New Kicks

Baby girl got some new kicks today in the mail (Zulily, of course :)

The ones I wanted actually sold out before I could checkout so we had to settle for these.  The brand Keen was very popular and now that I have them I can see why.  Not only adorable, but very well made!

Cuteness is off the charts, am I right? She also has a pair of Keen rain boots that should come in the mail tomorrow (don’t tell her daddy ;)

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Ten Favorite Toddler Toys

I thought I’d do a post about Berkley’s favorite toys right now.

My Pal Violet  – If all else fails, Violet always makes her happy.  She sings songs about her favorite things and even says her name!

Melissa & Doug Nesting Boxes  – She’s going through the “put things in other things phase” so these are perfect!

Activity Walker  – It’s hard to get her to actually push this around yet, but she loves to make music on the xylophone on the front.

VTech Smartville Treehouse  –  Berkley’s grandma bought this at a garage sale for my little cousins before Berkley was even thought of and since they’ve outgrown it, it has been passed down to us.  It has sensors on all the animals so that when you put them on the tree, it says something about that animal.  So cool!

Sock Monkey – Berkley’s grandpa gave her this when she was about 6 months old.  It makes monkey noises when you throw it and she can’t get enough of it.

Poke-A-Dot Book – This is a counting book that has plastic buttons that you push as you count.  I’ve read it to her several times and now when she pushes the buttons, she shakes her finger and says “No more!” (as in “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!) So cute :)

B. Toys Meowsic Keyboard – Randy and I saw this toy a couple years ago and loved it.  She got it for her first birthday this year and loves to play it and is also learning to talk into the microphone.

DK My First Animals Book  – What can I say? The girl loves books. And animals.  Needless to say, she could spend a good half hour looking through this and pointing at everything.

Rock-A-Bye Rocker  – Another awesome gift from the grandparents!  She’s just starting to figure out the whole “rocking” thing.  And she loves to press the buttons on his head to play music.  If you want one, they are on sale on Zulily today!

Baby Doll – She loves her some baby dolls. I never really expected her to like them at such a young age.  She recently learned the sign for “baby” and says baby in the cutest voice.

Daycare

Somehow my husband and I were able to get through Berkley’s first year of life without taking her to daycare, or even taking her anywhere.  We were lucky enough that Randy could watch her in the morning, and then a babysitter could come watch her in the afternoon.  But of course things change.  The change that prompted our need for more full-time care was that my husband’s job position changed.  This was a great thing except that he will now be on-call all of the time and therefore cannot watch our daughter in the mornings.  It would, of course, be more ideal to continue to have a sitter come to the house all day, but we just can’t find anyone, nor could we afford to hire such a full time position.  So I decided to take 2 weeks of temporary unemployment to try to find a decent daycare for our little girl, be it at home or a daycare center.
I believe in attachment parenting and by those principles, an at-home daycare would be best.  With that in mind, we visited 1 center and 2 home daycares.  Because it was going to be such a drastic change for both my daughter and I, nothing seemed good enough.  I felt like I would have to forfeit all of my parenting philosophies to adhere to whatever the daycare’s “standard” was.  I felt pressured to make a quick decision as the first home we visited said there was only 1 opening and another couple visiting the next day.  So I went home, thought about it, and then paid the next day to hold her spot.  I didn’t feel good about it but I kept telling myself that it was just because it’s going to be so hard for me to take her anywhere at this point because I’d never had to.  The home daycare we chose was a nice enough place, but the only play area was her living room.  There was an outdoor play area too, but she didn’t take us out there.  The lady seemed kind of scatter brained, but I figured it was just from all the things you have to keep track of when running a daycare.  She told me that KDHE doesn’t allow cloth diapers and she would not do that (I contacted KDHE myself and found out that was a lie).  Everything we told her – that Berkley was still breastfeeding, she has always eaten solid food, she already has practice going on the potty, she knows some sign language – was well-received, but it all seemed like brand-new information to her.  I filled out all of her paperwork, including the section that asks how she goes to sleep, what she eats, etc.  This woman also seemed overly concerned about my employment.  She asked me a bunch of times how long I would have a job and I said I really didn’t know. It came off a little rude to me, like I was having to convince her that I would have a job as long as Berkley was in her care.  Who can really know that?

The first day I dropped her off I nearly cried.  But she reassured me everything would be fine.  She called me around lunch time and asked if Berkley drank milk. I said “cow’s milk?” She said yes and I told her she is still nursing and I sent breast milk in her bag this morning.  It was obvious she hadn’t even checked the bag, nor even read everything I filled out.  She asked me when Berkley could start drinking regular milk and I said not anytime soon.  That question was just ridiculous to me.  Anyway, the first day seemed to go okay. But in the days following, Berkley cried when I left her off and cried when I picked her up. I am sure she was just adjusting to the change but it did not give me a good feeling.  Another thing that stood out to me was the way she talked to the other kids.  She was constantly telling them “don’t do this, don’t do that, get out of her way, etc.”  It really bothered me when she told a boy to cool his attitude and then grabbed his arm as he fell to the floor.  One day when Randy stopped by, she cried for him and he held her for awhile.  And then she grabbed her out of Randy’s arms and took her to the kitchen because it was time for lunch and of course she screamed and cried.  We didn’t care for that and finally made the decision to take her to the daycare center we first visited.  It seemed like a nice place, it is the same cost and she would be with kids her own age.  That was another thing, this lady is licensed for 6 kids ages 5 and under.  It just seems like a lot for one person to handle.  At the center, the ratio is 1 adult to 5 1-year olds which makes me feel a little better.

When my husband told her we were leaving, she did not take it well and it has been awkward when I take her in and drop her off.  I know she thinks this was our plan all along and that we deceived her.  None of that is true.  We are just on two different pages as far as caring for children goes and I don’t think it’s a good fit.  She told me that home daycares get a bad rep because people think they don’t do anything with them. She also said centers will promise you the world, but they won’t hold them like a mother holds them when they cry.  i kind of doubt she does that either.

It’s so hard making decisions as a parent.  Even though we are changing places and I’m hoping for the best, I still always question myself.  Our children rely on us to do what is best for them.  No pressure.  If this place doesn’t work out, we will continue to look.  I’ve racked my brain so much these past weeks weighing all my options.  Maybe we should continue to search for a reasonably priced nanny. Maybe we should sell the house and move to something cheaper. Maybe I should stay at home.  Maybe we should move closer to our family so they could help us sometimes.  I thought as my daughter got older, leaving her with a care provider would be easier but it’s quite the opposite.  You entrust your precious child in someone’s hands you barely know.  It’s pretty ridiculous really.

Berkley Turns 1!

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve blogged.  I have missed it so I plan to do my best to post more often.  In the time that has passed since I last blogged, our little girl went and turned a year old on us.  How in the world did that happen?!!  The crazy “everything has to look amazing and perfect” part of me came out in planning her birthday party. This can probably be attributed to the fact that I read too many blogs of women who seem to be able to “do it all” and make it look so easy.  I drew inspiration from photos I found online.  I loved the idea of balloons tied to a painted, antique highchair.  So my mom found an awesome steal at a local antique shop and we put what seemed like 10 coats of paint on it.  I spent an entire afternoon trying to find someone who would air up latex balloons and finally succeeded when I went to Party America. You can see the chair here, on the far left:

My bff Nollee helped me so much.  Since it was so hard to get anything done with my demanding baby girl always wrapped around my legs, I kind of dropped the ball on the decorations.  So 2 days before the big day, we stayed up past midnight making decorations.  I made this cute number 1 just by using cardboard, hot glue and coffee filters.


My mom gave me a bunch of Mason jars and we used chalkboard paint on them so people could write their names on their glasses.  And when I say we, I mean Nollee. :)

Several weeks earlier, we had also made these paper medallions out of scrapbook paper by following a tutorial that Nollee found.


My mom came down the night before to help me with things, along with my aunt and 3 cousins.  The next morning, although I had gotten an early start, proved to be stressful.  Berkley had not been feeling good and I took her to the doctor the day before.  They said it was just a cold and it would pass and to just continue with our plans.  I planned on making the big cake for everyone, but it ended up being a total flop.  So the first thing I did that morning was go cake shopping.  Oddly enough, I had the hardest time finding a plain, undecorated cake.  But I got as close to it as possible and came back home and added the handmade decorations to the cake.

I couldn’t wait for Nollee to get there because she is so much more organized than I am and thinks of things I always forget.  She’s also pretty good at cheering up miss Berkley.

It was so insanely hot that day and I slowly began to realize that things weren’t going to go as I had envisioned. In addition to my husband extinguishing a huge grease fire, there was the fact that  my daughter clearly was not feeling well and needed a nap so bad.  Even though people were ready for her to open presents and get the festivities going, I told my aunt Beckey she had my permission to rock her to sleep. To keep the guests entertained, I played a video I had created for her big day.

By the time she woke up, only a few close family members and friends were left to see her open her gifts.  I felt bad that people who traveled so far missed out on seeing her, but I was even more disappointed that she was ill. We would find out  the next day that she actually had an ear infection (the third one of her life thus far). She was a good sport though, as always.

I had pictured her sitting in our backyard in the antique highchair I painted with the cute balloons tied to it while she ate her “made-by-mom” carrot cake and tasted ice cream for the first time. The balloons had deflated from the 105+ degree weather so we brought the festivities into the air conditioned dining room instead.  She seemed to enjoy the ice cream more than the cake.

We finished off the day by taking a swim in the pool to cool off (and to wash off the sticky cake and ice cream :).


Things did not go as I had planned and that’s okay.  I have a sign hanging in my house that says “the best things in life are not things.” It is so true and I have to remind myself of that sometimes.  We are so lucky to be Berkley’s parents.  She is everything to us. Happy first birthday Berkley Mae.

10 Months

The months just keep flying by!  You are a very mobile baby now.  You crawl everywhere, get into everything and you get especially excited when you find something you know you shouldn’t play with.  Wearing leg warmers or pants is a necessity these days with all of the crawling you do.  Some bruises even showed up on your knees and legs after crawling on grandma and grandpa’s hardwood floors all weekend. You make tons of cute noises and I’m not sure if anything of them can be counted as words yet. It’s funny how most of the sounds you make go up in pitch as if you’re asking a question – Like “oh really? You don’t say?”  You say “dadadadada” quite often.  The only time you say “mamamamama” is when you crying or upset.  One of my favorite sounds you make is when you go “OH yeah.”   You also say “uh-oh”  and “dog.”  Dog may be the one that you actually attach meaning to.  When we say “where is the dog?”  you look right at Poncho. You are definitely an animal-lover like your parents. We are still working on getting you to sign to us.  I know you will do it soon and we just have to keep teaching you and be patient.  You did go through a phase where you were afraid of men, but you seem to be over it now.  In fact, you are very social with everybody – even complete strangers.  You smile your squinty-eyed smile for everyone.  When we go to the grocery store, people all around us say “Oh, what a happy girl.  Is she always so happy?”  I simply reply, “She’s a pretty happy girl.”  In addition to crawling, you’ve also learned how to stand and “furniture walk.”  You even stood all by yourself at grandma and grandpa’s.  You got out of your chair on the deck, held out your arms to me, and stood completely unassisted.  It was amazing and made me so proud.  Another activity you enjoy is taking things out of something and/or putting things in something.  If you find a box of toys or a basket of clothes, you sit there and grab each thing one by one and put it behind you. You also like to point your finger at people. When your  daddy or I get home from work and walk into the room, you point to us and smile. Right now I’m on temporary unemployment and am able to spend the next 5 weeks with you.   We’ve been having so much fun sleeping in, nursing whenever you want, going to play groups, going grocery shopping, taking walks, going out of town to visit grandma and grandpa, going out to eat with daddy, the list goes on and on.  I love having you as my little sidekick everywhere I go.

10 Month Stats

Standing:  Yep

Walking:  Not yet

Current Clothes Size:  12-18 month

Favorite Toy:  Always changing.  You like things that make noise and love to play the game where you drop something and have us pick it up. Over and over.

Hair:  Finally starting to fill in.  And YES.  It is still RED :)

Clothes Change/DIaper Change:  STILL hate it

Favorite Shows:  Pocoyo, Early Bloomers, Wonder Pets

Kiddie Pool:  Need One

Feeling Sentimental

While cleaning out my desk at work today I found the following note:

 

Things to ask @ next appt:

*Short of breath when I lay down

*Is it true I shouldn’t lie on my back after 16 weeks?

*Headache relief?

*Should I lift things

 

Typically I’m a throw-everything-away-because-I-hate-clutter type of person.  But since becoming a mom, I’ve found that every little thing I find that has a connection to my pregnancy or labor is something I can’t throw away.  Although my pregnancy wasn’t the most comfortable time of my life, I love remembering the anticipation and the excitement of the unknown.  I love thinking about the person that I was then and the person I am now.  Any scribble that brings me back to the pre-Berkley days will definitely find it’s way to her keepsake box.  I can just picture her going through it someday.  There is no doubt she’ll be able to tell how much we cherished her before she even entered this world.

 

 

Time Off

I’m coming up on my last week of work before I take a 5-week temporary layoff.  AND I could not be more ready for it!  Five weeks seems like a long time, yet I know it won’t seem long enough.  We have so many plans for my time off, there’s no way we’ll get to them all.  But here’s a “short” list of what we hope to do:

  • Go to Tanganyika Zoo. It’s this awesome zoo that lets you interact with the animals.  So excited!
  • Take a family camping trip.  We’ll probably go to Perry Lake.  My husband is super excited about this one.
  • Spruce up the backyard.  This has been on our to-do list since we moved in, but now we have some motivation:  our upcoming birthday party for a 1-year-old!
  • Make everything for/get everything ready for the big birthday party.  This one needs a list all it’s own.
  • Learn how to sew. Courtesy of my wonderful mother.  We have SEW many projects we are planning :)
  • Take my baby swimming for the first time.  If it’s warm enough.
  • Work on my Christmas scrapbook. My parents got us a pre-made scrapbook for Christmas photos and I haven’t gotten around to adding photos to it yet.
  • Baby-proof.  I’ve learned that this one is kind of ongoing, but there are still some important baby-proof items that need installed – like the cabinet and door latches.
  • Paint/update the half bath downstairs.  Another project I’ve needed to do since we’ve moved in.  A new coat of paint, a cabinet and a few other small things should perk it right up!
  • Practice the fiddle.  By the time my break is over, I will have mastered Old MacDonald.
  • Go on dates.  Hopefully we get several date nights in and continue to make time for them even when I return back to work.

And of course we will have other things that will be going on like family visiting from out of state, a wedding, house-sitting for a friend, Mother’s Day and who knows what else.  I have been telling everyone I think I’ll be busier on my lay-off than when I’m working and now that I’ve written it all out, it is proving to be true.  I know it will fly by, but I’m going to do my best to savor every bit of my freedom for 5 weeks.  I won’t have to be somewhere by 7:30 am everyday. I won’t have to be glued to a computer for 8 hours.  I’ll be able to cuddle my baby any time of the day.  And for those weeks I can pretend like I don’t need a job and get a real feel of the “stay-at-home mom life.”  Because hey, who wouldn’t want to spend every minute with this little punkin?  :)

9 Months

9 months?  Are you serious?  You are such a big girl now.  You have learned to crawl and clap your hands just in this past month.  Everyday I’m more and more amazed by how fast you are learning.  You pay attention to EVERYTHING now.  If I take something away that you shouldn’t have, you now turn to look to see where I put it.  If I’m eating something and you are not, you watch tentatively.  If you start to crawl far away from me, you stop to turn around to see if I’m watching.  When I sing to you, you look me in the eyes and listen to every word.  I would say you are at a “fun age” right now but I have a feeling I would be saying that every month :)

9 Month Stats:

Teeth: 6 (Unfortunately for me, this means the biting has begun.  You have sunk your teeth into my knee, stomach, cheek and nose :)

Hair:  Finally starting to get some

Combi Car Walker:  Still love it. Especially now that you can make it move and follow me around the kitchen :)

Jogging Stroller:  Need One!

Crawling:  EVERYWHERE!

Toenails:  Still weird.  I know this is random, but your toenails curve outward and we have to keep up on trimming them because they seem to be razor sharp!

Ear Infections:  One.  Hoping you have better ear health than I did as a kid. (Tubes in my ears twice!)

Headbands and Hats:  Still tolerate them. For now.