Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Favorite Things – Part IV

My kid is growing like a weed and it seems to be happening faster than ever before.  The crazy thing is that our Ped told us that the closer she came to her second birthday, the more her growth would slow down.  Well, with as often as I’m having to pack away clothing and move the bean up to the next size, slowing down seems to be the opposite of what’s going on around here.

As I packed up yet another bag of clothes yesterday and took inventory of Gracie’s room, I realized that it’s been 9 months since my last “Favorite Things” post so this update is way over due!  Below are this mama’s MUST have items for my little gal from around months 11 to 17.  If there are any “must haves” that you swear by (or things that just make the day-to-day easier as a busy parent), I would love to hear all about them. :)

Here are ours in no particular order:   

:: iTunes Learning apps ::
Grace is obsessed with mommy’s ipad.  So much so that Georgia has to wait until the bean is asleep to play her own games and only dare take it out during the day if she’s prepared to have a little ipad quality time with Grace, hehe.  Below are Gracie’s top 3 favorite ipad learning apps.  If you have any you love that aren’t listed, do share! 

PBS Kids: this app allows you to watch videos from your favorite educational PBS KIDS shows like Sesame Street, The Cat in the Hat and Dinosaur Train.  The app features more than 1,000 videos and it’s free!

Farm School:  This app is specially designed for toddlers.  By completing different tasks, toddlers learn about animals living on the farm.  There are tons of activities and the graphics are awesome.  This app costs less than a dollar. 

Goodnight Safari: This app is an interactive story that helps children relax instead of hyping them up with load noises and crazy graphics before bed.  Toddlers get to help each animal complete a task before the animal falls asleep. This has been a great alternative to the traditional bedtime story for Grace.  The illustrations are beautiful and it’s free!

In addition to apps, Skyping on the ipad with uncle Dean and auntie Missy is another one of Gracie’s favorite activities.

:: Annie’s Homegrown Organics ::
These canned meals are a total time saver and bonus – they’re GOOD!  I tend to feel guilty when I notice that I’m feeding Grace the same thing for lunch, week after week.  Not only am I sure that she gets sick of eating the same meal… I also get sick of making the same thing!  That’s what makes these meals perfect for changing things up a bit.  Each meal is certified organic, more than 90% of the packaging is recyclable and there is absolutely no GMO’s in any Annie’s meals!  Gracie’s favorite is the Cheesy Ravioli but she also likes the P’sghetti Loops and Bernie O’s! 

:: Little Tikes Deluxe Ride & Relax Wagon :: 
The bean’s wagon was her Christmas gift from Santa back in December and to be honest, we didn’t really use it until just a few months ago.  Now that we’ve started using it, we use it all the time!  Here are five reasons I LOVE this wagon: 1) it converts to a bench with seating for 2-3 kiddos 2) it has an umbrella, which keeps my fair skinned gal out of the sun 3) it comes with a cooler that keeps drinks and snacks cold for hours 4) it has two bucket seats with drink holders and seatbelts and 5) it has a storage bin in the middle for Gracie’s toys.   

:: Crocs ::
Georgia loves Crocs and has several pairs so when Grace came along I knew she would eventually be rocking Crocs like her mommy.  These shoes were great for the bean as she was learning to walk because they were wide and allowed her to spread her little toes for better footing.  She has several pair all of which were very inexpensive and have been used as everyday footwear and water shoes!

:: Ziploc Space Bags ::
Originally, I stored the clothing that Grace out grew in large plastic bins.  I figured that if I used the long and short bins I would have more room for storage.  Well… as the picture below shows, that was not the case.  The bins were just high enough to NOT fit under beds as advertised and completely filled Gracie’s closet by the time she was 8 months old. 

Per the recommendation of my lady, I’ve since begun transferring all of my bins to Space Bags and so far, what previously filled Gracie's entire closet now takes up less than half the space it did!  Space Bags are easily vacuumed sealed, airtight, watertight and reusable.  AND you can buy a pack of 3 for like 15 bucks! 

On a side note… if we don’t one day have another girl and reuse some of the adorable hand-me-downs we were given, I’ll be very sad. 

:: Bright Baby First Learning Books ::
Grace LOVES her Bright Baby Big Board book and so do we!  Big Board First 100 Words features 100 everyday words for children to learn and help build their vocabulary. The books are built sturdy enough to withstand everything that Grace can dish out, i.e. throwing, chewing, spit, etc.  In reading her First 100 Words book just once a day, she was able to identify nearly every picture by around 15 months.  Now we’re working on identifying and saying the name for each. :)

:: LeapFrog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket ::
This picnic basket is a HUGE favorite in our house!  It’s designed to help little learners explore shapes, colors, manners and more. There are over 30 audio responses that encourage pretend play, and the 14-piece set helps kiddos build motor skills as they sort, match, stack, empty and fill.  I for one LOVED to play kitchen when I was little, so I get a huge kick out of the pretend food that comes with this learning toy.  Grace’s favorite thing is to take the cups out of her basket and serve us drinks. :)

For favorite things I (0-3 months) click here
For favorite things II (4-7 months) click here
For favorite things part III (8-12 months) click here

July iPhone Dump

Friday, July 26, 2013

Picnic @ the Pool

{A pizza picnic to be exact.  Pool time + pizza + sunshine = happy baby and happy mamas.}

{Gracie rockin her new bathing suit cover courtesy of her "guncles" (gay uncles), Ha!}

{I LOVE baby girl's belly in this suit!  It doesn't get much cuter than this!}

{What a lucky girl to have a guncle who spoils her so very much!}

{Kisses from mama!  This poor girl is constantly getting ambushed by mama & mommy kisses.}

{Even with 4 adults and only one baby, this little squirt had us running all over the park.  Always on the go!}

Summer Bucket List: Have a picnic - check!
13 down ~ 16 to go.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

Happy Campers

We’re baaaaack… and since I’m doing everything and anything to avoid starting the 5 loads of laundry lining the hallway, or tackle the bags that need to be unpacked, I decided I would share photos of our camping trip instead!  Today is Gracie’s day with her grandma and papa so knowing me, I will likely wait until an hour before I pick her up to find the motivation I need to get started.  In my defense, it’s been a busy couple of days, I hurt my big toe and I’m one tired mama. ;)

{My beautiful little gal.  I just love those eyes.}

We just returned from 3 days of outdoor fun on a beautiful piece of private land overlooking the river in Pecos, New Mexico.  The land belongs to our good friend Anthony and his family and it’s one of three sites we’ve had the pleasure of camping at in recent years.

{Our little camp}

This was Gracie’s second camping trip (first as a toddler) and all in all she did great!  Prior to the trip we received weather reports showing a high chance of rain locally but we crossed our fingers that the rain wouldn’t follow us up North.  Once we were loaded up and on our way out of town, the clouds opened and we drove through a rainstorm like none I’ve seen in years. But like most NM weather, it came and went in 15 minutes.  Unfortunately, those 15 minutes turned out to be just enough time to send Grace into hysterics.  She fussed and cried for the next HOUR of the drive, which was a bit hellish for her mamas.  We tried singing… we told her stories… I tried sitting in the back seat and gave her books and snacks, but the only thing that seemed to work was practicing her counting together.  So, nearly the entire drive to Pecos sounded something like this – “one, one! two, two! three, three! four, four! five, five! YAY!” and this repeated more times than I could count.

{I took this picture of G as she drove across the river bridge.  I had driven down before to check the road and I just about had a heart attack as I watched her drive across… even though it was perfectly safe, yikes.}

{This is my favorite picture from our trip.  My loves.}

Thankfully that was our only toddler meltdown and following the commute we got to spend the weekend with a happy and adventurous little bean who was on her best behavior!  She totally chilled in the carrier anytime G and I both needed to do stuff.  At times Georgia would cook with Grace chillin on her back.  I cleaned and set up camp with the bean strapped to me and honestly, I think she loves her carrier because it allows her to be eye level with everyone.  Considering we found it at a second hand baby store for $15 bucks – we LOVE it too!

Grace got to meet three new little friends who kept her pretty occupied.  Two of the kiddos were twins and were too little to play but another gal, we'll call her M, became Gracie’s BF.  I took pictures on day one but didn’t really take the camera or our phones out for the rest of the weekend. For one, we had no reception (which was nice!) and being totally hands free meant that we could hike around, go down to the river, play with the dogs and get dirty without worrying about any electronic devices.  Anthony snapped a few pictures of our trip as well and was nice enough to share them with us.

We took a scenic Jeep tour of the Pecos to see where the forest fires had recently hit.  It was sad to see how much of the mountain had been ravaged by the flames but it’s nothing new for NM.  Being in the high desert and with as dry as it’s been these past couple of years, fires have been a lot more common.  I’m just glad we’ve had so much rain this month to bring some of that life back!

{The bean seems to be a bit skeptical of selfie pics, lol!}

Our adventures in camping with a toddler went way better than I thought they would.  The rest of our time was spent eating tons of delish BBQ (thanks babe), relaxing and following baby girl as she toured the grounds.  She took her regular naps and went to bed at her usual time even with us adults staying up just outside the camper.  I was so proud of her! :)

Pecos, NM 2013 and Jemez, NM 2012.  What a difference a year can make.  Our little camper is growing way too fast!

Oh… and Grace had McDonalds for the first time.  Driving home from camping and limited options = Gracie’s first Happy Meal.  I will say, the tiny fries were adorable!

Summer Bucket List: Go Camping – check!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Liebster Award x 2!

I came back from camping today to the best surprise ever!  This little blog of mine was nominated for TWO Liebster Blog Awards over the weekend.  Woot, woot!  I was telling Georgia this evening how awesome it is to get those occasional reminders that people, (besides her and my mom) read my blog, lol!  Special thanks to B over at Our Journey to Become Mommies and R at Religion: Optional for the wonderful nominations.  You gals made my whole week and I hope you know how much I appreciate you following the adventures of my little family. :) 

For those of you who have never heard of the Liebster Award, it’s basically an awesome way for small bloggers to give recognition to other small bloggers (with 200 followers or less) for the contributions they make to the blogosphere.

Here are the rules: 
- Thank the Liebster Blog presenter who nominated you and link back to their blog.
- Post 11 facts about yourself, answering the 11 questions you were asked and create 11 questions for your nominees.
- Nominate 11 blogs who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.
- Display the Liebster Award logo.
- No tag backs meaning you can’t just re nominate the person who nominated you.

The questions put forth to me (with my answers) are as follows:
1) Paper Book or Electronic?  Paper.  G bought me a Kindle two years ago and I’ve used it once…
2) Who would you have dinner with if you could pick anyone ever?  My dad.
3) What kitchen utensil would you be?  A fork.
4) If you met the president, what would you say to him?  “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. President”.
5) What’s the hardest lesson you have had to learn in your life?  That you can plan and plan but not all things will work out the way you envision and that’s okay.
6) What’s the best decision you ever made?  To wait until I was older (and found the right person) before getting married.
7) What’s your favorite musical?  Wicked.
8) What’s your biggest pet peeve?  When you let someone into traffic and they don’t wave. 
9) What’s your greatest accomplishment?  Becoming a mama!
10) Where do you see yourself in 15 minutes?  Finishing this post.
11) Where do you hope to be in your life by the time you are retired?  Happy, healthy and financially secure.

Here are my nominations (in no particular order):
·       The Terrell’s Journey
·       2 Moms 2 Dogs 2 Babies
·       Two Crazy Canadians
·       My Once Upon a Time
·       From A to Zig
·       Bliggity Bloggity Bloo
·       Our Road to Motherhood

And here are my 11 questions:
1. What is the first thing you noticed about your spouse/partner?
2. If you could relive one day of your life, which would it be?
3. Dogs or cats?
4. What is your biggest pet peeve?
5. What is your idea of the perfect day?
6. What is one television show you watch/DVR every week?
7. Are you a saver or a spender?
8. What made you want to start blogging?
9. What is the best movie you’ve seen in the past year?
10.  Do you have a signature dish?  If so, what is it?
11. Favorite outdoor activity?

Happy blogging friends. :)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Day in the Life of Gracie

Taking a page from the book of Rachel over at Religion Optional, I decided that I would do a “day in the life” of Gracie today.  This is something I’ve wanted to do since reading Rachel’s first, “day in the life” post a year ago chronicling an average day for her daughter (who happens to share a birthday with Grace)!  G worked from home today because she wasn't feeling well so it felt very much like a Saturday or Sunday when we are both home with the bean.  

Life with Grace is different everyday.  Some days we enjoy outings with family and friends.  Some days we all stay in our jammies from morning to night watching way too much TV and some days Grace takes two naps and others there is just the one.  I try and get us out of the house at some point each day and this is usually to go to the grocery store or the park or just to run some errands.  When Grace is at her grandma and papa’s house she spends nearly the entire day outside.  They live across from a beautiful park that just got remodeled so they spend a lot of time over there when they’re not playing out in the yard.  I’ll have to do a second “day in the life” sometime down the road showing what her days look like when she’s at grandma and papa’s. :)   

So, without further ado, here is a typical day in the life of Grace ~   

8:10am: Wakes up and plays with her crib buddies until I’m done showering.  Thank goodness this gal can entertain herself because, like most of you, I prefer to start my day with a shower. ;)

8:35am: Enjoys her morning banana in our bed cuddling with mommy while watching Team Umizoomi.  Yes, we let our kid eat banana in the bed… This gives me about 30 minutes to finish getting ready and she’s actually pretty good about eating her morning snack without making a mess.  Usually.

9:06am: The battle of the morning diaper change begins.  For some reason Grace does NOT like having her diaper changed in the mornings.  This is when I get the most diaper change resistance.

She goes from this…

To this…

9:08am: Greets her dollies and reads books while I get started in the kitchen.

This is when Grace gets into everything she possible can because she knows I’m occupied.  The entryway, kitchen and living room are baby proofed but she still manages to find something to get into.

Are those shoes I see?  Ha!  Got’em!

This gal LOVES Dora.

This drawer in particular gets emptied daily and we can’t seem to keep Grace out of the trash can!  Today I found her Dora doll and one of her shoes in the trash!  We’ve tried everything and nothing keeps her out of it.  She even broke the baby lock we had installed!  I’m just waiting for the day that my iPhone makes its way in there…

9:32am: Breakfast cooking and coffee time.  While I cook and enjoy a cup of Joe, Grace follows me around the kitchen.  Some days she wants to be held so she can see what I’m doing and others she just watches me.

9:50am: G takes a break from work to go through animal flashcards with the bean while I serve her breakfast.

10:05am: Breakfast time with a little Sesame Street.  Georgia introduced Grace to organic ketchup a few weeks ago and she is now obsessed with it.  On the menu this morning: scrambled eggs, avocado and organic cherries (and ketchup).

While I cleaned up our breakfast mess Grace decided it would be a good time to dig into her living room toy bins.

10:38am: Time to get ready for the day.  Our routine begins with brushing Gracie’s teeth.  I brush initially and she finishes the job.

Practice pee. :)

Gettin’ her hair done and getting dressed.  We don’t spend a ton of time in the bean’s room so when we’re in there she wants to play with everything.  Getting dressed involves lots of breaks to play, play, play.

11:00am: More nursery play with her stuffed buddies.  As you can see, it's laundry day. ;) 

She then hits up the magnets on the fridge and has some tent time with her Vtech Touch & Teach Turtle.

11:19am: I promised Grace that we would make homemade popsicles today. ;)  It was the easiest thing ever.  The mixed berry popsicles were done and in the freezer in 5 minutes!

11:25am: The moment Grace has been waiting for – time to let out the doggies.  She will stand by the garage door until one of us comes over to walk her into the garage.  She loves those pups!

11:35am: Naptime!  This is the one to two hours (sometimes three!) that I have in the afternoon to do dishes, laundry and whatever else I feel like.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t love naptime.  It’s wonderful. ;)

Gracie is off the bottle but gets a sippy cup with 6 ounces of milk at naptime and takes her afternoon naps in our bed.  We like to lay with her when she’s going down for a nap and have some cuddle time. :)

1:17pm: Less than two hours later and she is back at it!  Gotta love that bedhead!

1:30pm: Lunchtime!  Since we had G home with us for the day she grilled up a yummy lunch.  On the menu this afternoon: charbroiled ribs, black bean medley and sweet corn.

2:14pm: G’s lunch made a disaster of the kitchen so while I cleaned up Grace played with Mommy.  No pictures of this hour, I was busy. ;)

3:30pm: Mama and the bean head off to our local market for some fruit and veggies.  Have I mentioned how much I love wearing hats everyday and NOT wearing make-up!


5:10pm: Grace has her late afternoon snack of organic blue berries and baked veggie sticks while watching the end of Kung Fu Panda II.  This gives me some time to put groceries away.

5:41pm: Time to check the mail.  My girl LOVES the Cozy Coupe Nani gave her for her birthday.  On nights when we check the mail, we also take a neighborhood stroll.  All the while Grace yells, “vroom, vroom” while turning her little steering wheel.

6:16pm: TIME OUT!  The bean has been crawling under the table to unplug the fan the past couple of days.  Today she was back at it even though she knows it’s a no, no.  Two back-to-back offenses landed her in “time out” for 5 minutes. It’s hard enough on us to have to put her in time out when it’s warranted… I didn’t take pictures.

6:30pm: Watching Mommy prepare dinner.

6:45pm: Bath time with mommy.  Washing up and brushing teeth.

7:20pm: Georgia had to run out to buy a replacement part for the camper this evening so dinner was a bit later than usual.  On the menu this evening: Annie’s Organic Ravioli, avocado, sliced kiwi and Jasmine rice.

8:24pm: Off to bed.

A bit of goofing around…

8:31pm: And it’s lights out.  The babe gets a last sippy cup of milk mixed with water while going to bed and gets a last cuddle with Mommy who will take her to her crib once she falls asleep.  This routine typically takes G around 30 minutes.  The one thing we have to be sure of before putting Grace in her crib is that Bunny is in there.  Bunny is her favorite crib buddy these days. 

And there you have it.  A day in the life of little miss Gracie.  What’s your routine with your little one?  I would love to hear all about it.  Does your weekly schedule differ from your weekend schedule?  Do you find that one day of the week is more difficult than another (for us it’s Mondays because G works off site in another city).  What’s your favorite part of the day?

As Rachel wrote in her post, “so, who’s next”?!
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