Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas 2013

Christmas with a three year old is, quite simply, magical. Matt and I were so excited for Christmas morning that we were up at 5:30, just waiting. At 8:30, Addy was still sleeping soundly, so we decided to wake her up. Her reply: "There's too much light in here!" She wakes up slow, just like I do.

I have a total of five pictures on my phone from Christmas, because I made a conscious decision to put the phone away and live in the moment, soaking in all the magic without the distraction of trying to capture that perfect shot. My camera roll might be empty, but my memory is full, and that's much more important. Here's what I did capture:

The milk and cookies we left out for Santa. Addy insisted upon
putting her Santa figurine on the tray, so he would see it and know
the cookies were for him!
The tree on Christmas morning

The thank you note Santa left on the cookie tray

Matt giving Addy a tutorial on her new kid-friendly tablet

Addy holding on tight to her new "Snoofy" from Santa, on our
way to Nana and Papa's house. Snoofy was a huge hit.
This was a Christmas I will cherish forever. Though the focus of this one was the magic of Santa, I hope to teach her through the years that Christmas is about so much more - love, kindness to all, helping others in need. I look forward to starting traditions that speak to those values.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


That's the name of a main character in the book I'm currently reading. I've spent the entire time reading it sitting in bed beginning at 8:30 each night, passing time, because...

Four is also the number of nights that Addy has gone to bed IN HER BIG GIRL BED! Three years, one month, and 21 days is all it took Everything in due time, right? 

My hunch was right - she was ready, but as long as her crib was an option in her room, her crib it would be. So we converted the crib to a daybed and removed the toddler bed from her room, leaving her with her usual safe haven, just slightly altered. 

On night one, she hesitated and it took some comforting. She left her room once to seek our comfort, but fell asleep shortly after we tucked her back in. On night two, she left the room twice, and there were a few tears as we persuaded her to get back in bed. On night three, she came out of her room once to blow her nose, then once again to ask where her water was. I told her where, without leaving my bed, and said goodnight. She marched back in her room and climbed back into bed, falling asleep shortly thereafter. Tonight, on night four, she never left the room after being tucked in. So, I feel safe in shouting "SUCCESS!" from the rooftop. The only con is that she's waking up earlier now, during the latter part of the hour that begins with a 7. But compared to working moms, and most of my SAHM friends, that pretty much still makes me spoiled, so I'm probably not allowed to complain. Also, she awakes and excitedly pitter-patters across the hall to my room, which she finds empty, then hurries downstairs, anxious to find us. I'm actually really liking this new routine. 

All four nights, I've gone to my bedroom across the hall immediately after tucking her in so that I'm nearby in case she gets scared. I must say, I have thoroughly enjoyed spending my evening alone time in my bed, fiddling on my phone and reading until I'm tired.

Oh,  and if you're wondering, the book I'm reading is Divergent, and it's fantastic. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Recent Happenings, v2.0

Two days ago, I posted a round-up of what we've been up to lately, stuff from November and December. Afterwards, I decided to clean out the videos and photos on my phone, and I realized I had some other gems I wanted to document from way back in September and October. So here they are.

Pick Up Worms game:

I cut pipe cleaners into pieces about 2" long, threw them on the floor, handed Addy a pair of tongs and told her they were worms that needed picked up and put in the bowl. She had them picked up in something like 30 seconds, and went back to whatever she was doing before I interrupted her. 

The majority of our days are spent half-clothed, just so you know.

Pipe Cleaner Letters:

Given her lack of enthusiasm with the worms, I thought the cut up pipe cleaners were destined for some random craft project, so I put them in a plastic baggie in the junk drawer. A few days later, Addy found them and did this, completely by herself: 

The R, seriously? That takes skill.

I walked into the kitchen to find her making these perfect little letters out of them. That was a pretty awesome moment! 


In early October, Matt took a staycation, mainly so I could get my wisdom teeth pulled. That Friday, we took a much anticipated trip to COSI science museum in Columbus, a favorite memory from both my and Matt's childhoods. 

Addy dressed as the doorman from Curious George

Matt & Addy experimenting with wind at the Renkens Farm exhibit

Matt showing Addy some cool bugs under the magnifier

Addy playing with water jets

"Woah, it's the big city!"

The toddler water play area was the most fun

Pouring water into the spiral to make the boats travel faster

It was a fun filled day, but we were all a little underwhelmed, and neither of us felt it was worth the drive. I think the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland has much more to offer for Addy at this age, with far less travel time. 

The First Pigtails:

In early October, Addy accompanied her friend Lilah to her weekly ballet class for 'Bring a Friend' day. Dress code requires either a bun or pigtails, so my awesome husband took it upon himself to attempt the very first pigtail hairdo on Addy.

Seeing her reflection, she exclaimed, "Oh, I look like Lilah!"

He did pretty awesome, don't you think?!? Since then, pigtails have become my favorite because they work well with her numerous cowlicks, and they stay in place much longer than a standard ponytail. So the pigtails were a success, but ballet class was not - she lasted all of two minutes. 

Coloring Book:

Sometime in early to mid October, I created a special dry-erase coloring book for Addy. She's never been very interested in coloring, and won't spend more than two minutes focusing on it, but I thought having various coloring pages and activities she could erase would be of more interest to her. I took a 1" binder, filled it with sheet protectors, and inserted an assortment of pictures and worksheets. I included letter and shape tracing sheets, picture matching games, and big bubbly pictures to color. 

I love this little kid-sized table

At first, it seemed like a hit. She loved the picture matching games and completed them both correctly right away. Then she began scribbling, and threw the crayons after about one minute - literally, threw them. That was the end of that. I've brought the book out on a couple occasions, with no interest from her. Someday? Maybe? I never knew there was such a thing as a kid who doesn't love coloring. 

Potty Training Update:

Addy began peeing on the potty occasionally in August, and I took the approach of completely child-led potty training. By mid-September, she was consistently wearing panties, but holding her poop until we put her in a diaper. She put her last poop in a diaper sometime around late October, and she's been 100% potty trained and accident free since then. Of course, she still wears a diaper at bedtime because she still sleeps in a crib, so she doesn't have the ability to get up and use the potty at night. 

She LOVES her Doc McStuffins panties, and I know they helped her stay motivated to keep dry. She has been rather excited to use various public restrooms. Every time we leave the house to go somewhere she hasn't peed before, she asks if the location has a potty. I no longer have to remind her to use the potty, though I usually mention it to her at social functions in case she's too caught up in playing and having fun. 

I am absolutely thrilled with how easy and stress free potty training Addy turned out to be. I couldn't have asked for it to go any more smoothly! 

Other Stats:

At three years old, Addy is 39" tall and weighs 32 pounds. She is just starting to get into sight words, but very beginner and not very interested. She knows her name when she sees it. She can count to  50. She has demonstrated beginning math skills on a few occasions (simple addition and subtraction). She knows our street name and left & right directions. Her personality is truly budding, and this girl is hil-ar-i-ous, lemme tell you. She makes me laugh a hundred times a day, even on a bad day. She can be demanding and bratty, but three is turning out to be pretty darn fun too. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

3rd Annual Ornament Extravaganza

Earlier this month, we continued our annual tradition of making ornaments with my best friend's family. This year, we included Matt's longtime friend Stacey, and her family, who have become an integral part of our circle of friends. This was our Pinterest-inspired project for this year:

Adorable, right? This turned out to be the perfect project for the little hands we were all working with. The kids had fun getting their hands painted white, and the adults had fun adorning the handprints with the makings of snowmen. Everyone's ornaments turned out great! Here is ours:

The kids also had a blast making Christmas trees with sugar cones, green icing, and yummy embellishments:

It was so much fun watching how differently each kid made their edible creation! Long after the boys began eating their trees, and Addy had devoured hers, sweet Lilah was still methodically placing little sixlets and sugar beads on her tree.

She never did eat it, but instead left it here when she went home so that Addy could eat it. I think she secured her position as Addy's best friend with that move!!!

I look forward to this wonderful tradition of ours each year, and now it's even better sharing it with two awesome families.

2nd Annual Ornament Extravaganza

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Recent Happenings

I haven't been very diligent with blogging lately, as is usual for me the final two months of the year. My to-do list scribbled on the kitchen dry erase board includes three specific blog posts I had planned on writing, and it's not all inclusive; there are a few more topics floating around in my head that never made it to the list. Once I get that far behind, the task is too daunting. So here is a round-up of what's been going on in our corner of the world:

A new bed!

Sure looks cozy!

Addy still sleeps in her crib at home, but she has successfully slept outside of a crib at Grandpa & Grammy's house, and now also Aunt Steph's house. For her most recent sleepover with Grandpa & Grammy, they surprised Addy with a new bed all her own! She loves it and she slept great. Still vehemently refuses her big girl bed at home though...

Phone convo with Daddy:

Adorable. Hilarious. She makes me laugh.

The Sound Game:

I had an idea to round up old play-doh containers and fill them with random contents to create a sound distinguishing game for Addy. She thought it was pretty neat. She was really good at it too. 

Christmas Tree Showcase (late November):

Aunt Steph was on vacation the week of Thanksgiving, so we spent some time with her at this beautiful annual fundraising event in downtown Akron. The convention center is filled with gorgeously decorated Christmas trees, which are sold off to raise money for Akron Children's Hospital. Addy wasn't too interested, but I could have spent all day admiring the trees.

Addy and Aunt Steph

Awesome display representing my favorite Christmas movie

The best tree there, hands down. Constructed completely of books.
The owl is just the icing on the cake.

I thought this was a clever idea

Caught in the act:

Addy and I have been invaded with the typical cold & flu season germs and stomach bug a few times back and forth. Apparently, one day when we were both sick and lounging on the couch, Addy was taking self-portraits while I dozed off.

Sleeping momma, sneaky kid

Indoor activities:

Because we've been germy, and because it's cold and dreary outside on most days, we've been spending a lot of time cooped up in the house. But don't fear, we still make the best of it!

Painting is always a good option

The best use of masking tape and hardwood floors!

For Christmas dinner with Grandma and family, we made these Santa
hat placecards to put at each guest's seat. Aren't they cute? Addy
put all the cotton balls on and did a fabulous job.

My little kitchen helper putting sprinkles on some Chrsitmas cookies
(don't worry, we weren't sick this day!)
Visiting Santa:

This morning we went to a Breakfast with Santa event at Maize Valley Winery in Hartville. It was a really nice event with good food, a pleasant atmosphere, cookie decorating and a very nice Santa Claus. This was Addy's reaction when he first entered the room:

After we ate, we got in line to meet Santa. Addy was giggly and excited all through waiting, but as soon as it was her turn, she became scared and wouldn't go near him

Blurry Addy, moving away from Santa

She did get this cute reindeer headband though...

One second later..."NO! Don't take my picture!"

Even though she didn't talk to the big guy, she still had a blast. I told her that I talked to Santa for her to make sure he knew what she wanted (a Snoopy stuffed  animal). 

So I guess that brings us current (with the exception of a couple Christmas events that will have their own posts). Christmas is just four days away, and I'm more excited than ever before to share it with this beautiful family of mine. (-: 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Totally Cute Tuesday

Addy set the dinner table for us tonight.

It should be noted that 1) we usually eat dinner at the kitchen island, and 2) the table has been set less than five times during her toddlerhood, and only when we've been hosting dinner with family or friends.

As I was preparing dinner, she stated that she wanted to eat at the "big table" and she wanted to "set it up". She then proceeded to get the appropriate silverware out of the drawer and place it at each chair. I set the plates on the kitchen counter and she carried them to the table. I pulled down some real napkins (we usually use paper towels) and she placed one at each setting. She was super proud of herself, and it was super adorable.

Addy setting the table

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fall Craft Roundup

Fall: my favorite time of year. The smells, the colors, the air, the flavors, the cozy clothes, the activities. So much to savor September through November. Though it's mid-November and most of Fall's wonderfulness has left for the year, I'm still enjoying pumpkin recipes (which I will get around to posting) and Addy & I are still crafting. I think we finished up today after using up the pile of leaves we had collected weeks ago. Here's a look at the fall crafts we did this year:

Popsicle Stick Scarecrows

Addy's is the one on the left. Just kidding (-;

This was the first cutting and gluing project we've done, and I was fairly impressed with Addy's beginner skills. The very first glue line she did was a perfect, evenly squeezed line straight down a popsicle stick, but she did eventually get a little glue-happy when applying the scarecrow's hair: 

Good thing glue dries clear!

She does well with scissors, using them carefully and properly, but she's a long way from being able to cut along a line; she's just snipping little pieces right now.

Month of Thanks Banner

I'll be sad when November is over because this banner makes me smile

This is a Pinterest idea I'd like to do every year going forward. I ran construction paper through my printer and cut out the shapes. I hung jute twine leftover from my wedding crafts along the mantle using tiny 3M Command hooks, and found the mini clothespins at Pat Catan's. Each day I write something I'm thankful for on a cutout and hang it up. Each day, I also ask Addy what she's thankful for, but I've had limited success. She's not really into this "game" yet, but I look forward to her answers next year. So far, she has named everyone in our family, dancing, birds, and Netflix. 

She even included the cats, which is surprising since she tortures them.

Paper Strip Trees 

I had to trim the edges off the construction paper to fit it through the printer for the above project, so I came up with a simple craft using the strip scraps:

Not very impressive, but helped break up some boredom

Addy laid out her strips and glued them on. I cut the shape. Quick and simple for a little more gluing practice.

Painting with Fall Leaves

As I said before, a few weeks back, we went on a walk and collected pretty leaves. We didn't do anything with them right away, though I had plenty of ideas in my head. Addy asked if she could paint today, so I thought she might enjoy painting the leaves and making imprints. They turned out to be a little too brittle to do much with, but here are our creations:

Addy kind of just painted and piled them

Addy helped me hold some of these in place while I did the brush strokes

Awesome giant leaf we found at Aunt Steph's house. Tried to make
and imprint of it, but it didn't show up too well.

And that wraps it up for our fall crafts this year. We had some fun! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The first snow

I cannot believe I'm making this post before we are even finished with our fall crafts...but we got the first snow of the season a few days ago, and Miss Addy was loving it! I was pretty sure she'd be excited since she's already referenced how fun it was to make a snowman last year, so I had the camera rolling when I greeted her in the morning...

We ventured out right after breakfast. I very deeply dislike snow, but I absolutely love to see my daughter enjoying it with reckless abandon. 

We had to cut it short because her way-too-short pants were letting in too much snow. We went inside and enjoyed some hot chocolate to warm up, which she has asked for repeatedly each day since. 

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I can't wait for the next great snowfall!