25 September 2012

Checklist for the Fall

Upon visiting fellow blogger, Stephanie's blog, i got inspired to create my own Fall Checklist! Most of the parts are the same, but I also made some of them specific to our family.

The Fall is by far my favorite season. Don't get me wrong, I love Summer Time, the pool, the beach, but I really appreciate Fall. Life slows down. Things get back to routine. Weather cools off and outside becomes bearable once again, Mosquitoes DIE off,  leaves turn pretty colors, the smell of leaves burning,  I start baking again (last night I made a batch of salty and sweet cookies that came out of the oven just before dinner), pumpkins, state fairs, football, the list goes on.

This year i aspire to complete at least everything on this list, if not more. Most can be done in our own back yard, figuratively speaking. And I kept the "go on dates" from the original post, because Fall doesn't end until December 21st, so we should be able to squeeze two in there, even if it's just to the movies.

Can't wait to share my list as we complete these items. We will definitely be going to the park this weekend, perhaps we will bring our lunches and check that one off the list !

24 September 2012

The Face of a Toddler



Between Rick and myself, we make a lot of expressive faces, so why would we expect anything less from our daughter!
This is her aloof face. She has grown quite good at acting "indifferent" as though she is saying, MOM get out of my way i'm busy now. Oh boy, these teenaged years are going to be fun!



I'm not sure what this face was but it sure was cute!


Quite serious. Sloan wears this face often! I believe she does a lot of thinking.She gets this one from me.


Silly face. I put a pony tail on the top of Sloan's hair and showed her. This is how she felt about it!

Sloan has also started scrunching up her nose and also she is turning up her upper lip. I haven't had a chance to take a picture of this, but it sure is funny, and she does it in front of the mirror and has a good laugh at herself!

20 September 2012

14 Months and Wide Open!



Sloan is sooooo big (she will lift her arms up to show you how big, like elmo, except  his go out wide and she is saying TOUCHDOWN!). I measured her the other day and think she is about 32” tall. I could be wrong because she is hard to measure, but we will know at the end of next month. She weighs around 22 lbs. I can get her to stand still on the scale sometimes.
She loves banging away in her toy kitchen, singing, playing her musical instruments, sitting at her table and chairs, reading books (she and daddy do this a lot), going for walks,  bouncing on bear, bouncing on the bed, dancing, doing somersaults (with daddy’s help), and driving her car which she has now figured out how to move backwards. She also has a toy fire engine sit on toy that she can scoot forwards . She also uses these toys as “boosters” to climb to hard to reach (mostly forbidden) items.
The other morning I found her walking around with my wedding rings in her hands that she had pulled off my night stand. Thankfully I caught her before it became a frantic game of, “Find Mommy’s Rings”. Her favorite place to put things is in the toilet or trash can, which are tantamount to her. Open lid, place item, close lid. Clap at job well done. Walk away.
As I was showering on Sunday morning, Sloan carried her rubber duck to the toilet, opened up the lid, and just before sending the duck on a new adventure, I was able to plead with her “NO SLOAN!” and she turned, smiled at me, and carried the duck to her basket of toys and gently placed him in. I’m beginning to this this is all a big game to her. She does, however, pick up toilet paper off the bathroom floor and place it in the toilet. Now before you get to speculating about why I have toilet paper strewn about, I’ll tell you. Sloan also plays with toilet paper. We can usually tell her that it is not her work, and she will walk on and do something else, but this toddler has determination! Thirty seconds later, she is back to the paper again, hoping this time it is not forbidden “work”.  And sometimes we do not catch her in time as she unrolls it, creating a long streamer, and then tearing it off. I supposed I would much rather her do this than play with the toilet water (which I have also caught her doing - though not at our house) We have those low flow toilets (great for environmentally conscious people) but the water is just sooo low she has to dive into the toilet to touch it, so far she hasn’t succeeded, and we keep the doors shut so that until she learns to open these, we won’t have to worry about those toilet locks (I hate them!).
Sloan loves animals in theory and is not afraid of dogs at all, but other animals she is pretty terrified of and clings tightly to her mama. I think it is large animals that scare her.  
Wild Bill!
 

 She did manage to pet the shetland ponies next door after our tractor ride

Swinging with Great Papaw!



Sloan says a lot of things, and some of which we can decipher. Newer words are Bubbles. Bye Bye wah wah (to the draining bathtub)-, diaper (Da- Pa), she said my grandma Emma’s name - MMMM-aaahh., she tried to say papaw - Pah-Pah (more of a sound than a word), she says That, This, Baby, Book, and probably other stuff but I just can’t keep up.
Sloan has also peed in the potty three times now! I sit her on the toilet before every bath (about four times now since we started this). She has gone three of the four times. I am not actively potty training, but I’m getting her comfortable with the idea, I think she is pretty dang smart for a 14 month old! I’m not pushing it though, but just taking this baby step is god progress. Sloan brushes her teeth after bath time using her step stool and does a pretty good job brushing (I help a bit).
Our baby girl is a good climber and can now pull herself up on the couch, a chair, and can get just about anywhere. She managed to open her baby Tylenol bottle this morning! Yikes! She can also feed herself with a fork and spoon, drink from a cup, and most importantly she can remove her pants AND diaper! Which is primarily why I have started putting her on the potty since I figure since she is smart enough to take it off, she is smart enough to sit down to business!
On more than one occasion we have found her in her crib completely bottomless!  The last time this happened I had no idea until after holding her for a second I noticed the wet spot first. Go figure, I notice the wet spot in the bed before her bare bottom on my arm! The fun is just getting started!   

Here are some of the wreaths we made a few weeks ago using the hydrangeas in our yard.  These turned out great if i do say so myself and it was so simple. cut flower, insert into grapevine wreath and trim. Done. The flowers are of course not perfectly symmetric, but that's ok. It just makes the wreaths unique! Add a ribbon, hang, good to go!  I'll have to include a hanging pic later !


 Saturday is the first day of fall and with that we are very excited! This morning i saw my breath for the first time ! Fall is by far my favorite season!  Happy end of Summer!


12 September 2012

African Safari at the Reserve



Welcome to Africa!


Sloan and her daddy are posing with some African Violets. We went on an African safari last weekend and we saw Lions, Gorillas, Baboons, Giraffes, exotic Birds, elephants, ostrich, Zebra, antelope, and more!

Sloan got to feed a giraffe a leaf. The first time, I did it and let her watch. She was ok with that. Then we let her try, We were standing on a platform and I put the leaf in her hand and helped her reach out to the giraffe. His long black tongue came and wrapped around the leaf, tugging it from Sloan's grasp. She did NOT like that and it was very scary to her. We tried again with Rick holding the leaf, and we made a video of it.



The giraffes were so cute! I am always a big fan. I even pet one (i wasn't supposed to but i forgot they're just so cute!)

The lions were sleeping under the shade of a tree, go figure. Rick says they always sleep mid-afternoon. He is the lion expert of the family after all. Some safari this is turning out to be! The zoom on my lens helped me snap this shot. Aren't they so cute! Nala and Simba.

Here is the rhino. He of course is a statue. The real ones were busy hiding.

One of the elephants was rolling around in the water and occasionally you would see his trunk come up but he was good and happy just where he was. His little brother was hanging out in the dirt, cooling himself off by picking up dirt and throwing it onto his back. It was a pretty hot day.

Sloan liked the gorillas. They just had babies and were carrying them around while they nursed. I am sure she could relate. One mama gorilla was nursing her baby while lying down. The daddy gorilla was sitting near to us. In this picture he is walking away and Sloan takes Rick's hand. I thought it was pretty cute.
 The baboons were probably the most active animal on the reserve. Everyone else seemed tired or hot. She and this little girl were playing peek a boo. She would run off or duck and then come back into view. I think they liked each other..



Here is the dad with a little boy. He got in trouble and the dad was holding him by the tail. I think he was trying to do something he shouldn't have and the dad ran in and put a stop to it. The funny part was they were sporting nice baboon erections (yeah i noticed and no i didn't photograph this part), so it must have been something naughty they were doing.


We had a great weekend! Sloan loves being with us. Anytime we kiss, she smiles real big and watches. It tickles me to see how much she enjoys seeing our affection, but she is already such an affectionate child. We think it is very healthy for her to see us share affection. It sure does make her happy

04 September 2012

Another year has passed me by



Last week was my birthday. It's funny. I used to do this fun countdown and the festivities were always something to look forward to, enter Sloan, everything changed. Sure my birthday was great, but things are just different now. Last year we sold our house and bought our new home for my birthday. This year, I nearly forgot about it altogether. (just kidding). When Rick got out of bed, he didn't utter a word to me. Did he forget too? About an hour later, he and Sloan barge through the bedroom door singing happy birthday and presenting breakfast in bed! That was more like it!

When i got to work, our receptionist whom i'm quite fond of, handed me two mini cupcakes and a card. Inside the card, Two movie tickets and a promise to babysit Sloan so that Rick and I could get away to a movie! She is probably the most thoughtful receptionist I've ever known, and I have liked them all, just not as much as i like Jan! The card she gave me also was filled with little stars and confetti - so my purse is also full of these glittery little things :)

We had an incredibly busy weekend. We had two birthday parties to attend, as well as a wedding, and I had to volunteer in the nursery at church on Sunday. To top it off I had a sinus infection and took Friday off from work to rest, except resting at home doesn't really happen for me. If you look closely, you will see Rick and myself behind the couple. I am in a floral dress and nice yellow wedge sandals! Congrats Karl and Julie!!

By Monday, I was finally tired enough to take a nap and as soon as i fell asleep, Sloan woke from her nap. I'd seriously like another 13 week maternity leave, only, without the newborn.  One of the reasons i ALMOST went into Education rather than Industry, was to get the coveted summer vacation every year for the rest of my life. The reason that i didn't pursue that, was that a starting salary with an advanced decree in Applied Math or Statistics was promised to be more than double the starting salary of a teacher, based on National Averages. Do i work double the hours of a teacher in a given week? Not likely. Nor do i have the headaches of dealing with parents and students, continuing education, forming assignments, tests, and the like. I don't grade homework, i don't grade tests, and I work my allotted work week, and most of the time, do not deviate from that, though life before children, i definitely pulled in many 50 hour weeks for "fun".   I still get four weeks off a year and most of the big holidays as well as unlimited sick days and a 12 week maternity leave, all paid.  I also only work a 7 hour day, and my hours are about as flexible as you can imagine which has both an upside and a downside. With children, I now have to be less flexible since she needs to keep to a routine and get to school "on time". No more sleeping until 10 and sauntering into the office around 11. I think once she starts elementary school, my schedule will be even more rigid, BUT i don't have to leave my house until 5 minutes before i need to be at work and as a toddler, her "on time" is really just a theoretical concept. She won't be penalized for coming to class at 930 every day. She just might miss out on an extra half hour playground time, or something but we get that extra half hour to play at home, in the front yard, or inside.  I am so grateful we picked our house versus the nearly identical home 10 miles away. Ten miles doesn't seem like much, but every minute spent in the car, even with the child, is time lost and when you calculate stop lights and traffic, that can add up to about a half hour each way! We spend at most 15 minutes a day in the car!

We checked out the things blooming in our yard this weekend. Sloan is very hands on and probably ate a good share of dirt. That's ok. Sloan is a lot like her mama, a tomboy in a dress :)






   


   









I spend my weekends cooking, cleaning, repurposing furniture, hanging wall decor (we are still getting settled into our new home - hey it's only been one hectic year!), decluttering (this is an ongoing never ending process), shopping, sewing, crafting, yard work, as well as chasing around our one year old and cleaning up after her, a never ending process as anyone with a toddler at any given time would know. We also just sit around and play. I can't wait for Sloan to be able to sit still for some arts and crafts, and my latest "project" is fashioning our third floor playroom into a more organized center for her toys and my crafting. It's also our "office", but it was formerly a walk up attic, so the wall space for shelving is very limited. I'm working on a design now to figure this room out to maximize its use.

Mama's little nature girl!
 I also use it for my sewing, which i suppose is considered a "craft". Last weekend I made Sloan an OWL. I drew the pattern myself but was a little hasty, and didn't leave enough room for the base -he was supposed to have a pocket to put a baby owl inside. I also just used some scrap thread, so it is by no means fancy, but I think he's kind of cute.Especially for something made on the fly. His backside is a heart shaped butt  - Like i said, his big sister owl will be much better now that I got the cobwebs out of my  machine (i think I used it a few times in July to repair some clothes).




We are really looking forward to the fall. We plan on taking Sloan to her first NCState Football game. She has a cheerleading dress just for the game!  We also purchased her a raincoat since she is officially moving around and will be spending a lot of time outside! She doesn't love it, but she didn't love her shoes at first either and now they're just all right!





This morning Sloan went over to her table and sat down and played with her blocks. She is getting so big! I am thinking of putting up shelves on the wall behind her, and painting a chalkboard on the half wall. Since she tends to eat chalk rather than color with it, i still have a little time to decide, but this is her play area, at the back of the house where we can keep an eye on her. She likely won't be able to play alone in her playroom for another 4 years or so..  We will play it by ear or as Rick would say, we really don't have to decide until Friday. :)