Thursday, June 30, 2011

One of those days...

Yesterday was one of those days...

One of those days where I realized at 5:00 pm that I hadn't eaten a bite all day
One of those days where Benjamin refused to nap
One of those days where he was then fussy the rest of the day
One of those days where I felt so tired all day and just wanted a break
One of those days when I went to the store only to forget the one important thing I actually needed
One of those days where I came back home to two naked and hungry babies
One of those days when I realized I probably need a full-time, live-in personal assistant

Yesterday was one of my favorite days.

Right when it was time to wind down and go to bed, Lyla and Benjamin both got into the best moods. We all sat and played together on the floor for half an hour.

Lyla stated saying Mama. MAMA. Benjamin is a mama's boy and even he said dada a long time before he said mama. We have also confirmed that she uses it to mean me. Maybe it's because she has a big brother around all the time calling me mommy to teach her. Here is a short clip of her saying mama (she was saying it more clearly earlier).


Benjamin was playing with his blocks and counted straight from 1 to ten without hesitating, skipping, or repeating. I think he has the math gene. I did not get a video of this...yet.



[Our video camera has a screen that flips out so Benjamin can watch himself. He loves to perform for the camera (haha, clearly something he got from Grant). It's adorable but it's getting to the point where every video I have of him is pretty much the same thing... him looking at the camera, saying dada and mommy, usually some jumping, and definitely some laughing. I am the annoying person in the video trying to distract him from this cute little show he is putting on to get him to count... oh well. He was way too busy to count at that point.]

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dixie Cup Counting Activity

This is a really simple craft/activity for a toddler. Benjamin and I did this together a few days and he was able to help count along with most of the numbers. He also knows the numbers 1-10 now by sight so he would point at a cup and say the number.

He did however eat some of the goldfish in the middle of the activity. :)

All you need is some sort of a box (I used one that Earth's best jars came in), a marker (not a Sharpie if you are putting food in the cups), some glue, and 10 Dixie cups.


Write the numbers 1-10 inside of the cups. Then glue the cups in order inside the box. Let the glue dry.


Then put one goldfish in the 1 cup, 2 into the 2 cup, 3 into the 3 cup, and so on. You could also use cheerios, raisins, blueberries, or even M&M's. (I tried using M&Ms as a teaching tool once with Benjamin and it was an EPIC failure. He ate them too quickly to count, name the color, or sort).


He ate one of the goldfish out of the 2 cup.


Color Photograph Book for Babies

I got this photo book for Lyla and Benjamin from Target.

Each page has a different color border and tab.

So I decided to put pictures of the two of them in there and make each page about a different color.

It is fun for Lyla to see pictures of herself and her brother. Benjamin also LOVES looking at pictures on the computer or photo albums. I'm afraid though that he will tear up some of our photo albums. So this is a great little photo book that he can play with and not tear up.










You could also do a similar photo book of colors or family members or body parts and make a ziploc bag photo album. (like this one from I Can Teach My Child)

I had a feeling that B and L needed something a little sturdier though. Benjamin has already tried to take the pictures out of the book but I don't think he can.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nostalgia (Plus around the house photos)

It's possible that I take too many pictures. I want to capture every moment, every expression, every cute thing my babies do. As I am learning all too well, babies grow up fast. The strange thing is, I don't always enjoy looking through old pictures of Jam and Lyla right now. It makes me sad. I look at these pictures of Benjamin from the hospital and don't even recognize that baby.

Regardless, these pictures represent my most precious memories and even though they make me a little sad, they are among my most prized possessions. I guess other people feel this way too. That's why we have the word nostalgia.
2 days old
My little boy
This cracks me up every time I look at it.

The here and the now (Soon to be the "over there" and "back when")

"What file were you looking for again"

His mind is somewhere else

"Seriously, you're still taking my picture?"

Lyla LOVED playing with shaving cream. It got ugly really fast.

So serious

YUCK

So studious

Benjamin is not the only one who hates sippy cups. The Dr. said to try a straw.

The following is a series of pictures of Benjamin eating. For some reason I think they are funny.



All gone... oh except the food still on my face.
This is what you get if you ask him to smile

He can whistle now. I'll post a video soon.

Quiet contemplation

What in the world is that?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Elmer the Patchwork Elephant Coloring Page

Download and print the google document version of the color by numbers here.

One of our favorite children's book characters is Elmer the Patchwork Elephant. I want to encourage my kids to love books so I especially enjoy artwork or crafts that tie back to books we read.
Elmer and the Lost TeddyElmer's Special Day (Elmer Books)Elmer and Rose (Elmer Books)
Kids Preferred Elmer the Patchwork Elephant Bean Bag Toy

Since my son is still too young to do too many crafts, I just made this simple Elmer drawing to hang in his room.



I traced a picture of Elmer from the cover of our book, made a copy, colored it in with crayons, and then added a little plastic eye for fun.
Elmer the Patchwork Elephant coloring page

I realized part way through that an Elmer picture would also make a really great color by numbers coloring activity. I added the numbers here. Feel free to print this here.

Elmer the Patchwork Elephant color by number
Download and Print - Color by Numbers

My son is still too young to do this color by numbers activity, but it seems like a lot of fun. If anyone would like me to email them the version of this in Word please send me an email at linesacross@gmail.com.

We love books!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Black Friday... more like Brown Friday

So last Thanksgiving all of my family was in town and we decided to go shopping on Black Friday. This was overwhelming enough since Grant had to work, and we were bringing along my Grandmother who had broken her neck about 6 months before. Also, I was bringing Benjamin my 15 month old, who was still refusing to walk at this point. Also, I was very pregnant and my due date was just a couple weeks away.

I looked like this:

Notice again sweet Mr. Clingy
I felt like this:


We went to Best Buy where there were a ton of great deals. For some reason (I can't imagine why now) I decided to leave the stroller and the diaper bag in the car. I guess I was worried that it would be so crowded on Black Friday I would be glad to have less stuff. Ha.

We wandered all over the store, scouring the place for any amazing deals we might be missing. The entire time I was carrying Benjamin around, using my giant belly as a seat for him. He was doing really well, enjoying watching all the Black Friday craziness, wearing the cutest little one-piece romper.

When we finally made it through the long line to the check out counter, I passed Benjamin off to my mother so I could get out my wallet. Then I hear her whisper-yell, "Rachel! Rachel!"

I looked up to see her pointing to a huge pile of poop lying next to her on the floor, right in the middle of the check out line. It looked like a giant mud pie. "Crap," I thought very literally. Then I looked further. Right behind my mom was another even bigger "mud pie." Then I looked down. My pregnant belly had a mud pie of its own. It keeps going. Then I looked at my mother. She was wearing a cute little jean skirt that flipped out at the bottom... like a nice little shelf, just perfect for holding another mud pie. I'm not quite sure how one little boy could produce so much... mud. It was all over her arms and his back and legs and feet as well.

Again I thought, "Crap! Why did I leave my diaper bag in the car?" Around this point some of the other customers noticed what was going on and had taken a few huge steps away from us. There was so much to fix, I didn't know where to start. I got my aunt's attention, who was already balancing a cart full of stuff with my Grandmother in a wheel chair at the check out counter right in front of us. I begged her to run and get my diaper bag and to hurry. Of course since it was Black Friday we had to park about a mile away. Great. So she left her cart and my Grandmother just sitting there and headed for the car.

So then I realized I needed to get an employee's attention. How embarrassing. What do I even say? So I flagged down this woman and I said something like "I'm so sorry. This hasn't happened to me before. We had a little accident. I'm not sure what to do. Do you have towels or a mop or something." She looked back at me, surprisingly not totally in horror and said, "no, we don't have any of that stuff." Ok... do I just leave piles of poop all over the store for people to step in and not say anything?

"Seriously? You don't have any paper towels or anything?" I begged.

"Well I guess we have some paper towels in the bathroom I could get you." She added.

"Yes that would be AMAZING thank you so much I am so sorry thank you," I said.

So we waited. And waited. And waited. About 10 minutes later she came back with one single paper towel from the bathroom... the kind you need 5 of just to dry your hands... the kind that wouldn't be enough to cover one mud pie, let alone clean up all of this mess.

So I went to plan B. I grabbed a few of those fliers about applying for a credit card or something like that and covered the little piles, haha, like the mud pies were going camping. I was still at a loss about what to do next. We couldn't set the boy down and there was too much to clean up everywhere to even get started. At least the mud pies were having fun.

Fortunately around this time a manager showed up and my aunt showed back up with the diaper bag. He asked us what the problem was, aka why are you holding up our line on the busiest day of the year, and I had to explain things once again. He jumped into action (unlike paper towel lady) and actually closed down the line. I grabbed my bag and my pack of baby wipes and started to clean up what I could. I was NOT the type of mother who would let someone else clean up my kid's poop. I would not be that  person.

The manager stopped me and said, "Forget about it. We'll take care of this. You just go clean yourselves up." Then I remembered that all three of us (4 if you count Lyla) were covered in poop. Why was I worrying so much about the little piles on the floor when were were like walking diapers ourselves.

THANK YOU manager guy! You are probably judging me right now but I don't care I still love you! We rushed off to the bathroom where we spent about 20 minutes, every wipe in my bag, and most of the paper towels left in the bathroom trying to clean up. Of course I had forgotten to put a change of clothes in the diaper bag. I guess I had thought that Benjamin had outgrown that age where he would spit up or leak onto his clothes. Again, HA!

So we all rushed out of the bathroom and out of the store as quickly as possible. Benjamin was wearing nothing but a diaper, now crying as we walked away, and my mom and I were still covered in stains. Gross.

For the next few weeks I wouldn't go anywhere without my diaper bag. I even started carrying multiple packs of wipes in my purse.

Motherhood lesson learned: always always ALWAYS bring baby wipes.



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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lyla's crib... sleep baby sleep (please)

"People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one" - Leo J. Burke

I've found that every since Lyla was a few weeks old, the one question everyone would ask is "is she sleeping through the night?" This may seem like an odd question, but to any parent who has been there, there is nothing more incredible than that first night your baby sleeps until the sun rises.

Baby sleep is a very important issue to me. I am by no means an expert, but I guess you could say I have a lot of experience.

One thing that was important for me was to get Lyla and Benjamin to sleep well in their cribs. I wanted to make their cribs into a perfect combination of calming and entertaining, their special little place in this world.

Here is a tour of Lyla's crib.


1. The Crib - Baby's Dream safety gate Kathryn crib in cherry

I LOVE the Baby's Dream safety gate cribs. They have a unique design where the front of the crib folds down. It is extremely safe and carefully designed and a great alternative to the traditional drop gate crib. This gate allows you to bend over into the crib and get very close to your baby. It also allows you to slowly and carefully place a sleeping baby into the crib without waking her up.

When you move the mattress to the lower setting, the safety gate allows you to safely keep your young toddler in their cribs for longer. We got the Infinity crib for Benjamin and he is still in his crib now at 23 months old (and he is very tall). There is no way he could crawl out or hurt himself.

When you purchase one of these cribs, it comes with everything you need to turn it into a toddler bed, and later into a beautiful full sized bed. I'm not sure I will use the full-sized bed any time soon, but it is such a cool feature. I was worried that these cribs were a little expensive (about $500 for the crib, conversion kit, mattress, and delivery and set up), but even the cheaper cribs at BabiesRus added up to a lot of money when you included the price for the mattress and the additional price for the toddler conversion kit. Plus you either had to pay for shipping or figure out a way to take it home and assemble it yourself.

These cribs are also high quality and extremely sturdy. I have even climbed into them on multiple occasions. Benjamin is a big kid and he is always jumping all around his crib and it is still in excellent condition. It doesn't sag or lean to one side as many other cribs usually do.

Benjamin's crib (before he was born) with the gate down

B's crib with the gate up

2. The Bedding - Pretty in Pink reversible crib bedding by Too Good Jenny


Baby bedding is one of the most fun things to pick out. There are so many choices and it sets the tone for the entire nursery. However, it can also be very expensive. I found this bedding online and I love it. I ordered it through jcpenny.com with a coupon code and chose to pick it up in stores. I think the total cost I paid was $59.00. Most bedding sets at BabiesRus are about $200.00.

Another thing I love about this bedding is that it is cute and girly but at the same time it is high contrast. Babies can't see much for the first few weeks and especially during the first six months they are drawn to high contrast images. Also red is the only color they can really see well when they are first born. Often parents get bedding and gear in adorable soft pinks and yellows (which is so cute maybe it's worth it) but they don't think about having something really interesting for their baby to look at. I know that I didn't really consider it when I picked out Benjamin's crib bedding.


3. Sleep Sheep - Cloud B

My mom got Lyla this adorable little travel-sized sleep sheep. Cloud B also makes a gentle giraffe Cloud B Gentle Giraffe Sound Machine with Four Soothing Sounds, a turtle night light Cloud b Twilight Constellation Night Light, Turtle, and more. This is great because it plays soothing white noise sounds like waves on the ocean. Lyla found these noises to be very soothing and it really seemed to help her fall asleep, especially when we were away from home.




4. Fisher-Price Luv U Zoo Crib-to-Floor Activity Piano

We just got this crib toy for Lyla last week and she loves it. I also think it is very cute. It ties very easily onto the side of her crib and it gives her something to play with when she first wakes up in the morning (giving me an extra 30 minutes of sleep). There are four different activities on the top half plus a piano that plays music on the bottom half. The colored rectangles behind each of the animals also light up with the music.




5. Stuffed Animals - Jellycat Zebra

Grant's mother introduced us to these Jellycat stuffed animals when she got a couple for Benjamin for his first Christmas. Somehow this adorable Zebra has found its way into Lyla's crib. When Benjamin was about Lyla's age he had already fallen in love with his favorite stuffed animal Oo-Oo Ty Pluffies Dangles Monkey. However Lyla has not yet made her choice. She also has shown a lot of interest in the pluffy dog Ty Barkers - Dog. We will just have to wait and see.

(Of course be careful to not leave stuffed animals within a sleeping baby's reach until they are a year old to prevent SIDS)


*These are honest reviews of some of my favorite things. I was not given any of these products to review or compensated for my reviews.
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