Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spring Fever!

Spring seems to have arrived early here in the South - or at the very least, we're having a very extended preview that is so welcome! Our highs have been in the 60s for a couple weeks now, with days here & there that climb into the 70s. It is refreshing and joyous!

About a week ago, a Friday, Leah told me she wanted to go to both a park and the Botanical Gardens. It was one of those 70 degree days, so I packed some snacks and juice and off we went! She and I were gone for nearly four hours. Leah loves running and exploring wherever she can.

We've also been spending a lot of time in the backyard, writing with sidewalk chalk, kicking her "Cars" dodgeball, and going down the slide.. The days are also getting longer so we're starting to be able to go outside to play after dinner, like we did every night last summer. It's wonderful, and a nice way to get more of that endless toddler energy out before bedtime. ;)

Also, you may notice a new look here on the blog. Thanks to Makin' Cute Blogs, I have discovered some free photo editing websites that are allowing me to create the header you see at the top of the page, and to overall have fun with photos and graphics. I enjoyed this hobby several years ago and it's been nice to get back into it with the help of these free resources... so if you see the blog style change here and there, it's just because I'm having fun. :) Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jump, Jiggle, & Jive

I keep meaning to write about Leah's dance class! At the beginning of January, Leah began a toddler class titled, "Jump, Jiggle, & Jive". It's for ages 2-4 and parents must participate as well. There are about 10 kids or so enrolled in the class, mostly girls and one boy. We meet every Saturday morning for about 45 minutes, and it is so cute!

Our instructor, who owns the dance studio, is very upbeat, cheerful, and encouraging. She leads us all in some nursery rhymes that we perform motions to, adds props like shakers and scarves, teaches the children how to bow, blows bubbles while the parents take a breather, and stamps every child's hand at the end of class with a dance-related image. Mostly, it's a lot of jumping, swaying, and being as active as possible. Very age-appropriate and fun.

I think Leah & I were both excited at the first class when one of the songs that was played was "Shimmie Shake" by The Wiggles. ;)

One thing I've noticed is that other than the little boy in our class, Leah is the only other child not dressed in a leotard or tutu. It's not required; the kids are simply supposed to wear something that's easy to move in. So, we do leggings & long-sleeve t-shirts. While Leah does own a couple tutus, I think she finds them uncomfortable and doesn't ask to wear them. Our instructor even has a bin full of dress-up clothes for the kids to play with and Leah could care less. I love that she does her own thing regardless of what everyone else is doing, even if she's only 2. ;)

The class only runs for six weeks, and so our last class is a week from today. I have a feeling Leah will really miss it; she sometimes asks to go to dance during the week. There are more sessions in the summer and fall, and there are various gymnastics classes out there too that we might try at some point. This was definitely a successful beginning!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Puzzles and Pictures

One of Leah's new favorite activities is doing puzzles. We bought her a few for Christmas, two of which feature favorite movie characters from Toy Story and Cars. At first, when Dan & I tried to sit down and show her how to put together a puzzle, she grew very impatient and frustrated. She would pick up two random pieces and expect them to fit together; when they didn't, and we tried to explain how to try another one, she got mad. Eeek.

However, not one to be deterred by a new challenge, Leah again tried to wrap her brain around these puzzles. She began listening and paying attention when we shared how to match up a character's head with his body, or to look for a similar color, or to flip a piece around so it would lock into place.

Within the course of a week or so, she showed SO much improvement. And now, she loves the puzzles and is a pro at her two favorites. We tried a different puzzle a few nights ago - one that we hadn't touched too much since the holidays - and though she wasn't as quick at matching as she is with the character puzzles, her patience had improved and she was able to focus and work through it with me.

Another milestone Leah recently reached was drawing her first real picture! She was messing around with some markers and she showed me the paper and said, "It's a dolphin!" I looked and sure enough, I could see it. I was super impressed. After she moved on to another activity that day, I saved the picture, wrote the date and "Dolphin" above it, and hung it on the fridge. :)

Friday, February 4, 2011


Last weekend, Dan converted Leah's crib to a toddler bed. As you can see, that simply meant taking off the front side. In the week or two prior to this, Leah finally attempted to climb out of her crib a few mornings as I came to greet her. She managed to get one leg swung over the side but couldn't quite get the other. Still, that's close enough before we had any injuries. We had been prolonging this step for as long as we could. With the removal of that front side of the crib comes more freedom for Leah to test. And test it she has.

She loves being able to get up, walk around, and open her bedroom door. Or get up and play with her baby dolls. Or get up and look through some books. Noticing a trend here? Yeah, getting up. Not sleeping. At least not at naptime anyway.

On Tuesday, when she was sick with a cold, she did nap for an hour, thankfully. And on Wednesday, even though she never slept, she did stay in her room for an hour just playing quietly. It's only been a week so it's hard to tell if this newfound freedom is still just a novelty and will wear off... or if naps are truly being given up. Yeah, she looks a bit sleepier by early evening, but she hasn't been cranky or showing other signs that a nap is being missed. It's possible we needed naptime more than she did. ;)

For all the wakefulness in the afternoon, bedtime and overnight have been outstanding thus far. She doesn't get up or try to play; and she's even going to bed earlier. I suppose because at that point, she really IS tired from a whole day being up. Hey, if that's the trade-off, that's OK. Still, if she decides in a week or two that she's willing to rest in the middle of the day, Momma certainly won't fight that one.