January 26, 2011

10 Things I'm Loving!

I thought this would be a fun way to share some of the things I'm really loving right now.  Yes, most of them are children's items, but when you've got two kids, I'm pretty sure 75% of what you buy is for them anyways.     I did manage to squeeze a few non-baby related items in.  So, here are my top 10 products as of January 2011!!

1.  Nosfrida - It looks gross, but it works, it really really works!  Say goodbye to your big green bulb sucker, this is the perfect tool during cold and flu season if you have small children!

2.  Let's Hear It for Laurie Berkner Band DVD - It's great, healthy entertainment and TV you will feel good about.  The songs are catchy and fun and the scenery is full of bright colors and children dancing and having a good time.  Both Austin and Owen love this DVD and I don't feel bad letting it "babysit" while I get a few chores done because it's educational and lets them get up and dance and be active.  Austin's favorites are "My Energy" and "I'm a Mess."  I even catch myself singing the songs all day as well!

3.  Plum Organics Baby Food w/ Boon Spoon - Whoever thought of these pouch baby foods was pretty smart in my opinion, and when Plum and Boon got together and made the attachable Boon Spoon....genius!!  When we travel I just throw a couple pouches of food in the diaper bag and I always keep a pack of the spoon attachments handy as well.  It's less mess, portable, so easy and healthy!  Since the amount you need squirts directly onto the spoon, there is no contamination so you can save anything that's leftover without worrying.  Owen loves the Plum Organics baby food and I love that it's organic and the great flavor combinations.  Owen would not touch regular pureed peas, but Plum makes a combination pack which is peas, spinach and pears and he loves it!  Another favorite combination is corn, sweet potatoes and apples.  They even make something called Mish Mash for toddlers.  Austin loves his banana and strawberry "sauce" and it's a quick, easy, healthy, mess-free snack!!

4.  Old MacDonald Hand Puppet - My sister bought this for Austin awhile back and I just recently pulled it back out for Owen to enjoy.  I put the puppet on my hand and sing the song and wiggle the animals and both boys sit there and smile and laugh and Austin sings along and makes the animal noises with me.  It's the perfect way to entertain and engage both boys at the same time.

5.  Melissa & Doug Band in a Box - Or as Austin calls it, his "marching band."  Mimi and Papa gave this to the boys for Christmas and it's been an absolute favorite.  We all grab different instruments and play along.  Owen is able to crash the little cymbals together and shake the maracas and Austin loves the tambourine.  It's another one of those toys you feel good about because it's educational and fun...noisy....but fun.

6.  Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 Camera Lens - I got this for my birthday from my mother-in-law and I LOVE IT!  It has completely replaced the kit lens that I was using and I don't ever want to go back.  The pictures are sharper, the backgrounds blurrier and it takes great photos in low light situations without the flash.  It took me a little while to get used to the fact that it doesn't zoom, but I highly recommend it to any Canon Rebel user!
7.  Clinique Quick Eyes Cream Shadow - This is the quickest and easiest eyeshadow that I've found (and you need quick and easy when you have two kids) and it looks fantastic!  A few dabs on your lids, blend with finger and you're ready!  I have it in the Truffle color which is a light greyish/brown and it's my new daily go-to shadow.
8.  Buxom Lash - Ok, I admit it, I'm a bit of a make-up snob.  Once I discovered Sephora about 10 years ago on my first trip to NYC, there was no turning back!  This one has been in my repertoire for awhile now and it's still the best mascara I've ever found.  It's not too thick, it's not clumpy, it's not too wet or runny, and it separates each lash beautifully!

9.  Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack - With Austin we had the First Years drying rack and it worked fine, but I hated the way it looked sitting on top of my kitchen counter.  Well, that one finally bit the dust and when I started Owen on bottles I needed to look for a new one.  I was so excited with I found the Boon drying rack, it was a perfect fit!  It's low profile and modern looking but also does a great job holding all the bottles and various parts that go with them.  Oh, amd it looks like grass....how fun is that?!

10.  Amazon.com - Ok, I know this isn't an actual product, but it's where several of the above items came from so I had to give it a mention.  I can not count the ways that I love this site and with the addition of  the Amazon Mom program...I may never buy diapers in a store ever again!!  Sign up for Amazon Mom and use Subscribe & Save and you can get 30% off your diaper order.  All our diapers and wipes are delivered to our door each month and if I ever need to change a size or type or delay or even discontinue a shipment, it's as easy as a few quick clicks!  What's better is that every time you buy diapers (and other qualifying baby items) as an Amazon Mom customer, you get an extra month of free 2-day shipping!  I think I've already built up a years worth.  But seriously, Amazon has almost anything you could ever want and often at better prices than you can find anywhere else!  So check it out, if you already haven't, you won't be disappointed!

January 25, 2011

To a toddler bed we go...

Not even 2 weeks after I ask for advice on whether or not to move Austin from his crib to a bed, he makes the decision for me!

So, the boys both have little colds right now.  Nothing big, just runny noses and congestion mainly, but this morning it was so bad that Austin couldn't even enjoy his favorite breakfast of fresh strawberries, cantaloupe, kiwi and mango.  He couldn't taste and could barely keep his mouth closed long enough to chew because he couldn't breathe so well out of his nose.  I decided that instead of watching him in his misery, I'd try a half dose of Benadryl in hopes of drying things up.  Benadryl turns Austin into a zombie and I don't usually give it to him during the day, but I thought just maybe a half dose would be a little help and hopefully not make him as tired as it usually does.  It looked like I was wrong, because about 30 minutes later he got quiet and mopey and totally engrossed in something that was on TV (which he usually only does when he's tired).  It was about an hour earlier than his usual nap time, but Owen was ready for a nap too and double nap time sounded alright to me, so upstairs we went!

Owen went to sleep immediately and then I read Austin a book and put him in his crib as always.  I came back downstairs, did a few quick things and then sat down on the couch to get on my computer for the first time in 2 days.  Both monitors were directly in front of me and both boys were silent.  I started reading an e-mail when all of a sudden I hear "Hi Mommy!" and see Austin standing right beside me with a huge grin on his face.

I literally jumped out of my seat.  The house had been completely quiet...no TV, no music, no sounds of any type...it was like he came out of no where!  I looked at Austin as if I was seeing a mirage at first.  I honestly thought I was dreaming for a few seconds because I just couldn't believe how he had climbed out of his crib, opened his bedroom door and made it all the way downstairs without me hearing a single noise.

So, once I got over my initial shock and disbelief, back upstairs we went.  One more book and then back in the crib I put him.  He lied down and I walked out, closing the door behind me.  Less than a minute later the door was opening from the other side and out came Austin, still grinning away!  This time I was waiting for him though and immediately put him back in his crib, telling him to stay still and go to sleep.  I closed his door and this time ran downstairs to grab the video monitor and turned on the screen just in time to see him effortlessly throw his leg over the side and lower himself onto the carpet below.  As I was heading back upstairs, Austin was cruising down the hallway just as calm and happy as he could be.  I figured I'd give it one more try.  Two books, 2 pacis, 4 toy cars, 3 blankies, 2 glowworms and Austin, all in the crib.  And I hated to do it, but this time I left with the threat of a pop on the bottom if he climbed out again.

I made it back downstairs to find him still lying down in his crib just playing with his cars.  I sat with my eyes glued to that monitor, and for almost 10 minutes he laid there quietly until it seemed to finally dawn on him that a pop on the bottom didn't seem nearly as bad as being alone in his crib and not tired.  At that time I also realized that maybe he just wasn't as tired as I thought he was and I met him at the top of the stairs, promising not to go through with my previous threat.

For almost two more hours we played downstairs until he took up residence in my lap and sat still for a good 20 minutes, laying his head on my shoulder.  I asked if he was ready for a nap and to my surprise he said yes!  I put him down in his crib as I always had and there he stayed until he fell asleep a few minutes later.

Nighttime was not an issue, but I did wait until almost 10pm to make sure he was good and tired.  I left a few lights on for him in case he decided to get up in the middle of the night, but didn't hear from him until almost 9am...which is a record around here!  He strolled into the living room after coming downstairs himself and said "I get out bed and walk downstairs!"  He was so proud.

So, this weekend we will switch to the toddler bed and see how that goes.  Maybe we will be surprised!  I'll be sure to let you know how it goes and for those of you who have does this before, feel free to offer up any advice.  This should be interesting!

January 24, 2011

8.5 Month Comparison

I took a picture of Owen the other day when I went to get him up from his nap and when I looked at it, I was immediately reminded of a similar picture I took of Austin around the same age.  Besides the fact that Owen is smaller, has blue eyes and more hair than Austin did at 8 months, I really think they look pretty similar!

January 17, 2011

Really long post about a Saturday afternoon...

The process for taking the Bar exam in NC really is a pain in the rear.  They required that Ryan (and all other future NC attorneys) attend a 5 minute face-to-face meeting in Charlotte on Saturday at 2pm.  Doesn't that just ruin the entire day, right?  Well, with all the work and studying Ryan has been doing lately, we decided that another weekend just could not go by without some quality family time, so me and the boys went to Charlotte too!

There were a lot of fun activities to choose from, but we decided to go to the Discovery Place museum which just happens to be only 2 blocks from Ryan's new office. So, we took a quick tour of daddy's building, ate some lunch, and then headed down the street for some fun.  It was a lot like the Children's Museum in Greenville, but with a few more fun extras.  Austin loved the aquarium portion and looking at all the fish.  His favorites were definitely the sea horses.  But the biggest hit of the afternoon was the 3D theatre!  Figuring it would be too much for Owen to process, he just sat on my lap and watched the blurry screen, but Austin sported his cool 3D shades and had a blast!!  

The first picture that popped out of the screen was an image of a globe and Austin kept trying to touch it.  It was hilarious watching him continuously reaching out for it.  He jumped quite a bit at some of the things he saw coming towards him but thought it was great.  He kept trying to tell us everything that he was seeing and was getting so excited that he was being pretty loud.  The craziest part was when this giant snake was slowing slithering out of the screen and hissing.  I was actually a little scared and ended up looking away, but Austin didn't budge.  He wasn't scared a bit and Ryan and I were very impressed with how well he did and it made us so happy to see him enjoying this new experience.

There were so many things to do and see and in the 3 hours we were there we still didn't get to do it all.  I'll let the pictures walk you through the rest of our adventure at Discovery Place:

Sitting in the car waiting for daddy's interview to be over with.

The Charlotte skyline, Ryan's building is the tallest one on the left.

A close-up of Ryan's building.

During our tour of the building, we sat down to eat by this fountain.  Austin loved it and kept saying "Look Owie! Look at fountain Owie!"

Discovery Place had a great little area for babies and toddlers to play.  Owen loved the mirrored wall.

Here is Owen inside the playhouse making faces at mommy!

There was just so much going on!

He loved his little play area, but you know the saying, the grass is always greener on the other side!

Austin found a little buddy and they had fun jumping in the piles of beanbags.

They had some really creative musical instruments, like hitting these pipes with foam mallets to make different sounds.

This pots and pans drum set was probably the highlight of the place.  There was a line of kids just waiting to get on there and play.  I patiently waited and then pounced on the chair as soon as some little girl was done and then had to hurry Austin over from the giant lite brite to come play.  In those few seconds, a little boy came over and tried to get me to leave and I politely asked him to wait a few minutes, that we had been waiting a long time for our son's turn.  Then, as soon as Austin sat down to play, another girl came and stood thisclose to us waiting to jump in the second we were through.  It was madness!!  And all to bang on a few pots and pans...

I thought this wind tunnel was pretty neat.  They had capes and rings of ribbon for you to let blow in the wind.   I might have had more fun in this exhibit than Austin....

And this is where Austin spent the majority of our final hour.  He had a blast dancing and going crazy in this small room filled with music and other kids.  When you stepped on those circles on the floor, each one made a different sound and you could make your own rhythm.

Oh the fish...he could have watched them for hours!  Here he is waving hello to each one that swam by.

The science areas of the museum were not as toddler friendly, but even though he didn't understand the theme behind the exhibits, Austin thought that balls floating in mid air were still pretty cool!

Just watching the red balls drop down the chutes one by one...

...and then realizing that what you got to do to make them drop was a lot more fun!

There was a whole section filled with tables of big and little blocks for kids to channel their inner architect.  Austin repressed his urge to "knock 'em down" for just a few minutes to help build a pretty impressive "house."

And there you have it, an extremely long and detailed post on how we spent our Saturday afternoon.  Amazing what I can spit out when I achieve double nap time!!  :-)

January 13, 2011

Crib to Bed Question

I've been thinking about converting Austin's crib into a toddler bed recently.  Right now he is still sleeping great in his crib and has made no attempts to climb out, but we are planning a few trips for this Spring and Summer and he will have to do without a crib and he's far too big to sleep in the pack n play anymore.  We bought a little blow up mattress with raised sides for him to sleep on or if there is an extra twin bed we can bring our portable side rails.

So, my questions is, for those mommies who have already made the switch from crib to bed, do you think we should go ahead and do it now in preparation for our upcoming travels or let him sleep in his crib as long as he will and just deal with the vacation sleeping on a day by day basis?

I'm hesitant to make the switch because I'm worried it's going to be a huge nightmare getting him to stay in his bed and not get up and play in his room all night, but I also don't want our vacations to be a nightmare either.  We're going to have to make the switch eventually no matter what, but he really does love his crib and I predict we've got several more months before having to worry about him climbing out.

What to do, what to do....any advice is welcome!

January 12, 2011

Snow Day #2

I should really call this "ice day" since the snow was actually covered with a layer of ice after everything froze overnight.  Either way, we didn't have enough time in the snow the day before so we ventured back out yesterday afternoon.  The main goal was to make a snowman since the snow was a little more packable with the addition of the ice.  Monday the snow was so powdery that we couldn't even form a good snowball to launch at our unsuspecting 2 year old.  Total bummer...

So, Ryan and Austin worked diligently on the snowman while I got Owen ready for his 2011 blizzard debut.  It's hard to believe that in his 8 months he's already seen a White Christmas and the states biggest snow in over 20 years!  What a crazy winter it has been...

When the snowman was done, I decided that instead of a snowman we should have a snowwoman.  I'm already terribly outnumbered by men in this house as it is and we also needed a snowmommy stand in since someone (me) had to take the picture.  I think she turned out quite nice and life-sized!

But before our snowwoman picture, Austin walked off and reappeared from the bushes moments later sucking on the biggest icicle we've ever seen.  Still have no idea where that thing came from, but it was pretty much the highlight of his day.  It was not easy prying that thing out of his little mittens either, but we couldn't allow giant icicles in the house. Actually, we had to promise to give him a piece of ice from the freezer instead just to get him through the door without a terrible meltdown.  He took off his mittens and took hold of the ice cube only to realize that his hands were getting cold and numb.  He eventually requested we put his mittens back on while he ate his cube of ice in the living room.  Quite the different attitude from the previous day!!

And here are the pictures from snow day #2:

Bubbles, Bubbles

Owen had his first bubble bath tonight!

He just really loves baths; especially when he gets to play in the bath without being accompanied by his big brother who splashes, steals toys and takes up too much room in the tub.  Big brother or no big brother, however, this little boy just really adores bath time and bubbles added another element of fun.  Actually, I think Owen was enjoying his solo bath so much that he hardly noticed the bubbles, but it was a fun bath regardless.

Whenever I take him into our bathroom at night and start removing his clothes, he begins giggling and kicking his legs and squirming all around.  He knows what time it is and can hardly control his excitement!  He loves to splash, chew on his foam letters, and pull up on the sides and look over.  Baths are always a fun time in our house!

So, my boys may one day hate me for all the naked bath pictures of them that I've posted on the internet, but is there really anything cuter than little babies in the bathtub?  I think not.

January 10, 2011

Whoa Snow!

Your eyes aren't foolin' ya.
That right there is a picture of a ruler stuck in the middle of our yard this morning measuring the almost 8 inches of snow that fell overnight.  Did I mention this is South Carolina?!

I had been hearing about this snow storm for days, but a forecast of snow in these parts is iffy at best.  So, last night I made myself stay up until I saw the first snowflake fall.  I went to bed at 1:30am and at that time a few flakes were lightly making their way to the ground.  I didn't know what to expect when I woke up this morning, but it certainly wasn't that!  What a fun surprise!!

Austin woke up and stood at the doors and windows all morning admiring the snow and begging to go outside.  The only way to keep him from busting out the door was to pop in a few of his favorite DVDs.  Ryan was working from home, but hard at work nonetheless, so I had to wait for Owen to nap before taking Austin out to play.

Finally, after two of the longest hours in his entire 2 year old life, it was time...

And what's the first thing he does?

Gets mad that he has to wear his mittens, rips them off, sticks his hands in the snow and then pitches an absolute fit because his hands are so cold.  Oh my, I couldn't help but laugh a little.  Don't you kind of wish a 2 year old understood the phrase "I told you so" sometimes...

So, anyway...

Take 2

 Lucy enjoyed the snow as well...can you spot her?

We spent almost all day out in that rare accumulation of white stuff and loved (almost) every minute of it.  The temps were a little too chilly for the O-baby, but he made a short photo-op appearance for proof of his presence during the big SC Blizzard of 2011!!


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