip to the Marbles Kids Museum. We took Anna for her first birthday and thought that being almost 2 would be double the fun. We arrived around 9:30 and it was somewhat peaceful. Anna first enjoyed playing with the blocks which were a new addition to the play area (I think daddy was having fun too.) The train table was also a hit.

Our Day at Marbles Our Day at Marbles

Anna was also able to try out several careers: Should she work at the grocery store? Drive a mail truck? Perhaps be a personal chef? Or maybe even a pirate?!?

Our Day at Marbles Our Day at Marbles Our Day at Marbles Our Day at Marbles

One area that Anna enjoyed that she was not able to do as a one year old was the water zone. There were tables set up that had running water, cups and other fun water toys. (They provide aprons to keep the kids from getting too wet.)

Our Day at Marbles

By 11:00 the school-aged children had arrived and the place was getting crowded; time to leave. I can't wait to go back when Maddie can enjoy it too.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Change of Season

Yesterday was the first day of fall and as Anna and I walked back from the playground I could feel the new season in the air. It has gotten cooler here in Raleigh and we've pulled out our jeans and crockpot (at least for the week).

I think Anna's favorite thing about fall are the school buses full of kids. Lately she has been waking up from her nap saying "bus, bus". We then either sit on the front porch and watch the buses and kids go by or walk down to the playground. How nice it is to be able to get back outside after staying out of heat most of the summer, except at the pool of course. Fittingly, today is the first day of Take a Child Outside Week; a week focusing on getting kids outside and enjoying nature.

At MOPS today we had a speaker from Raleigh Parks and Rec to highlight some of the outdoor activities the city offers. As they passed around an 85 page booklet (for both kids and adults) I was amazed at all of the programs. One program I found interesting was Wee Walkers (Age: 1 yrs and up. Would you and your toddler like some company for your walks? Join others on an easy paced hike around the park. This is a great opportunity for adults and little ones to meet each other and explore nature. ) The girls and I may check this out next month.

To the outdoors we go!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rice Cereal

It was a rough weekend around our house, one plagued with illness and sleepless nights, but we made it through. One bright spot was Maddie's first experience with rice cereal. It was a little earlier than I had anticipated doing it but I think this was the right time. With Anna I watched the calendar, I couldn't wait to start solids. With Maddie, I watched her. They both showed most if not all of the signs when they started but I must say Maddie had lately been looking like she was on a quest for food.

So here's her first spoonful of rice cereal and breastmilk (I decided to buy rice cereal rather than make my own):

Madelyn's first solids

Just as expected, more cereal came out than went in but I think it was more from laughing at Anna than the tongue reflex.

Madelyn's first solids

I guess it's time I start getting my supplies if I'm really going to make Maddie's baby food - it's kinda funny that this may be the only time I'm ever going to need an ice cube tray :).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Big Girl Breakfast

We recently bought Anna some fun plates, cups and plasticware. She is enjoying having a big spoon and fork rather than the "baby" ones

Big Girl Breakfast

and she loves drinking out of a "big girl" cup.

Big Girl Breakfast

Who knew eating bananas could be so much fun (and require so many utensils)??

Bananas

Meanwhile, Maddie patiently sits in her high chair waiting for the day mommy will buy her some food of her own.

Maddie waiting for food

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bathtub Art

Anna loves taking baths in the big tub these days because that means she gets to draw. Anna absolutely loves her Crayola Bathtub Crayons. They draw easily on the tub wall and come in a variety of colors. I thought they were a great deal at 9 crayons for ~$5 and since I only give Anna two at a time, they have lasted for months. On the downside, every wash cloth I used to clean the crayon from the bathtub is now stained.

Bubble Bath

Since these were such a success, Mimi bought Anna some Crayola Bathtub Finger Paints when she last came to visit. I'm an not a fan of these. Basically you squirt a little of the "paint" into your hand and then smear it on the tub. The paint then runs down into the water creating mucky colored water with paint droplets floating on top. Thankfully, there was only enough paint for two bath times. We'll stick to the crayons.

Settling Back In

5:30 came early this morning as I struggled to get back into my routine at the gym. We spent the last four days traveling up to Pittsburgh and back for a funeral. By my husbands account, we spent 19 hours in the car. The girls were fabulous and went along with everything we needed to do even though that meant taking all naps for 4 days in their car seats. There were many times that I was thankful I stashed a few extra "goodies" in my purse including a ring pop and playdoh for those places we needed to stay a little longer than Anna was inclined. It was a whirlwind, but one in which we got to see lots of family which is always nice.

A few other things I'm thankful for while traveling:

- restaurants that provide crayons and kids menus
- McDonald's Playplace for those times when everyone needs out of the car to run around
- hotels that have a separate sitting area from the bedroom (thank you Residence Inn)
- our car's DVD player
- family to help take care of the kids :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

MOPS

MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers and I met over 40 such moms at my church this morning as we kicked off the MOPS program. It felt good to walk into a room with moms of kids similar in ages to my own and to feel immediately at home. We formed bonds as we dropped our kids into the nursery with varying degrees of success and shared about our families. It felt good to be amongst moms who desire as I do to raise our children to follow Christ. And of course it felt good to have a conversation without a child pulling you in another direction.

I have been worried ever since Anna first cried when we put her in the church nursery a month ago that I would not be able to participate in MOPS because she and Maddie wouldn't do well there. Today we pulled into the parking lot, Anna put on her backpack, and we walked toward the church nursery. Being the first day of MOPS it was rather chaotic as kids were passed over the counters to nursery workers - - some clinging to their moms for dear life. Once Anna realized what was about to happen, she started shouting 'No No No'. I loosened her grip on my shirt, pushed her over the counter to the nursery worker, and stepped out of sight. She screamed! I moved down the hallway to talk to a friend for a few minutes and then snuck my way back to her room to take a peak. Anna didn't appear to be crying anymore and she hadn't thrown herself on the floor so I felt ok to leave. After about an hour into the morning (the program is 2 hours) more and more kids started showing up in the meeting room - apparently they call you if your child cries for more than 15 minutes. The girls did great and my phone never rang, but it was nice to know that if they have an off day, they can come to the meeting and everyone understands.

I look forward to going back in two weeks and I'm so glad I signed up.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Night Out

Last night my husband and I had a night out (our second since Maddie was born). We had a nice dinner in Durham and then headed to my hometown for my 10 year high school reunion.

Heading to Heather's high school reunion

We left the girls in great hands - with my mom and my best friend, Suzanne. It is nice to have family and friends who can occasionally watch the girls but it was a reminder that we need a babysitter that we pay. Honestly, I'm having a hard time with the thought of leaving them both with one person or leaving Maddie with just anyone (she doesn't even let my mom hold her without screaming). We have an event coming up that we have to get a sitter for so I guess I better start warming up to the idea.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Maddie's Four Month Appointment

Continuing on the theme of how fast Maddie growing, she had her four month checkup yesterday. Since I have been sick, my wonderful husband took her to the doctor for me. Here's how she measured out:

Weight: 14 lbs,11.5 oz (70%)
Height: 25.5 inches (85%)
Head: 42.5 cm (80%)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Rolling Over

It is all happening so fast. Maddie is now four months old and today for the first time she rolled over from her back to her tummy. It is like all of the sudden I look at her and she is no longer the little infant she was yesterday.

Here's her in action:

I think I can

I think I can

I think I can

Almost there

Rolling...

I did it!

So happy

Monday, September 1, 2008

Anna & Maddie Visit the Zoo

All last week we read Curious George Visits the Zoo in anticipation of taking our own trip to the North Carolina Zoo. The rains stopped and on Saturday we loaded the girls up and took off to Asheboro. We arrived around 10:30 (an hour and a half after it opened) and were able to park within the first two rows of the parking lot on the Africa side. We decided our BOB stroller would be the best way to take the girls around the zoo and that proved correct. The BOB easily navigated through the narrow aisles of the African Pavilion and its canopy provided lots of shade for the girls.

The ride around the zoo

Within 10 minutes of parking we made it to the front gates, bought our ticket and were off to the first exhibit. I was definitely expecting more of a crowd (I guess the zoo isn't exactly Disney). With only a few people around, we were able to easily push Anna up to the glass at the exhibits - which was a good thing since it took us awhile to convince Anna that it was ok to get out of the stroller. Zebras, ostriches, lions, monkeys... we were zooming around the park and then we found them... the baboons.

Anna loved the baboons

These cute little monkeys with red behinds made Anna laugh as they scurried about. Another hit with Anna was the meerkat.

Anna loved the meerkats too

Rhinos, elephants, birds... we saw them all (though no sign of the giraffes) and were having a great time, but there were two things that were not a hit for Anna. One was a huge rhino statue and the other was the carousel. The zoo carousel of course had statues of a variety of zoo animals that the kids could ride on but they all looked fierce. Anna was terrified to touch the animals and so we held her. At one point though she accidentally touched the zebra behind us and broke down in tears. We may have to try another carousel to see if she does any better.

Around 1:30, after seeing all of Africa and having lunch, we decided it was time to go home and save the other half of the zoo (North American animals) for another day. It was a great family trip!