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Another’s Perspective

Girls at Japanese Garden, Portland, OR

We met some friends at the Japanese Garden today. We got there earlier than they, and took that time to explore on our own. I used to come here regularly before kids, and only once or twice when Chloe was little. It is a lovely place, even in winter. Unfortunately, by the time our friends arrived, Leo was ready to go. However, we stayed for another hour or so, giving the girls time to hang out and enjoy being together. Leo was clingy and wanted holding the entire time. By the end I was ready to just get home.

Before leaving, we decided to exit the garden (no food or drinks allowed), and eat a snack outside the gates. The other mom is a newer friend of mine. She’s done a lot of traveling and living around the world, and married a man from another country. I love hearing about her experiences in other cultures, and I often see, by things she says, how it has informed her perspective.

Anyway, there are two particular instances that stick out in my mind, that I found myself thinking about later. The first is that she remembered to pack her daughter’s snack – a cheese quesadilla, some unpeeled clementines and a water bottle. I, on the other hand, did not consciously pack a snack, instead relying on what I happen to have in my bag for moments like this – a kids Clif bar, which Chloe and Leo shared, packets of organic gummies and two small juice boxes – all pre-packaged from the store. I also wiped my kids hands with a wet wipe and offered one. What do you think? Interesting to see the difference between the snacks, right? While I believe both are perfectly acceptable, I should have known, since my kids didn’t eat much for lunch, that they would be hungry. It was a good reminder to try and pack fresh more often than I do, though our impromptu snack was fine.

The other instance was when we got back to the parking lot. The mom took a peek inside our minivan, behind the kids’ row, and exclaimed “You could have a dance party back there!” It made me laugh, because it’s true (a preschool dance party anyway)! But her comment does put into perspective our choice of vehicle (newer, though we bought it used after David accidentally totaled our last car). I am really happy with it. It is comfortable for our family of four + dog, though it is the biggest car I’ve ever owned. It reminded me how lucky we are to be able to make these choices. From many perspectives, we are truly living the American dream right now. We have more than most. I don’t regret our choices (though I may in the future, and I did miss the AWD of our old vehicle when it snowed here a few weeks back). Looking through the other mom’s eyes was enlightening. It reminded me to be grateful. To be more conscious of my choices and time, and how they affect my children, our budget, and our family.

Sometimes an outside perspective really does work wonders.


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Personalized pet tags work as identification on children, too.

Engraved cat tag from Petsmart on child's shoe as ID

With lots of holiday traveling coming up for many families, I thought I’d repost something I shared on a facebook group. I never really had to worry about this with my daughter (of course, there was only one child to watch back then), but my son will inexplicably decide to bolt away while we’re out shopping or running errands. This little piece of identification could make all the difference.

There was some discussion on here recently about name tags and ID bracelets and I thought I’d share this little tag. Despite the close-up pic, it is a small, featherweight cat tag on size 8 toddler shoes. There are many sizes and shapes. It cost $7.50 at Petsmart and I was able to make it in about 2 minutes. The front shows his name and the back holds up to four lines of text. This is what I included on the back:

Born: June 2011
Mom: xxx-xxx-xxxx
Dad: xxx-xxx-xxxx
Our City and State

These are velcro shoes, but if they were lace-up I’d probably put it on the front. It would also work well as a jacket zipper pull. From what I hear, all emergency personnel are trained to look at shoes and clothing for ID on a child. I don’t expect to ever lose my son, but just in case, this is a handy little piece of ID.

With four lines of text available on the back, there is plenty of room for health/allergy information as well as contact and identifying information. Plus it is a much cheaper alternative to the classic medical indication jewelry (and not as bothersome for little wrists or necks not used to wearing jewelry).

 


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First Day of School 2013-1014

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 11.14.14 AM

Both kids started their respective preschool classes at the end of last week (on separate days). For Chloe, it was pretty much old hat, since she had gone to the same preschool last year. She was excited to see some of her old classmates and easily made new friends on her first day.

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 11.15.46 AM

Leo was the unknown, but I was pretty much knew he would do fine. This was his first 9-month preschool class, held in the same building and with the same teacher as Chloe. I think it all felt really familiar to him (as it should, since he came with us every time I dropped off Chloe last year). This time, though, he got to be the one to participate. Moms are required to stay during the first two classes, and I was glad to have had the opportunity to see first hand the kind of experiences he would have. And I was very happy with what I saw.

The only thing that concerns me is how I will do, taking the kids to school on a daily basis (although they attend alternate days). It’s a 12-15min drive one way, which makes for almost an hour of commuting if I choose to come back home between drop-off and pick-up. I know it will be worth it, though. One big benefit will be having more one-on-one time with Chloe. I hardly ever have that, and now I’ll get it two mornings a week. I anticipate some fun excursions (and definitely easier grocery shopping)!


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DIY Boys Totally Radical Rocket Ship Onesie :: Totally Tulip® Fabric Paints

DIY Boys Rocket Ship Onesie Tutorial

Note: This is a sponsored post. I was given paints to use for this project, but the idea, opinions and tutorial below are completely my own.

Do you remember using Tulip Soft and 3D Paints (aka “Puffy Paint”) back in the eighties? I was a kid back then and remember seeing it everywhere – jackets, shoes, school bags, and of course, t-shirts! It was one of those fun DIY projects that everyone could do, with good results almost every time.

Flash forward thirty years. Tulip has kindly given me the opportunity to re-live those moments using their products! My task: to update a shirt using the classic techniques from my childhood.

For this project, I thought that I would do something with Leo in mind, for a change. He loves things that go, especially trucks, construction vehicles and airplanes. Then, as I was starting to jot down ideas, a rocket ship came to mind, and I knew he would love it!

Here are the steps, including a printable stencil that you can download for free!

DIY Boys Totally Radical Rocket Ship Onesie

Supplies :
Onesie or T-shirt
Freezer Paper
Xacto knife or scissors
Iron
Foam Craft Brushes
Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint

1. Start with a clean onesie that has been washed and dried at least once.

2. Download the rocket ship image and print it out onto freezer paper (more on freezer paper stencils here). Carefully cut out the shaded areas with an xacto blade to make your stencil.

3. Position the stencil on your shirt where you would like it and then iron it down in place.

4. Place a piece of cardboard on the inside of your onesie (to keep paint from possibly bleeding through). Using your paint and foam craft brush, press the paint gently onto your fabric using a tapping motion until all areas are filled, changing colors as desired. Let dry for about 4 hours.

5. Once dry, gently peel the stencil off of the fabric. Now, outline your filled in areas. Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint has a fine applicator point perfect for this kind of work. Let that dry another 4 hours and your little one will be ready to blast off!

The onesie shown uses Tulip Soft Fabric Paint in Neon Orange, and Tulip Slick Dimensional Paint in Fluorescent Blue, Green, Yellow and Orange.

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Tulip continues to be a craft favorite in households today! In addition to Tulip Soft Paints and Dimensional Fabric paints included in my post, Tulip is known for it’s wide variety of Fashion Glitters, Glam it up Crystals, Fabric Markers and One-Step Tie Dye! Find all your favorite Tulip products by clicking here.

In fact, all this summer Tulip is bringing tie dye to the masses with their Tie Dye Your Summer campaign! Visit their Tie Dye Your Summer site at Tie Dye Your Summer. They have so many fun tie dye videos and inspirations as well as an awesome giveaway of a tie dye iPad and party (it really is an amazing prize pack that you’ll want to enter! Click here to enter this exclusive giveaway!

Find more I Love To Create project ideas, tutorials, videos and more on Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Blog

See more Tulip Paint projects from other participating bloggers below:


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Leo’s 2nd Birthday – Circus Party!

Circus Birthday Party Table

Earlier this month we hosted Leo’s 2nd Birthday party at our house. We kept it small, yet festive, so as not to overwhelm the birthday boy. Luckily, the morning was sunny and perfect. We were able to throw open the french doors to the backyard and let kids and parents wander and play where they liked.

Circus Party Themed Plates and Napkins, Tablewarecircus party kids tent gigatent

sand table

I learned from Chloe’s 3rd birthday to not have too many activities planned, to let things flow a little more naturally. We had plenty of yard toys (sand and water table, beach balls, kiddie pool, push toys, bikes, etc) available, and plenty of seating for the grown-ups. Inside we set up the GigaTent Play Tent (that I bought last year for a steal on Craigslist!) along with more toys. Mostly it was open play, but toward the end we gathered everyone together for a circus-revised game of Bingo for both the kids and adults (original free download here), as well as Pin the Nose on the Clown that I got at the party store. I had grand plans of twisting up balloon animals (see my practice butterfly and poodle) and face-painting, but that never quite materialized. Turns out its hard to host a party and provide the entertainment at the same time!

Birthday boy cupcake

Circus Party Cupcakes

Overall it was a grand time. I was really surprised at how Leo sat and smiled at everyone while we sang him “Happy Birthday.” So cute! He wasn’t at all as overwhelmed as I thought he’d be. Looking back, it may be because we were at our home and not out somewhere else, or perhaps he just sensed that something special was afoot. Also, because of an attendee’s allergy, the vanilla cupcakes were egg-free (using this recipe), topped with cream cheese frosting. The only photo I have of the goody bags is this one. I was so proud of them, but forgot to take another photo!

circus masks

Pin the Nose on the Clown, Circus Party Game

One question I got a lot was about the canopy above the food table – it’s our Ikea Mysig Bed Canopy (only $10!) that I blogged about here. It fit perfectly over our Ikea sewing table -turned-food table.

One parent described our house as “IKEA fresh,” and I was really pleased to hear that. I do love me some Ikea, and why not, when everything is so budget-friendly and easily re-purposed in many ways?

 


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Chloe & Leo’s Vintage Play Kitchen

kids vintage play kitchen

I’ve mentioned the kids’ play kitchen many times here on the blog. Because of that I thought I’d post some photos of  this special “toy” that’s provided countless hours of play and learning, and also as a record for my kids to look back on someday.

play kitchen, melissa and doug sweet treat towerPlenty of room for storage, which makes clean up easy (though never organized like this).
play kitchen, sink detailThe “sink” is cleverly made with a tupperware style plastic container

First of all, the play kitchen was a gift from David’s parents. I believe they had seen it at a colleague’s home and offered to buy it. Eventually it became theirs, and then later they drove it all the way out here (to Portland) from Colorado on the back of their pick-up. I don’t know much else about it, but even before it became ours, it looked very well-loved, yet still sturdy. It has a handmade quality to it, but may have been put together from a kit, for all I know. The previous owners passed down several pieces of play food and dinnerware. More pieces were added later, mostly as gifts (like that Melissa & Doug Sweet Treat Tower puzzle that the kids got for Easter, in lieu of candy). Once, after cleaning it all up for the umpteenth time, I decided to put half of it away, mostly the mis-matched odds and ends. They still played with it just as much.

play kitchen, side view Side view. It sits between the kitchen and the dining area.
play kitchen, stove and oven detailThe oven handle says “Hamilton MFG Co” and the stove dials are record player knobs.
play kitchen, nursery rhyme detail, there was an old woman who lived in a shoe...There are decals all over depicting scenes from nursery rhymes. This one is “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe…”

To be completely honest, I remember David and I hesitating when we first saw it. It isn’t really how we see our “style,” and takes up a chunk of space. However, I admit that its play value has completely exceeded our expectations. I am so grateful now to my in-laws foresight. I have grown to love it as much as the kids, and now see it as charming and important part of their history, to be cherished and remembered.


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Preschool & Toddler Activities

Chasing bubbles in the back yard

It is not even summer break, yet I already feel like I’m having a hard time keeping the kids busy. On one hand there’s the advice that says it is good for kids to be bored, because it forces them to be creative with the tools (or toys) they have access to. On the other hand, I’ve also read that boredom actually puts a lot of stress on a young brain, which science has shown to be unhealthy. All I know is when the kids are bored, they make this mama C.R.A.Z.Y.!

Since Leo’s second birthday is coming up in a couple weeks (and since my parents want me to buy Leo’s gifts for them), I have been happily researching some new games and activities I think would keep him occupied he would like. I’ve given him one gift a bit early, the Design and Drill Tool Kitby Educational Insights. He took to it like fish to water. Anything with pieces and moving parts is fascinating to him. It’s the smaller of the three sets, but I wanted to give it a try first. I’m poised to buy more bolts and an extra drill so his sister can join him. I love to have them working on a project together. The other sets come with pattern sheets that older kids can follow.

Speaking of patterns, Chloe is definitely aware of them in both shapes and colors. Here are a couple of her creations from just this past week. These were projects she designed completely on her own. All I got was a “Mom, come look what I made!” at the end. Plus, I’ve got to hand it to her, she takes Leo’s interference a lot better than I would if I was trying to concentrate on a creative project. I usually try to give them a little time to work it out (like with the colored plastic blocks), but if Leo cannot control himself from knocking down her buildings down over and over (like the wooden ones today), then I will remove him and give her some peace to work.

We also do a lot of arts-and-crafts type projects. Here was a project from yesterday, where the kids drew on popsicle sticks and I helped lash them together with tape (the classic “raft of popsicle sticks” project). It kept them both busy for a short time, and we did an “experiment” at the end to see if they would sink or float. However, Chloe was not happy to have the colors in her raft began to wash away. Whoops. I forgot that they were washable markers (the only kind I’ll let her brother near). By the way, Chloe told me that picture was of her and me that she drew on the sail.

And sometimes, I just throw my hands up in the air while saying “Whatever!” and go pull out something I’ve been saving – like these animal masks that I ordered for Leo’s upcoming party. Part of me wants the kids to be surprised, but part of me also knows that it wouldn’t hurt for them to get played with a little before the big day. It was surprisingly fun! We made silly faces in the bathroom mirror, trying on the different animals and finally I had to run and get my phone so I could take a couple pictures. This is the face of a child happily engaged in the activity she is doing at the moment. A photo worth a thousand words to this mommy!

 


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Before and After: High Chair Seat Cushion & Cover

Hauck Alpha Chair with New Seat Cover

Ah, the plethora of kid stuff. I don’t know about you, but I thought we’d get by with a lot less gear than we actually have. I’d done my homework, read reviews and comparison shopped. I’d wanted to make the right choices the first time around. But the truth is, you don’t really know what will work until you try it in your own home with your own kid. Our first high chair, for example, had great reviews, two trays, folded for storage and could convert to a small chair for later. It sounded great in theory, but despite all those things we never liked it. The footprint was too wide, it was heavy, the trays were too big too clean in the sink, and we never folded and put it away between meals. What’s the point if it was going to be used 3+ times a day? We used it for both kids for the least amount of time possible.

As soon as Leo was old enough we switched him to a booster and tray set that sat on top of one of our dining chairs. It worked fine for a while, but I could see that Leo couldn’t rest his legs comfortably, plus it was too high to push under the table. We would all occasionally trip on the back legs. I began to look for other options.

Thanks to craigslist I found a like-new Hauck Alpha Chair for a bargain. It was and is the perfect chair for Leo. I could go on and on about it, but I’ll limit myself to saying that it is super sturdy, adjustable, comfortable, promotes good posture and he can climb into it easily by himself. It also matches the rest of our dining chairs (unlike Chloe’s Ikea Urban Junior Chair). Winner!

We’ve had the Alpha chair since January and just recently took the seat and the foot plate down a notch to accommodate Leo’s growth (my little boy is growing up!). Actually, the only thing I didn’t love about the chair was the seat pad. It was thin and lumpy. If food spilled on it, it would immediately stain. More like a bib than a seat cover. Yuck. Here is the “Before” photo:

Time for a new seat cushion! Here is what I sewed up to take its place:

Much improved wouldn’t you say?

My cushion cover skills were limited to the one I made for our storage bench years ago. This time I had to buy the foam padding and add a strap down system, too. Luckily it was easy to find a sheet of foam at Mill End and it easily cut down to size (the sheet was so large, that I also ended up making a cushion for under Barkley’s dog bed). I used the same strap/velcro system as on the original pad (see above photo), but I chose PUL (or polyurethane laminated fabric) for the covering. It is water resistant and popular for cloth diaper covers. It is easily also easily wiped clean or washed, and came in prints suitable for a young boy.

Leo sitting in his Hauck Alpha Chair

Much better!

So far the seat cushion has held up nicely during the past couple months. Makes me glad I took the time to do it right. Do you have a chair that could benefit from a new seat or cushion cover?


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Easter Egg Hunt 2013

Nothing like the joy of a good Easter Egg Hunt! We’ve attended the same one every year since Chloe could walk. Its free, hosted by a local church, and starts off with a few crafts for the kids to do while they wait. This year was Leo’s first. You should have seen his eyes light up when he noticed the fields sparkling with colorful eggs!

Next year Chloe will be too old to hunt the same field as Leo, so I am glad I was able to get some photos of them together. By the end, Chloe had her basket filled literally to overflowing. So much fun, but unfortunately, over so quickly! More of our hunt photos can be seen here, and a special thanks to the kids’ aunt and uncle for providing them with such adorable, personalized baskets!

What about you? Do you have fond memories of egg hunts? Treat-filled Easter baskets? Pancakes shaped like bunnies?

 

 


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Daily Reflection: Rose, Bud and Thorn

At a dinner gathering a while ago, some friends of ours introduced us to the Rose, Bud and Thorn daily reflection activity. For those of you who have not heard of it, it works like this: You begin by reflecting on your day. The best part of your day is considered your “Rose”. The worst part of your day is your “Thorn,” and your “Rosebud” or “Bud” is something you are looking forward to (either later that day, or tomorrow). From searching the web I can see that it is often used as a classroom exercise or dinner table conversation starter, where each person takes a turn to share their Rose, Bud, and Thorn.

Here are my Rose, Bud and Thorn for today:

Rose: While I was driving Chloe to preschool this morning, I was singing along to Taylor Swift. Chloe exclaimed “Mama, you and the music sound the same! I can’t tell you apart at all!” Such a compliment, even from a four-year-old!

Thorn: Since Leo refuses to sit in a shopping cart, I’ve gone back to carrying him in the Beco on my back. I even gave him his beloved pacifier in the hopes of having a quiet 10 minute shopping experience. Instead, he spit the pacifier out on the floor, pulled my hair, yelled, purposefully spit saliva down my back and tried to bite a hole in my shirt. Seriously! My son does not like shopping. It’s strange because Leo is generally easy going. Anyway, not a fun experience.

Rosebud: I’m already looking forward to the weekend. Hopefully, we’ll be painting our bedroom. I’ve got a gallon of Benjamin Moore’s Natura paint waiting at the ready!

So, what was your Rose, Bud and Thorn for the day? Be sure to ask your husband or kids and see what they have to say. You may be surprised. 🙂

P.S. Here is a nice listing of the benefits of using the Rose, Bud and Thorn as a family conversation starter.


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Picking up the pieces of a real life mess

This is what I caught the kids doing earlier this morning. Actually, it was Chloe who came to me to let me know something was up. Turns out Leo climbed into Chloe’s closet, pulled down the jar of Pyssla beads, unscrewed the lid, and dumped handfuls out all over the floor.

A pretty big mess, as you can see.

This son of mine… don’t let that innocent looking face fool you. Only a year and a half old, but he gets into EVERYTHING. He is his father’s son, for sure. A real problem solver, always trying to figure out how things work and what they do. Right now he loves things that have moving parts or pieces that work together  – latches, drawers, door knobs, lids… I’m sure throwing all those colorful beads around must have been quite a reward for a job well done.

I’ve known for a while now that I need to find a way to lock that closet. The last time he was in there he drew on the walls with marker. Just this week I installed latches for the hallway drawers after the internal latches failed to keep out little hands. How can such a little boy, who barely talks, be this capable? And why do I continue to underestimate him?

For now, I guess I need to install more locks!


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Not on your face!

This is an outtake shot of Leo while I was helping Chloe make her valentine cards on the other end of the table. I had set him up with some Alex Dots and Dashes paint markers to play with, which he’s used fine in the past. However, I guess he was feeling experimental, and decided to either taste the tip or just see what it felt like on his face. This reminded me of a photo I took of Chloe a little over a year ago. Her photo was taken December 5, 2011, a couple weeks after she turned three. I remember uploading the photo from my phone onto Facebook and writing “I guess it was inevitable…” 🙂

For the record, although it was labeled ‘washable,’ the ink left a blue stain on Leo’s face for the rest of the day. The washable Crayola marker that Chloe used came right off. Good to know!


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Sunshine + Bubbles = Happy Giggles!

When the sun shines, all the Portlanders come out to play, especially us! Yesterday it felt like the first time we’d seen the sun in weeks. Time to pull out the bubbles! Just why are they so enchanting? I’m not sure, but they are fun to blow and watch, their myriad of colors swirling – each one a miniature celebration.


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Family Portrait by Chloe, age 4

This is a drawing that Chloe made yesterday. I totally, totally love it. For the longest time she was mostly a scribbler. We never guided her drawing, but sometimes she would as us to draw something for her. Now suddenly she is starting to make all kinds of recognizable drawings. They are really fun to see, and sometimes come with imaginative scenarios or stories that blow me away.

The other photo shows her explaining the people in the picture: Daddy is in the middle. He is carrying her and Leo, one on each arm. He’s strong! Mama is in the back next to me, and Barkley (our dog) is the puffball in the corner under Leo.

The toy is a Fisher Price Kid Tough Travel Doodle Pro with Light. It’s been a great! I bought it for Leo to play with during our holiday flights to Colorado and Cancun, and also because he was always fighting over Chloe’s Toulouse-LapTrec from B. Toys (both definitely on my list of best toy purchases ever). The Travel Doodle has a little stowaway light the kids like to switch off and on, and turns off by itself (genius! why doesn’t anyone make a kids flashlight that does this?). For Chloe I pack her travel Aquadoodle which is much thinner and lighter, but mostly now she just draws on her ipad. We also have the large floor Aquadoodle that both kids can play with at the same time. All have been a big hit, and worth every penny.

PS. I just found out when getting the link to the Toulouse-LapTrec that all versions before 2011 have been recalled, which includes Chloe’s. Looks like they might send a new one. Hers is the chocolate brown version, but now it looks like they only come in olive green and red.

 


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Better

Things are gradually getting back to normal around here. The kids are feeling better, and so far, David and I have stayed healthy despite the wealth of germs that I am sure were floating around our house. My hands are raw and chapped from over-washing. I have wiped all doorknobs, sinks, tables and counter tops, plus all areas of floor where the kids threw up with antibacterial spray or disinfecting wipes. David mopped the floor in Chloe’s room. I washed all the bed sheets, sick clothes and towels in an extra long hot cycle with an extra rinse. Our house has never seen a week like this and I hope it never does again.

I am not exactly a germaphobe, but I do take precautions, especially with the kids. We’ve all had our seasonal flu shots (except David), and I carry two kinds of hand wipes in the diaper bag and in the car. We also teach the kids to wash their hands, especially before meals and after playing outside. Okay, maybe I am a germaphobe, but I can tell you caring for two very sick kids is exhausting and stressful. This year seems to be particularly bad, all around the country. I am a firm believer in the old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

One of the few highlights of my week was laying down the new rug in Leo’s room (after all vomiting had ceased, of course). It arrived while I was away. Our house has mostly wood floors, so the kids love having this cozy new place to sit and play. The image above shows a photo of it, and of Chloe concentrating on building an extra tall Mega Blok tower, which she was very proud of. Yep, things are finally getting back to normal. Phew!

 

 


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Dear Leo, 18 months

(I wrote this in December, when Leo really was 18-months old, but I never posted it before we left on our whirlwind Colorado-to-Cancun trip. I figure better late than never…)

Dear Leo,

You turned 18 months old this week. Just thinking about you as I write this makes my heart swell with joy. You are such a wonder – so sweet and loveable and very smart! You are so interested in how things work – how pieces go together and come apart, how they move, or float or spill or  break. You are observant and curious about everything. The more new things you get your little hands on the happier you are. Even the tiniest speck of debris interests you and you’ll happily bring it over to share.

You are a good eater, which brings your mama much relief. You rate normally for height and weight, unlike your petite big sister. It does seem like you’re getting pickier as time goes by, though. You have your front four upper and lower teeth in, and the other day I saw one of your top back left molars peeking out. I bet it will be a lot of help for grinding up food you can’t quite eat on your own yet.

You’re fast and mobile. Oh boy. You were able to climb onto our bed and the sofas early on, and now that you’re up on the chairs you want to get onto the table, too (eek!). You’ve had lots of tumbles, but they don’t seem to deter you much.

Now that you’re big enough, Chloe has had to get used to you “sharing” toys that were once free whenever she wanted. She still grabs things out of your hands, but she is learning that is getting harder to do, and your not afraid to make a fuss. On the other hand, you give her quite a bit of grief, too, always wanting what she has, or being where she is. Or pulling her hair – you have definitely yanked both of us good. Not just strands, but clumps.

The thing that concerns me most about your development right now is the fact that you don’t talk. I mean, you can say mama and dada and dog (da!), but you don’t do it very often. The word you say most (and quite clearly) is “ball.” Oh, but you are good at sounds and noises – vroom, vroom, ruff, ruff, and meow along with many others.

Despite being a little man of few words, you certainly communicate. You point like a champ, nod and shake your head for yes and no to answer a question, tap your bowl or hand me your cup when you want more, rock in your high chair when you want to get down, and grab and tug on your diaper when you need a diaper change. See? Its all so clear. And maybe your dad is right, that its my fault you don’t need to talk. In my quest to become a good mother, I have learned to read your body language and other subtle (and not so subtle) cues to interpret your needs and wants, or I simply anticipate them. I’ve tried to wait and make you talk, but it doesn’t seem to work and we both get frustrated.

The delayed talking thing concerned me so much that I took you to see some specialists. And you know what happened? You wowed them in every other way. Your fine and gross motor skills are very well developed for your age AND you passed a test in cognition as well as a three year old. So. You have a lot going for you. I guess maybe I just need to be patient. You’ll talk when you’re ready, I think.

Love you my darling boy,
Mama


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Leo’s First Birthday Photos

I can hardly believe that Leo is already a year and a half old. Where has the time gone? I will so miss having a little baby to snuggle and hold, but I have to admit that having a toddler to interact with is pretty darn fun. I was looking back at some of my old photos and realized that I never posted these gorgeous images taken by my friend Greta at Olive Hill Photography last June. So bright and fun! I don’t think I’ll ever tire of looking at these images for as long as I live.


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Nursery Thoughts

I’ve been wanting to spruce up Leo’s nursery for a while now. Currently his room consists of his sister’s hand-me-down white Ikea furniture (2 malm dressers, a billy bookcase, and a crib), a rocking chair, and two Isak prints, which I still love (you can see them in Chloe’s old nursery from a few years ago). The only things I’ve bought specifically for him were a grey minky changing pad cover, a colored bin set we found at a yard sale, and a set of shelves that we just installed.

It looks nice enough, but now that he’s a year and a half, his room is transitioning from a baby’s room to a toddler room – a comfortable and safe play area and toy storage are necessities. There is also the concern that Leo’s room is the coldest in the house, while Chloe’s gets the hottest. When we turn the heat up for Leo, Chloe’s room turns into an oven. Also, Leo’s room cools off quickly, especially at night. Room heaters seem to be either too hot or too loud, or a safety hazard.

Eventually we’ll put in replacement windows, which should cut the draft, but until then, David suggested an area rug as a layer of insulation. As long as it wasn’t white or light colored (which would just get dirty from the kids and dog) I could pretty much choose. I scoured the internet, including Ikea and Target, but nothing in the right size or for under $100. Finally, I saw a decent one on Craigslist, but it had sold. She told me it was purchased from rugsusa. I saw it on sale for the same price, including shipping, so I decided to go for it. I really hope it looks good.

The other thing I’ve been considering is a wall decal. I had one of David’s canvas paintings hanging above the changing pad, but Leo thinks its great fun to knock it down. A decal would solve this problem. I particularly love this one from LittleMooseDecals. I imagined it including Leo’s name and a slight tweak of the moon and asked if a customization was possible. Then Michelle sent me the image above as a sample. Awesome! Have I mentioned Leo’s walls are the same pale blue? And that I like clouds?

So, the question is, will these things go together, do you think? One thing I’ve learned about myself is that being a graphic designer doesn’t always translate well to home decor for me. However, I notice I gravitate to the same kind of nursery images on Pinterest, so maybe I should just go with my gut on this?


1 Comment

First Snow of Winter

Nothing like the first snow of winter! It rarely snows here in Portland, so when it does it feels extra special. Even though we were running late this morning with Chloe due at gymnastics, I couldn’t say no when she asked to go outside to play. This was also Leo’s first real experience with snow. Last December he was only 6 months old! Now he is running around and checking out the substance called “snow” like a budding scientist. And I’m glad they got the chance, because when we were done with gymnastics all the snow had gone as quickly as it had come.

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