Alice: Ten Months

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In yet another example of second-child/second-time-parent syndrome, I almost didn’t post this monthly update. Although we actually took these photos right around Alice’s ten month birthday, the hustle and bustle of getting settled in the new house and celebrating the holidays meant that getting this post together is way, way overdue. In fact, A will be 11 months old in just about a week! But, since these photos are so darn cute—I have to at least say a few words about all that’s been going on in Alice’s world.

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Our girl now has a total of four teeth, with her top two in the front making their way in around the time she hit the ten month mark. And, she knows how to use them—she’s actually developing a bit of a nibbling habit—I currently have a bite mark on my arm to prove it!

Alice flirts with and smilies at everyone she meets. Naturally, everyone thinks she is a total sweetheart. But, man, does she have a devious streak. When she thinks you aren’t looking, she will start rummaging through cabinets, taking stuff out of bags, ripping up paper and generally, just behaving like Godzilla. When you catch her eye, she just snickers and continues down the path of destruction.

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As we settle into the new house, Alice seems to be enjoying having her own room, as well as the fact that our first floor space still needs some furnishing. She and her sister are having a grand old time racing through the empty space. Although A defied all of my predictions and isn’t walking on her own yet, she can easily keep up with—and sometimes even overtake her sister in a race. I love hearing the echo of their laughter as B races through the living room on her tricycle, followed closely behind by A, who is either crawling or pushing a toy at lightening speed.

Currently, Alice loves clapping her hands, blowing kisses and dancing. She continues to learn new words, most of them courtesy of her sister. For example, The BeatBelle that Alice got for Christmas will record your voice and repeat back what you say. B thinks it’s hilarious to hear the robot’s voice say “butt!”…and now, so does A. B is also attempting to teach her the names of all of the members of the Paw Patrol gang—so far, Rubble is her favorite.

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Happy (belated) ten month birthday, Allie Girl! I promise I’ll be on time with your updates going forward so that you have one less thing to put on the list of what you will lament about in therapy someday!

Christmas 2016

I know we’ve already said goodbye to 2016, but I can’t resist sharing a few (okay, a bunch) of photos from our Christmas festivities.

The season felt a little bit rushed this year because of the move. We pretty much had to leave all of our our decorating, seasonal outings and Santa prep activities until the week before the holiday. Nevertheless, the girls seemed to have a blast. In addition to it being Alice’s first Christmas, this was the first year that B really understood what was happening. She sung along to every Christmas song on the radio (her favorites were You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer), couldn’t wait to bust out the decorations and bought into all of the Santa Claus lore. The latter is the most adorable to me, and I’m already dreading the day when she starts to question things.

So, without further adieu, here’s a glimpse into our holiday season!

While we were preparing for the move, we had a tiny tree up at our old house. But, B could not wait to put up the real thing. So, as soon as the boxes were sufficiently cleared from the living room, we got to work.

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Showing off Elmo, one of “her” ornaments

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Just up from a nap, in time to supervise the decorating process.

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Finished! We have the tree on a timer, so that it turns on every day at 4 p.m. B thinks that “Santa Magic” is responsible.

The holiday season in Philly isn’t complete without a visit to Macy’s, to see the light show and visit the Dickens’ Village. Alice actually seemed to enjoy all the lights, and clapped along with the music.

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Chester and I have resigned ourselves to the fact that we’ll always have to be in the annual Santa photo. B actually waved to Santa when she walked into the room, so I had high expectations that things would go well. But, when it was time to pose for the picture, she wasn’t having it. Alice just seemed stunned, which fortunately, prevented her from having a meltdown. And yes, she isn’t wearing any socks in this photo. After the 100th time she pulled them off that day, I didn’t bother to put them back on.

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We broke in our kitchen with our first baking project: sugar cookies for Santa. B was in charge of rolling them into the red and green sugar, and she proclaimed each one of them “a Christmas miracle!” in between eating bites of dough. The real miracle, if you ask me, was having ample counter space for this project!

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On Christmas Eve, we headed to my mom’s for the afternoon. We ate way too much food, and B had a great time hanging out with her Uncle Mike.

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And, then it was home to get ready for Santa. This year, in addition to the cookies and milk, we left an apple for the reindeer.

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Everyone was up bright and early the next morning (wearing matching Nutcracker pajamas) to see what Santa left!

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B’s favorite gift was her Code-A-Pillar and Alice really is enjoying her Beatbelle

Our girls looked like Christmas princesses, for more food and presents on Christmas afternoon at Nee-Nee’s.

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I loved this dress so much when B wore it. So glad that it fit Alice this year!

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B was in no mood to pose for pictures. She requested ” a lot of Christmas M and Ms” in return for posing for this shot, but she really wasn’t feeling like her usual self that afternoon. By the end of the day, she was running a fever, which later gave way to a cold that made its way through our house over the next week. Fun times. But, holiday illnesses seem to be par for the course, where kids are concerned, so I suppose we should get used to that fact!

I’m already looking forward to next year, when we’ll be fully settled into our home and ready to make some new holiday traditions. I hope that your holidays were just as swell!

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Goodbye, 2016!

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My #2016BestNine photos, according to Instagram

I’m sure that many of you–especially if you are in the throes of raising small children–have heard the phrase “the days are long, but the years are short.” In my experience, this is generally a true statement…except when applied to 2016. I know that I’m not alone in saying that this felt like the longest. year. ever (Lest you think this is an exaggeration, it actually includes an extra second). Between all the stuff going on at home, work and the world in general, I felt like I was living in the Upside Down, a la Stranger Things.

Don’t get me wrong, this year was filled with a lot of bright spots, like:

Welcoming our sweet little Alice home and knowing that there could not be a more perfect little person to complete our family.

Sending our first baby out into the world (and, breathing a sigh of relief when she finally fell in love with school, after crying every day for the first month).

Selling our first house, buying another..and completing both transactions just before the process crow us completely insane.

I am grateful for all of those things, and plenty more that I didn’t write about. But, basically, this bit of sage advice (and a whole lot of Starbucks) has gotten me through last 12 months:

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(Although, in my case, it’s more like a doggie paddle, since I don’t know how to swim).

All that to say, that after a year of doing all the big things–seemingly all at once–I’m tired. So, my new year’s wish is for a much calmer 2017. Hopefully, by this time next year, I’ll feel just a tad less overwhelmed, and a little bit more like myself again.

And, if that’s not possible, may 2017 bring more sushi, cake pops and weekends at the park with my favorite people. If I’ve got those things, I’m sure I can make anything work.

We Moved!

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Our 2016 Christmas Card

We {barely} survived the Great Move of 2016.

(I should get that put onto a t-shirt.)

In our typical fashion, we were still finishing up our packing when the movers pulled up to the house last Saturday…in a smaller than promised truck. As a result, it took 17 hours and two trips to get all of our belongings from point A to point B. As daylight dwindled, the girls and I de-camped to a hotel, since it became clear that bedroom set-up would have to be left until the next day.

It was probably better that we left Chester on his own to oversee the rest of the move. The glacial pace with which the boxes were being loaded and unloaded made me very anxious. And, to top it off, both girls were battling colds. Fortunately, hotel life seemed to agree with them. I think B was disappointed to find that the new house didn’t offer room service delivery of chocolate ice cream and Alice wasn’t pleased to return to her crib after a night of snuggles in a king-sized bed.

One week later, our house is still covered in boxes, none of our furniture seems right for the space and the only pants that I can seem to find are of the yoga variety. We’ve been discovering that the house comes with some quirks that we didn’t notice when we first looked at it (such as the fact that Alice’s room has zero electrical outlets, while the living room has an outlet every three feet or so). During the past week, I’ve spent most of my free time and money either at Target (well, that’s really no different from life pre-move) or fighting with Lowe’s about appliance deliveries that arrive way behind schedule (or, that don’t come at all).

It’s all disconcerting in some ways, but so good in others.

Everyone has more space. Both the girls seem to be sleeping better now that they aren’t sharing a room, and I’m not missing the noise that comes with living in a row home.

There is a place for our stuff. Closets! Lots of kitchen cabinets! And, a room on the third floor where we can stash all of the toys!

Tracy is getting a workout with walks around the neighborhood. It was lovely to take her out in the quiet, early morning hours yesterday and find that we were the first ones to leave our footprints in the snow.

Our neighbors are nice. Today, Chester came handling a gift bag gingerly, as if it were about to explode. We opened it up to find a freshly baked banana bread and welcome/Christmas card from the couple next door. Phew.

So, for the next couple of weeks, we’ll be adjusting to our new routines and finding places for all of our things, but I am grateful to be able to do it without the pressure of the deadlines that we have been up against for the last two months. I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of our holiday traditions while everything has been in flux, so with one week to go until Christmas, we’ll try to take breaks from the heavy lifting in order to focus on making memories with our girlies (we finally got our tree up and decorated this weekend, much to B’s delight).

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I think we are going to like it here.

This Old House

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September 2009

Who are those young, well-rested looking people in that photo up there? Oh, yea. That’s me and Chester, on the day that we got the keys to our first home.

On that September afternoon in 2009, we raced from the broker’s office, unlocked the door to our house, and sat in the middle of our empty living room, laying out all of our grand plans for the house (that mirror taking up the entire living room wall and the ugly industrial carpeting would be the first things to go). We mentally picked out furniture and paint colors. We made a long list of possible home improvement projects. We talked excitedly about having more space to entertain family and friends at the holidays.

For the next three years, we actually did some of those things. And, then, life happened.

The improvement projects that seemed feasible when it was just the two of us brought on migraines we thought about managing them with an infant and a dog. We realized that having one bathroom is fine and dandy, until you have to haul a potty training toddler upstairs multiple times a day, while seven months pregnant, (and later, you have to haul said toddler and one cranky newborn). And, it’s really difficult to have anyone come over to the house when it looks like Toys R’ Us after the Black Friday rush.

All that to say, our life today looks nothing like it did in 2009, and we had come to the realization that our current house couldn’t be our forever home. We had more than outgrown the space and there was the issue of school for the girls to consider. We sketched out a timeline for making a move, closer to the time that B would be ready for real school. But, in the late summer/early fall, we watched a few houses on our block sell in a matter of weeks and worried about missing out on a hot market. So, we got our house ready (putting things in storage and making minor improvements), just to see what would happen. If we didn’t move, we reasoned, at least we would be ready to try again in the spring.

Within three weeks of the “for sale” sign going up, our house was under contract and we had found a new home.

And, it was really that simple.

And, not stressful.

Like, at all.

HA!

Real talk: It’s been nuts.

Relocating two kids and a dog for house showings is no picnic.

Compiling the reams of paper needed for a mortgage application is a full-time job.

Trying not to fall in love with the house that is just perfect for your little family, when you don’t know if your current house will sell in time for you to actually purchase it, is tough.

Coordinating the final details of inspections, repairs and settlements on two houses—and waiting for all of the pieces to actually fall into place—is maddening.

And, the packing–oh the hell of packing. Last time we did this, it was just the two of us coming from a one bedroom apartment. It’s amazing (and mystifying) how you can accumulate so much stuff as the years go by (Just a warning to anyone in need of bubble wrap in and around South Philly: there is none left. I bought it all).

We are grateful to family members who pitched in to watch kids and dogs, deliver more boxes and haul trash away. Because, here we are, two months later and we’ve signed all the documents we possibly can sign and packed up the contents of our life so far. Tomorrow, the boxes will be loaded into a truck, we will lock the front door for the last time, and drive off to start a new chapter.

(In the suburbs. Gasp!).

I recently found that list of improvement projects written our first day, on top of the refrigerator. I laughed when I saw how many of the items hadn’t been crossed off. At the time we wrote it, it seemed like those would be the most important things to do, in order to turn the house into our home.

We had no clue what was in store for us.

People keep asking me if I will miss this house. I won’t really–pretty much for all the reasons named above and probably a handful more that I’m not thinking of right now. Plus, I’ve filed away countless memories that I’ll be taking with me, and will always look back on fondly, when I think of this place, where we navigated the early years of marriage and parenthood. Things like:

Sitting on the living room floor with (Big) Bridget and Chester, stuffing and sealing our wedding invitations.

Returning from our honeymoon, excited to sort through our gifts and settle into married life.

Later, returning after all the other trips that we took, simply glad to be in our own home, with all the central air we could handle (we stayed in some questionable hotels).

Cramming 12 people around the table for Christmas dinner, and made a rack of lamb—and all the side dishes—in a kitchen with no counter space.

Fighting over stupid things, stopped speaking for days and eventually forgot why we were angry with each other.

Laying on the couch on Sunday mornings, while pregnant with B, waiting for her to kick me so that I knew she was still okay in there (I don’t know why, but I was always worried about her the most on that day of the week).

Laying B in a bassinet next to our bed on her first night home, and then proceeded to try to sleep with all the lights on, just so I could see if she was still breathing.

Watching in disbelief the next day, as Tracy’s anxiety over the new baby got the better of her, and she jumped through the plexi-glass window in the kitchen door, and straight into the backyard.

Capturing how much B grew each month for the first two year of her life, with a photo shoot in the nursery that we put together just for her.

Sitting in the bathroom on Father’s Day 2015, pregnancy test in hand and freaked out.

Laying Alice in the Rock-In-Play next our bed on her first night home and changing diaper after diaper because she just would not. stop. pooping.

Feeling my happiest at the end of the day, snuggled next to B in her big girl bed, singing “You Are My Sunshine” while hummed along and Alice peered at us over the side of her crib.

I could go on.

But the point is this: in the end it didn’t matter how we decorated it or if we turned the flat roof off of our bedroom into a deck (seriously? When did we think we were going to get around to doing that?). Slowly, we started filling it with memories and people and realized that projects, things and the four walls themselves don’t matter much at all, really.

The first time I scrolled through the photos of our new house online–before we even looked at it in person–I knew that it was the perfect place for us. I’m excited to write the next chapter of our lives there.

And, it’s a good thing I feel that way, because, so help me God, we are NEVER moving again.

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December 2016

Alice: Nine Months

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As we look ahead to Thanksgiving tomorrow, I could not be more grateful that this little turkey came along nine months ago to make our family complete. There isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t bring a dozen (or more) smiles to my face.

At her most recent doctor’s appointment, Alice weighed in at 21 pounds and measured 2 feet and 4 inches long. Basically, she’s a giant. We’ve already moved her from her infant car seat to a convertible because hauling 30-plus pounds of baby and seat to/from the car was leaving me with bruises all over my legs and pulled muscles everywhere!

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A isn’t walking yet, but can now stand for a few seconds on her own—until she realizes that she isn’t holding on to anything. Then, it’s right down on to her backside she goes. Her limited mobility has not continued to get into everything that she possibly can. She is testing out her ability to climb stairs and furniture and spends a lot of time rolling around on the floor, sizing up whether or not she can fit under the furniture. Recently, I turned my back for a second to set B’s breakfast up on the table and A found the carbon monoxide detector that we have plugged into the dining room. She was quite pleased with herself when she figured out how to activate it. The ungodly noise caused B to fall off her chair. Now any time Alice even looks in the general direction of the thing, her big sister reminds me “Don’t put Alice on the floor! She’ll set off the wee-rector.”

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B pretends to be annoyed when A pulls her hair, but I think she actually likes the attention.

Alice is quite chatty and has picked up all kinds of new sounds recently. Her favorite is “uh-oh” which she learned from B’s new favorite book “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.” Sometimes, she’ll even use it in the right context, such as when she dumps her toys all over the floor. I believe that she is also saying “more”, “milk” and “dog,” and she loves to imitate the nonsense sounds that we make at her. Relatedly, she seems to understand just about everything when say. When we ask her to share her toys, Alice gladly hands them over. Say “Alice, kiss?” and she’ll plant the sweetest peck on your nose. Growl her name, and she knows she is in trouble and immediately bursts into tears. It’s all pretty adorable.

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As always, I continue to love watching the interaction between A and B. Alice clearly wants to keep up with and do everything her big sister does. For example, they both like to stand at the coffee table and do puzzles. In other words, B attempts to put the pieces together, Alice pulls them apart and puts them in her mouth. B yells, “Alice, no!”, pulls the pieces away and the cycle starts all over again. It’s also interesting to see the two of them competing for attention. If I’m snuggling B, Alice does everything she can to make a space for herself in my lap. And, once she gets there, she spreads herself out to take up the maximum amount of space. She reminds me of a large German Shepard who thinks she is a lap dog.

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Favorite things this month include her pink giraffe lovey (and throwing it out of her crib with dramatic flair), toys with wheels and waking up in the middle of the night to “talk” to her sister. Least favorite things? Naps. Always naps. And, as the weather gets cooler, we are learning that she is not a fan of hats.

We had a few fall adventures during the last month, including Alice’s first Linvilla Orchards trip.

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Still wearing a grin, after her first bite of cider donut.

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And, of course, we made sure to dress her up in an outfit that was guaranteed to induce a meltdown for her first Halloween.

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I would like to note that we let B pick the costume. So, Alice, when you are reading this someday, you know who to blame for the fact that the hat was so tight that it furrowed your brow for two hours.

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Trick-or-treating with Skye, from Paw Patrol


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“So, wait….I’m supposed to take candy from strangers?”

Finally, Alice received her “get-out-of purgatory for free” card, with her christening day in early November. Alice looked like a princess that day, and was so well behaved in church. She didn’t even cry when the water was poured over her head (her sister, on the other hand, sat in the back of the church with Nee-Nee, loudly announcing to everyone that she wanted to go home, that she was hungry and that she was tired of hearing those “friggin bells”).

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The most wonderful time of the year is upon us, and I’m looking forward to soaking up every last moment of Alice’s first Christmas season!

Alice: Eight Months

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Alice is two-thirds of the way to a year old. What. The. Heck?

The days feel even more hectic than ever lately, what with chasing after two kids, work and all of the rest of things that life throws our way. Alice continues to be one of the things that keeps us on our toes the most, as she is now cruising along the furniture, pushing her toys across the floor and trying to climb everything in sight. If you remember, B didn’t really walk until she was 15 months old. At the rate Alice is going, I’ll be surprised if she isn’t taking steps on her own by Christmas.

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Allie Girl finally cut two teeth (bottom, front), which have been helpful for her expanding interests in food. She is rapidly losing interest in being spoon fed purees and is only happy when we give her a food item or a spoon that she can hold on to, and feed to herself. Current favorites include puffed rice cereal, shredded cheese, pasta and B’s leftovers.

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In a continuation of what I assume are coping mechanisms developed by second children so that we don’t forget about them, Alice’s hobbies seem mostly to revolve around drawing attention to herself. Her newest tricks include pulling all the books of the shelf and tearing up the pages, sneaking up on Poor Tracy and pulling her tail and throwing herself across B’s lap so big sister will pay attention to her. She spent a lot of time this month practicing her wave, “so big!” peek-a-boo and learning to pull off her socks. She has learned that we find these habits oh-so-adorable, and if have to correct her for something, she knows she can pull out all of these out of her bag of tricks and all will be forgiven.

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We all took our first trip to Sesame Place, and while Alice was too little to partake in any of the rides, she didn’t seem to mind watching her big sister nearly pee her pants on the roller coaster. She spent the whole day perched in her stroller, looking around as if to say “Isn’t it so nice that everyone is having a good time?” She is going to make the most adorable little old lady someday.

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Happy 8 months, Alice Girl. I love you more than pumpkin spice lattes!

Alice: Seven Months

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Within days after her six month birthday, Alice figured out how to crawl, sit up on her own and pull up to stand. And, now that she’s figured all this stuff out, she’s really only happy when she’s on the floor, free to move about as she pleases. The crib is already lowered as far as it can go, and when I put her in there, I can practically see the wheels turning in her head as she sizes up the situation and tries to work out an escape plan. It’s only a matter of time.

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It’s already next to impossible to take these pictures each month

All that to say, we are just barely keeping up with our Allie Girl these days.

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Alice is proving to be an inquisitive gal, seeming to want to understand everything about everything. Nothing holds her attention for very long, so it’s hard to keep her interest with toys or stories. But, of course, she wants all the things that she can’t have—no dog toy or stray floor Cheerio escapes her eagle eye. If she hears a loud noise, she snaps to attention and immediately scurries off to investigate. I predict that when she can speak, “Why?” will be her favorite word.

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The Thinker

Speaking of vocalizing, she is usually the most outspoken one in the room, and seems to only have one tone of voice: loud and whiny. I’ll be honest—it’s kind of annoying. I’m hoping this isn’t already a fixed personality trait or some sort of survival mechanism that second children demonstrate so that people don’t forget about them.

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She continues to be a voracious eater, and we’ve moved on to finger foods, like puffs, Cheerios, bits of veggies and pasta. My mom sent me a video of A shoveling angel hair into her mouth and I don’t think I have ever seen someone look so gleeful over plain macaroni.

Allie’s favorite things this month included Tracy, things that aren’t really toys (as noted above), Baby Lit books, bobbing up and down to music, spending quality time on the swings at the park, practicing her wave and and playing with the Ballapalooza and B’s Little People toys.

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Playing with her sister’s toys, as always

Happy seven months to our noisy, squirmy, curious girl. We love you even when you are yelling at us (which is, well, always).

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Pouting away, at B’s birthday party

 

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School Days

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Today marks the beginning of a new phase of our lives—The School Days!

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Tracy is totally smiling here. She’s proud of B, too!

Ever since I registered B for Pre-K in the spring, I have been both looking forward to and dreading this day. Out of all of the milestones we have celebrated so far, this one is most firmly in the most “growing up” category.  This is the start of a part of B’s life that will be separate from the one she shares with us. It’s the first time that someone other than immediate family will watch over her; and, she’ll be making new friends and doing new things that we won’t get to witness firsthand. And, while I was excited for her to indulge her love of learning and build her social skills, I was anxious about her reaction to the new people, new situations and changes in routine that this day would bring (i.e. B’s least favorite things). When we talked about school in the abstract, B seemed excited, but I don’t think she fully grasped the notion that she would be facing this situation without us standing right next to her.

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So, it was with all of these mixed emotions that we picked out a first day of school outfit, packed up her backpack and headed out the door on our first ever, first day of school.

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Last night, she said that Arthur was coming to with her, but he was cast aside for Mickey this morning.

And, it all went much better than I anticipated.

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B was excited to see that her school was adjacent to one of her favorite playgrounds. She went into the building, pretty much willingly, and stood in the back of the room for awhile, surveying the scene. She made the teachers laugh when she said “No!” in answer to every single question that she was asked. Finally, she made her way over to the classroom’s play kitchen and happily played for awhile on her own.

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We watched the other kids settle in, and I was relieved when I saw how expertly the teacher was able to calm down the criers. Eventually, Chester and I were the last two parents in the room, and predictably, B broke down when we headed for the door. Tears welled in my eyes as I heard the door click shut behind us, while B yelled “No! No! No!” just beyond it. Thank God for the privacy of our car and waterproof mascara.

I kept myself distracted with work for the next couple of hours, mentally preparing to return to find B still in meltdown mode, or perhaps asleep in the corner, after crying herself into exhaustion.

But, when we returned a couple of hours later, B was smiling. Her teacher said she calmed down pretty soon after we left. She enjoyed the playground, shared her Goldfish with the teacher, made her first school art project and played with another little girl. When I picked her up, she got a little teary and said “Mommy, you came back!” But overall, she seemed happy.

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We are just at the beginning, and I know there is still an adjustment period ahead. But, for now, I am relieved, and just so darn. proud.

Little B: 3 Years Old

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June 2016, Longwood Gardens

I have a three year old.

What. the. heck?

It seemed to happen overnight, but also take 30 years, at the same time. Time starts to work in this weird way when you are the parent of a three-nager, I assume. Yes, B can be as sweet as pie in one moment, telling me “Mommy, I missed you while you was gone” and making me wish I could stop time from speeding by. And, in the next instant, she’ll be mad at me for something and I’m getting a glimpse of what it will be like when she is a teenager; she heads for the front door and proclaims “I’m leaving, Mama!” while I warn her not to let the door hit her in the backside on the way out.

It’s so interesting to see the aspects of her personality that have remained consistent since she was an infant. Although she is getting better with adjusting to new people and situations, I think she’ll always be a cautious, somewhat introverted gal (just like her mama). I’m sure that once she starts school, part-time in just a couple of weeks, she’ll make even more progress. Of course, she says she is excited to play with the other little kids, but I am prepared for major meltdowns for at least the first few weeks. I hope it won’t be too traumatic for her (or me!).

B has entered an inquisitive phase, but instead of the classic “Why?” her favorite question to ask at the moment, is “Where we got this?” She wants to know where every toy, article of clothing, piece of food and furniture in our house came from. If I say a store other than Target, Toys R’ Us or Shop Rite, she tells me it came from there anyway, since those are her among her favorite places to go. The first time she asked me where Alice came from, I stalled for time (so not ready to have that conversation), and said to her “I don’t know, where do you think she came from?” B replied, “We got her from the hospital” and went on her way. Saved, for now.

Related to her love of shopping, she also enjoys most of the commercials she sees on television and can tell you all about the products that are advertised. When she sees a Lysol commercial, for example, she’ll say “Nee-Nee has that. She sprays it when I pee on the potty!” When she sees a Walmart truck, she’ll immediately break into a rendition of their current jingle. The other day she asked me, very seriously, “Mommy, do you have an Amopei (that pedicure file)?” and seemed genuinely disappointed when I said no. And, of course, every toy she sees, she wants. The list for Santa is miles long already. Our girl is a marketer’s dream.

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Easter 2016

I have been so proud of the way that B has adjusted to life as a big sister. She and Alice love each other so much and B encourages Alice as she learns new things and explores the world around her. Sure, there are times when jealousy flares. But, for the most part, B is a patient and understanding sibling and does a pretty good job of sharing the grown-ups (and toys) with Alice, when needed. I try to carve out time for things that just B and I can do together, whether it’s a baking project in the kitchen or a quick trip to Starbucks for a cake pop. I’m looking forward to doing more of that as she gets older.

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From Alice’s three month photo shoot. B always has to show her how it’s done.

B’s love for building with blocks has become even more intense–we might be raising an architect! She has become more imaginative with them in the past few months, and manages to incorporate all of her current favorite things into her creations. She can spend hours choosing just the right combination of pieces to build a zoo for her stuffed animals, a playground for her Paw Patrol pups or a Clubhouse for her Mickey Mouse characters. She also loves painting/coloring, decorating with stickers and magnets and playing games on her Leap Frog tablet or my mom’s Nook. Recently, she fell in love with bath tub squirting toys and mini character figurines and has amassed quite the collection of the Bubble Guppy and Paw Patrol variety, which all must sleep in bed with her. Between those and the stuffed animals, it’s hard to find B herself in there!

B’s dislikes at the moment include bugs of any kind, sitting at the dinner table in the evenings (between that and her general picky eating habits, it’s often a battle at our house) and even the mere mention of going to the doctor. No kid likes the latter, of course, but I think her fear was probably heightened when we all got the flu in April. It was the first time that she was legitimately sick and had to take medicine, which was a traumatic experience for all involved. On the plus side, if I need to leave the house or take a work conference call in the evening, we’ll just tell B that I have to go to or talk to the doctor and she lets me go with minimal fuss. When I come back, she’ll ask me “Mommy, do you feel better? Did you get a bandage?” So, for now, our white lie is working.

B is pretty much potty trained at this point, and is even doing pretty well with keeping her pants dry at night. Earlier this year, the transition from her little training potty to the real thing seemed like it would be a battle. But, one day, I just made up a story about the potty fairy, who takes the potties that big kids don’t need anymore and gives them to babies. B easily agreed to give hers up, so we put the potties into hiding and she never looked for them again. If I knew it would have been so easy, I would have made up the potty fairy months earlier! The only thing that is still a bit challenging is getting B to use a public restroom with minimal fuss (again, she’s a pretty cautious kid), but she is slowly getting much better in that regard, which makes our outings much easier.

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At Smith Playground, June 2016

B’s favorite place to go, aside from the retail establishments mentioned earlier, is the park. She still loves her swings, but also has become a pro at navigating the slides and other equipment. So, it was only fitting that we had her birthday party at Starr Garden, one of her favorite local playgrounds. She hid behind a tree when everyone was singing Happy Birthday to her, but otherwise had a grand time blowing bubbles, dancing and swinging away for most of the afternoon.

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Chicken Dancing

Chicken dancing like a pro

My little B: You drive me crazy and make me laugh everyday–sometimes at the same time. I wouldn’t trade you for the world. I’m so glad you chose me to be your Mama and can’t wait to see what you do next!

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