Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More Shaving Cream


After playing outside in the sand, Gracie didn't want to take a bath. Yeah, I was confused too. I got the shaving cream out and as soon as she saw it she climbed into the tub for me. I encouraged her to rub it on her belly, and this is what became of our evening! Great fun!


"Toes, toes, toes!"




Silliness


Slide


I am proud and sad to report that Gracie no longer needs me. Well, to catch her at the end of the slide at least.


video

She LOVES this video! As she watches herself go down the slide, she squeals "Weeeeee!" and as soon as it's over I hear "Again! Again! Again!" It's almost like she's out there actually going down the slide!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

AI

This is why I watch American Idol.

video


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Oobleck!

Gracie and I played with Oobleck today. It was our first experience with the goop, and she LOVED it! I honestly think out of all the Toddler Activities we've tried, this is her favorite so far. She played with it for over an hour! Even then, I had a little trouble getting her to the tub to clean up. If you plan on trying this-which I highly recommend-don't put food coloring in it. One of the web sites I found about it said it's more fun with color so I put blue coloring in it and now Gracie and I could pass for having a bit of Smurf DNA in us.






video


Color Table



I've been looking here and there for a little table for Gracie to use in the living room to color with. I found a plastic one at Once Upon A Child, but part of it was broken and I was pretty sure Gracie would hurt herself on it. I haven't seen one since. However, I was at Office Max and found this wire stackable shelf-the perfect size! The only problem was that it was wire. I added a small rotary cutting mat on top and it's perfect! Gracie doesn't color for very long, but when she does, she can sit now.








Sunday, March 21, 2010

Random Tips

Lately I have been doing a lot of research for ideas for toddler activities on the Internet. It occurred to me that without the help, ideas, and support of other parents I would have no idea what I'm doing. With that in mind, I have decided to share some ideas that have helped me in the last two years, since my Gracie was born. Some are things I've discovered on my own, but most of them have come from friends, family, and even parenting magazines. Thanks to everyone that has provided advice, or just a listening ear as I have began my adventures into parenthood.

Infants:
~Chamomile tablets are priceless. In addition to being holistic, they simply make baby (or toddler) calm down. Because they aren't medicine, they can be combined with Tylenol and Oragel to make complete teething relief. I also used it with my baby just to calm her at times prior to teething. The best ones I've found are Hyland's Teething Tablets, which can be found at Walgreens, Babies 'R' Us, and Wal-Mart.
~White noise. It will make a baby sleep like nothing else that I've found!
~When baby is learning to crawl and walk, and starts to climb on things teach him/her "feet first." Whenever Gracie was getting off of anything we'd remind her "feet first," and she really understood it and still responds by adjusting her position so she'll land on her feet.
~When baby is really little, and the whole family is adjusting to a newly developing routine let the housework go! Sleep when baby sleeps. Who cares if all the dishes are done if you can't see straight because you haven't slept for 48 hours?! Anyone that visits will understand!

Toddlers:
~For a great healthy-ish frozen treat, freeze the yogurt that comes in a tube. Simply run some warm water on it prior to opening it to loosen it from the plastic. My daughter loves them!
~Two ways to contain the mess of a new painter: either use the bathtub by stripping him/her to their diaper and letting them go crazy, or use a cookie sheet with a rim and tape the paper into the cookie sheet.
~Toys don't have to be fancy or expensive to be educational and hold a toddler's interest. In addition to the links I have on the right, which have many homemade toy/activity ideas, think small. I got a bag of pompoms from a local store, and Gracie and I have endless games with that one small bag! We sort by color or size, find colors, name colors, practice counting and putting them in the bag and taking them out. All for less than two dollars!
~Teach your kid the word "HELP." Gracie learned this a while ago, and whenever she threw a tantrum I'd simply say "Gracie, do you need HELP?" She's caught on to the word and although she still shows her frustration, the tantrums have gotten smaller. I think we avoid a lot of tantrums too, because she knows if she just says HELP, momma or daddy will try to help her. Of course, there are times she goes straight to help without trying by herself, which is an important part of learning. We try to address those moments as they come, encouraging her to keep trying as we slowly come to her aid.
~When tantrums DO happen, we tell her "Use your words." We've explained to her that momma and daddy don't understand if she doesn't use words. Then we wait for the tears to stop and words to start. She gets immediate reactions as soon as she starts using her words, so she knows that it's a better choice.
~Don't be afraid to get down and messy with your toddler! Messes are temporary, the things your child will learn from you and the memories that will come from a childhood shared with his/her parents will be with him/her forever.

Felt Friends

Carrie made these amazing felt characters (as well as the alphabet and numbers 0-9) for Gracie's second birthday. They are so cute!


I'm So Cool, I Gotta Wear Shades





Carrie, teaching Brianna how to be cool.

Bri


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bee Swingin'


"Mom? Mom, what are you doing?!"



"Hey! This is pretty awesome!"


video

Not Edible Necklace





Getting REAL

Our friend, Barbara, recently posted about honesty through blogging. Some blogs are fake and only show the wonderful aspects of the person's life. Of course, there are others that are way too personal and make me feel like I'm invading the person. While I don't want this blog to be overly personal or make anyone uncomfortable, I also don't want it to appear that we have no issues; that our life is perfect. Because of this, I have been inspired to get a little more real today.

We have been struggling with depression. Daddy has been struggling much longer than I have, always unsure where to start with diagnosis and afraid that medications would conflict with the meds he was using for ADD. With our move home to Hudson, we were able to go to a doctor that his mom recommends, making it much easier by eliminating the search for a trustworthy doctor. As we were tweaking his medication, I began to sink. I didn't notice it at first, and even now, reflecting, I see how far back it actually started. Around December or January I started to feel like something was missing. Maybe I was overwhelmed with the responsibility of a new baby in addition to an overactive toddler, or maybe it was the beginning of my postpartum depression. I don't know, but I do know that I started to evaluate our lives with a very critical eye. The first and most obvious place for me to land was on the fact that we are 32 years old and still living in an apartment. I started looking at houses and contacting people about financing. Daddy wasn't completely on board, but that didn't stop me.

I didn't like the answers I was getting, so I decided that we needed to completely analyze our finances. We joined a group at church that was going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. This course has helped us not only financially, but also emotionally. It's like it opened a door of communication for Daddy and me. We are not only talking more about finances, but also how we are feeling and other aspects of our lives. One thing we didn't realize when we got married was how different our lives were growing up. In my household, my father was the financial person. He took care of it all. In Daddy's, it was his mom. We learned that while I was always assuming he was taking care of financial matters, he was assuming I was taking care of it~so no one was doing it! Now, we both handle it. Which, if you think about it, is how it should be. We are a team and should be acting like it.

Despite the new lines of communication between my husband and I, I was still sinking. I was sad all the time. It didn't make sense. I have an amazing husband. Two beautiful, fun, and sweet daughters. A nice home (even if it's not a house, it's home). We now get to live close to family and friends that we consider family. I have a new job that I love. I should be happy. I finally sucked up my pride and insecurities and went to my doctor, who agreed that I am dealing with postpartum depression. He told me that counseling and medication have about the same amount of success. After careful consideration I decided that one of the reasons I am suffering is because I spend so much time away from my girls, and that more time away from them for counseling would drag me further down instead of helping me break free.

I am now on antidepressants. I have some good days and some not-so-good days, but we're working through it. While I hate that I am going through this, a part of me is also thankful for the experience. While I knew that Daddy was dealing with depression the last few years, I just didn't understand. I didn't understand how all-consuming it feels. I didn't understand how hopeless it feels. I certainly didn't understand how overwhelming even the smallest task could feel. I like to think that I'm more understanding and patient with him now that I have felt what he has been going through. I guess you can now understand why my posts are so streaky-oodles of posts one day, then none for a week or more. My kids make me smile, but some days that's the only thing that can. Other days, just seeing the sun poking out will delight me and put me in a great mood. I'm hopeful that the combination of open communication with my husband, meds, and better weather will snap me out of this funk and let me stop taking so many pills. Until then, I will cherish the happy moments and work to limit the sad ones. One day at a time.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Butterflies

I got an idea for making tissue paper butterflies for the girls' room yesterday. The kids have been playing with a large stick outside lately, so I thought I'd take that (they shouldn't be playing with it anyway) and use it as a base for a mobile of butterflies and hang it in the corner, near Gracie's crib. The stick was gone, however so I had to modify my plan-and I'm glad because I think it turned out so much cuter than it otherwise would have!


Waiting for heads, eyes, and antenna.




Gracie spent a significant part of her evening climbing from the couch in her room, into her crib trying to get closer to them. She even wore her butterfly pajamas in honor of them tonight.



Painting, Shaving Cream, and Bubbles


With a couple painting sessions under her belt, I thought I'd give Gracie something new and gave her poster paint that I found in a miscellaneous art supply bin that I have. They are styled like Bingo daubers, so all she had to do was press them against the paper to make them work. I should have left it at that, but also gave her paint on plates-which made her dip the daubers into the new paint color making some very interesting colors on her paper.




Brianna watching her sister create her masterpieces.


Once the painting was finished, I gave Gracie shaving cream to play with and clean up a little bit. She had so much fun with it, as you can see from the video.


video


Gracie was begging to go outside and blow bubbles all day today, but it really cooled off and I didn't want us to go out today so I got them out while we were cleaning up. I think it made her day!



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