Tags: ATX, LC, travel, vacation
So, we went on vacation–the first non-family-visiting vacation we have taken since W and I went to Mackinac in 2009. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love seeing my family and friends, but there is something especially wonderful about being on a vacation where you don’t have to cram in visits with every last person you know, and you can just do whatever you want. My favorite thing to do on vacation is eat, so with that in mind, we went to Austin!
It still kind of blows my mind that we are so much closer to Austin (and Dallas and just about everywhere else in Texas , for that matter) now when we live in a different state than when we actually lived in Texas. So six hours seemed like a pretty reasonable drive, and it really was. LC was great.
Everyone knows that vacationing with a kid (a rambunctious toddler, no less!) is much less relaxing than vacationing pre-baby, but we tried to do some things that would help us, the parents, to have a better time.
- First, we came prepared for the car ride. We know from previous experience that LC is not the kid who conks out the minute you put the car in drive. So we needed to keep her entertained and happy. What worked well for us (thanks to my sis for the advice!): new books (3), stickers, plenty of snacks and water, iPhone apps and/or iPad videos, kids’ music, a new toy (I picked up a Cabbage Patch Cutie at Target the day before and she loved it–but hers doesn’t have any hair and it’s much cuter that way!) We kept the screen time as a last resort, and really we didn’t have to use it much, so I was okay with it.
- We accepted the fact that we’d need to stop. Of course this is sort of a no-brainer, but we’re used to just pushing through on long trips, so we just had to mentally prepare for the trip taking longer. It made LC happier to get out of the car every 2-3 hours, so it was totally worth it for everyone’s sanity.
- We rented a 2-bedroom apartment through airbnb.com. This was hands-down the best decision we made. Not only was our apartment in the best location we could have imagined (10 minutes or less from almost everything we wanted to see and do), but it was about the same price as a regular hotel room, with many more amenities and most importantly, we didn’t have to share a room with the baby and go to sleep at 7 pm.
- We built naptime into our day. It’s tempting to cram in as much as possible when you’re in a new city for a limited amount of time, but making sure that LC was well-rested made all of our other activities much more enjoyable. Plus, taking a midday nap almost made up for not being able to sleep in in the morning.
The one thing I did that I DON’T recommend? Leaving your nice camera at home. Which is why all of our vacation photos are courtesy of my iPhone.
Up next, I hope to share some of the highlights of the things we saw and did in Austin (hint: most of them involve food).
ATX, I love you so! I can’t wait to go back!
The three months between LC’s first birthday and the day she turned 15 months flew by in a blur. I’m sure most of that had to do with our move and all the traveling that we did around that time, but part of it was also because she mastered so many new skills. Almost every day since her birthday, it seems, she’s been wowing us with some new skill or “trick” (you know, if you count walking and talking as tricks).
LC took her first hesitant steps the day before her first birthday, and then went promptly back to crawling. But a week or two later, she just got up and went, first a few steps at a time, and within a week or so, she could go anywhere. Let’s be clear: she is MY child, after all, so there have been many trips and falls, but she takes them all in stride and just pulls herself up and keeps going. There have been few tears shed over bumps and falls. And although she does sometimes go places she shouldn’t, for the most part, her mobility has made my life much easier. I love being able to set her down outside and have her walk to the car (“Walk!” she commands).
She’s also talking up a storm and for me, this has been the most delightful development EVER. She had a few words at her first birthday, but around 14 months, her vocabulary soared. She seems to add one or two new words a day, and at this point I have given up on trying to have a thorough and complete word list. My best guess is somewhere just over 50 words. At dinner, she’ll do the sign for “more” while shouting “More! More!” It’s so cute to hear big words come out of a little mouth like that. She loves identifying body parts (head, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, chin, ears, feet), and animals (sheep, fox, kitty, puppy, croco for crocodile, froggy, duck, etc).
LC is a pretty good eater most days. Favorites are yogurt, cheese, pancakes, Annie’s mac and cheese, mandarin oranges and mixed fruit (she goes to the fridge and chants “Fruit! Fruit!”), grapes, crackers/anything carby, and pizza (the ultimate cheesy/carby delight!). She still refuses to drink milk, and veggies are also a battle with her. Some days she’ll eat them, but most days she refuses to even try them. If it’s green, she picks it out. Oh how I wish I could say her favorite foods were kale, broccoli, and edamame. The hardest part of mealtime is getting her to just TRY IT. But I’m happy that overall she eats pretty well and is gaining weight.
Other favorites this month: the neighborhood splash park, throwing her football with Daddy, books books books and more books, ALL THE BOOKS, going to the library, and watching the occasional episode of Yo Gabba Gabba. She just loves the music and dancing. OH. And playing music–some of her FisherPrice toys play music when you press a button and she loves to press the button over and over again and dance by waving her arms. Funny girl!
She is changing so much every day, so I really ought to save something for next month’s post. I love this girl so much my heart is bursting!
Over the last two months we’ve been busy getting unpacked and settled into our new life here. So far, so good. There is a lot to adjust to here (like Target being an hour away! *sniff*), but overall we are happy with W’s new job, our location, and our home. We’re meeting people more quickly than we did with our last move, which I find to be good for my sanity, and we’ve already even had dinner guests a couple of times.
Today, to celebrate Independence Day, we had a low-key day at home. We took LC to the neighborhood splash park and she had a ball. We had to tear her away from the water features when it was time to leave. For dinner we grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and LC tasted her first hotdog (thumbs up from her), and first baked beans (love at first bite), and first yellow squash (she mistakenly thought it was a piece of fruit, haha…and yes, squash is technically a fruit, but, you know…). It was hot today (100 degrees), so we spent the afternoon in the air conditioning. I am thankful every day that we do not have the darned swamp cooler that we had to live with for the last two years. So, so, so thankful!
Every holiday I feel the need to look back on photos from this time last year, when LC was just an itty bitty thing. This time last year, she was 3 months old and just sitting up in the Bumbo for short periods of time. It was really hot in El Paso, as well, so we just took her outside for a bit on the patio. This year she’s running around, talking up a storm, and practically seeming like a grown-up compared to her bobblehead infant days. Babies are sweet, but toddlers are fun!
I’d like to get around to writing her 15 month update before she turns 16 months. She has grown and changed SO much since her birthday, I can hardly believe it. Love this girl!
Just needed to jot down a few things while they’re fresh.
LC is so funny at 13 months. She is mostly walking everywhere and she does better walking in bare feet than in shoes. Walking everywhere means she is into EVERYTHING far more than I imagined possible. Lord help us all. She says “shoes” and then carries them all over the house. But don’t you dare try to put them on her feet.
She is very affectionate and loves a snuggle but she won’t give regular kisses. For now she just blows kisses and it’s sooo cute.
We are at 13 months still going strong with nursing. Hope to keep it up till she self-weans. Girlfriend does not want cow’s milk.
This baby GROWLS. A lot. She growls and chases you. It is hilarious and scary at the same time. W calls her a Baby Genghis Khan.
Speaking of scary, she can be a bit rough and I’ve been the one on the receiving end of it lately. During a peekaboo game with W, she head butted me in the teeth and split my lip. Today she hit me in the mouth with a can of tomato paste and chipped my tooth!!! (granted it’s a small chip from where I chipped it as a kid and it was repaired, but still!)
She was holding a can of tomato paste because we had a bag of pantry items to donate and she was amusing herself by packing and unpacking the bag. Then she started to stack the cans. She was able to stack 3 and even tried to get a fourth one on top, but alas, they toppled over.
We are going to be without Internet for a few days, but I’d like to come back and update this with more!
Tags: Easter, LC
Happy Easter! We had a great day. I made a “cinnamon bun” coffee cake this morning, and we made it to church (only 10 minutes late!). We had a restful afternoon and enjoyed a delicious dinner of lamb chops and mascarpone mashed potatoes. W did the dishes, which was sweet. I think in total I probably consumed about 6,000 calories; most of them were worth it. The Easter Bunny even visited all three of us! Thanks to him, I have some Starbucks treats in my future.
I just about died from the cuteness of LC’s Easter dress, and I just couldn’t get over how much she has changed since last year. My little girl is growing fast.
I’m off to eat some pound cake slathered in lemon curd. If you’re going to go over the top, might as well go all the way!
Tags: birthday, LC
Our funny baby girl celebrated her first birthday on Tuesday. We decided to forego a party this year, since our families are 2000 miles away, and our friends here either don’t have children or have children that are much older. Still, LC was pretty spoiled by gifts from friends and family. W took the day off from work. I made pancakes for breakfast while she pushed her new shopping cart around (thanks, Grandma and Grandpa!) and after her morning nap, she opened the rest of her gifts. The water table was a HUGE hit (thanks, other Grandma and Grandpa—hmm, both sets of grandparents are Grandma and Grandpa B). The weather was yucky, though, so it had to be an indoor toy. Good thing it’s warmed up again today so we can move it onto the patio.
As for the carrot cake I made (I was trying to be good and make her something not too sugar-laden), she wasn’t interested, so I guess I could have served double chocolate and it wouldn’t have mattered. I did finally get her to take a bite. She also refused the dinner I slaved over (but slaved with love!) of homemade chicken nuggets and sweet potato fries. She threw them on the floor without so much as a nibble. Oh well. She gobbled down yogurt and applesauce instead. It’s her birthday and she’ll be picky if she wants to. All in all, she had a great day, I think.
Wednesday we went to the pediatrician for her well-check. She’s in the 10th percentile for height and weight, which of course has me concerned, but the ped didn’t seem to be worried at all. I’m honestly surprised she doesn’t weigh more, given how much she can eat. When my sister was here she marveled at how LC downed a huge bowl of pumpkin risotto, and on Tuesday she ate two whole pancakes for breakfast!
So, here are her 1 year stats:
Height: 28 inches (21 inches March 2011)
Weight: 18 lb 2 oz (7 lb 12.4 oz March 2011)
Size 3 diaper
Shoes: ?? I think a size 3 or 4. Right now she has one pair of Pediped which are 6-12 mos and she still has some room to grow.
Words: about 6-8. Mama, Dada, baby, puppy, hi, Duncan (Duck-in), duck, bunny (bunny and puppy sound a lot alike, so not sure about that one)
Walking: Not quite. Last Saturday she stood up unassisted for the first time, and she took her first wobbly steps on Monday. So far she seems a little unsure of the whole thing. Crawling is way faster, mom!
Favorite foods: Pancakes, waffles, flatbread (notice a trend?), grilled cheese, applesauce, yogurt, grapes, broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash, banana
Not a fan of: Meat, kiwi, cheerios
Other favorites: Dr. Seuss’s ABC, T’choupi books, water table, shopping cart, Jellycats Nugget Monkey, Fisher Price Beginning Blocks
The most notable thing about LC is her personality. When my sister visited, she remarked that she had never met another baby with such a bubbly personality, and that’s saying something because they have tons of young families in their neighborhood. She’s just really laid back, finds humor in almost anything, laughs and laughs and laughs.
It may be sappy, but every night we talk about our favorite moment of the day with her. It’s usually hard to choose. We truly lucked out with this one.
My birthday was Monday, and although I usually look forward to it, this year I found myself mentally skipping ahead to March, to a certain baby’s big 0-1. 2012 did not begin well. January was full of bad, bad news, and it was terribly depressing, and I don’t think even exaggerating to say soul-crushing, to see all these things keep happening, and not to be able to do anything about them. As January dragged on, I just kept thinking, ‘We just have to get through this month, and then nothing bad will happen in February.’ As if the universes’s quota for misfortune would have already been met. As if the universe has a quota for misfortune.
Anyway, all that to say, I wasn’t feeling my chipper-est when February finally rolled around. I didn’t find myself counting the days till the day. My gift this year was tickets to see Wicked, and in the end, we did make it, and I didn’t even check my phone obsessively throughout the show, waiting on edge for a text from the babysitter that omg! the sky is falling!. I only did that on the drive to the theater.
And then Monday, the big day, we woke up and W suggested we go out for breakfast (because, if you’ve read this blog, you know I love pancakes!). When he gave the waitress the debit card, she brought it back, and apologized because it wouldn’t go through. At home, W checked the bank statement, and sure enough, someone had a spree at a Colorado Wal-Mart with his account number. See? There is no quota! LC’s nap was spent faxing the bank so that we could get our money back.
And then I broke 9 eggs baking my cake, and the cakes stuck to the pan and broke, and I didn’t have enough frosting to completely frost the sides, and wah, wah, wah.
It wasn’t my best birthday for sure, but honestly, I know that it could’ve been worse. And that I have so much to be thankful for. And maybe it’s just that once you have kids you care more about their birthday than your own (I don’t know, I wouldn’t have expected that to be true of me).
Either way, I hope that my 29th year starts improving dramatically, or I’m going to be wishing for 30 to hurry up and get here, and who does that?
Tags: cooking light, Duncan, LC
We had a fantastic long weekend. W had four days off, so we were very spoiled by having him home. I think LC is quickly turning into a daddy’s girl. She has such fun playing with him, and she just chatters away when she’s around him. She’s also started crawling from the living room into his office when he’s in there working.
Friday I made pancakes for breakfast and Miss LC got to eat her very own pancake. She LOVED it! I can’t wait to make them again to watch her gobble it up.
We’ve had nice warm weather for January, so we took advantage of the sun and went to check out a park near our house. This park was pretty great–it has a big dog park and some really nice play structures that LC will enjoy when she’s older, but the feature I was most excited about were the swings! (Is it just me or is it getting harder to find playgrounds with swings?). We took Duncan for a frolic in the dog park and then headed over to give LC her first push in the swing. Seeing her smile and hearing her giggle was so good for my heart that we went back on Sunday!
Yesterday I was most excited about tackling our bedroom. I’ve been working on deep cleaning and purging in preparation for our upcoming move this spring. It feels so much more peaceful and calming to walk into a clean bedroom.
In other exciting (hah!) news, I have cooked dinner every single night this month. I was already cooking most nights, but I have really been doing better about meal planning and shopping, and I hope that this will help us save some money to meet some of our financial goals more quickly. Most of my recipes this month have come from Real Simple and Cooking Light magazines and I may post a rundowns of some of our favorites toward the end of the month. Some nights I really don’t feel like cooking, but it has definitely helped me to have a plan so that I’m not scrambling to make a meal out of thin air at 6 pm.
So, here’s to a 4-day work week! I’m ready for the weekend NOW.
Tags: Christmas, LC
Merry Christmas, everyone!
We had a fantastic day at home with just our little family, and tomorrow my parents fly out to spend the remainder of 2011 with us. Santa was very good to us, and I feel like a very lucky girl.
Christmas is so much fun with a baby in the house. Nine months is a great age for a first Christmas. LC is so much more interactive now than she was just a couple of months ago. We were successful in not going overboard with presents for her, since she really doesn’t need that many toys. She did have a lot of fun exploring the ones she got. I have to say, the Fisher Price Learning Home was worth every penny (*hint* I was able to find it MUCH cheaper than the $124 it’s currently listed for).
Overall, I’m very happy with the way 2011 turned out. I think I was the happiest this year that I’ve been in awhile, but I still have a lot of learning to do in terms of letting go and letting things roll off my back. I’d like to be able to relax a lot more than I’m currently able (which is not often).
In spite of that, I really have everything I could ask for. So here’s to hoping that 2012 brings even more peace and contentment.
We’re in the holiday spirit here in the B household! We had a nice low-key Thanksgiving at home for the first time since W and I have been together. We spent our first Thanksgiving as an engaged couple in Korea. For our first Thanksgiving as a married couple we drove 13 hours to visit W’s grandparents and the next year we saw the Lions play (my first pro football game!) and last year W was deployed so Duncan and I were here alone. So, even though we couldn’t be with our families this year, I was really looking forward to just being home and eating turkey at my own table.
I restrained myself from making ALL the sides I’d normally love, but we had a delicious meal nonetheless. We feasted on:
- Bourbon-Molasses Glazed Turkey
- Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes
- Sauteed Carrots with Sage
- Apple Cornbread Stuffing
- Crescent Rolls (from a can, y’all)
- Pumpkin Crunch Cake
We got most of the Christmas decorations up this weekend and I finally finished my Advent wreath last night (only a day late!) after multiple trips to Michaels/Hobby Lobby. We have a faux tree this year for several reasons, but I REALLY miss having a real tree. Growing up we’d always drive to a tree farm and cut down our own tree. I’d really like to do that with LC when we actually live somewhere where trees grow I also loved driving around to look at lights after the Christmas Eve service and having our special Christmas Eve “party” where everyone got to pick their favorite appetizer and we’d eat the appetizers and Christmas cookies and fudge for dinner.
Now that we have a baby I’m really looking forward to creating our own family traditions. What are some of your favorite Christmas/holiday traditions?