Sunday, August 31, 2008

Step aside, Danica...

...there's a new racing girl in town!Grace got a "girl car" this weekend. You shake it to power up the engine (aka batteries), set it down, and watch it go! Mommy loved it in the store and it was one of the few toys Grace actually was interested in for more than a few minutes. So we bought it! I can't decide which of us has been having more fun with it.

Yes, I have been playing with it while Grace is sleeping! It drives Daisy crazy!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Black holes have simple feeding habits

Since Grace's 1st birthday my house has turned into a black hole for small objects. To date, we have lost and not found....
  • the white socks she wore with her birthday dress that I wanted her to wear at the photography studio for her one year pictures. They were cute, with pink lace and I remember taking them off her and saying to myself, "I'll put these here (who knows where "here" was) so I will have them for the pictures." Still missing....
  • The bib she wore when she was eating her birthday cake. No clue what happened to that.
  • The #3 cube in a set of nesting/building cubes that are numbered 1-10. It is not such a big deal that #3 is lost, except in my obsessive compulsive mind. The toy still "works" without #3. I mean, really, it is only a set of cardboard boxes. They aren't going to last forever anyway. Daisy could have eaten this one.
  • A blue cup that is the bottom of Cookie Monster's mouth on an activity table. Grace loves this table. When you lift Cookie Monster's head he sings about getting a COOKIE. I always thought it was weird that this piece was not attached, so I guess I am not surprised that it is gone.
  • A small, round, red, piece for a shape sorting toy I bought Grace TODAY! This one Daisy could have eaten, but I know she didn't because I was right here when the piece went missing. It is driving me crazy. It has to be here somewhere.
Just so you know...some items do make it back from the black hole. Like Grace's sippy cup with milk in it. I am glad I found that one before it started to smell!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Juicy Juice

Grace has recently mastered using a straw. I don't give her a lot of juice - our pediatrician says it is just "fluff". But on occasion, it is a nice treat.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sleeping Beauty

In addition to being a great eater, Grace is also wonderful about sleeping. She takes at least one nap a day for a few hours and then sleeps about 11 hours at night. Even though I have a baby monitor, I go in several times while she is asleep to check on her and cover her with the blanket. I never find Grace in the same position twice!

This is her latest sleeping position. I often find her like this. I don't know how it can be comfortable, but somehow Grace likes it.

So cute!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Time flies

Grace is 15 months old today and she has been home for almost 6 months. Most of my adult life I have heard parents say how quickly the time flies but now I am really experiencing it. Recently, I have noticed Grace growing so fast. Many times the last couple of weeks I have chosen clothes for her to wear only to find out when she puts them on that they no longer fit. Last Sunday I (sadly) went through her closet and drawers and set aside many outfits and about 10 pairs of shoes that she has worn only a handful of times (or less!) each. Now I understand why there are so many consignment stores that specialize in children's clothing and toys. They grow out of them before they wear them out!The good part of my girl growing is that I see her thriving. I think back to the little baby I met in September 2007 and how worried I was that she was so tiny. When she came home in March and we went for her first medical checkup the doctor seemed concerned that her weight and head circumference were small compared to her length. The same was true when we saw them at the end of April. I remember the doctor and nurse talking among themselves about her weight (which was 16 pounds at the time) and I asked if they thought she looked malnourished. They said "no" but I could tell they would be keeping an eye on her growth.

In the last 4 months Grace has proven to be a good eater, rarely turning down any type of food. It is an adventure to have her try new foods and I keep waiting to find something she doesn't like! Getting rid of her bottle (and formula) was a good choice because she never really drank much from it at any one sitting. With the sippy cup she can (and does!) enjoy a full cup of whole milk a few times per day without help from an adult. That, and being able to add other dairy products into her diet (yogurt, cheese) have helped her weight become more proportional to her length.I am excited for Grace's 15 month check-up (which isn't until September 10th when she will be 15 months and 3 weeks, but that is a whole other story!) to have exact measurements to support what I see happening.Grace's development also seems to be on track. Although there are some things she really hasn't taken to (stacking blocks, scribbling with crayons) there are so many other things she can do.

Grace can:
  • walk!
  • climb a whole flight of stairs (the only problem is that she doesn't know how to go back down!)
  • pick up objects in one or both hands and walk with them
  • put smaller objects into larger ones (boxes, nesting cups)
  • turn pages of a book
  • point to things she wants or wants me to see
  • make deliberate sounds for things she wants (milk, Daisy, a toy that is out of reach)
  • understand commands ("Go get the baby and bring it to Mommy") and most of what I say (This totally amazes me since a lot of what she responds to are things she hasn't been formally taught)
  • identify some body parts (teeth, belly button, toes, hair)
  • use a tool for the correct purpose (puts a brush to her, my, or the doll's hair; brushes her teeth)
  • use a fork and spoon to feed herself if someone else gets the food on it
  • speak "baby babble" which she does all the time and lately it is starting to sound more like phrases and recognizable words
  • blow kisses and give a "high five"
(All these pictures were taken at the pool on Friday. It will probably be our last time there for the summer as they close on Sunday and school starts for everyone in our area next Wednesday.)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Favorite Foto Friday

Today's theme is "Our Lake". We are very lucky to have this cute house on a little, private lake. It is beautiful in every season and constantly changing. My favorite time is first thing in the morning. Sometimes there is mist/fog right on the surface and the water is flat and clear like glass.

The lake is about 60 feet at its deepest point and most of the time it is really clear. There are many different kinds of fish and other wildlife that make the lake their home. The area right in front of our house has a shallow section I call the "sand bar". At some times of the year the "sandy" bottom is visible when the water level is low. This winter, a huge log got stuck there and the geese and ducks seem to like to sun themselves on it. This is the view from our deck. There are 15 houses on our side of the lake. On the opposite side there is a bike and hike trail so our view is of trees. In this picture, our house is the tan one in the middle with the cedar deck.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Playing in the park

Nana and Big Daddy came to the park with us on Saturday. We all played on the equipment - as you can see in the pictures.

Grace loved the swings,
the slides,
and the automobiles.
But, this time, I think Grace's favorite thing was having the freedom to "run" around! In just one week she has become so much more confident on her feet which makes it easier to explore.
(Look at that tummy!)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Check out my shades

Are you cool enough to hang out with me?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Walk with me

Take my little hand,
Together we will walk,
Slow enough to see the world,
Time enough to talk.
Hold me close to you,
Watch me as I grow,
Share your life with me,
So you I come to know.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Yes, you can call me crazy

It should come as no surprise that I am trying to expose Grace to a variety of different experiences. In the 5 months she has been home we have done so many things. There have been few days where we just stay home and even if we are home we rarely "do nothing". Maybe some if it is "mom guilt" for having to go to work and leave Grace at daycare. And maybe some of it is making up for "lost" time during those first 9 months when she was in Guatemala. I keep thinking it is the quality of time we spend together, not the quantity, and I know I am truly a better mom because I work outside the home. It gives me balance and at the end of the day I can't wait to go get Grace to spend our evening together.

So, hopefully that doesn't sound crazy. Why the title of this post, then?

I'll tell you why.

I decided to try fingerpainting with my cranky 14 1/2 month old child who woke up at 6:30 this morning and only had a 2 hour nap today. And, I started all this at about 7:00 PM after a full day of work for me and daycare for Grace.

For a week now I have been considering fingerpaints. They are great for creativity, sensory development, fine and gross motor skills, and just plain messy and fun! So at lunchtime today, I went to a craft store and bought Crayola fingerpaints in 4 colors and big sheets of paper. I meant to search the internet for some tips on how to go about this without destroying the house at the same time. But I never got to that step.
Grace wore one of my old T-shirts that I clipped in back so it would stay on. I sat her at the kitchen table in her booster seat, squeezed out the paint, and demonstrated what to do. At first she just felt the paint on her fingers. Then she tasted it. (I tasted it too - not intentionally - and it was pretty nasty!) And finally, she put her hands on the paper and created some cool art. I wouldn't say she dove right into this activity and painted with abandon. She approached it like she does every new thing...cautiously.And within a few minutes she was having fun. You have to admit, all that gooey, sticky, colorful paint is pretty fun to squish in your hands!

When Grace decided she was done, she couldn't get out of the seat fast enough. That is what caused us the problems. She wanted "out" and started wiggling in her chair, getting paint all over it and herself, and dropping the painted papers on the floor. I couldn't figure out what to do first and I couldn't react fast enough. I wanted to wipe her hands (and face!) and let her get down, but then I ran the risk of her touching the chair with the paint handprints or walking through the paint on the floor and tracking it on the carpet. There wasn't a way to clean up the table, chair, and floor first, though. So, I lifted Grace up, took her over to the sink, and washed her hands, face, and legs (yes, there was paint on her legs). She eventually got a full bath and when she went to bed, I wasn't surprised that she fell asleep within minutes.

The result of all this was some pretty cool artwork. When you see the two papers together they make interesting abstract art. So, it was all worth it!

It was another full day...another new experience...for both of us!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Preston's H.O.P.E.

The inspiration for Preston's H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Play and Enjoy) playground ( from the family and friends of a little boy with Spinal Muscular Atrophy who dreamed of a place where he could safely play with his siblings and friends. After finding out that there were over 26,000 children in their county with some type of disability they raised over $3 million to create this innovative playground that is accessible to everyone. The 60,000 square foot outdoor play facility is a place where you can get up high, feel movement, listen to sounds, dig in the sand, pretend, or just sit and be quiet if you want to.

During our visit to the playground on Sunday, Grace had her first experience with going down many different slides almost alone. Kyle and I were each at the top and bottom to guide and catch her. She played on the swings, climbed up different jungle gyms (again, with help), and practiced her walking on a variety of different surfaces.

Sometimes she fell down, but she got right back up and kept walking. I think that is one of the ways I know she is really walking now...when she falls she chooses to get up and walk again instead of crawling. She looks a lot like a drunk monster with her legs spread wide, her butt sticking out, and her arms up for balance, but somehow that method works for her!

It is amazing to watch Grace discover new things that we take for granted. I could watch her all day. I wish I could say "sit and watch her" but really, there is no sitting involved.

When Grace looks at something like this clear dome she is seeing it for the first time and trying to figure it out. When she first put her head in here, she was a little afraid, but with encouragement, she tried again and quickly thought it was pretty cool.

Another thing Grace enjoys is riding all the different cars and animals meant for that purpose. She is a little too brave about getting out/off, though, if you ask me!

(PS - Kyle says the last picture is for Big Daddy!)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Something Fishy

Yesterday, Grace and I met our friends Kellie and Dawson at the Akron Zoo for their toddler "stroller safari" program. The theme was Something Fishy and I thought it was going to be about fish and sea life, which seemed strange to me because it is a small zoo and they don't have an aquarium. It turned out that the focus was on animals that eat fish...very clever, if you ask me!I have to say, I was very impressed with the entire morning. We arrived before the zoo opened and went to a preschool classroom where the zoo educator introduced us to what we would do and see through music, a game, and stuffed toys of some of the animals we would see like the bald eagle, a jaguar, a penguin, tigers, otters, etc. There were about 12 children in the program with one or more caregivers, so we were a group of at least 25 people. The actual "safari" took us through the zoo to see some of the animals with a tour guide who told us about the animals in a way that the toddlers could understand. For example, she said that the bald eagle usually flies 40-60 miles per hour and then compared that to how fast Mommy and Daddy drive in the car. (I also learned that the word "bald" in Old English actually means "white", which is why it is a fitting name for this bird.)

To me, the best part of the program was when we fed the penguins. They promise an encounter with at least one animal when you sign up for the class and on this adventure we were each given three fish to feed to the penguins as they swam around their pool. Dawson and Grace were too young to put on the rubber glove (to protect the animals, not the humans!) so Kellie and I took turns holding the fish over the edge of the tank to lure the penguins to us. A thin pane of glass was all that separated the penguins from the girls and they were right at their eye level, so it was really cool. I wish we had pictures of it, but it is really hard to feed the animals, watch the kids, and capture the moment on film.

At some point during the morning, we gave up trying to take pictures because we ended up with backs of heads and blurry shots. Both Dawson and Grace are walking and Grace is really at this stage where she doesn't want to be held or confined. When she had the opportunity to walk around, she took it! She was the "naughty" kid in class during the first part of the morning...climbing onto the teacher's lap as she was singing and showing the stuffed animals and knocking the felt fish off the board after the other kids just put them up there. A little embarrassing, but still cute!We ended the program back int the classroom where they had a snack prepared for the kids. They used a pretzel rod and peanut butter to "fish" for goldfish crackers. What a good idea! I will have to remember that for a birthday party some day.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Move over, Daisy

This happens every day. Grace climbs into Daisy's doesn't matter if Daisy is already in there. She just pushes Daisy aside and gets in. Sometimes Daisy stays, and sometimes she finds another place to relax.