Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fall Crafts

This fall I've been trying to do some crafts with the girls (mostly Little A) in the afternoon and on weekends.  Little A does a lot at day care, but I like to do some things with her too. 
Leaf Collage
The leaf collage took a few days, and Little A had fun working on her project.  First, we went for a walk to collect leaves from around our neighborhood.  When we got home, we put the leaves between the pages of books so they would be really flat.  A few days later, we took the leaves out and Little A arranged her favorite leaves on contact paper.  I folded the contact paper, with paper on, in half, then pulled the paper backing off one side.  When she was finished, I took the rest of the paper backing off, and pressed it on top of her leaves.  I hung her collage up on our sliding glass door.  It looks really cool when the sun shines on it!
Little A really loves any project that involves glue, so this was a big hit.  I drew trees on a piece of paper and cut tissue paper into small square.  I picked a mix of what I considered "fall" colors, and gave Little A the glue.  She insisted that she needed purple leaves, so we added some purple leaves too.  She made a bunch of trees to send to family. 

Paper Plate Pumpkins
Little A and Baby J both did this project, but I couldn't get any pictures of Baby J because I was busy keeping the paint brush out of her mouth.  This was a project from Momma's Fun World via Pinterest.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Your Mission...

It's hard to believe Baby J's birthday is less than 2 weeks away!  Her party planning started just about the time she was born, so I'm excited to share the invitations today.  Just after Baby J was born, I was going through my Google Reader, and saw this post.  I knew right away that Baby J's birthday party would have a secret agent theme.  I ordered this book over the summer to help with the planning.  I thought about using the blue and red for the theme, but later decided I really wanted to use pink, so I'm using pink, black and grey instead.  More details to follow...

Monday, November 5, 2012

11 Months

Baby J is a silly, silly girl.  She was cracking me up while I was trying to take her pictures this month.  So many funny faces (as you'll note from the picture overload on this post). 
One of Baby J's favorite things this month is to play peek-a-boo.  We've been playing for months, but now she initiates it.  If there's a blankie nearby, she'll pick it up, cover her head and then pull it down smiling.  It is absolutely adorable!  E and I will hide on the side of walls and peek out at her, which makes her giggle like crazy. 
She also seems to be getting ready to dress herself (maybe she's trying to tell me she's done with the matching outfits?  I hope not!).  Any time she finds clothes, she picks them up and tries to put them over her head.  She'll do the same thing with reusable bags.  Apparently they make great hats.
Baby J is standing all by herself now.  Every day you get more and more stable.  I'm sure it won't be long until she tries her first steps (and then my life will get even busier!). 
This one might be my favorite of the month, playing with her bison!  Such a sweetie!

This month Baby J has been eating more table food with us.  Some favorites are cheese, ham, bananas, peas and crackers.  We'll give her a little bit of whatever we're eating to try.  If she likes it, and she runs out she'll scream to let us know she needs more.  If she doesn't like it, she throws it right on the floor.  She's very opinionated.
Baby J is also starting to get pretty chatty.  No real words yet, but lots of ma ma ma ma and da da da da.  She clearly knows who we are, and lets us know she's looking for us. 
I'm taking this silly face as a sign she was ready to be done.  So hard to believe there's only 1 more round of pictures left! 

What to Expect Giveaway!!

Last week Little A grew up on me.  Somehow she reached 2 1/2.  How did that happen?  How in the world has it been over three years since I first found out I was pregnant with Baby Steinhoff.

I can still remember getting that first positive pregnancy test.  I had been feeling a little off, but I initially wrote that off to a busy month with lots of travel.  E and I had decided we were ready to add to our little family, but we had just started trying.  I was expecting it would be at least a few months before I would get pregnant.  But, there I was looking at a positive pregnancy test in mid-July.  I was in shock.  That couldn’t be possible.  I called E.  No fancy way to announce it, I just called and told him the good news. 
After talking to E, I figured the next step was probably to call the doctor.  While scheduling my first appointment, the nice lady on the phone informed me that I was probably about 6 weeks along.  6 weeks!  If I wasn’t freaked out already, I certainly was after that call.

At the time, I didn’t realize that the first 2 weeks don’t really count.  There were a lot of things I didn’t know about being pregnant.  So, after a quick trip to Target for a few more pregnancy tests to make sure I was really pregnant, I headed to the bookstore.  As I approached the pregnancy section at Barnes and Noble, I was a little (more) overwhelmed.  There were so many books!  When I saw the familiar What to Expect cover, I quickly grabbed a copy and headed to check out, praying that nobody I knew would see me.  
Reading through the first few chapters of What To Expect When You’re Expecting was so great to give me some general information about what was going on with my body, and my new baby, before I was ready to share the good news with family and friends.  Throughout my pregnancy, when I had any weird feelings, or questions about what was going on with me, I first turned to What to Expect.  I appreciated that there were short explanations for a variety of common pregnancy issues.  Yes, I could have searched for my answers online, but, if you’ve ever looked up health related questions online, you know that there is often way more information that you really need to know.  With What to Expect, I didn’t feel like there was information overload.  I found answers, but didn’t have to see accounts of every worst case experience like I may have found on the web.

My very favorite part of the What to Expect When You’re Expecting book though is the weekly guide to baby’s progress.  When I was pregnant with Little A, on Wednesday nights, E and I would get ready for bed, and then we would read about what was happening with our baby.  As soon as I got my positive pregnancy test with Baby J, I got the book back out, and we followed along with her progress too.  Through both pregnancies, it was such a fun time to read what was happening together.

Now that the girls are growing (far too quickly!) I’ve enjoyed having What to Expect the First Year and What to Expect the Second Year to check in with from time to time.  Even after going through the first two years with Little A, my brain can’t seem to remember much about baby development, so I find myself turning to What to Expect as a reminder the common ages for reaching different milestones.
The people at What to Expect have offered a set of all 3 books to one lucky reader.  To enter, leave a comment below with your go to sources for information about pregnancy and little ones.  Entries will close Monday, November 12th.  I will announce a winner on Tuesday, November 13th. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

10 Months

We've reached double digits!  Baby J seems more like a toddler and less like a baby every day.  She's pulling herself up on everything, cruising around on furniture and she's a speedily little crawler.  It's hard to keep things out of her reach now.  When we go to get her away from something she's not supposed to be in, she'll give us a coy little look at take off crawling away from us.  It's so sassy, but so cute too.

Right at 10 months, Baby J got sick for the first time (same as Little A... right at 10 months, sick).  Poor girl caught a stomach bug going around day care.  Luckily she was only really sick for 24 hours, but it was still a sad few days around that time for Baby J.  Before she got sick, she had been refusing to eat much of anything.  No bottles, no baby food, no table food, only milk from Mommy.  I was starting to get really nervous that she wasn't getting enough to eat, but when she recovered from her sickness, she started eating a ton!  We went out to lunch with E's grandma, and I'm pretty sure she ate more than Little A.
This month she's really been really excited when E or I get back from work.  When I get to day care, she'll start squealing and bouncing if she's still in her high chair, or crawling right to me.  One day she got away from J, and almost got down the landing step before I got inside.  It's a such a sweet way to be greeted.  When E gets home from work it's much the same.  Her face lights up, and she'll say, "da, da, da!"  She does not appreciate it if E or I pick up Little A first.  Baby J is letting us know that she needs her attention first!
So, the next pictures shows just how hard it can be to do the monthly photos of this silly little girl.  She is CONSTANTLY on the move, and trying to get away.  Luckily, E was home when I was getting these photos, so I had some help, but she is very wiggly and quick, so it was still quite a challenge.    

Thursday, August 30, 2012

9 Months

My baby girl is 9 months old! I love this age. Her personality is really showing now. She's mobile and can explore a little on her own, but she also loves to snuggle! She loves singing songs and little rhymes, and is starting to play with some of Little A's music toys, the shakers and xylophone especially.
Big girl got her first two teeth this month.  Her first tooth popped through on August 7, and the other followed shortly after (bottom front teeth).  She's also grown a bunch again.  At her 9 month appointment today she was 19 pounds, 2 ounces (63rd percentile) and 28.5 inches long (78th percentile).  Most of her clothes are still 6-12 and 12 months now. 
In addition to crawling around EVERYWHERE now, Baby J is also pulling herself up on everything.  Seriously, anything her hands can reach she tries to use to stand up.  Thankfully, she also gets herself back down without much trouble.  Her crawl is still kind of funny.  Most of the time she has one foot down and the other knee drags along the ground.  If she doesn't like the feel of the ground (especially cement) she'll do a bear crawl. 

Her fine motor skills are developing too.  She finds every little thing that falls on the floor and tries to eat it.  She also likes to point at people and toys which is funny and cute!
See that look?  That's the look that makes me thing we're in for trouble with this little lady. 
We still have a super smiley baby, and our smiley baby is also very ticklish, so it's easy to get her laughing. Besides some adorable laughs and squeals, we hear, "Da, da da, da" quite a bit, and occasionally, "Ma, ma, ma, ma." It's pretty sweet when Little A and Baby J have babbling baby talk conversations. Baby J also has what we call her Gremlin voice that is a raspy/growly voice she babbles with sometimes that makes us laugh.
We've reached a point where it is really hard to take Baby J's monthly pictures.  You can see her trying to get away in the picture above, and at one point during the photos, she wiggled her body under an arm of the chair and was standing on the ground.  Silly little girl.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Miss Merry Mac

Great Grandpa Tom giving Mushkin 1 a hug goodbye.

Last weekend we went camping at Merry Mac Campground in Wisconsin with my mom, her brother and sister, and their families.  We had sunny, cool weather so we got to enjoy camp fires, a little afternoon swimming and lots of time with family. 
My grandma passed away in March, but over the winter had talked about doing a big family camping trip over the summer.  I was really glad that everyone still wanted to go, and that we were able to make it back for the weekend.  We were all sure Grandma Sue was with us.
I remember camping a lot growing up.  And I have seen enough pictures to know we started camping young, and I still enjoy camping now.  But I have to admit, I was a little nervous about how camping with two little ones would go.  We took Little A camping at about 4 months, and again around 16 months.  But taking Baby J at 8 months, and crawling, seemed a more daunting task. 
Both of my girls love being outside, so camping is perfect for them.  Plus, for this trip, we were camping with lots of family to help out with both girls, which helped a lot.  I packed a couple of books for Little A, a handful of toys for Baby J and some markers and coloring books.  That was plenty to keep the girls busy.  To keep Baby J happy, my mom suggested moving our pack and play outside, which was a great solution to give Baby J some room to move around without having her eat too many sticks, dirt, etc. 
Overall, we had a lot of fun.  We came home with two tired, dirty and slightly spoiled little girls, and we can't wait to try it again next summer! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Little A: Toddler Top 10

It's been awhile since I've posted an update about Little A.  To catch up on this silly, sweet and sometimes sassy 2 year old (and show some of my 366 photos), I put together a list of her top 10 favorite things right now.

1.  Tea Parties: On our first day of summer break, a friend had us over for a tea party.  She put apple juice in the tea pots, and Little A loved drinking her "tea" and she hasn't stopped asking to have tea parties since (good thing we have 3 tea sets).

2.  Painting: Another near daily request at our house is to paint.  We've done lots of painting, including watercolors, finger paints, and painting the deck.  There are toddler masterpieces covering our fridge at all times.

This is Little A working on her birthday Thank You cards this spring.  I wrote Thank you on white cardstock, and let her paint with watercolors over the top so the secret message would show.

3.  Swimming: This summer has been hot!  No better way to cool off than swimming.  We've been able to do a few beach and pool days this summer, and Little A can't get enough.  She would stay in the water all day if she could, especially when she's allowed to have her floatie.

4.  Our Garden: We have a small box garden on the side of our house.  Little A, who normally (much like her Mommy) doesn't want anything to do with green veggies, has decided she loves the green beans growing in our garden (making Mommy and Daddy VERY happy!).  She's also a fan of picking raspberries from our bushes.

5.  Stories & Songs: Little A has been a book lover pretty much her whole (short) life.  Many times when we're out on our adventures, she'll find the book area, and bring one (or more) to me to read.  I frequently send her to, "go play!"  But I'm glad she likes to read, and most of the time I'm happy to read to her.  I'll have to post some of our favorites soon.  Along with books, she loves singing too.  And storytimes that include the two... she's in heaven.  She's still running around singing our ECFE songs, and sometimes (ushually when she's supposed to be sleeping) I'll hear her making up her own songs too.

6.  Cartoons: Or as Little A calls them, 'coons.  She's currently obsessed with all things Dora.  Caillou is a close second. 

7.  Adventures: Pretty much everything we do is an adventure.  If our job for the day is a trip to Target, I still call it an adventure (it's much easier to get her ready to go if I call it an adventure).  A few times a week we try to go on some fun little one adventures though, and Little A loves those days.  Actually, we're all much happier on those days. Below: puppet wagon, nature center, train museum
8.  Friends: We are lucky to have quite a few friends and neighbors with little kids for Little A and Baby J to play with.  Little A is really loving all of her friends right now.  She asks about our neighbor, Little L, just about every time we go outside. And she thinks any trip to the park she include Little EE or Little EJ.  Below is Little A playing with Little C.  He's about 6 months older, and she loves trying to catch up.  Here they were playing with a little toy snake E found in the grass.  They took turns hiding the snake in the trees and running around.  Later they played "crocidile" which apparently consists of laying down on your tummy and being really quiet (a game Mommy can certainly get behind).

9.  Diggers: This spring, there was quite a bit of construction on our drive to and from day care/work.  The construction drove me crazy, because I'm running a few minutes late most days, and the construction could slow things down considerably.  But Little A loved to watch the construction machines, especially the diggers. 

10.  Helping:  Little A has become such a good helper (when she wants to).  She enjoys dumping the ingredients in anything being mixed.  She had so much fun helping make Daddy's birthday cake!  She tries to help with Baby J.  Some things (like going to get toys, blankets, towels) she's very good at helping with, but others (like holding Baby J) are still a little difficult.

When I started this post, I thought it would be pretty easy to do.  But in the week I've been trying to finish it, I feel like things are already changing.  After telling us for months that her favorite color is orange (see the cake frosting and digger above) she now tells me her favorite color is green.  Her new favorite song is BINGO.  I know I say it all the time, but she's growing so fast!  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mini Me

Last week, Little A decided to help me unload the dishwasher.  She likes to be in charge of putting her dishes away, or at least hand them to me if she can't reach their spot.  While we were putting dishes away, I stepped back to watch her for a minute.  As she was walking back to the dishwasher, she paused, patted Baby J on the head and said, "Hi, Sweetie!"  And then went right back to work gathering her dishes.  I laughed, and was about to call E to tell him how weird Little A is (something I do several times each day), when I realized that she was just doing something she sees me do.  I joke that she is so strange, but I'm starting to worry that it is just a reflection of the strange things I do myself. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On the move...

Baby J has a new skill... crawling.  At 8 months she was crawling, but it was still pretty slow.  Now she's quick and she is in. To. Everything.  It is fun to watch her explore the house as she crawls all around.

For some reasons, our sliding glass door is one of her favorite spots to explore.  She's fascinated by the floor lock.
 She found the library to be especially fun, with so many things right at her height.
 And why not play with the PlayStation?  It's in the name after all.
 Helping Mommy with the dishes.
 And her next challenge... the stairs!