Deck the Halls

IMG_20141129_222508Amazingly, I was able to get the tree up, decorated, and decorate the mantel all in one day. This year, Lily is old enough to actually help decorate the tree. She was so excited to make our living room “beautiful.”

Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree



Summer Update

A little while ago, I posted my list of things that I wanted/needed to accomplish this summer.  Well, we’ve been busy.  So, here’s my updated list…..

  • Work ahead on grad school stuff.  UPDATE.  I just submitted my final assignment for this course.  So, now I’m done with grad school….for the summer.  Before class started, I was really worried about how I was going to get course work done while taking care of a toddler and a newborn and myself.  Thankfully, I’ve got a great husband and great parents and parents-in-law who helped out with the kiddos so that I could get school work done.
  • Do some garden planning.  UPDATE. My awesome in-laws came down and helped to remove a shrub, destroy a garden that had been located in a silly location, and move my precious peonies.  All of the rain that we’ve had recently has helped the peonies to adjust to their new location.
  • Craft projects.  UPDATE.  I’ve started the craft projects for the girls.  But, I still need to purchase the larger materials in order to complete them. 
  • Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. UPDATE.  I took a nap yesterday!!!!!!!!  Awesome!!!!!!!  Although I thought that I had been taking it easy, I was not taking it easy enough as I may or may not have had a small infection and I had to take antibiotics.  Recovery from a cesarean is no joke.  So, I’ve been trying to take it super-easy.  As Ryan has said to me many times, I have to take care of myself so that I can take care of my girls.
  • And…….the most important thing that we’ll be doing this summer is soaking up as much family time as we possibly can.  UPDATE.  We’ve already had lots of family time this summer.  I am so happy that Ryan was able to take so much time off from work so that he could help me and hang out with his two little girls.  He’s taken big sister to the park many, many times.  He and big sister have worked in the garden together.  We’ve all gone to the zoo and to the pool.  Tomorrow, we are planning on going to a summer festival.  Hopefully, there are plenty of family adventures for us during the rest of the summer.

How is your summer progressing so far?

Big Girl And Her Big Girl Bed

Monday morning, we had a very special delivery.  Big girl’s big-girl-mattress and Mommy and Daddy’s new mattress arrived.  So far the transition to big-girl bed has gone a lot smoother than I thought it would.  It actually helps that she hasn’t taken really great naps during the day.  That way, she is much more tired at bed time and less likely to run around her room.  Although….she did spend the first 15 minutes of bedtime on Monday running in her room and then jumping back into bed when I opened the door.


Big Girl’s Big Bed. Well, actually just her mattress. Once she masters the mattress, we’ll bring her twin bed in.

Flying with a toddler – Learn from us!

We recently had an epic family trip to Florida.  This was little girl’s first time on a plane.  For the most part, the flights were a pretty smooth experience.  However, we did learn a few lessons that we will use for future flights.

  • Pack snacks. Pack snacks everywhere! I had snacks in our carry-ons, in my purse, in the diaper bag, everywhere.
  • Bring a sippy cup or water bottle that you can fill up once you have gone through security.  Little girl had her water bottle the entire time and sipped from it pretty continuously.  I have a feeling that the constant sipping helped to avoid any ear aches that frequently happen for little kiddos (and grown-ups) on planes.
  • Check your luggage. We didn’t and we both agreed that we would check luggage the next time we flew anywhere. Checking luggage will ensure that you have some extra hands for child wrangling.
  • Although this can’t always be helped, try to fly during the time of day when you know that your child is calmer. We flew in the evening for our flight down and in the morning for our return flight. The morning flight was far more pleasant because she napped for almost the entire flight.
  • And although this also can’t always be helped, try to fly non-stop. If you have a layover, plan on longer than an hour. That way, you have plenty of time to relax/bathroom break/have a snack/walk around/whatever before you have to get back on the plane again. Our flight down had a one hour layover and our first flight was very delayed so we had to run to our connecting flight. No time for the much needed diaper change.
  • And, if you are planning on using your car seat we purchased something like this that was great.  It was fantastic because we were able to attach the car seat to a carry-on suitcase, strap her into the car seat, and wheel her around the airport.

What tips do you have for traveling with a toddler?

Searching for a home with a toddler

We’ve been seriously home searching for a couple months now.  And in that time we’ve had two very different realtors and have put in offers on three different properties.  I’m not sure how many properties we’ve seen but I’m guessing that it’s close to 25.

I keep reminding myself that our house is out there and it will just take some time to find it.

After searching for this long and seeing as many houses as we have, I’ve developed a list of tips if you, too, are home searching with a toddler in tow.

  • See as many places as you can in a short amount of time.  Try not to go past two hours of house hunting.  Not only do all of the places start to look the same for the adults, but the kiddo is going to quickly be losing patience.
  • Bring snacks.  Lots and lots of snacks.  It’s amazing how quickly a toddler can go from fussy to completely happy if they have a banana and some crackers.
  • Try to schedule around regular nap and eating times.  Although, in all honesty, this is something that we haven’t really kept to very well.
  • Be sure to spend a good amount of time checking out the outdoor space.  Not only are you going to want to check it out if it is a property that you are interested in, but it gives your kiddo a chance to walk/run around before getting back in the car.

Good luck and keep your fingers crossed for us!

Christmas Discovery Bottles

Discovery/sensory bottles are all over Pinterest.  I made some after seeing this post and this one.  They are pretty easy to make and Peanut seems to enjoy them.  I’ve made some with beads, some with glitter and some with pipe cleaners.

In case you happen to have some plastic bottles and are looking for a project to do, I’d like to share some things that I’ve learned when making these:

  • Use a small bottle.  I’ve made mine with single serving sized Coke Zero bottles.  A full size bottle would just be too heavy for Peanut to really play with.
  • Use different items in each bottle.  This adds some interest to the bottle since the items will fall/move at different rates.
  • Avoid pipe cleaners.  I found that they started to rust (or something) and turned the water a murky green color.  Gross.
  • Avoid glitter in bright colors.  I made one with purple glitter and all of the purple bled into the water.  You could barely see the glitter falling because the water was so dark.
  • Once the water is close to the top, add the rest of the water very, very, very slowly.  Several times, I had to search for beads in the kitchen sink because the water would spill out over the top taking along the beads.
  • Have fun with them!  Encourage your little one to play with the bottles however they want to.  Peanut likes to roll the bottles, shake them, and pretend that she’s drinking a Coke Zero.  (Monkey see.  Monkey do.)

I found a large bag of Christmas beads in the $1 section of a craft store and made these.  The different beads fall at different rates.  Peanut likes them a lot.