Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bicycle built for two

I have a mountain bike.

I know those of you who know me are laughing right now. But, yes, I have actually been off the paved trail more than once on this bike. I'm not saying I was ever any good at trail riding, or even that I liked it, but that is what my bike is made to do.

Oh, how things change.Now, I have a bicycle built for two. On the recommendation from a magazine and N.L. the iBert Safe-T Seat became one of our new toys. I was so excited the day it came that I put it on my bike at night after Grace fell asleep and tested it out on the street in front of our house. I figured out right away that my gears were not working so the bike had to go into the shop for a week. That gave me some time to find a helmet for Grace...not an easy thing to do. They don't make many that small so I was lucky to find this one. It is supposed to be for a 1-year old, but Grace is a little small for her age. So I added extra padding inside and have the straps as tight as they will go and it almost fits perfectly. I think Grace is figuring out that when she has a hat on we are going to do something fun. The sun hat usually means the pool (or the beach) and now the helmet means riding the bike. I am really not sure Grace likes the bike. I was hoping to hear giggles, but she is very quiet when we are riding and I can't see her face. Our neighbors were out the other day when we rode and they said she looked like she was having fun. I could tell she was more relaxed today - maybe due to the fact that I was more relaxed. It takes a little effort to get accustomed to having the seat in front of me. But I am happy with it because I feel like Grace is safer where I can see her and can keep my arms around her should we fall. Just like always, Grace watches everything as we ride so I have taken to narrating for her. (Look, Grace. Can you see the green trees? The sunlight is shining through the leaves onto the trail. Oh, there is a brown squirrel. I think he is looking for food. He just ran across the road...)

Our house is right on the other side of the lake from the Metro Parks Bike and Hike Trail. The trial goes for miles, all the way to Cleveland in one direction and probably just as far in the other. I have been pretty far north on this trail. When I was training for 1/2 marathons I ran at least 7 miles north and I have been at least three times that distance on the bike. I am pretty sure Grace and I won't be going that far together, but wherever we do go, I know it will be fun to share the experience with her!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Visitors

Jamie and Ryan visited us this afternoon! They came all the way from Arizona for a friend's wedding this weekend. And, with two families, the rehearsal dinner, the wedding, and so many people who wanted to see them, we were so glad they wanted to come see Grace, Daisy, and me. The sun even came out for most of the time they were here, but when they left, it was starting to rain...and they were driving in a classic convertible with no top!

The first thing Jamie said when she got out of the car was, "Lynn, you are glowing!". I certainly feel that way, so it is incredible to think I might look like that to others. Maybe it had to do with my early summer tan, but I like to think the "glow" is radiating from within because I am so happy to be Grace's mom. She has added a dimension to my life that I never realized would be so fulfilling.

It was so much fun to see Jamie and Ryan and I could tell Grace liked them both right away. I loved the way that Grace cuddled up to them when they were holding her. She used Ryan as her own personal jungle gym and played with his hair, and "helped" Jamie look through the scrapbook I made of the milestones during this first year. Jamie is an amazing teacher so I know she is observant and educated about child development. It was nice to hear that she thought Grace has a sweet personality, even though she was more quiet than she is when it is just the two if us hanging around the house. Jamie said that she feels like she already knew Grace from our conversations and the posts on this blog. I am glad that the blog is presenting Grace accurately. It is really hard to know if I am too biased in what I choose to write.

I am really disappointed that we didn't get a picture of Jamie and Ryan with Grace. I was having such a nice time just visiting with them that (for once) I didn't think about taking out the camera! Next time....

They brought us this beautiful deep pink Gerber daisy plant.

Here it is in our house.We are going to plant it in our garden and watch it grow along with Grace.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer Concert

Last night Grace attended her first "concert" with us - the Canton Blues Festival. This wasn't something we planned. But that is the great thing about summer evenings - you can just get in the car and drive to any one of several outdoor events going on. In our area there were at least four of these music festivals going on within a 30 minute drive. So we chose this one, mostly since neither of us had been to downtown Canton in a while and we were curious to see what it was like. We were pleased to see how many beautiful buildings there were, brick roads and pathways, planned park areas, and statues made of recycled materials on many corners (see the photos). Someone is really trying to offer an area for people to gather...its just too bad that there aren't more cute shops, restaurants, and bars. It could be great, but for whatever reason, businesses have not embraced the city as a "hip" spot for young people to gather. It is disappointing that the small cities in our area haven't had any luck with revitalization like cities in other parts of the country. I am sure the climate has something to do with it - most of the places that do better are in states with a more temperate climate. We are always on the lookout for that cute neighborhood with a variety of things to do - galleries, shopping, trendy restaurants, etc. We just haven't found it yet.Anyway, the concert was fine. Picture a large open park about one city block surrounded by vendors selling different types of street fare food, drinks, and desserts. Most people came with lawn chairs to just sit and relax on the first official summer evening. In true Grace fashion she slept for the entire drive but when she woke up she was as charming as ever. I'll say it again - the girl likes her music! She was bouncing and kicking her feet (her new "thing" this week). She also sampled the whipped cream from the top of the new Starbucks mint mocha frappuccino samples they were offering. I am always surprised when people stop us to say how pretty she is and several people did that last night. I know she is pretty, the surprising part is that strangers go out of their way to tell me.
This sculpture was a blue teddy bear. Others we saw included a fish, a penguin, and a giraffe. We are not sure what they were made of but it appeared to be some sort of metal ring - maybe a part of a machine. They were assembled into the shape of each animal and then painted to add interest, character, and color.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Splishin' and Splashin'

Toddler Tummy Take 2:

I dropped Grace off at daycare this morning and just as I pulled into the parking lot at work, the sitter called. I figured it couldn't be good, and it wasn't. She had a "blow out" diaper right after I left and when changing her it got all over the carpet. The sitter was not happy. I don't blame her. Who wants to deal with that first thing in the morning? And I felt really bad. So I decided to just go get her and keep her home today.

As soon as we got home, Grace took a bath. She seemed happy enough, but then she LOVES water. Since she got such a big reaction from me when she was splashing, she kept doing it until the entire kitchen was wet. What fun!

Oh, and there was sand in her poop. Must have been that handful she ate on Monday from her sand and water table!

(I am not sure why the video is not very clear. Sorry! One of these days I will get a Flip video camera to capture these memories!)
video

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A case of Toddler Tummy

I have been reading up on "Toddler Tummy" - non-specific diarrhea peppered with bits of undigested food. (appetizing, isn't it?) Apparently, toddlers get this with no known cause (it isn't related to an illness) and it goes away on its own in a few days or with a change in diet. Since the sitter and I both had to change Grace's clothes more than once in the last several days and I have needed to do some quick, small loads of laundry (you get the picture) we are trying the bland food, diet change. For the last 24 hours Grace has had toast, cereal, plain noodles, and chicken breast. Not bad, but not very interesting. We have been cautious about her milk intake since I was told she had been lactose intolerant, but it is important to me that she have dairy products and the nutrients that they provide, if she can. So, that is one food we haven't eliminated completely. Today, there was some improvement, so I think we will keep it up for another day or two and see what happens.

The one good thing about Toddler Tummy is that is doesn't usually slow kids down at all. That is how you know it is different from an illness. And, that is the case with Grace. She is as active and cute as ever.

Here is a picture from today to prove it!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Stroller Safari

Lions,and tigers,and bears. Oh My! And bald eagles, red pandas, and leopards....
Today we went to Akron Zoo. Kyle bought us a family membership for my birthday and this was the second time we went. The first was during our "spring" break. That day there was freezing rain and Grace spent most of the visit in her stroller covered with blankets. We ran from one indoor exhibit to the next and didn't stay long. Today, was much better...more crowded, of course, but we had fun!

Grace got close to a goat in the farmland petting areaand to a black rat snake that is native to Ohio. (Don't worry, it is not poisonous. ) This one is not "black" because it is albino. It is three years old but can get up to 6-8 feet long as an adult!And, we all enjoyed the zoo's newest exhibit - jellyfish!

I really didn't think I would be interested in this - we always dread seeing jellyfish at the beach - but they did a really good job with it. The tanks had dark or colorful backgrounds so the jellyfish really stood out. As you can see from these photos Grace liked to touch the glass like she does to our windows at home!

No, silly, you are supposed to be looking at the jellyfish!That's better!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dorothy

Check out Grace's new bathing suit and hat(a gift from Tom and MaryEllen). The blue and white check remind me of Dorothy's dress in the "Wizard of Oz". It is such a classic print and the color looks great on her. Coincidentally, last night we had these huge thunderstorms. Within minutes the sky turned a deep, purple-grey as the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up. The whole thing was reminiscent of the tornado scene at the beginning of the movie. But this afternoon, the sky cleared up right about sunset time, the lake was calm, and the air was still. We tried Grace's new swim outfit on and took these pictures. She was so interested in everything going on around her that I couldn't get her to look directly at me. That's just Grace, though. She is very observant and has a mind of her own.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Summertime fun

Somehow we went straight from winter to summer. There really wasn't a "spring". Other than a few cool, crisp days when you could keep the windows open, May was mostly rainy. In fact, I heard on the news that it rained 80% of the days in the month of May. Now that June is here it has been hot and humid. We have had the air conditioner on since Thursday morning with no plan of turning it off in the near future. I like the warm weather but this is the kind of heat that makes you want to run from one cool indoor place to another.

The good news is that the pool opened this weekend for the season. This is a new experience for me...joining a public pool. In fact, I bought our season pass in February before I went to pick up Grace, knowing this day was coming. And, we had the best time. The "pool" really is an aquatic center with water slides, a lazy river, a big pool with waterfalls, a sandy "beach", a picnic area...you get the picture. The biggest part of the main pool is ideal for little kids. The water gets deeper gradually and you enter like you would at the beach (no steps or ladders). And it never gets deeper than waist height in this section. Grace had the best time. She practiced walking holding my hands, kicked her feet, touched the water coming out of the waterfall and spouts, and watched everyone. We only stayed a couple of hours, but she was worn out! The pool is only 5 miles away from our house but she didn't even make it to the first traffic light before she was asleep.

Then, this afternoon, we played with her newest toy - a sand and water table from Nana and Big Daddy. It kept Grace busy for a long time - she might still be playing if I hadn't told her it was time for dinner and a bath! The only problem is that Grace seemed to like eating the sand! I suppose she isn't the first kid to eat sand, so I am not too concerned about it. If you look closely at the pictures, you can probably see the sand all over her face...and on the deck...and on her clothes....I can definitely say she had the full sensory experience offered by this toy.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Favorite Foto Friday

Kyle is great with Grace. He has taken care of her a couple of times now when I have had to go to a work function in the evening. I know she loves him because as soon as she sees him, she smiles. That is why I love these photos.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sippy Cup Update

My friend Carrie is "super mom". She works full time, has two amazing daughters, a husband, a house, and two big dogs. Somehow she manages to keep it all running smoothly. She'd say it is not at all "smooth" - it just looks that way, but from my point of view she is a master at multi-tasking. Carrie's daughters are smart, articulate, polite, cute as can be, and show appropriate independence for their age. All the things I want Grace to be. So, I turn to Carrie a lot for her advice on how to handle all the "firsts" Grace and I are encountering together. When I told Carrie that I wanted to move Grace from her bottle to the sippy cup she was all for it. And, Carrie's theory is that it takes three days to change a habit. I don't know about that - Grace certainly has a mind of her own and lets me know when she is not happy about something - so my theory is that changing to the sippy cup is going to take us longer than three days.

Today is Day 3, and it is going pretty well. I bought 4 different kinds of cups the first day, not knowing which one she would like. But we seem to have settled on one. It has two handles that she can hold herself, only holds 7 ounces so it doesn't get too heavy, and has a soft top that is similar to the nipple on her baby bottle. This weekend I will probably buy one (the green, yellow, and white one on the right) to keep at the sitter's house so we can both use it consistently.
So, the update....How is it going really after 2+ days? Not bad. Oh, we have had our moments. Crying for 45 minutes or more when I know she wants her bottle and I can't understand why she won't just try putting her mouth on the sippy cup. It has exact same formula inside it. What is it about the cup that turns her off? How can she protest so violently without even trying? And, then just as quickly as the tantrum started, it ends. And Grace is all smiles and holding the cup with one hand and drinking like the mixture inside is the best thing she has ever tasted. It makes no sense. Each of the three days I have seen the slightest improvement. So I think we are heading in the right direction. I tell Grace she is a "big girl" when she uses the cup, but I know she doesn't understand what that means. And I am glad...I am not ready for her to really be a big girl yet.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Mondays are hard

Mondays might be the hardest day of the week. After spending the weekend together doing whatever (and sleeping in until the very late hour of 7:00AM!), we have to get back into the work/daycare routine. On Mondays Grace is groggy when I wake her up as the sun is just rising above the rooftops across the street. She cries when I leave her at daycare (although the sitter says it only lasts for about 5 minutes). And she doesn't feel like eating in the morning before we leave the house so I feel guilty about sending her off without a full tummy. When we get home she is fussy, cranky, and clingy, especially anytime I try put her down. All this gets better as the week progresses and by Friday we are back in the groove.

Why then, did I pick Monday to take away Grace's bottle? This is what happens when you read those "How to-Parenting for Dummies" books on Sunday night before going to sleep. I happened to read a few pages about weaning babies from their bottles. The book said it should be done in the last half of the first year, so I panicked. We are well past that! She is over one and still using a bottle!?! Okay, I know that is not unusual in reality. I see plenty of children older than Grace with bottles. But, I figured, what the heck....let's try it. So here we are, the first evening down without a bottle. She didn't drink as much formula from the sippy cup as she would if it had been in the bottle, but on the positive side, she HELD the cup herself...something she refuses to do with the bottle. And, just so you don't think I am meaner than Cinderella's stepmother, I am not going to make the sitter take the bottle away until next week. Probably not until Tuesday.

We DID have fun today. We played in the kiddie pool and then Grace went on the swing all wrapped up in her cozy towel. Just look at that face! This picture has to be my new screen saver.

Say cheese!

Last Wednesday, Grace and I went to a photographer to have professional portraits taken to commemorate her first birthday. As you have probably figured out, I am constantly snapping pictures of her so she is pretty used to smiling when someone holds up a camera. Or....if the mood strikes her, she might make a funny face, or cry. She did all of these at the photography studio. I have to laugh...she was just Grace. Beautiful, animated, friendly, determined, moody, cranky, strong-willed, sweet, curious... The pictures are not perfect, but as a collection they really capture who this wonderful little girl is.

(FYI - The studio sends them at a low resolution so you can share them electronically, but can't get quality prints from them. This way, if you want additional hard copy photos you have to order from them. Smart!)