Jun 21, 2012

Yummy in my Tummy

Today, Isabel had her 18 month shots... Ok, shot. Just one. And she is 19 months... Yes, I have been putting it off because I swear it hurts me more than it hurts her. I can not stand the idea of pinning her down to a table while someone sticks a needle into her, no matter if it is for her own good or not. But she is a trooper. Tears came, but a Dora sticker (on her shirt in the photo), Elmo, sweet potato fries and a good nap made everything all better.

I, of course, was still feeling sorry for her, so I wanted to do something extra special today. I thought about the science museum or the pool, but a nap seemed like a much greater need. So, what does any good Southern woman do to make someone feel better? I cook.

I saw this idea on Pinterest once and it has stuck in my mind. I took an ice cube tray and filled it with all her favorite things. I have also seen this done on a paint palette and in other containers, but I had to make do.

And she loved it!

Strawberries, mandarin oranges, frozen peas, mini club crackers, turkey, blueberries, Earth's Best organic honey sticks, and mozzarella string cheese.

Will definitely play with this idea and try variations. This would be a great way to introduce new foods or to get a picky eater to eat.

Jun 5, 2012


I have been so impressed lately with Isabel's language progress.  She is 18 months old and such a smart little girl.  One of her favorie activities is to take foam letter stickers and stick them to a huge sheet of paper that we have taped to the floor in our living room.  With each sticker, I will peel off the back, tell her what the letter is and a word that starts with that letter (for instance A is for Apple).  She usually repeats what I have said and then goes and sticks the sticker on the paper.

We have been doing this for weeks now and I really thought it was just a fun game - a way to keep her entertained.  I always knew she knew what an O was, because we always point out O for Olivia, but I did not realize how many of the letters she was actually absorbing.  The video above shows some of the letters she knows. 

I also sat down today and tried to make a list of the words she knows and uses on a regular basis.  I love the idea of keeping a record of this so that one day she can look back on it when she's a big girl.  I also love to watch her progress, and keeping track of it every few months is a great way to watch her grow.

Here is a list of the words I can think of that Isabel knows.  According to Babycenter.com, names should be included in the count.

  • Cup
  • Kitty
  • No
  • Yes
  • Bubbles
  • Baby
  • Water
  • Juice
  • Shoes
  • Bow
  • Book
  • Up
  • Down
  • Boy
  • Cheese
  • Peas
  • Spoon
  • Ball
  • Hi
  • Bye Bye
  • Please
  • Thank You
  • Excuse Me
  • Mommy
  • Daddy
  • Nana
  • Grandad
  • Grampa
  • Meme
  • Papa
  • Car
  • Beep Beep
  • Truck
  • What's that?
  • This
  • Izzy
  • Daniel
  • Elmo
  • Pee pee
  • Dog
  • Eat
  • Blue
  • Eyes
  • Wow
  • Go
  • Cookie
And these are the animal sounds she knows:
  • Cat
  • Dog
  • Elephant
  • Monkey
  • Snake
  • Lion/Tiger/Bear (roar)
  • Duck
  • Chicken
  • Sheep
  • Fish
  • Giraffe
  • Cow
  • Horse
  • Bird
  • Pig
I am so proud of my big girl!  Drew and I often just look at each other and marvel at the new things she does every single day.  She constantly surprises us.

Looking forward to seeing what she comes up with tomorrow!

Jun 3, 2012

Thank God It's Summer Cookies

For those of you who did not already know, my husband and I are both teachers. He teaches high school anatomy and forensics (every time I say that, someone says "wow! He must be smart." and yes, he is.), and I teach middle school and high school art, though I have been on maternity leave for the past 5 weeks.

No matter what you teach, if you are a good teacher, you put your heart and soul into it. It's like parenting, except that you have 100 kids instead of one or two. It's draining
physically, mentally, emotionally and creatively. I know so many people who think we are so lucky to get summers off, and to them I say 2 things: we don't get paid for it, and also, we NEED our summer break so that we can recharge. Trust me, it's for the good of your children :)

But I digress...

Spring break rolls around and gives us a taste of the freedom that is summer, and from then on, if you do not have a countdown yourself, then one of your teacher friends on Facebook surely does, of the number of days until summer break.

The last week of school is torturous. So much to do, so many students needing you to check their grade, or grade their late work, etc. I know so many teachers who get sick the first week of summer because they have just been going nonstop for so long, the first time there is a lull, their body craters.

But on top of the huge amount of work, grading, paperwork, etc, there is a buzz of excitement. Planning every weekend from now until August... A need to make the most of every second. A need to make it the best summer ever, for yourself, your spouse and your children - and this is where Pinterest comes in, hahaha.

I have been scouring the Internet for ideas on how to make this summer the best summer yet. My upcoming posts will be full of awesome summer activities for toddlers and adults. Those of you who know me know that one of my favorite things in the world is food - as a good Baptist woman, it is how I show affection, appreciation, and love :)

If you are a little girl, what better way to usher in summer than with these cookies:
I started with a basic sugar cookie recipe that I found on the Internet. I am not going to share the recipe because I wasn't totally thrilled with it - far too much butter and just not the best recipe out there. I'd love to have a good recipe if someone cares to share!

Once the dough was made, I divided it into quarters and put each batch into separate containers. Then I used neon food coloring (about 10 drops) and colored each batch. After thoroughly mixing, I let the dough chill overnight.

*disclaimer: if you are looking for a fast cookie, this is not for you. These require a lot of chill time!*

The next day, I took each container and rolled out little balls - approximately half inch diameter. And again, I had to let them chill. (perhaps the amount of butter in the recipe I used required me to have to chill these more often, but I could only work for about 10 minutes before the dough was too gooey to do anything with!)
Once your balls have chilled again, take one of each color and roll them together like the photo below. They will look kind of like everlasting gobstoppers from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory :)

Chill again... See what I mean??
Here's where you need to dig up the old play dough skills that you spent your childhood developing.

Take each gobstopper ball and roll out into a snake like shape approximately 6 inches in length. Then spiral your snake into a cookie shape and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees - remove when they are just starting to firm up.
I recommend working in small batches so that you have some in the fridge to reduce the inconvenient chill time.

These are really impressive looking cookies, and I am definitely glad I made them, but I will wait for a more appreciative crowd than an 18 month old before attempting them again, haha. I needed some oohs and ahhs for all that hard work!!

Thank God it's summer!

Jun 1, 2012

One Month of Liv

When we last spoke, Olivia had just arrived into this sunshiny world. A healthy 8 lbs, 9 oz, 10 fingers, 10 sweet little toes, a good eater and a happy baby.

Since then, an entire month has passed.

Can you believe it has been a month? (Technically 5 and a half weeks, even crazier!)

Olivia continues to do great - growing like a weed, sleeping in 3 hour stretches at night already, and fits perfectly into our family. It hasn't always been roses, however. Our first couple of weeks after the grandmas went home and went back to work were pretty rough. Isabel was craving the attention she had spent the past 17 months getting used to and mommy had her hands full feeding an infant every 2 hours or less on practically zero sleep. I'm amazed that we got through it with only a couple of hits and bites (Isabel pretended to kiss Olivia once and actually bit her!).

But now we have fallen into a routine. I can not imagine my life without this precious baby girl and enjoy every single snuggle I can get. She loves to be close. When she is upset, the closer you snuggle her, the tighter of a ball she can get into, the faster she settles down. She is incredibly strong already - I know it will be just a short time before she is crawling around playing with her big sister. She also loves to make eye contact and loves to be talked to. She rarely cries unless she needs something and is such a go with the flow little one.
We joke that Olivia is koala baby because all she does right now is sleep, eat and snuggle. This is one of her favorite koala baby poses.
I still can't get over how tiny she was. I barely remember Isabel being so small!
This is one of her newborn photos taken by Christy from our church. Such a sweet little bird.
Four weeks old and getting bigger every day. Already wearing her 0-3 month clothes and filling them up nicely. And don't they look cute on her?
This was the first time that we let Isabel hold Olivia. It was hilarious. We put Isabel on the corner of the couch so there was less danger of Olivia rolling off and put little sister in big sister's arms. She was so stunned that she didn't know how to react at first, but the she really got into it and started kissing her over and over. Then in an instant, she decided she was finished and was ready for Nana to pick her up again. I had to be fast with the camera, but it was a heart melting moment.
And now here we are... Five and a half weeks of being a family of four and loving almost every second of it. Looking forward to many more months, tons more photos and watching my girls grow to love each other.

I am one lucky mama.