Welcome to TWO!

Yesterday, my sweet little boy turned two. I have no idea how this happened. Where did the time go? I feel like just yesterday we were on our way to the hospital, anxiously anticipating his arrival. And now, here we are, two years later, with a little boy running around our house!

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We celebrated his birthday in true toddler style- complete with a trip to the zoo and a mickey mouse birthday cake.

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We also skipped our nap (not the best idea…but there was just too much to see at the zoo!). Grandma and Grandpa came into town for a visit, and Ian was thrilled to get to spend a long weekend with them. It was a full, exhausting, and wonderful weekend. But thank goodness we won’t be doing it again for another year!

This is definitely a happy, sad, wonderful, awful, exciting, scary milestone. And I know that time will only continue to speed along at a breakneck pace. So I’m doing my best to help it slow down and just enjoy each moment!

And now, a stroll back down memory lane with a look back at the last 2 years.

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Cincinnati Moms Blog

I am so thrilled to announce that I am a brand new contributor for the Cincinnati Moms Blog! This terrific blog just launched in September, and I actually reached out to the owners (Sarah and Jesika) initially to discuss partnerships and other opportunities in my capacity as a Barefoot Books ambassador.

We met at a location extremely convenient to me and chatted about our kids, the blog, and Barefoot Books. Sarah and Jesika are such sweet, wonderful women, and I am in awe of their vision for the site. Together, we came up with some possible partnership opportunities, which I am extremely excited about! I can’t wait to get Barefoot in front of their readers- I know they’ll just love them.

During our discussion, they mentioned they had read my blog and wondered if I’d like to be a contributor to their site. I was hopping with glee (internally), and of course I contacted them shortly thereafter to accept! I learned the ground rules, submitted my bio, and tried to jump right in tossing out ideas for content.

My first post actually just went live yesterday, and I am so proud of it! I’d love it if you went and checked it out (Fall Family Traditions)!
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I still cannot believe I have gotten this amazing opportunity to be in on the ground floor of such an amazing site. I am so looking forward to watching the blog grow and expand as we continue to spread the word and source great content for our readers. What an exciting time!

Preparing for a New Baby

I am so so so excited!  My brand-new nephew was just born Monday morning, and I am over the moon for my brother and his wife.  I cannot wait to meet the little guy.  They have great timing, too, because we are making a trip back to visit family (and go to our 10 year high school reunion- scary!) this weekend.  So I am dancing with anticipation and joy at the thought of seeing his cute little face in person.

But their new arrival got me thinking back to when I was pregnant with Ian, and all the “stuff” that I got to get ready for him.  I’ve seen a lot of lists out there about what to buy, and a lot about what not to buy.  I’m not going to tell you what to buy or not- that’s totally your choice.  Instead, I’m going to tell you what I would buy again in a heartbeat. Things I loved and still love!

1) Aden + Anais Classic Swaddles

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These blankets are BY FAR my favorite blankets ever. We used them for swaddling and overall comfort when Ian was a newborn. Then when we got to be too long and wiggly, we used them as a lovey. Once Ian was rolling and no longer swaddled, we used it in the crib as a light blanket. I know, I know…suffocation!  Danger!  But I actually felt really safe leaving these blankets in the crib with him (but please note- I am not a child expert, doctor, baby whisperer, etc… so please use your own judgment about these things). They are extremely lightweight (they’re muslin), and Ian was able to brush things off his face and body at this point. Now, at almost 2, “blankie” is a must-have item for Ian. We got 2 packs, and I’m so glad! That way we can always have a fresh, clean one available when we need it (or more than one, as Ian often insists on carrying around 2 or 3 at a time)!

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2) Aquaphor

Our daycare actually clued us in on this wonder!  Ian had pretty dry, itchy skin as a baby (and still does at times).  We had no idea what to do to help him out…one day, daycare suggested Aquaphor.  Let me just say it is amazing stuff.  Greasy, and slippery…but amazing.

3) Sound Machine

We got a simple sound machine for Ian- it has a few different “white noise” options and some music, as well as a projector (for these little image disks that rotate).  We hardly ever used the projector, but we use the ocean sound every single night.  I’m not sure that it really helps HIM all that much, but it gives me a little extra piece of mind knowing that there is something to help drown out the noise that I’m sure we make while he is sleeping.

4) Infant to Toddler Rocker

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We used this thing daily when Ian was little.  It has a vibration setting, so we’d plop him in it (sometimes even swaddled) and use it to calm him down.  It worked really really well.  Now that he’s older, he doesn’t use it much- but he does like to climb into it every now and then and play with the bar of animals.

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5) Flannel Receiving Blankets

We used these as spit rags and they were by far the best spit rags we owned.  We had some other things that were actually called spit rags- but they were too small and not absorbent enough.  These were perfect.  We had 2 packs of them, and we probably could have used 2 more for the sheer amount of spit up Ian was able to produce.  I can’t imagine not having these.

6) Summer Infant SwaddleMe Wraps

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We clued into these a little later- maybe a few months in.  And oh goodness they are a game changer!  They make swaddling a breeze!  They turn your little one into a snug baby burrito and the Velcro stays in place so your wiggle worm can’t break free.  We were fairly good at swaddling with a regular blanket, but once Ian got more squirmy, these made a world of difference.

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7. Skip Hop playmat
I loved this mat, and so did Ian!! I liked it mostly because of just how beautiful it is. Unlike the preponderance of baby toys, this is NOT super bright and gaudy. It has a nice color palate and the dangling toys are adorable. I also liked how easy it was to store, transport, and set up. Ian liked it because of all the animals and the various activity panels. Win-win!

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What items did you use for your kids that you loved and would definitely use again??

Things my toddler says…

Now that Ian’s talking has kicked into high gear, he has started to say some of the funniest things. I compiled a list of his frequent utterances for your enjoyment.

1. “Good job, ma!”
Yes, my son calls me “ma.” No, I don’t have a clue why. He calls my husband daddy, he calls our pets by their correct names. But I have always been ma. Thanks, kid. Putting that aside, this phrase seems to imply that I must reinforce his good behavior frequently. When he eats all his dinner, I normally say “good job, Ian!” Or when he takes a bite of food after some coaxing, “nice bite, Ian!” And when he gets up the playground steps and then down the slide all by himself, I normally congratulate him on that, too. So now the silly stink has started doing it to me. Case in point: I followed Ian down a slide, and he exclaimed proudly “Good job, ma!” He even threw in a little clap. Thanks, bud…thanks.

2. “Yucky, gross!”
This one is all me, too. When Ian would try to pick up something gross or dirty (like trash outside or whatever), I would say “No, don’t touch. That’s yucky…gross.” So now when he sees something he perceives to be nasty, his little brow furrows and he tells me, in a serious tone, “yucky, gross!”

3. “(insert name of anything here), Where are you!”
This is a favorite. Can’t find daddy? Why not call for him (“Daddy, where are you!”). Also applies to pets. And me. And even inanimate objects, such as Blankie (“Blankie! Where are you!”).

4. “I do it!”
Ah, yes…the strong, independent toddler has squirmed his way outside of my sweet little boy. It doesn’t matter what it is (throwing away trash, turning lights on or off, taking off a coat, etc)…apparently he has it handled and can do it. Don’t get me wrong, I love he is finding his independence and learning to do things for himself. But sometimes I forget and turn the light on myself…and then oh dear lord- the world ends. A toddler meltdown ensues until I turn the light off again and let him do it…

5. “I fall!”
This is used as both a prediction for the future and a statement of fact from a past event. For instance, Ian was climbing on a kitchen chair and apparently felt unsteady, so he said (in a slightly worried tone) “I fall!” To which I replied “You won’t fall if you are careful.” (This seemed to satisfy him). And then, we were playing outside and he tripped and fell. He stood up, looked at me and said “Ow. I fall down.” Yep, you sure did. Thanks for the announcement.

What are some things your little talkers say? Anything good that makes you just laugh out loud?

Fall (and Halloween) is in the air!

Today is the first day of October, so the Halloween costume countdown is officially on.  And that means I need to get started working on Ian’s costume (and figuring out what he should be)!

His first Halloween, he was only 5 days old- so he wore a Hokie Bird fleece onesie outfit.  It was a gift.  It was adorable.  And he slept through most of Halloween.

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His second Halloween, he had just turned 1, and I knew I wanted to make his costume.  I also was fairly certain I wanted him to be a monster (think “mommy’s little monster!”).  I had no pattern to go by- just an image in my head.  Since I know how I am with projects (I procrastinate, I’m slow, etc etc), I started early… at the beginning of October.  And things were going great.  Except, well, I measured poorly, so my first attempt at a costume was TOO snug.  He was like a stuffed caterpillar.  So I had to redo it.  Which, ok, no big deal (the fabric I bought was pretty cheap), except for one tiny little problem. I had broken my sewing machine. Yep, the costume was too thick, was too much for my little Brother machine to handle. And it broke.  The timing went WAY off…the thread wouldn’t pick up.  Which means no sewing.  So I took it to a sewing machine repair shop, and they took a look and told me- yep, it’s broken!  Fortunately, they could also fix it.  Unfortunately, the fix was around $80 and would take 10 days!  EEP… that meant I would get it back with just a week or so before Halloween.  I crossed my fingers, and sure enough, before 10 days had passed, I had my machine back!  And it worked!  So I got to work making costume #2.  And it was beautiful!  And perfect!  And then… and then… the machine broke AGAIN (yes, I’m a slow learner).  But at this point, it was just a few days until Halloween.  Fortunately, the majority of the sewing was finished, so I decided to just do the last bit by hand.  WHAT A PAIN.  But I got it done.  And OMG did Ian look adorable.  Maybe I’ll post a tutorial later on how exactly I made the costume, in case anyone else wants to make a monster outfit.  It’s pretty easy… as long as you don’t break your machine!  (side note- my wonderful in-laws bought me a new sewing machine for Christmas last year, and it is a beauty!  It’s wonderful, and is so smooth and works flawlessly!)

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Now for his third Halloween, Ian will be just over 2 years old.  But he hasn’t expressed any great opinion on what he wants to wear (I’m not entirely sure he understands the concept anyway).  Which leaves it up to me and Jon to decide.  But that’s the problem- I can’t decide!  This is probably my last chance to inflict my will on his costume, so I don’t want to waste it!  My current prevailing idea is to have him be Mickey Mouse.  He LOVES Mickey Mouse (thank you, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse), so I think he’d really like it… not to mention it would be pretty easy and super cute.  But I go back and forth on ideas every day or two.  Anyone have any suggestions???

What are your littles going to be for Halloween?  Where do you get your ideas and inspiration?