Monday, September 30, 2013

MC's First Trip to Louisiana

Last week we took MC on her first trip to Louisiana to visit her grandparents and extended family.

(This is the trip that was supposed to happen back in March.)

It was her first time on an airplane, and she did fantastic! The trip was very busy with lots of new faces but she was a trooper and did great the whole time. She got to meet lots of aunts, uncles, cousins and even got to spend some time with her great grandmother.

On the first leg of our flight from RDU to ATL.

Just like our beach vacation, this was a very different trip for BD and me. We are used to scheduling flights with as little layover as possible and scooting through security at the last minute, and then relaxing on the plane during the flight. Yeah...none of that happened during this trip.

For this trip we scheduled our flights with a 2+ hour layover in Atlanta, so that we wouldn't have to rush around with the little one in tow. It worked out really well, and MC was even able to squeeze in a nap in the Atlanta airport between flights.

Airport nap!

We spent lots of time visiting her grandparents and extended family, but we also made time to play tourists in our own hometown. The popular A&E show Duck Dynasty is filmed where we grew up.

Visiting the Duck Commander warehouse. 

Picking up some souvenir merchandise for MC. 

"Visiting" with Willie. Too bad there wasn't a cut-out of Uncle Si! 

We also got to see part of a Saints game on TV while we were there! We almost never get to see the Saints play because they are in the same division as the Carolina Panthers.

Who Dat?

I spent a lot of time on Lake D'Arbonne when I was growing up and have a lot of great memories from there. My parents sold their lake camp many years ago, but now one set of MC's grandparents lives there. So hopefully she will get to make lots of memories at the lake, too!

Her first visit to Lake D'Arbonne.

And no trip to Louisiana is complete without good food - Shipley's donuts and Johnny's pizza! (And Ray's PeGe but I didn't get a picture!)

We had so much fun on our first trip to Louisiana with MC, and we really enjoyed introducing her to a lot of our extended family and friends!   

Catching some ZZZZs on the flight back home to RDU.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

MC's Favorite Videos

MC doesn't have a long enough attention span at this point to really watch TV - even for the kids' shows designed to keep her attention. But we are big fans of the Yo Gabba Gabba clips on YouTube. She will watch these on the iPad, and they keep her entertained long enough for me to take a quick bathroom break or make a phone call.

Party in My Tummy

Don't Bite Your Friends can also stream full episodes of YGG for free using Amazon Prime!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Parenting and Child Development Books

I have discovered that I enjoy reading parenting and child development books as we are walking down this  road of parenthood. Although I did my share of babysitting in high school and college, I have not spent a ton of time around kids - and let's face it...babysitting is about keeping the kids alive and entertained in the absence of their parents; I wasn't exactly focused on parenting and child development! So I'm not really familiar with what's 'normal' development-wise (except the major milestones, obviously). I do believe that parenting is an instinct, but I also think that parenting is a skill - and just like any skill it takes education and practice to get better at it. And little MC keeps, you know...growing and developing on me, so I have to keep reading and learning to keep up with her!

Here are some books I've read lately and enjoyed, checked out from my local library:

This book is divided into four sections - Exploration, Everyday Living, Making Connections, and Having Fun. Each section describes the child's development process throughout the second year of life and gives lots of great play ideas to facilitate the skills they are developing.

Through reading these books, it's neat to see what of MC's behavior is 'typical' for her age and what behavior is just her personal quirk. And I also find it fascinating to discover the 'why' behind a lot of her behavior. For example, the Lifting and Carrying chapter in the Exploration section talked about how children often hold things in their hands for security as they are learning to walk and as they get more adept at walking, they want to challenge themselves to carry larger and heavier items. Which explains why MC is always trying to tote around the most awkward object in the room!

I feel like I am okay at coming up with toys and activities that are age appropriate for MC, but this book provided me with lots of great additional ideas for her. For example, in the Filling and Emptying chapter the author suggested saving junk mail for the child to play with - to pull mail out of the envelopes and re-stuff it. Using that idea, I saved a small cardboard box and put an assortment of catalogs, junk mail, old magazines, etc in it. MC has been enthralled by sitting in the box and going through all of "her" mail. Such an easy idea, but one I probably wouldn't have thought of on my own!    

I read another of Dr. Karp's books when MC was a newborn and found his baby-soothing strategies to be both practical and effective, so I was looking forward to reading his toddler book. Once again, I have found his books to be full of practical advice for handling our little "charming Chimp-child" (Dr. Karp's description for the 12-18 month range). And although so far MC basically fits his textbook definition of an 'easy' temperament, I find myself practicing my "Toddler-ese" with her to help explain rules and transitions throughout our day in a 'language' that she can understand.

I also appreciate Dr. Karp's excellent, clear explanations in this book. He doesn't just say "Use a time out"; he actually explains the reasons why it works and then provides step-by-step instructions for how to effectively use the technique.  

{I liked this book well enough that I purchased a copy for myself.}

I met a mom through water aerobics who is a child psychologist for the county school system; she recommended this book to me. This book is old (copyright early 80s), and I thought it might be outdated...but it turns out one year olds in 2013 develop the same as one year olds in the 80s, LOL! This was a great overall child development book. I liked how it discusses the development at different points throughout the year: 12-15m, 18m, and 21m - which gave me a good understanding of how much developmental change will happen throughout this year. 

This was another one recommended by my child psychologist friend, and it was another excellent read. I've mentioned before that MC is petite, and we get a lot of comments about her size. As a result, I find it difficult to not be defensive about what (and how much) she does or doesn't eat! This book has really helped me to relax about the whole eating situation and be able to focus on the fact that MC is healthy and thriving (and is actually a really great eater!).

One of the major tenets of this book is the division of responsibility with eating -- that the parents are responsible for what food is presented and the manner in which it is presented, and the child is responsible for how much or even whether they eat. The author talks a lot about not putting pressure on kids to eat or not eat. It reminds me of what I've always heard my mom say: you won't win a battle with a kid over food; it's not worth the fight.

This book is divided into three sections - Basic Principles of Eating, Eating as Your Child Grows, and Special Feeding Situations. Disclaimer: I didn't read the last section, since we aren't dealing with a special feeding situation, but I would still recommend this book based on the first two sections. 

{I liked this book well enough that I purchased a copy for myself.}

Next up on my reading list:

*Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years - Fay

*Becoming the Parent You Want to Be: A Sourcebook of Strategies for the First Five Years - Davis

Saturday, September 14, 2013

MC's First Day of Class

I was inspired by all of the cute "First Day of School" pics I've seen recently on FB and blogs. So when it came time for MC's two classes to start this fall, I attempted to capture some of our own "First Day" pics. We, moderately successful!

First Day of Kindermusik 
September 11, 2013

This one was our first attempt and most successful of this bunch. She was too occupied with the hair bow at this point to realize there was paper within reaching distance. (Although you can tell by the wrinkles, the paper had already gone through a minor toddler inspection.)

The rest of them pretty much look like this. Ah, life with a toddler! 

We decided to try again the next day to see if we fared any better...aaaand that's the most successful one of this bunch!

First Day of Tumble Babies
September 12, 2013
(and 15 months old today!)

Yep, that's more like it - grab and crumple the paper while looking totally innocent!

We got kind of close when I asked her to show me what she had...

Aaaand then I gave up the fight.

She is doing a Kindermusik Village music class and a Tumble Babies gymnastics class, and she loves them. Both classes are at 11am, which is kind of an awkward time for us since she likes to take two naps a day, so she is usually sleeping at that time. The first Kindermusik class I decided to let her skip the morning nap and just try to power through to her afternoon nap. She did fine during class but was falling apart by the time she was eating lunch. So for the Tumble Babies class, I put her down for a short, early nap before class. She was able to sleep about an hour before I had to wake her up to leave, and that seemed to help her make it all the way through lunch and a little play time before she was ready for her afternoon nap.

Both classes are 'parent & tot' classes - meaning I don't just sit back and watch while she makes music and turns somersaults. It is a very active experience for me as well as for her! In the music class we sing and dance and play instruments to explore rhythm and sound. In the gymnastics class I assist her doing handstands, jumping on the trampoline, walking the balance beam, etc. I am very impressed with all of the "real" gymnastics they can teach them to do!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fun at the Park

We have had several days of nice, sunny but low-humidity days recently, so MC and I have been taking advantage of the weather and hitting some of our local parks. She has always loved the swings, but now that she's walking, she also likes to toddle around and explore. I haven't been able to get any pictures of her exploring because she likes to hold my hands, but the swing provides some cute photo ops!

This was at a city park that is hidden away inside an older neighborhood in Chapel Hill. It is a super nice shady park with lots of features - swing, climbing structure, sand box, etc - and we had it all to ourselves on this day.

Taking a snack break at the toddler playground near the airport. This one is not convenient to our house but we had some errands to run in the area, so we decided to incorporate a stop here into our day. I have heard a lot about this playground since it is geared for toddlers (lots of low climbing structures, tunnels, short slides, etc), and she really enjoyed it! The only downside is it has no trees for shade, so we were right out in the blazing sun the whole time she played. I have been disappointed with the lack of shade at most of the playgrounds we've been to around here. I'm not sure if it they are intentionally designed that way for some reason, but it would be so much more useable, especially for fair-skinned babies like MC, if there was shade for at least part of the day.  

A mom at the park volunteered to take our picture together after she saw me snapping MC's picture - so nice to have a picture together at the park!

And this is the park in our only has one swing but it's really convenient (and shady)!

Monday, September 9, 2013


Here are some recent pictures of our girl; these are from late August/early September 2013. MC is 14 months old in these pics.

We've started doing family suppers a couple times per week. It is challenging because it means I have to juggle getting everything ready and keeping MC entertained before BD gets home. But I know it's important for us to do, so we're starting early to get in the habit. (On the nights we don't do family supper, BD and I eat together after MC is in bed.) 

Dressed for UNC game day - not diggin' the hair bow today.

Hair bow removed, peek-a-boo in the curtains cheers her right up!

Someone has figured out the secret to the snack trap! BD call this the raccoon trap because she sticks her hand in and gets a handful of snacks, then tries to pull her entire fist back out - which usually sends snacks flying everywhere!

Eating a piece of bread to tide her over until family supper time.


A local kids' arts and music class is having a promotion to locate their mascot, painted in various spots around town. Once you find the mascot, you send in the picture to be entered in a drawing for a free session of classes. Fingers crossed, we might win!

Look Ma, no headband! She finally has enough hair on top of her head to clip in a bow without having to use a head band. The bow is definitely still decoration, not functional! It will probably be a while before she has enough hair for the bow to actually hold back! 

A typical supper for MC: a muffin (ground beef, broccoli, and cheddar cheese), roasted carrots, green grapes, and a cup of 'leche' (whole cow's milk). She has a very specific connotation for 'milk' - to her it means to nurse from me, so our pediatrician recommended we call it something else to lessen the confusion.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Day in the Life...

Have you ever wondered what stay-at-home moms do all day long?? Don't worry...I used to wonder the same thing, too! Well, here's a sneak peek into my current life. All of our days are different, but this one represents a pretty typical "good" day around here. (Maybe the next time we have a bad day, I'll blog that one, too - so you'll get to see both pictures!) 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
MC is 14.5 months old.

7:10a - Hear MC stirring via the baby monitor beside the bed. BD goes up to get her, as he does every morning.

7:30a - After they've had some time to cuddle, play, change diaper, etc., BD brings her to me to nurse.

7:45a - Nursed, now ready to play! I entertain her by playing peek-a-boo with the bed linens. Kip appears from the den to remind me that it's time for a walk.

8:00a - Bed made, exercise clothes on, strap MC in jogging stroller, clip on Kip's leash, and we're out the door.

8:45a - Back home: sweaty & hot (me), panting (Kip), ready for breakfast (MC). Kiss BD good-bye for the day. Attempt to keep MC from playing in Kip's water bowl while I fix her breakfast.

9:00a - MC's breakfast is ready - today it's oatmeal with butter, brown sugar, & cinnamon. Sit down with her while she eats. MC signs "more" after she's finished a full serving of oatmeal. Also eats a banana.

9:30a - MC finished eating, clean-up begins. She plays on floor while I clean up the mess. Attempt to keep MC from playing in Kip's water bowl while I clean up.

9:40a - Upstairs to MC's room for morning nap.

9:50a - MC down for nap. I fix my breakfast - today it's Greek yogurt with granola. Check e-mail, Facebook, blogs while I eat.

10:20a - Make a few calls: set-up appointment to have gutters cleaned before fall, check-in with contractor about sketches for built-ins, schedule MC's 15 month well baby visit, etc. Write the first part of this post.

10:45a - Load dishwasher, put away clean dishes from last night, hand-wash oatmeal pot. Fold load of laundry, put another load in washer. Spend a few minutes looking at wallpaper samples we've picked out for downstairs half bath.

11:10a - Take quick shower, dry hair, get dressed in Mom Uniform (shorts, t-shirt, sandals).

11:40a - Switch out laundry from washer to dryer. Stare at wallpaper samples again.

11:50a - Hear via baby monitor MC awake from nap. Cuddles, change diaper, get dressed, etc. Then time for play! Play in MC's room: toys, puzzles, books, music, gymnastics on chair and giant teddy bear, etc. MC spends a lot of time poking me in the face identifying body parts - eyes, ears, nose, mouth - on me and her. Kip appears to join in the fun...bad timing - after one eye poke he makes himself scarce.

12:30p - MC's first lunch - today it's turkey deli meat, cottage cheese, roasted carrots. Call BD on speaker phone so the three of us can chat while MC eats.

1:00p - MC announces she is finished with lunch by throwing food on the floor - such a charming new habit! Clean up from first lunch (including scrub cottage cheese off rug), get ready to leave house & head to library.

1:20p - At library, look for my books first, then head to Children's section. Pick out two Baby Einstein DVDs for MC; let her hold the DVDs and wander around, read a couple board books, interact with another kiddo about her age.

2:00p - Finished at library, next stop: playground!

2:30p - Played on swings, toddled around climbing structure, examined every leaf, bug, crack in sidewalk, etc. Now time to head home.

2:45p - Home, time for MC's second lunch - today it's a waffle with pureed strawberries, and green grapes. Notice that we are down to our last baggie of frozen waffles.

3:10p - Clean up from second lunch, droopy eyes signal it's time for afternoon nap. MC plays with dish towel while I clean up. She sneaks around the corner and dunks the towel in Kip's water bowl, then flings water all over the floor. Kip gives her the stink eye from the couch. Clean up that mess, too.

3:25p - MC down for afternoon nap. I fix my lunch - today it's a turkey sandwich and green salad. Check e-mail, Facebook, blogs while I eat. Write the next section of this post.

3:45p - I make waffle batter and cook a batch of waffles to be frozen. Also, dice tomatoes and wash/shred lettuce for supper (taco Tuesday!). Friends re-runs on TV in background. Wash dishes as I go. Add a few items to grocery list. Stare at wallpaper samples again, decide that choosing wallpaper is even more difficult than choosing paint colors.

4:45p - Hear via baby monitor MC awake from nap. Put Kip behind doggie gate so he won't help himself to still-cooling batch of waffles. Get MC out of crib - cuddles, change diaper, etc. MC signs "eat" -- she is hungry for snack.

5:00p - MC eats a few crackers (aka, Annie's bunnies). She plays independently in the play room while I bag and label the waffles for the freezer.

5:20p - We walk out to check the mail - MC "explores" in the grass and I talk about the leaves, trees, whatever else I can think of, etc.  It is hot and humid outside, so we don't spend as much time on this activity as usual.

5:30p - Back inside, she wants to walk around the house pushing her push toy. We make many, many circles around the house. She indicates that she wants to get in her jumper chair, when I pick her up to put her in the jumper chair, she arches her back and protests, so I put back down on the floor. Repeat scenario. I distract her with her dump truck and blocks. I build a tower with the blocks and she crashes dump truck into it, laughs hysterically. I laugh at her laughing. Repeat scenario. More circles around the house with the push toy.

6:00p - MC's supper time - today it's a chicken/spinach/cheese muffin (that I made and froze a few weeks ago), roasted carrots, blueberries, and vanilla baby yogurt.

6:15p - BD is home! He sits down while MC finishes eating, and we all chat about our day. We laugh about something funny, and MC laughs, too - as if she is in on the joke. We laugh harder.

6:30p - MC finished eating. I clean up while BD feeds Kip and plays with MC.

6:45p - Tonight is bath night, so BD and MC head up for bath and play/cuddles after bath. I check emails, Facebook, blogs while they are upstairs. Write more of this post.

7:15p - MC clean and dressed in pajamas, ready for bed. BD hands her over to me then goes downstairs to work on supper. She nurses, then we rock and I sing to her for a few minutes before putting her in bed.

7:30p - MC asleep, baby monitor on. I help BD finish up supper. We chat. Eat supper in den, watch a show on DVR.

8:00p - Clean up supper dishes. Look at wallpaper samples again together. Agree on top two choices. 

8:45p - I read; BD watches TV. I remember there's a load of laundry in the dryer, decide I'll deal with it tomorrow.

10:00p - I get ready for bed - can't decide whether to read or watch Friends on TV to unwind. Decide on Friends, set sleep timer on TV. Watch 2 episodes of Friends before falling asleep.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Here are some recent pictures of our girl; these are from late August 2013. MC is 14 months old in these pics.

Tea time! This is a little Fisher Price tea set that she loves - it also has a set of cups and a tray of petit fours, so cute. The tea pot plays all kinds of music and makes a bubbling sound when she tilts it to pour the tea into the cups. I thought she was too young for pretend play, but she totally gets it. She loves to "pour" the tea into the cups and then hand off the tea to drink. And then after we drink the tea, she wants the cup back so she can drink it, too. Little girls are so fun! 

Playing in her jumper chair - I thought we were ready to retire this toy to the storage room, but suddenly she's playing in it again.

Trying out a fresh cucumber slice. I normally don't let her walk around with food (choking hazard) but somehow she got away with it this time! Cucumbers are one of my very favorite, so I was curious to see if she'd like it. I've given her chopped up fresh cucumber before and she ate it, but sometimes when the same food is presented in a different form, she's hesitant about it. She nibbled at this slice but didn't gobble it down. That's fine with me -- more for Mama! 

(This is a re-post from Facebook, sorry for the repeat - but too cute not to share here.) As I said on FB, she appears to be a 3rd generation shoe lover! My mom, then me, and now MC! BD is also quite the shoe aficionado, so she definitely gets it honestly.

Her feet are so small that I've had some trouble finding hard-soled shoes for her (i.e., not soft-soled crib shoes). And I especially had trouble finding sneaker-type shoes for her - both from a size perspective and because a lot of them are cartoon characters and/or thanks. I know we'll get to the glittery stage soon enough, but I'm at least going to wait until she's old enough to ask for them herself!

Trying on a pair of her new kicks! I made her a promise that I would always buy her cute shoes and her daddy would always keep them clean. (If you know BD, you know that he takes supremely good care of his shoes; he'll have on a 3 year old pair of shoes and you'd swear they are brand new.)