Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Traditions

As a parent, the Christmas season seems to bring more excitement and more fun with each year. It's all so magical and is an excellent opportunity to create traditions and to incorporate special ones from your own childhood. Dan and I have talked about some of the things we loved as kids that we'd like to continue with Leah, and we've come up with some brand new ones to call our own as well.

One of my most favorite memories is making Christmas cookies with my mom and my sister. Mom would use her spritz cookie gun and shoot the cookie dough onto the pans, while Laurs and I decorated with food-colored sugar. Naturally, baking cookies with Leah around the holidays (and throughout the year!) is one of those traditions I want to continue. I mixed the food coloring with sugar, just like my mom used to, and let Leah go to town on our frosted sugar & gingerbread cookies. She had a blast, as did I. :)

One of the traditions Dan remembers fondly is receiving gifts not only from Santa, but from his favorite characters as well. He opened gifts that were from G.I. Joe or Superman. It all added to the magic of Christmas. So, this year, we decided to do the same for Leah. We ordered two small stuffed animals from The Wiggles website - Wags the Dog and Dorothy the Dinosaur. Rather than coming from Santa or from us, we decided The Wiggles should send those along with Santa for their big fan, Leah. Bolt also chose to send a stuffed Mittens and Rhino, as well. ;)

Another tradition I am continuing is letting Leah unwrap a gift from us on Christmas Eve: Christmas pajamas. But I'm adding a new one this year as well. Leah will also open an ornament from us. This year, it's Bolt. Her first favorite movie.

Since Dan and I have been married, he's created a couple lovely traditions that have remained: on Christmas morning, he lights some holiday candles and puts on Christmas music or a holiday movie in the background. At the end of the night on Christmas, he saves one last gift for each member of our family. It's funny, because he does this every year and yet, on the actual holiday, I always seem to forget and it is still a fun surprise. ;)

We figure this is the last year Leah will be sleeping in her crib, so next Christmas will be a bit trickier with her in a bed and having the freedom to get up. Dan and I are planning a new tradition of Santa putting presents under the tree in our family room, while the gifts from family will remain under the tree in the living room (which is right next to Leah's bedroom!). We hope this will save us from making too much noise on Christmas Eve. And we figure we can leave a trail of candy, or something similar, from the fireplace to the tree in the family room. But we have another whole year to figure this one out!

We have less than a week to go until this Christmas and I am so excited. As Leah gets older and more aware with each holiday season, I eagerly anticipate her reaction when she enters the living room on Christmas morning. We're having so much fun already and I know we have so much more to look forward to in future years.

I leave you with a few more photos of Christmas with a toddler. :)

Munching the freshly baked cookies:

Choosing a magnet for each day of the Advent calendar:

Ornaments that are clinging for dear life onto the tree:

And the Virgin Mary... on a Little People tractor?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Parades

This past Saturday, Leah experienced her first and second Christmas parades. Two nearby towns were having theirs on the same day - one at 11am, the other at 4pm. It was such a fun day!

The first parade lasted almost a solid 90 minutes. Leah saw floats, horses, marching bands, dance troupes, old-fashioned cars, and Santa on a fire truck. Many of the floats were tossing candy to the kids on the side of the street, and boy, did Leah love that! Since we were there for awhile, I let her have several tootsie rolls and a couple dum dum lollipops. What a sugar high! By the last 15-20 minutes of the parade, she was so bubbly, talkative, and was dancing and jumping all over the place. It was hysterical!

The second parade was much shorter, as that town is smaller. By then, it had gotten colder and since it had been drizzling shortly before the start time, the crowd was small as well. Because of this, you should've seen the amount of candy Leah made out with! We collected more than on Halloween. It was incredible, especially since most of the candy throughout the two parades had been smaller items like tootsie rolls, peppermints, and dum dums.

I think it's safe to say Leah is enjoying this holiday season. ;)

Waving at the floats:

Sugar high ;)

Doing her best Captain Feathersword impersonation: "Ahoy there!"

Friday, December 3, 2010

Santa's Message to Leah

This has been going around Facebook in the past 24 hours with a lot of my mom friends and I had to try it out. It's so adorable! Leah is currently napping, but I can't wait for her to see it later today. :D

Santa's Message to Leah:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Video Share

Since I've neglected the blog recently, for Thanksgiving and Christmas prep (almost done shopping!), I thought I would at least pop on here and provide you with some recent photos and videos. :)  Happy Thanksgiving!

Dancing to the Wiggles

Amused by pushing her bike; notice the dogs in this one. ;)

Talking to the little ants crawling along the driveway.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

You want candy?

This is Leah's new thing. She'll come up to me or to Dan and ask, "You want candy?" We say, "No, do you want candy?" She answers, "Okay!" like she wasn't the one who suggested it and we're actually offering it to her. And she gets a HUGE grin on her face. Heh. She's a stinker. She also does this when she wants a tastykake.

The time change has gone relatively well. Leah's daily schedule has pretty much been moved up an hour, which is great for us. I'm an early riser and typically showered & dressed before Dan leaves for work anyway, so I don't mind Leah starting her day earlier as well. Then, we can all get to bed earlier too! (Yes, I am an old lady and I don't care. Ha ha.) For some odd reason, she's always in a more pleasant mood when she naps earlier (1-3 as opposed to 2-4), so this is another bonus with shifting her routine.

And lastly, Leah finally knows all her colors! A couple days ago, she was pointing out colors on a pair of socks or something, and in addition to getting blue and pink correct, she even knew white. I was so impressed. I still don't think she's too familiar with black, but for the last several days, she seems to have all the other basics down now. Yay. :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Finally got all the pictures uploaded, so we can talk about Halloween. :)

Momma woke Leah from her nap that day around 4:30pm. Boy oh boy, what a grump she was! Leah has her moments, but this was probably the grumpiest she had been in a long time. She wanted to go play outside, then come back inside, then go back out again... whining the whole time. Ugh. We weren't even sure if we'd make it to trick-or-treating.

Thankfully, after some dinner, Leah perked up. She played for a little bit and then we got her dressed in her costume: Jessie the Cowgirl from Toy Story. Her mood started to deteriorate, however, when Momma took too long trying to find an appropriate shirt to go underneath the costume (so that the tags wouldn't irritate her and set her off more!).

Daddy saved the day by taking Leah back outside to play a bit before we left for trick-or-treat. Momma, Grammy, and Grandpa all came outside to take pictures. Leah wasn't feeling the cowgirl hat though. Daddy helped her out with that, and sported the hat throughout trick-or-treat. ;)

Since our neighborhood is pretty rural and spread out, we piled in the car and drove to the neighborhood we visited last year. It had come with a good recommendation from a co-worker, though with Leah being only 18 months old last year, we only hit a small handful of houses before leaving. This year started out about the same as last; it was fairly quiet as we began trick-or-treating around 6:30pm while it was still light out. Leah seemed to enjoy herself, though she was too shy to say "Trick-or-treat", which we pretty much expected. She did say thank you and bye to pretty much every homeowner though, so we were proud! And she made sure to talk to every dog that she encountered. :)

Then, the neighborhood became a zoo. As it grew darker, the amount of trick-or-treaters increased... as did the amount of cars slowly driving through the neighborhood alongside their kids. Clearly, this place has a reputation! Unfortunately, we noticed several kids (especially older/preteen ones) walking through yards, not saying thank you, and trying to grab handfuls of candy. Later, as we were on the way back to our parked car, some 11 or 12 year old boy came up behind Dan, who was holding Leah, and reached his hand into her bucket to take her candy!!! Momma yanked that kid's hand out so fast and asked him what he was doing. His mother (we assume) came up then, apologized, told us he was autistic, and called for him to come over to her. Whatever he was, he should've had an adult with him at all times. No one takes candy from a two year old; especially not MY two year old.

Needless to say, we will not be going back to this neighborhood. It was just too crazy. We felt bad, then, for the homeowners there and that we were trick-or-treating in their neighborhood. Even if we were being polite and respectful, it seemed a shame. So, I'm not sure what the plan will be for next year. Maybe a friend's neighborhood or something.

All in all, Leah seemed to have a good time. She got a modest amount of candy and a fun-size bag of popcorn (that she would not allow in her candy bucket! Ha ha!). She had several pieces of candy when we returned home, and has had a few more pieces each day since. Her favorites seem to be Reese's peanut butter cups, Whoppers, Milky Way, and Skittles.

More pictures, for the fun of it:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Getting Ready for Halloween

This past weekend, Leah helped me clean out our two biggest pumpkins for carving. She loved digging her hands in there, pulling out the seeds, and dumping them into bowls. She surprises me at times - she's come to dislike having food on her hands and always wants a napkin, yet she had no problem with the stringy pumpkin gunk. Go figure.

I had a couple big spoons to help us dig out the seeds, and Leah loved stirring what we had in the bowls, exclaiming, "I'm making pumpkins!" (What's really cute is "pumpkins" sounds like "cumpkins".) :)

Later in the evening, Dan and I each carved a pumpkin while Leah looked on and played with the little pumpkin pieces that popped out. We did two traditional jack-o-lantern faces that are smiley and fun!

We plan to trick-or-treat Sunday evening. So far, the weather forecast is very promising: low 70s and sunny. Yay! We can't wait to see Leah's reaction this year, as she realizes people will be giving her candy. Aside from ice cream, that's probably her favorite thing in the world.

Here are a couple more pumpkin pictures:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hard to Get

Lately, Leah is fascinated by and obsessed with Hud. She follows him around, she talks to him, she tries her hardest to pet him or cuddle him. She tells us that Hud's a good boy.

As many of you are aware, Hud has always been the more standoffish dog with Leah. He never snapped at her, was never mean or aggressive. Quite simply, he was the first "baby" in our lives and I don't think he's ever quite gotten over having to share the spotlight or our affection with both Dodge and Leah. Dodge, on the other hand, is a big lovey boy. Leah knows she can cuddle with him, get kisses from him, or bother him all she wants and he doesn't mind a bit. He's easy.

But Hud. Oh, that Hud is hard to get.

Only in recent months has he been alright with Leah petting him or putting her arm around him; he'll even initiate a sniff or a kiss (though whether he's doing that for our praise or because he actually likes Leah, one may never know ;) ). It may have taken him longer, but he's coming around. Slowly, but surely.

Still, we can't help but wonder... will Leah be going after the hard-to-get boys? Ditching the good-natured, lovable guys for those elusive loners?

She sure seems to love a challenge.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Miss Bossy Pants

You can pretty much guess what I'm going to say with the title of this post. Yes, Leah is turning all her wonderful vocabulary into commands:

"Momma clean up."
"Daddy stand up."
"Daddy go way." (while pointing wherever she wants him to go)
"Momma make food."

And the list goes on. To give her the benefit of the doubt, she does have a limited vocabulary, so she can't yet say, "Momma, can you help me clean up please?" or "Daddy, I want to you stand up with me." I get it; it makes sense when you think of it in that way.

But boy, her tone of voice... sounds like a command. And it gets old. Fast. So, we've started using her favorite word. No. ;)

This girl SO knows how to get me though, to piggyback off of "One More Time". One of her new phrases is "Lookin' good!" She says it when I change her clothes, or when she puts a hairband or hat on my head. A few days ago, she was pretending to talk on the phone (calculator) and at the end of her "conversation", she said, "Love you too" and looked right at me, like she just knew I was going to think that was adorable. She was right, little stinker.

And then, on Monday, we're in Kroger. She's sitting in the cart and at one point, I must've leaned close to her, so she grabs me, pulls me into a hug, and says something that I usually say to her, "You're the best." I nearly cried in the middle of the grocery store.

That's probably the coolest thing a boss has ever said to me. :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One More Time

When you have a child, especially a little girl, you get a lot of comments like, "Oh, I bet she has you wrapped around her little finger!"

I don't know if we've ever been those parents.

We try to set up various rules and routines, we do time-outs for misbehavior, and we let the grandparents do the spoiling. We've ignored "The Pout", because we knew it was a ploy for attention. Sure, we treat Leah to things every now and then. We let her run the show when it comes to what movie we're going to watch, or we use lollipops to help with a smooth grocery store trip. Still, for the most part, we try to set limits and stick to them.

Except for, "One more time."

Dan and I admit, we are both powerless to this one little phrase uttered by this adorable little girl in her sweet little voice with her cute little hand gesture. When she enjoys some activity, be it twirling with Daddy, getting tickled by Momma, or whatever else we've come up with that day, she will play this card mercilessly when one of us has said, "OK, that's enough for now" or "Let's take a break".

"One more time."

OK, you win. We will do whatever it is you want. Because that is just the most darling thing ever.

Her pronunciation has gotten much better within the last couple weeks, but it used to sound like, "Boo boo time."  Ah, the cuteness!

Spinning, twirling, tickling, plotting for world domination?  We're helpless. We're wrapped. Leah triumphs.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Since my brother and cousins were young, I've always enjoyed "little kid language". You know, the made up words they say because they can't pronounce something correctly or because they don't understand the proper forms of speech yet. Just last year, when I was still working full-time, I loved hearing stories about one of my co-worker's sons and the silly things he would say.

Leah's now at that age where she's really trying to say everything, even if it doesn't always come out right. Her language improves each week, and she's always adding new words or phrases to her vocabulary. Along with that comes her "little kid language" that I am relishing. These are some recent highlights:

"Too fit" - A combination of "too big" and "doesn't fit"
"Feel better" - When she means that something sounds good, she says this
"I like it that" - Again, a combo of "I like it" and "I like that" ;)
"Dina-sino" - Dinosaur (from Toy Story)

It's fun, and I'm curious to see what she'll come up with next.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Baking Cookies

Earlier today, Leah helped me make chocolate chip cookies! It was the first time doing this type of activity with her, and she did well. I measured out the dry ingredients and asked her to put them into a larger bowl... she didn't quite understand my direction and placed her fingers into the sugar/flour in order to transfer them to the bowl, rather than lifting the measuring cup and dumping all of its contents. It's actually really interesting to see how her mind works, as I'm expecting a different response in my own head. ;)

Still, by the time we got to adding the chocolate chips, she had figured out what I was instructing and picked up the cup to pour the chips into the dough. She did a great job stirring the dry ingredients together, and stirring the final dough. As you might expect, she's also a great batter tester too. ;)  In fact, she seemed very frustrated that we had to spoon the cookie dough onto baking sheets and leave it there to bake. Clearly, she wanted the dough all to herself. Who can blame her? That's the best part!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day in the Life

The April '08 message board I'm a part of has been doing a fun activity called "A Day in the Life of..." Those of us participating have been assigned a specific week where you choose a day and take photos throughout, illustrating your daily life. Leah and I did ours this past Tuesday, and I figured it would make for a good blog post too. It was a fairly typical day for us, and it will be interesting to look back on. :) Hope you enjoy.

This post is very, very picture heavy! Just click below...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

You talkin' to me?

Leah's always been a chatterbox, even with her baby babble, though it seems like her language has had another explosion in the past week or so. She is constantly imitating words and phrases from us or from movies she's watching. She's trying to sing a lot more songs now too - she impressed me by singing a verse from "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush" in Target yesterday, all in the correct rhythm and doing The Wiggles' hand motions as she sang.

Her most used phrases lately include:

"Look at me!" - usually said with her blankie over her head
"Funny guy/Daddy/Popel/Leah!" - everyone is funny these days
"Ice cream? Ice cream goooood!" - no longer calling it "cuh cuh"
"Come on!" - she uses this to help call the dogs or to keep Momma from browsing in Target ;)
"Eye you." (Love you.) - She's been saying this every time we hug. It's the best.

I'm sure there are more that I'm forgetting. But she's definitely using more and more "real" words instead of baby babble and talking in lots of sentences, which is exciting.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Little Traveler

As most of you know, Leah is quite the excellent traveler! She & Momma drove up to Pennsylvania last week and then returned this past Tuesday. She behaved extremely well in the car, especially on the ride up when the portable DVD player wouldn't work for more than a few miles. Instead, we listened to six Wiggles songs over and over, sang nursery rhymes, said silly things, and Leah looked at books, babbled to her animals, and napped. Momma was so impressed and so grateful. Thankfully, a new DVD player performed perfectly well on the journey home, allowing us to shave an extra hour off our original trip.

During our visit, Leah spent several evenings in Grammy's pool, once again explored her Uncle Ryan's toybox, visited with Popel & Grandma, played in three different parks, made everyone watch "Bolt", ate lots of goodies, and showed extreme pride and satisfaction in garnering applause from extended family after knocking a stuffed dog on the ground and shouting, "Ta da!"  Looks like we might have a little actress on our hands. ;)

We also got to meet another mom & toddler (Rachel & Ethan) from Momma's message board for April '08 kids. It was a blast! Ethan is the sweetest little boy, so willing to share his toys and to play with anyone. Leah gets a little upset when anyone invades her personal bubble so she freaked a little bit when Ethan followed her into a playhouse. When we told Daddy about this, he said with pride, "Ah, that's my girl!" Silly. Still, I think the kids had a good time together overall, and Momma definitely enjoyed it.

We had a great trip and we hope to be able to do it again in the near future. :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Leah's Cast of Characters

This group of mutts is what I like to call "The Usual Suspects". From left to right, they are, in Leah's words: Funny Doggy, Bolt, Little Doggy, Big Doggy, and Kitty. Leah must have at least one (but usually more) of these animals with her at all times. They come with us to Kroger, the library, heck, any old car ride really. Sometimes, a baby doll (or two or three!) gets thrown into the mix as well as a random teddy bear. Some days, she's very attached to a certain one or two, and then her preferences change again the next day. But these five animals definitely seem to be the favorites. And at bedtime, you better make sure they are ALL in the crib with Leah, lest you want to incur her wrath. ;)

The following is Leah singing with the end of "Bolt". She knows when it's coming, so you may notice she sings before the last line actually begins, and stops before the singer does. Still, you get the idea. :) She's very big on imitating various songs, dance moves, and scenes from her favorite movies lately, so I hope to catch more on video.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Storytime Success

I was so proud of Leah at Storytime today!

Quick background: we've been going to the library for months now. In the beginning, she used to need maybe 10 minutes in my lap to "warm up" before she got excited, stood up, or clapped along with any nursery rhymes. For the past month or so, she had been sitting in my lap for almost all of Storytime and I was starting to wonder if it was worth it to keep going. Then, last Wednesday, she barely sat in my lap for two minutes and was up on her feet, imitating the motions to the nursery rhymes, and jumping/dancing right along with everyone else.

This morning, however, I was SO impressed. Not only did she not want to sit in my lap at all, but she sat a little bit of distance from me. She participated in every single song and had a lot of the moves down pat. I was thrilled! I noticed the librarian and other parents smiling at her and her enthusiasm. She looked like such a big girl, and I was beaming with pride. That's my little monkey. :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Pout

This is the face of Leah not getting her way. In the past week, she has become the queen of the pout. Doesn't want to nap? Pout. Warned about throwing toys or going into timeout? Pout. Wants ice cream instead of dinner? Pout. It's rather amusing to Dan & I, really, because we don't fall for it. She hasn't gotten her way once with that face, yet she still tries it. I'll be curious to see how long it lasts. ;)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Little Firecracker

Summer reached its unofficial midpoint this past weekend, and we had a very enjoyable 4th of July. We tried a new park, where a dog diving competition was being held throughout the weekend. It was such a cute event! Leah loved seeing all the doggies and clapping for them as they splashed into the water. As you can tell, she also enjoyed the playground there, climbing like the little monkey she is. ;)

We took Leah to her first fireworks that evening. Instead of going directly to the park where they were set off, we ended up at a nearby medical office complex where we had a good view, yet the booms weren't loud enough to scare Leah. It was perfect. She absolutely loved them, exclaiming, "Pretty!" and calling out various colors. She seemed rather disappointed when they ended and they were all she could talk about the rest of the night. Even as the week has gone on, she mentions the fireworks here and there, so it definitely made a good impression.

Sadly, Leah seems to have given up The Wiggles for Barney again. :P Every once in awhile, she asks for The Wiggles but mostly, it's the dinosaur she wants to watch as she eats her breakfast. Momma & Daddy are a bit sad by this. ;) We decided not to order tickets for The Wiggles this summer. Available seats were at the far end of the arena and with Leah being unable to really see them up close, it didn't seem worth it, at least not at this age.

One interesting trend Momma has noticed is Leah's current obsession with cereal. She's always liked it, but lately, it's just about ALL she wants to eat. Honey Nut Cheerios, Trix, Raisin Bran, Honey Bunches of Oats... you name it, she wants it. What really makes this amusing though, is that Momma craved cereal like a mad woman while she was pregnant. Could not get enough of the stuff. After talking to some mommy friends, apparently this correlation between cravings and favorite foods is quite true among other toddlers too. Ha!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Activities, Meltdowns, and Motherhood (oh my!)

A couple days ago, in order to ward off a post-nap whine fest (which often happens, by the way), I showed Leah the stickers that came with her new Sesame Street coloring book from Grammy. As you can see by the front of her shirt, she loved them. She adorned Momma, a baby doll, and Bolt in stickers as well. If only we had a photo of all of us. ;) A couple things from my own childhood that I would love to introduce Leah to are paint-with-water books and Colorforms. I'm thinking Colorforms are probably a no-show nowadays, but I've heard that I should check Walmart for the paint-with-water books. No luck so far at Target, TRU, and Barnes & Noble.

Speaking of B&N, we left that store in a tizzy today. I allowed Leah to play in the children's section for awhile as I scoped out the activity books. They had a train table and a bunch of little stuffed animals that kept her occupied. The problem came when it was time to leave. In the not too distant past, Leah would return stuffed animals to their proper shelves ("to go sleepies") when asked. I don't know if she was simply tired & cranky today, or if she was just being 2, but boy oh boy, what a meltdown! I had to carry her kicking and screaming from the store to the car because she wanted to leave with more stuffed dogs and cats. Ugh. This is becoming an increasing trend too: major meltdowns in public. At least at home, when she flips out about something or yells because she can't get her way, I can ignore her and not give her the attention that she wants. But in public, I have to deal with her. It's exhausting.

Still, as most children do, Leah makes up for it with moments of cuteness and silliness. A couple nights ago, after playing outside in the hot and sticky air, I told her she could have some ice cream. (Or "cuh cuh", as she calls it.) I opened the freezer and the first carton I pulled out was vanilla. I show Leah and she shakes her head and says, "No cuh cuh." Then, before I can even fully pull it out of the freezer, she spots the Cookies & Cream carton, points, and says, "How 'bout cuh cuh?" The girl knows what she likes, I'll tell ya. Made me laugh. :)


I read a book this week regarding motherhood. It's a short book (roughly 80 pages), which began as a letter that a mother wrote to her two young daughters: "Lift" by Kelly Corrigan. During one of Leah's naptimes, I read it cover to cover. I was so affected by it, so emotional. She tries to illustrate to them what life is like now, in the beginning, in the years they won't remember as they grow. This blog, as mundane or as silly as it's been, and not nearly as beautifully written as Corrigan's book, will hopefully be something that we can share with Leah in the future, to capture a little snippet of what her early years were like.

Corrigan wrote, "If John Lennon was right that life is what happens when you're making other plans, parenthood is what happens when everything is flipped over and spilling everywhere and you can't find a towel or a sponge or your "inside" voice." Ah, so true.

But my most favorite passage from the book is this:
"I am your mother, the first mile in your road. Me and all my obvious and hidden limitations. That means that in addition to possibly wrecking you, I have the chance to give to you what was given to me: a decent childhood, more good memories than bad, some values, a sense of tribe, a run at happiness. You can't imagine how seriously I take that - even as I fail you. Mothering you is the first thing of consequence that I have ever done."

Love you, Leah. Terrible twos, meltdowns, and all.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Beach Bum

We took Leah on her first trip to the beach last week. As we expected, she loved playing in the sand yet was intimidated by the ocean. That picture shows about how close she got to the water. Sunday, the 6th, was our first full day and it was a scorcher! Hot, humid, and tough to be outside for too long. Leah lasted about 1.5 hours on the beach. However, Monday & Tuesday were beautiful, breezy days that allowed us to soak up the sun & sand a little longer. I think we spent a solid 3.5 hours on the beach on Tuesday. Heavenly.

Leah managed to do very well on the long car rides both to and from our destination. We stopped by the Disney Outlet store at the beach, where Leah gladly picked out a stuffed Bolt as a reward. :)

Unfortunately, she did not fare so well in some of the restaurants we visited. Mostly, she's just so active and full of energy that she hates being confined to a chair for very long. She's been full out YELLING when she doesn't get her way either, which makes for an embarrassing outing. Still, we were able to enjoy the beach, enjoy some wonderful food, and overall had a really fantastic time.

Mid-week, we left the beach for our old hometown to visit with family. We successfully surprised Popel for his 60th birthday! Leah also enjoyed swimming in Grammy's pool, exploring the children's garden at Longwood, and visiting Boyds Bear Country on the way home. (She managed to pick up three more stuffed animals - 2 from Boyds Bears and 1 from her Uncle Ryan's bedroom. Ha. ;) ) All in all, Leah did really well visiting with a lot of extended family. She got a bit crankier with each day, but for being out of her routine for over a week, and probably very tired, it was to be expected.

To the family in PA, thanks for a great time!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Water Baby

This past Friday, when the weather was 88 and humid, with blazing sunshine, Leah figured out how to cool off: dump water on her head. :) She loves playing with her water table and on that day, she realized how to make it work for her. As you can tell, she cracked herself up in the process! Leah continued to do this throughout the weekend when she was feeling, I don't know, warm? Playful? Silly? And yesterday, she took to lifting her shirt and pouring the water on her belly. Ha! She's a funny one.

Despite how much Leah loves playing outside, taking walks, and shoveling sand in her sandbox, she has become very freaked out by bugs and dirt. If there's even the teeniest little gnat or fly on something of hers, you better shoo it or kill it. She will not touch anything near it until the bug is gone. And for such a hands-on, outdoorsy kinda girl, I am rather surprised by the dirt hatred. She'll hold her hands up and say, "Dirty!" until they're wiped. Again, if there's even a speck of dead grass or anything on her slide or in the water table, she will not play until it's cleaned up. I suppose it's better to have a child who prefers cleanliness over messiness, right? Heck, with her parents, that was pretty much inevitable. Except, why can't this girl clean up her dumped box of crayons? ;)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Mystery is Solved!

For a few weeks now, Leah had been saying something that eerily sounded like, "F***, s***." It was so bizarre. Dan and I couldn't figure it out. Sure, we've messed up here and there and said a curse word in front of her but never both of those back to back like that. Were we horrible parents? Was she picking up on these words and putting them together for the heck of it?

Thankfully, we found the answer this week: she's really saying "Five, six"! The Wiggles have a few songs where they count, and one of Leah's new favorites is about a chicken with SIX little chicks and they count them twice in the song. Ah-ha! Now that we've figured this out, we can clearly hear Leah saying, "One, two, five, six!" (She doesn't seem to care for three or four, oddly enough.) ;) We are quite relieved about this one.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Momma's Intuition

This was the scene Sunday afternoon. Poor Leah had come down with another cold on Friday and by Sunday morning she was coughing, congested, and her breathing was very labored. Exactly like she was on Easter Sunday. We took her to a local clinic and all that doctor said was that she had an ear infection and prescribed us an antibiotic.

As yesterday went on, Leah's breathing seemed to be getting worse and she was exhausted. She barely talked, didn't eat, didn't play, and basically wanted to lay around on the floor or in her bed. As always, her good buddy Dodge kept her company when he could. Leah's 2 year old checkup was scheduled for Monday morning (today) and we tried to hold out until then but by 6pm last night, Momma broke down crying at Leah's condition and off to the ER we all went!

Leah received two breathing treatments, a steroid, and a chest x-ray. They discharged us around 10pm and Leah was already feeling a gazillion times better. Talking to the doctor and nurse, trying to walk away (!), etc. We sort of feel like we should have just gone to the ER in the first place since they knew exactly what to do and it worked 3 weeks ago. Live and learn. Our nurse was
wonderful too - she made a glove balloon for Leah and sang the Elmo theme. ;)

Anyhow, after all this, Momma is convinced Leah is experiencing asthma. We've got the family history and all of Leah's symptoms are extremely similar to her experiences as a kid. Thankfully, at this morning's checkup, Leah's pediatrician agreed with Momma and said, "Two strikes and you're out, Leah." Basically, if a child has two wheezing episodes like this in one season (let alone within one month!), then it's usually asthma. With one wheezing episode, they don't want to diagnose asthma because it can be completely isolated to one illness and the child may never wheeze again. But, this is obviously not the case with Leah, and pretty much what Momma had suspected back at Easter.

We've got a nebulizer now and Leah will have to use it everyday, in order to try to prevent any further wheezing episodes when sick. She's got a couple silly masks that attach to it, so we're hoping to make a fun game out of it. We are just so thankful that the pediatrician agreed and gave us the tools to help her now.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


OK, so we're not the greatest at keeping this blog updated since this is "old" news, but yes, our girl is two! :)

She had a wonderful birthday, full of balloons, yummy food, great company, bunches of fun presents, and gorgeous weather. What more could a little girl ask for?

Spring is in full force here in the South, and thankfully, the pollen count has gone way down, so Leah has been enjoying a ton of time outdoors. She is absolutely fascinated by the soft, fuzzy caterpillars that are inching all over the place. She calls them "puh-puhs" and will watch them for hours if you let her. Leah even let Momma put one on her arm and she loved it. :)

Leah's other new love is her sandbox. Last year, we only filled it with water even though it has two sides and can double as both a pool and sandbox. However, because this girl loves to play in the dirt, sand seemed like a logical (and cleaner!) idea. We picked some up on Saturday and Leah played for hours. She fought to come inside for dinner, and even afterwards, we stayed outside until 8:30 so she could continue playing. Honestly, I think the only reason she agreed to come inside is because it was getting dark and harder to see. Looks like she's gonna be a beach-loving gal just like her mom - yay!

Monday, March 22, 2010

YouTube Addiction

Yes, Leah is currently exploring the wonder that is YouTube. What does she watch? You guessed it - The Wiggles!

There are a ton of wiggly videos out there, and seeing as how we only have two of their DVDs, Leah is in search of new material. And she's getting acquainted with Greg, the former yellow Wiggle. As you may have guessed, Leah can be quite picky about which videos she wants to watch at any given moment. She has a fairly short attention span and is usually ready to switch to another video while in the middle of the current one. If all else fails, and she becomes completely bored of The Wiggles, she resorts quite happily to watching videos of herself that have been uploaded to the computer. But watch home movies on the TV? No! Are you silly? The TV is for Barney. ;)

Leah just spent her first full week at home with Momma. It was pretty lovely, really. The weather cooperated, so a good deal of time was spent outdoors. Dodge had to be taken to the vet on Friday (and that's a whole other story!) so a little adventure ensued. Leah was lucky enough to be given a couple lollipops, so she barely noticed that Dodge was bumping into her and generally acting like, well, like himself.

As Leah approaches her second birthday, she is talking in LOTS of two-word sentences. It's exciting! For a couple weeks, she would do it here and there, but now, this skill is in full force! Some sample phrases include: "Baby cry", "Daddy work", "Doggie ball", and "Momma sit". It is so amazing to see her putting thoughts together and coming up with explanations for everything. I think I speak for Daddy too when I say we are SO thankful to have reached this big communication boom!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One, Two Punch

After being sick for over a week, Leah saw the doctor again on Monday only to find out that she has a sinus infection AND a double ear infection. Yikes!

Thankfully, she's on antibiotics now and already seems to be perking up and acting more like her usual self. For several days last week, she was lethargic, whiny, and miserable. Fun times. Definitely the worst illness we've seen her experience yet. Momma caught the same cold, and was out of commission for much of Saturday. It seemed to work out OK, as Daddy was Leah's favorite person all weekend long! She loves taking him by the hand, or even putting him in a headlock, and dragging him around wherever she sees fit. And if you try to interrupt their Daddy/Daughter time, look out. Leah will wave you off without a second thought.

We expect Daddy to come down with this cold any day now. ;)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snow in the South

We received approximately 4 inches of snow on Friday! It may not have been Leah's "first snowfall", since we had that freak 8 inches last March, but it was definitely the first one she could explore and experience. Leah was fascinated! As she walked around in the snow, she was a little chatterbox. One can only guess what she was saying, but clearly she was enjoying herself and had a great deal to comment on.

Since it's been entirely too long since we've updated the blog, here's what else is new with our little monkey:

--Her vocabulary is growing every week. She may not say words perfectly, but she certainly tries to say just about anything you ask her. She can say between 50-100 words, though she's not quite at the point of stringing 2 or more words together yet.
--She IS a monkey! She has mastered climbing up onto the couch, climbing onto the chair in her bedroom, and walking up the deck stairs ALL by herself - no help from Momma or Daddy.
--Her newest obsession is The Wiggles: 
They're corny but actually a lot more fun to watch than Barney. Momma & Daddy even sing and dance to their DVDs. ;) Her favorite song right now seems to be "Dr. Knickerbocker", and she even tries to imitate the moves.
--Leah LOVES to take a bath. She has bunches of bath toys (mostly animals/fish) that she likes to line up along the edge of the tub and speak to. It's hysterical. She could talk to them for hours, and often protests when she must be taken out of the bathtub. Hey, at least the girl is clean.
--She's becoming a pro at using her spoon and fork and eating WITHOUT MAKING A MESS! It's amazing. Yeah, sometimes the bib doesn't quite catch everything or her face is a little saucy, but for the most part, she does a great job. Not much clean-up on her hands, unless it's something sticky like maple syrup. Momma is impressed (and glad).

Hard to believe Leah's second birthday is just around the corner! She's becoming such a big girl. :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Forget New Year's Resolution

The time to make changes for the better is when you find yourself with a two-and-a-half foot tall shadow.

While feeding the dogs peanut-butter, Leah watched Dodge attentively and once done, she asked him, "Was. It. Good." Just like her momma and daddy say almost nightly to the dogs after dinner. She said it. We both heard it. Uh oh.

So its time to take stock of some of our lesser habits. The ones we don't want her to pick up and demonstrate at daycare, pre-school, a friend's house, or (lets hope not) in front of child services someday.

1. Burping. That's how we say it was good.
2. Eating ice cream during the Biggest Loser.
3. Slapping. This house is like a professional baseball team with the random acts of way-to-go slappery. The dogs get it, the parents get it. If only it actually translated into being good at sports.
4. Nothing. Imagine sitting in front of the tv for hours. Doing nothing, saying nothing, learning nothing, gaining nothing but a wider load.
5. Use of certain words. However this conflicts directly with number 4. If dad attempts to actually do something, a less favorable word will almost certainly escape his lips at some time.

These resolutions may actually last beyond March, as those little eyes are always watching. That little, growing brain is always soaking it all up. We have to be careful about everything. No more inappropriate scratching. No more wind-breaking. No more watching....Oh no! She's here. She's looking at me. . .