Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Zoo Crew

We went to a playdate at the zoo this morning with three other toddlers. I promise you - Grace, Dawson, Mayna, and Abby were all there, but getting them together in one photo was not easy!

Grace is ready...where are the others?

1, 2, 3...we're missing one!

Wait - Here comes Dawson!
Don't go yet, Abby!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The girls next door

Not those girls on the E! channel....Our girls - Dawson and Grace!We had a little impromptu playdate on Tuesday after Kellie and Dawson visited Grace's daycare. I am glad Kellie understands what it is like to be a working mom and didn't care if the house (the REAL house) wasn't in perfect "company" condition!Grace and Dawson had a great time in the playhouse. Each time they are together they interact a little more. This time there was even some pushing and sitting on each other to get the best position on the porch bench! They actually did a nice job of sharing, even if it took a little encouragement from the adults. Dawson liked the phone the best, I think. She looked really comfortable with it to her ear. I don't know, Kellie, is this what she is going to look like as a teenager?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2-year check up

Grace visited her pediatrician yesterday for her 2-year well baby check up. The best part about this check up was that Grace didn't need any shots! Woohoo!

For those of you keeping track, here are her vital statistics:
  • Height: 35.24 inches (in the 90th percentile)
  • Weight: 25 lbs, 9 ounces (in the 35th percentile)
  • Head circumference: 17.71 inches (in the 5th percentile)

According to the doctor, she is meeting all her developmental milestones. He asked specifically about language (2 dozen words and 2-word phrases - yep, we've got 'em! ), stacking 4-6 blocks (she does that....I left out the part about how she prefers to knock them down!), jumping (oh, yeah), and understanding two-part commands (no problem there when she wants to listen).

Everything is going as expected!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Domestic Diva

Grace finally got her playhouse on Saturday morning before we left for the waterpark. Kyle put it together on Friday night and right before Grace went to bed she got a glimpse of the house parts on the lower deck. She immediately said, "house!" but I have no idea how she knew what it was. We scooped her up and put her to bed so she would be surprised on her birthday morning.

In the first video, you can see that as soon as we opened the door to the deck, Grace ran for the stairs. Maybe she remembered the house was downstairs? Kyle called her back and when she saw it through the railing she was SO excited! She almost started to cry because she couldn't get to it fast enough.

The second video picks up when Grace got to the bottom of the steps. It almost looks like she can't believe this cool house could be hers. She played in it for about 1/2 hour before we left to go to Great Wolf and it was hard to get her to go! She discovered the doorbell right away and it still seems to be her favorite feature a few days later! Mostly, Grace liked going in an out, opening the door and windows, and ringing the doorbell.

I think we are going to get some flowers for the front porch and some more play food and plates to keep outside in her house.

Y'all come back now, y'hear?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Fancy Nancy goes for a stroll

This morning Grace took two of her birthday presents out for a walk. She is such a little mother....she would push the stroller about 10 feet and then stop, walk around the front, and move the "baby" so she was sitting up straight. She did this over and over even though the doll was just fine. The neighbors who were watching her were all giggling at how adorable Grace was. The only problem is that we walked too far and I ended up carrying Grace home while pushing Fancy Nancy in the doll stroller!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"I water?"

We took Grace to Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor/outdoor waterpark and hotel for her 2nd birthday. There are three of these hotel/waterparks about an hour drive from where we live, but I chose this one because it seemed to be the one that had the most for toddlers to do. Grace is still too small to go on the biggest slides and rides, even though she would, if they let her. What I liked about Great Wolf is that they had slides and other interactive water activities especially for the youngest kids. They also had and indoor dry play area, story time right before bed, and a huge clocktower in the lobby that peformed a show at different times throughout the day. I was thrilled to be able to book a room for the day of her birthday, since it was Memorial Day weekend.When we first arrived at the indoor water park, Grace seemed very nervous. I was surprised and thought this might have been a mistake. It was her first experience with an indoor pool and there was a ton of activity with fountains, pools, slides, and people everywhere. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that she was overwhelmed at first. But she warmed up and showed us what a true daredevil she really is! By the end of the day on Saturday, she was saying, "I water?"- her way of asking to go back to the pool.

Kyle took Grace on this slide first. At the bottom was a 2-foot deep pool (which I skinned my knees on) but this quickly became boring as he sent her down a big, fast, curvy slide. They suggested that you be 48 inches tall to ride, but they were really good about letting adults decided what their kids could handle. So Grace got to experience the rides that she might not have in another place. On Sunday morning before we left, we all had a great time riding tubes down huge slides. We had to climb three flights of stairs just to get on the ride!

After initially not wanting to wear a life jacket, Grace realized how cool it was to relax and float. You should have seen her smile when she was doing this!We also tried the outdoor pool in the late afternoon. It was a zero entry, which is great, but it also scared us both because Miss Independent didn't want any help.So, we eventually put the life jacket back on her...just for peace of mind and to allow her a little freedom. Don't be fooled, though. That shadow in the picture is Kyle!In the evening they did a little show at the clock tower and I loved sitting on the floor cuddling with my birthday girl as we listened to the singing and some stories.At the end, they asked the kids with grey bracelets to come up front (you get these if it is your birthday) and everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to her one last time.On the way home today, Grace was saying "happy" in the back seat. I think that means she had a good time.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Happy Birthday, Baby!

I created this photo montage a couple of weeks ago and planned to set it up to post at the time Grace was born 2 years ago - 7:10PM in Guatemala - but I couldn't wait!

Happy Birthday, Baby!
My world is wonderful because you are in it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Celebrating with ELMO - Part 2

Grace allowed me to take one picture of her this morning in her cute "Birthday Girl" shirt that was a gift from Kellie and Dawson. It is in the laundry right now, so she can wear it tomorrow too. As you read further along in this post, you will understand why I needed to wash it!When we got to school, Miss Diana was sweet enough to take this picture of us together. I was so grateful because it is hard to get pictures with Grace since I am usually the one behind the camera. Miss Diana was patient and waited until Grace was looking...but no smile!In the afternoon, I joined Grace and 12 of her school friends (some from her class and some from the group next door) for her Elmo cupcakes. When I walked in I asked, "Whose birthday is it?" and Grace smiled. The teachers said they were telling her all day about her birthday and her Elmo cupcakes.

The kids were really cute. The "older" girls, and by older I mean not even 3, helped put plates and napkins on the tables for everyone. Grace got her cupcake first and everyone sang to her. So cute!Grace ate her cupcake cake she ended up with red frosting everywhere. But I think she liked it. She asked for more and at school they give the kids second helpings if they ask. But since I knew she was going to have another one tonight at home I said one was enough!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Celebrating with ELMO - Part 1

Saturday is Grace's 2nd birthday! When I thought about the best way to celebrate her birthday the first thing that came to mind was to have a party. But I really wanted it to be a "kid" party and not an adult get-together with some kids. So, then I considered who we might invite that was Grace's age....hmmm. Really, that meant Dawson, (and now) Mayna, and Grace's "friends" from school. So, I figured the best thing to do was to just have the celebration at daycare on Friday afternoon since most of the kids she knows are there already. Her teachers were cooperative, allowing us to take over snack time with Elmo cupcakes and goodie bags with "Dorothy" (goldfish) crackers, pretzels, and M&Ms. For those of you who don't know, Dorothy is Elmo's pet goldfish!
I did a lot of searching on the internet to see how other people made their Elmo cupcakes. For mine, I ended up using food coloring to dye the icing. I used a Wilton red food dye which came out really vibrant red. (I was pleased since some people on the internet said they had trouble getting their icing red enough.) Then I dipped the cupcakes in red sprinkles to create a "furry" look. Did you know it is really hard to find red sprinkles? My father went to 5 places in New York and I checked 3-4 here. I eventually just ordered them on the internet. The eyes are made from mini marshmallows with black gel icing in a tube for the pupil and the noses are soft orange "fruit" candies. Elmo's mouth is an Oreo cookie (from the 100 calorie packs) sliced in half.

The beginning - I baked 32 cupcakes.
Grace only has 9 children in her class.
But I'm Italian. We don't like to run out of food!
The production lineThe finished product.
They turned out pretty nice, don't you think?
You can just call me the Ace of Cakes if you want!

Such a big girl

It is just a couple of days before Grace turns two and she is becoming such a "big" girl. Last Sunday afternoon we went to the park (have you noticed how many different parks and playgrounds we have in our area?) for a little while. It was really cold and this particular park was very shady from many big trees surrounding it. We didn't stay long...just long enough for Grace to watch the older kids on the "big kid" swings and for her to tell me she wanted to try.I was a little nervous that she would not be able to sit upright on it and would fall off as she was swinging through the air. I didn't push her as high as I normally do on the toddler swings, but she had no fear and kept telling me "more"!When I told her it was time to go, she jumped off and said, "I did it!" - her favorite phrase this week!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How can a kid who loves the water... afraid of the bathtub? Isn't it just like a little indoor pool?

Grace still takes a bath in the kitchen sink. Don't get me wrong, I like it. It is quick and easy and, I guess if she still fits in it, what's the harm? But someday soon she won't fit so we have been trying to desensitize her to the shower/bathtub. Kyle did a great job last weekend, although his clothes got soaked!Grace was so afraid that she wouldn't step away from him, sit down, or let me wash her hair. And that was progress!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This is what a "real" camera can do

I am considering buying myself a "real" camera and some lessons to learn how to use it. This photo is from Aimee who uses a version of the Nikon I am considering. Nice, isn't it?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Some are silver and the others are gold

I remember this song from Girl Scouts:
Make new friends,
But keep the old
Some are silver
And the others are gold.

Well, we made some new friends on Saturday. Grace and I went to Preston's Hope playground to meet Mayna and Dena (our new friends), and Dawson. Kellie and I connected with Mayna's mom via the internet and found out we live close to each other. We had a lot of fun, even though it ended up being a rainy day. I know we will get together again soon!

Mayna is about 4 months older than Grace but they are pretty close to each other in size. At first they were just watching each other and playing (running around) alone. But Grace saw Mayna on this tire swing and she wanted to try it too. Notice how Grace is looking at Mayna in the first picture and then Mayna is checking Grace out in the second.Pretty soon they were holding hands and jumping.And then Mayna gave Grace this big hug before we said goodbye.I really admire people who are able to take excellent photos of children, especially toddlers. So many of my pictures seem to be of backs of heads. I guess I should just be happy that the kids were enjoying themselves running, swinging, sliding, and climbing!I love this one of all 4 girls climbing together.And thanks to Kellie and Aimee I have these cute pictures of Grace and Dawson actually looking up!