31 January 2014

My 2 Year Old

Obligatory mom-blogger post. Sorrynotsorry!

Cora turned the big 0-2 on Sunday. We had a party for her in which she was the youngest attendee by over 20 years. (Yeah, still working on making friends over here.)

But let's see what she's up to in the milestone/development world.

Her stats from her doctor visit: 28lbs, 10oz (75th percentile), and 35¾" in height (90th percentile)

So she's tall and has some stock to her. But she actually looks pretty lean, but with that cute belly. Her eyes are still blue, and her hair is a light brown (I guess some people might say it's blonde).

Vocab: Cora has at least 100 words and adds one or two more daily (including "Zumba" and "blah blah blah"--love that copycat phase!). She didn't say her first word until 15 or 16 months, so we're happy. (I was never actually concerned about her talking.) She has a few phrases, and she knows all of her body parts--including nipple and bum since she pointed at those, too. She can count to 3 and knows a handful of letters and numbers by sight. She wasn't interested in animal noises until wayyyy after most kids do that, but again, I was never concerned. Thanks to her play-a-sound animal book, if you ask her what a rabbit says she will say "boing boing." She has also started having some good manners. Out of the blue, she said "bless you" after I sneezed many months ago and still does it most of the time. She uses "please" and "thank you" pretty well, but we still have to prompt her a lot. She likes to say "bye bye" to things, which I definitely use to my advantage during transition times.
Cora loves to cook with Mama
Gross Motor Skills: Cora didn't start walking until almost 15 months, but took off from there. She can walk down the steps in our house while holding the handrail. She really really wants to jump, but she can't yet. But she likes to stomp and spin and circles. One of Cora's favorite things to do is 'run' around our living room and let her voice wobble with her steps at the same time. (It's seriously adorable.) We did a gymnastics class last summer, and since then she has been able to do a forward roll without help. She also loves rough play and being tickled on her belly.

Quirks: She loves ice in her water bottle and will whine for it. (This is how I taught her "please," actually.) She has started getting attached to certain stuffed animals, namely a bunny that she just got at her party 5 days ago. She loves wearing her aprons (she pronounces it "ah-men") and will bring me mine as well and want me to wear it. Cora has finally started letting me do stuff with her hair--which I refuse to cut--but she often still takes it all out after a bit. Cora loves books and still brings me a ton to read to her every day. Her favorite cartoon is "Bob," which means VeggieTales and often when I turn on the TV she gets mad if it isn't Bob. She also seems to like Elmo and knows Minnie Mouse only because she has pajamas with her on it.

Wins: Cora thrives on a schedule. The only thing that really changes daily is when she wakes up in the morning. I still don't let her start the day before 6:30, and now when she wakes up between 6:30 and 7, I bring her into my bed and let her do whatever while I lay down for a bit more. Thanks to her schedule, she is kinda potty-trained, but so am I, in a way. She goes on the potty at certain times of day and I just have to get her to sit there a bit. She still doesn't initiate when she needs to go and will hold it until naptime or bedtime (when she goes in a diaper), so we'll be working on that soon. I'm down to washing diapers about once a week (or whenever it stinks!).

Also, as long as she gets a nap or a good night's sleep, she is easy to take to church! She is a busy-bee during it, but she uses her "whisper voice" when we ask her to. I don't dread that hour any more and can even hear the homily most of the time. Cora also does the sign of the cross in her own fun way, often without prompting. She loves sticking her hand in the holy water on our way in and out of mass, too.

Losses: She has become an even pickier eater than she was before. She won't try new things unless it's a cookie or something mostly processed. She does drink smoothies though, and I'm able to throw some no-taste veggies in there usually. However, she has handed smoothies back to me if it doesn't meet her standards! It's sad to think that a year ago her favorite food was peas(!) but now she hasn't even touched them in months. Sigh.

Overall, Cora is a happy, healthy, well-adjusted kid. Sure there are tantrums, and we still haven't quite figured out time-outs, but overall, she is fun to be around. She isn't really shy, but sometimes out in public she's a bit slow to warm up to others. She still has a deep, infectious laugh which will totally make your day if you hear it!

22 January 2014

5 Favorites

Ninja Blender
Specifically, the Ninja Mega Kitchen System 1500 that I had on my Christmas list. I make smoothies all the time now, especially because you can do it in a single-serve cup. The big part of the blender is super awesome and powerful, too. And I can't even vouch for the food processor attachment or dough hook it came with since I haven't even used them, but as far as just a blender goes, it's my favorite! I unloaded my old not-so-great blender on B's brother, who is very hand-me-down-friendly.

Electric blanket
I burned up some Kohl's cash on its expiration date and got this. I think I've used it every day since (and that was over a month ago)! So warm and toasty. And high-tech. Well, for a blanket anyway.

Back when we lived in the apartment on the other side of town, we were right across the street from one of these stores. I love it. I still go to it if I'm near one (there's one near the mall). They have added a lot of organic options, too. But I love the consistently low prices. I can't do all of my grocery shopping there, but I know the basics I can stock up on. Oh, and hormone-free milk and 44¢/lb. bananas? Yessireee, indeed.

If you've never shopped at Aldi before, but want to try, you should probably read this guide (and don't forget your quarter!):

My kid learning to talk

She's turning 2 this weekend and having that lovely language explosion. Everything she says is simply adorable. Well, until she says it 1000 times. But even then, still kinda cute. And she calls anything she doesn't know the name of a "twackle." Yeah, even after we tell her the correct word. It makes us laugh. The way she says "thank you" is freakin' adorable (something like "dat doo").

A Night On the Town
Gourmet grilled cheese, hard cider on tap, and a community theater production of Driving Miss Daisy. Then we hit up Kroger, where I got 3 free items and walked out without even opening my wallet. I guess you could have called it a girls' night. I went with B's cousin who is back living with her folks here after finishing up grad school in December. All that said, I think I need to get out more!
I didn't take any pics of my Friday night out,
so here is the previous time we went out downtown.
With my parents when they were in town last July.
(We had tried to go to the gourmet grilled cheese and cider restaurant,
but they wouldn't let Cora in. Hot dogs instead!)

12 January 2014

Cleaning Out My Post Drafts

I just checked and had 29 posts stuck in draft mode. Some of them just got deleted, some are one sentence long, some of them a bit more. I don't feel like finishing some of them, so I'm just going to dump them here in one wacky post!

Cora's Family Book (April 2012)
(this post had no text, but I was going to rave all about the book I made for Cora when she was like 4 months old--it has all her family members in it)

Here's a picture of it instead:
I saw a DIY tutorial on Pinterest, but using Shutterfly was 1000x easier

What I've Learned (January 2013)
Here are a few things I've learned in my first year of parenting:
  • If it smells like poop, check. It probably is.
  • If you're going to do cry-it-out/controlled crying/whatever you want to call it, have a plan for yourself. Find something to do, take a shower, etc. Use headphones.
  • Having a plan is also key in the early days for marathon nursing sessions. I kinda miss all that extra reading time.
  • Use an old remote control/phone without batteries that can be given to the baby.
  • Write all your baby shower thank-you notes before your baby is born. Hell, even write them during labor. If you get gifts after the baby is born that require notes, make someone else write them and then just sign them.
  • Find mommy friends that have more in common with you than just the ages of your children. Your life will be vastly improved by not talking about bowel movements for more than 5 minutes a visit. Okay, 10 minutes.

Blog Hacks/ Pro Tips (April 2012)
Here are 3 of my favorites that could making the blogging world just a bit better.

1. Copypastecharacter.com This site is AWESOME(Yes, the large, bold, fon tis necessary.) Thanks to this site, you can easily write that you spent 98¢ on the Benadryl® to cure your 102° fever that you contracted during El NiƱo.  ←See what I just did there?  All it took was some copying and pasting. ☺ And interrobangs‽‽

2. Embed (or just link to) Youtube video at a certain point:  There are a few ways to do this.  One way, to just get the link is to pause the video where you want it, then right click and pick the second option down that says "Copy video URL at current time".  For embedding, if you get the embed code, go to the "src=http://link" part of the code.  At the end of the video link, add #t= and then the minutes and seconds.  Hooray for hashtags!

3. Put a link in a comment. Use html img src code in a comment. (Eh, figure it out yourself.)

Let's Hear the Good Things (September 2013)
You wanna know something dumb?
I used to be scared.
A lot of women are scared to birth or scared to have a baby.
But that's not what I was scared of.
No, once I had a baby, I was scared to have a toddler.

(I'm not really sure where I was going with that post, but I think it has something to do with complaining about kids all day but then adding, "It's soooo worth it!" afterward. People without kids don't understand that, trust me.)

So there ya go, 4 posts in one. Feel free to use any as a jumping- point for conversation or your own blog post.

06 January 2014

Real Motherhood: Not a Pro

I'm not good at mom stuff.

When I was first getting into the swing of being a mom, I heard a lot of comments that exclaimed, "Don't worry, you'll be a pro in no time!"

Well, lovely sentiment. But the truth is, almost two years into this motherhood thing, I'm not a pro.

Here are 5 reasons:

1. I can't change a baby facing the 'wrong' direction. Her head has to be on my left.
And I've TRIED putting these blasted cloth ones on her standing up,
and that doesn't work for me at all.
(Yes, even the velcro ones.)

2. I still have trouble buckling her into the carseat from the left side. I'm a bit better with her convertible carseat but her infant one? I just could not do it.

3. I never was able to nurse a baby and do the dishes or cook dinner. It sounds unsafe anyway. Maybe I'll get a sling for the next bambino and figure it out. But eh, that sounds like a pain.
For 16 months, I sat down and used this freakin' pillow to nurse my kid!
4. I still don't have eyes in the back of my head. (Maybe those will develop in the next few years?)

5. I have not sprouted 4 more arms. I drop things. Constantly. Still clumsy ol' me.

Also, more currently, I cannot figure out how to get my child to nap every day, can't figure out what to feed her (she got even more picky in the past month, and the only vegetable she has eaten has been spinach in a smoothie), and can't get her to sit on the potty very much any more--only when poop is actively coming out of her butt. Why has everything gotten harder??!

However, 2 things I am a pro at? Being able to get this baby carrier on my back with no help:
It ain't pretty, but I can do it

And pulling my hair out on a regular basis. Because toddlers, that's why.

04 January 2014

Are These Resolutions or Just a To-Do List?

Well, that, I am not sure.

I haven't made resolutions in YEARS. I had my 101 in 1001 list, so that was good enough for me. Maybe one of these days I'll actually update that page on my blog since it ended last April, but that is not actually on my list! Too bad, so sad.

My resolution list just so happened to have 14 items, a fitting number for 2014.

1. Organize the basement. Make it functional. Make it awesome.

2. Start a toy rotation for Cora. Maybe once a month swap stuff out.

3. Weekly Family Meetings! We have re-started these. I dropped the part B hates (weekly highs and lows). We did it while Cora took a bath and we were all in the bathroom anyway. We can do readings out of her kids' bible.

4. Potty train Cora. Goal is to be daytime-trained around age 2, no later than 27 months. She already poops in it, we just gotta get her to know when to go.

5. Use time outs for Cora. She still doesn't quite understand it and won't sit in the chair.

6. Conquer Cora's picky eating. Even if I need to use operant conditioning, this needs to be nipped in the bud sooner rather than later.

7. Get new passport. This has been on my long to-do list for a while.

8. Make a home management binder. Not sure if I want it as detailed as the one I read about in Organized Simplicity, but there should be some type of manual on running this house if I fall into a hole.

9. Keep up with the budget on YNAB. (I just bought this thing!) And in effect, tithe more.

10. Read 7 books. And actually finish them. I was really bad in 2013 in regards to reading about 80% of a book and then not finishing it. It kinda drives me nuts when I think about it. (Most of the books are back on the library shelves, so it's not like I'll be finishing them tonight.)

11. Learn 5 new dinner recipes.

12. Get pregnant. (!!) And pray I don't have another miscarriage, will ya? Because that sucked.

13. Make 2 friends in this town. Like, actual friends that give me their phone numbers and call me to hang out.

14. Run 2 races. Setting the bar low because I'm not sure how much I'll be able do if #12 happens (see: bad knee).

That's it. That's my list. I better get crackin' on it since we're already 4 days in now.

01 January 2014

13 In '13

A pictorial review of the past year. With some text, too.

Click the pic to join the fun


Celebrated Cora's First Birthday


It was cold and snowed a lot?


It snowed even more

Trip to my home state of GA to see my BIL (sister's husband) join the Catholic Church


Cora started walking, and then a few weeks later burned her hands on the oven door as I was taking something out of it


Final nursing session


BIL's high school graduation

My first time tubing behind a boat (and not down a river, Southern-style)


Won my division in a 5K


Trip to Virginia and Cora's first beach experiences (she hated it)


Went to my first Notre Dame football game


Trip to Washington, D.C., for BIL's wedding, during government shutdown
Cora was the flower girl


A visit from ALL of my side of the family


Cora got sick on Christmas, but was fine a few days before and after (including when she met Santa)

Wow, that was actually really hard to pare our year down to 13 photos! There was obviously a lot more to our year (I didn't even mention that we bought our first house in this post!), but these were some of my favorite pictures of last year.