Thursday, March 31, 2011

Project: Simplify - Hot Spot #4: Pantry and Fridge

After seeing this week's hot spot on Monday, I decided to tackle it right away. Organizing our pantry and refrigerator was a simple enough task to temporarily take my mind off of the events of last weekend. Parker was taking a long morning nap and Morgan was coloring quietly in the living room, so I took advantage of a little alone time to clean, purge and organize. Our trash can is conveniently located right next to the refrigerator for easy tossing. I also kept a notebook nearby to make notes of food we needed to replenish.
First, the fridge:
No major transformations really. I wiped down the shelves and drawers and moved leftovers and already opened food to the front. I put Parker's thawed baby food and other food reserved for him on one shelf. Cut up fruit and veggies on one shelf for easy lunch prep. I filled up our Pur water dispenser and removed a lot of almost empty boxes, etc. Then I thought I might as well hit the freezer too. We have a bottom freezer drawer and the narrow top tray holds our ice cube tray, teething rings, ice packs and Parker's baby food cubes:
Not much to do here. I made a list of the produce I need to buy to make Parker some more food. He's in an in-between stage of eating pureed/mashed food and feeding himself, so I need to make more food for his stash. The deep bottom section holds everything else:
The right side is all of the frozen fruit, veggies, chicken and rolls. The left side is everything else. I threw away a few things that got buried at the bottom and brought out our supply of small binder clips to neatly secure the opened veggies, rolls and french fries.

Next, the pantry. We have a nice big 30" wide pantry that I organized and filled last summer after we got our new kitchen cabinets, so it wasn't too bad. There is always room for improvement though. The top portion has shelves that hold vases, flowerpots, candles, lunchboxes, chips and popcorn, cereal, spices, some baking staples, vinegars and oils.
The bottom section has 4 roll trays, which makes it easy to keep the open/need-to-use-first food in the front and the unopened stuff in the back. Each tray has it's own 'category'. Snacks on the top (away from little fingers):
I tore off the flaps of all of the open boxes that held individually packaged granola bars, fruit strips, etc. because it looks neater and it's easier to just grab what you want. Everything that is in the front is free for the taking. The snacks in the back are unopened and I try not to open until something from the front is used up. That way I can prevent having Cheez-its and Goldfish and cheesy puffs all open at the same time (and something likely getting stale).

Lunch stuff, like bread, buns and peanut butter, tea and hot cocoa, and extra spices on the second roll tray:
Most of our dinner type food is on the third roll tray:
And all of my baking staples are on the bottom roll tray.
This was the area I rearranged and purged the most. I moved the glass jars to the front and the bags of flour, sugar, etc. to the back (these are just the leftovers to fill the jars, so they don't need to be front and center). I also used file folder labels to re-label the bottoms of the containers and jars.
Like I said, no drastic after shots, but it was really nice to wipe everything down and get rid of the unnecessary ick. More than just organizing our food, this week's project really made me more aware of what we are eating (especially the healthy vs. unhealthy snacks). I found an app for my iPhone called Fooducate that has a fun scan bar feature and it tells you a grade (A-, B, D) for almost every food I scanned. It also gives you a list of healthier alternatives! It's super convenient to use in the grocery store with 2 antsy kids (instead of reading label after label). I'm still playing with it, but I highly recommend it. Plus, you can't go wrong with free.

Next week is the final week of Simple Mom's Project: Simplify. What do you think the final hot spot will be? I think it's the bathroom - toiletries, bath toys, towels, sheets and the like. At least, that's what I hope it is. We'll find out on Monday! Thanks for looking!

You can see my before and afters for the last three weeks here:
Hot Spot #1: Master Closet
Hot Spot #2: Paper Clutter
Hot Spot #3: Kids Clothes and Toys

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

one smart cookie

Last week, I was craving chocolate chip cookies. Hard. Usually when that happens, I'm missing an ingredient. Not this time! I had half a bag of chocolate chips leftover from something - I was in luck!

I tore a recipe out of a recent Parenting magazine issue for chocolate chip cookies made with whole-wheat flour instead of white flour, so Morgan and I gave these 'healthier' cookies a shot. They are less refined and have a lower glycemic index (so your blood sugar doesn't spike the way it would with treats made with white flour). I thought they were either going to be really good, or really bad.
Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Parenting magazine)

2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted buter
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet, and would use a little more next time)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, rolled oats, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, beat butter on high speed until creamy. Add brown sugar, beating until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until fully mixed. Add vanilla and beat until fluffy. Add flour mixture a little at a time until barely blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop rounded tablespoons of batter about 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake on the middle rack until golden brown around the edges, 12 to 14 minutes. (This way too much time in my oven. 9-10 minutes was perfect for me. I'd check them around 9 minutes.) Cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Makes about 36 cookies.
The verdict: really good! Other than looking a little darker because of the darker flour, they tasted just like regular chocolate chip cookies. Over the course of a few days, Morgan probably had 3, Mark had maybe 6, and I ate the rest. For real. I'm lucky I didn't gain 10 pounds. Geez! Self-control is NOT my middle name.

Today: we are recuperating from a long, emotional day yesterday. My to-do list was long, but I kept it light with Morgan and Parker and still managed to get a lot done. Very go-with-the-flow, take-it-as-it-comes today. One of the things not on my list for today was laundry. As luck would have it, they had to order 3 new parts for the washer on Monday and will be back on Friday to fix the damn thing. I suppose I'd rather have a broken washer than a broken dryer right now. My hands are so dry from hand-washing the bare essentials.

Tomorrow: MY NEPHEWS ARE ARRIVING! I cannot believe it! Kristin's pregnancy went so fast, I swear she just told us of she was pregnant. I am so excited for her and Troy and can't wait to hold those little boys. Neither can Morgan. It's all she talks about. And to hear what they finally decide to name them. My opinions have been expressed, we'll see what they decide. :) I will share all of the details (and photos, of course) as soon as the lucky parents give me permission get a chance to spread the news first.

Monday, March 28, 2011

highs and lows

My birthday week (yes, I celebrate the whole week), is not starting the way I had hoped. Lots of highs and lows. Mostly lows. Physically: I'm cold, I can't sleep, I'm hot, I can't breathe, I'm sad, I'm excited, I'm a basketcase. And I'm pre-menstrual to top it off. You ladies know, that always helps, huh? :)

Mark's good news I mentioned last week quickly turned into a waiting game, and then, disappointment for others (and stress for Mark). I hate seeming him stressed out. I feel so helpless. I hope a final decision is made soon and, most of all, he feels confident with that decision.

Parker is whiny, whiny, whiny. He is teething pretty hard and my normally happy baby has been anything but the last few days. And he wants to be held. A lot. Poor thing! Last night's crying spree was due to an upset belly (and not teething), so I was up most of the rest of the night worrying that he eaten a toy or something. Turns out it was just too much spinach.

Our washer will not turn on. Yes, it's plugged in. The repairman will be here midday and I hope it's an easy fix and not something that requires a part that will take a week to get. That would be my luck, ya know.

And the worst news of all, my Grandma passed away. After battling and surviving both breast and bladder cancer, my Mom's Mom passed away on Sunday fighting her last fight, with lymphoma. She was an incredible woman, and a wonderful Grandma. She is so loved and so missed. My heart is really going out to my Mom and my Aunt Pam today and I hope they can find strength in knowing she isn't hurting anymore. {hugs} So sad...

Today: I'm beyond frazzled and I hardly know where to start. My hopes are for lots of laundry, getting started on Hot Spot #4 to get my mind off things, packing up for a road trip, keeping the teething rings icy cold, errands and maybe a manicure. And best of all, counting down the hours until my nephews arrive. 76 hours. Yes, some happy news. The sunshine is pretty nice too.

Trying to stay positive...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Project: Simplify - Hot Spot #3: Kid's Clutter

This week's hot spot was our kids clothes and toys. Decluttering Morgan and Parker's stuff wasn't a terribly difficult task because after Christmas we went through everything and reorganized it. They were both on the cusp of moving into a new size of clothes and with all of the new toys they got from Santa, we had some major rearranging to do.

So far, all of Parker's old clothes have gone to Kristin for the twins and just last month, I took two big tubs of Morgan's clothing to Once Upon a Child to sell. In the last few weeks, I've also sold all of our big baby items on craigslist - the swing, bouncer and more. It's so nice to have that free space back again.

For the clothing purge, I went though Morgan's drawers and took out some old stuff - leggings that were too tight and shirts that were stained (which I saved for paint projects and messy crafts). I've also been buying spring and summer clothes for both of them and I put Morgan's dresses on hangers and hung them away from her winter dresses because all she wants to do is wear them now. Her closet is huge (it's bigger than ours) and I'm able to store more than just clothes in there. I posted about her room here and will be doing a little redecorating in a few weeks after we get her new bedframe. I folded her spring and summer pajamas, shirts, shorts and leggings and put them on a high shelf in her closet. Lately, Morgan is notorious for taking off her clothes and putting a new outfit on. Or running around naked. Or dressing her stuffed animals and dolls in her clothes. Most days, I try to consider it a step towards independence and not just more laundry I have to do. ;) Parker's clothing is already well organized. I'm constantly pulling out clothes that are getting too small, so right now, everything that is in his drawers is wearable and I keep the clothes I want to give to Kristin in Morgan's closet.

One thing I did set up was an inventory list for Morgan and Parker in Evernote. I noted their current height, weight and size as well as the number of pants, shirts, pajamas, etc they have. Plus, as the seasons change, I left a little space to make notes about what they may specifically need - like white socks, or shirts to match blue pants, etc. With the Evernote app, I can just check my notes on my iPhone when we are out-and-about and avoid buying duplicate items. I love Evernote!
Organizing their toys was a fun project too. On Monday morning, I started dumping out all of the toy baskets and bins and Morgan asked, "Mommy, what are you doing?" She's probably used to watching me pick up the toys, not make a bigger mess. She helped me sort the toys into categories while Parker rummaged through everything:
These were our categories:
  • balls
  • blocks
  • rattles
  • ride-on toys
  • cars
  • music
  • Legos and Lincoln Logs
  • dress-up
  • 'baby entertainment'
  • puzzles
  • stuffed animals
  • small electronics
  • coloring
  • Little People
I really didn't switch much around but it was really nice to take stock in what we have and put some missing pieces back together. I use a lot of Target itso bins and Land of Nod baskets (which fit perfectly in IKEA's Expedit shelving. I also love SkipHop's old Bin-go floor bins. Here are a few progress pics:
And, here is the after (which stayed like this for all of 20 seconds):
And a close-up of the shelves:
I keep all of the battery operated 'baby entertainment' up high so Parker only uses them when I take them down. (I'd prefer he plays with the more open-ended toys, like balls and blocks.) Then, when I do take some down, it's like a little treat, because he LOVES all of the noise, lights and commotion. :)

Woohoo! 3 weeks down, 2 to go! I don't know what I'm going to do with myself when we don't have any weekly hot spots to tackle.

Monday, March 21, 2011

so happy

...I finally came up with a pretty smart meal plan idea. I hope to finish it this week.

...it is officially spring. Now if only the weather would make up its mind.

...that Mark got the good news he was hoping to hear this morning.

...Kristin and I spent some sister/girl time on Saturday. Soon, days like that are going to be few and far between for a while.

...Parker's sleep is improving.

...I don't feel like I need coffee.

...we braved the semi-chilly weather yesterday and took our first trip of the year to the zoo.

...we finally committed to a coffee table we like and ordered it over the weekend. We are one step closer to a finished living room.
...this week's Project: Simplify is an easy one for me. In fact, Morgan and I already tackled their toys this morning. I don't mind that we haven't had any dramatic before and afters. Spending this time doing a little purging and organizing makes me happy that we have some pretty decent systems in place.

Hoping your weekend was happy too!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Project: Simplify - Hot Spot #2: Paper Clutter

This week's Hot Spot, paper clutter, is probably my biggest problem area. Mostly because I am a list maker. And a list freak. I could make a list of my lists. Shopping lists, to do lists, wish lists, errands to run, library books to check out, the kids clothing sizes and inventory, birthdays, gift ideas, craft ideas, scrapbook layout ideas, yada, yada, yada. Get the idea?
So, not only was I excited about tackling this weeks project, but I also got a little overwhelmed when I started thinking about every little piece. I grabbed a box and start collecting every loose paper I could find. Papers on the kitchen counter, mail, magazines and Morgan's artwork on the mudroom counter, papers and receipts in our inbox, lists and coupons on the chalkboard in the kitchen. No, it wasn't a ton, but it was enough.
So, Monday night, while watching House, I started sorting through the box and making piles: to recycle, to toss, to shred, to file, for Mark to review, and take action. I also kept a notepad nearby to make notes to myself. Like reminding myself we should purchase a fireproof safe. I filed the papers that needed to be put away and called it a night.

On Tuesday, I kept the 'take action' box out on the kitchen table and when I got little bits of time, I'd pull some out and process them. I do my best to just touch mail, papers, receipts once and get rid of them, but some linger longer than they need too. Part of this step included consolidating lists, or throwing them away all together.

What I was truly eager to tackle was our file cabinet. I put it on my list of things to do this spring - perfect timing! Mark picked up a file cabinet for me to store all of our paperwork in back in December. At the time, I just put our files in it and didn't bother (or didn't have the time) to get rid of the unnecessary papers. It's organized. I have categories and sub-categories set up. I have had them set up for years, and am pretty good about keeping our important papers filed away. Except it's been a long time since I went through them and tossed what we didn't need anymore. Or really didn't need in the first place.

On Tuesday night, one drawer at a time, I started pulling out our files and purging old utility bills, tax records pre-2003 and instruction manuals for things we didn't even have anymore. The 'to recycle' and 'to shred' boxes continued to fill up.
I found that most of the space was being taken up by old, old, old bills. Another goal of mine will be to stop printing unnecessary bills and invoices. I am going to just write down the amount and save the PDF on the computer to reference later, if need be.
On Wednesday night, I reorganized the file cabinet and its categories. I also took the time to print new file folder labels so everything looked nice, neat and uniform. No more handwritten labels or vague categories. Except the tax files. I left those alone since we only open that drawer once a year. The real test will be if Mark can find what he is looking for without asking me. :)

On Thursday, I set out an unused itso storage tray on the mudroom counter to collect our mail.
We have a 3 drawer Trofast storage cabinet just outside our mudroom door in the garage that we use to separate our white paper, newspaper and magazines/catalogs for recycling. I am going to continue to make a better effort to recycle the obvious junk before it even makes it in the door. We'll see how that goes.
I also emptied the inbox trays in the closet above the file cabinet. I kept the top one for Mark to keep his notebooks and sketchbooks. The middle one will be for papers to file. The bottom one will be papers to recycle.
I also moved the little mail sorter, which holds an envelope for receipts, a calculator and our checkbook.
Not bad for a few days time! Some other paper clutter areas I want to tackle in the very near future include, the (2) binders I keep for magazine clippings (mostly holiday and kids craft ideas) and a small file box in the same closet as the file cabinet that is full of really old paperwork. Stuff that's 10-15 years old that I just haven't been able to toss because I'm afraid someone is going to ask for it. Let it go, Nicole! I am also in the process of transfering all of the ongoing lists I have into Evernote, so I also have access to them on my iPhone through their app.

Thanks for looking and thank you for all of your kind comments last week! 3 more weeks of simplifying. I can't imagine a bigger project than paper. How'd you do this week?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

on his own

Sleep has been a bit of a struggle for Parker these last several months. Not really falling asleep, but staying asleep. And he hardly ever goes to sleep on his own. Until the last couple days.

His naps yesterday were particularly trying. Parker usually doesn't put up much of a fight when it comes to getting him ready to take a nap. He is a fantastic napper. But yesterday, we were all a little cranky, and chilly (we lost power the night before and it still hadn't come on) and Parker just pushed and pushed me. Literally. He was clearly tired, but did not want to be held. And I was getting frustrated. So I took a deep breath, gave him a kiss, put him in his crib, and told him I'd be right back to check on him.

He hardly fussed. Or cried. A couple minutes later, quiet. I waited a little longer before peeking in his room to find this.
He fell asleep. All on his own.
He did it again for his afternoon nap. And this morning's nap. Maybe it's just me that wants to hold and walk and rock my baby to sleep. Because I thought he wanted it. Or he needed it to sleep. He used to. It was hard to just put him in his crib awake and walk away. Especially because I'm not used to it. And I'm always second guessing myself. Wondering if I'm doing the right thing. As it turns out, this time it is the right thing. I know that when he wakes up happy, not crying. Full of smiles and waving to me as I walk in his room. Absolutely melts my heart.

We still need to work on his nighttime sleep, but (dare I say) I feel like this might be the beginning of the end of crappy sleep for Parker. And me. Wish us luck. I hope this is more than a phase.

P.S. I love this article (and reading the comments) from a favorite baby sleep blog I read about this very subject.

Today: Happy St. Patty's Day! Nothing special going on with us today, except we are heading out very soon to enjoy this crazy nice weather and take a trip to the park. Paper clutter before and after coming tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

dabbling with digi : no. 01

Now that my December Daily album is complete, it's time to start my next scrapbook project - Parker's first year album. Back when I was still pregnant with him, I put together all of the supplies I planned on needing and set up his album so it was ready to fill. You can read more about that here.

So, now that Parker is 9 months old, I have plenty of journaling and photos ready and waiting to fill it up. Except this album is going to hold more digital layouts than any other I've done before. Time to start practicing and brushing up on my Photoshop skills. Here is my first real digital scrapbook page, documenting a moment in the Reaves household last week while I was prepping dinner:
Template: Paislee Press press plate no. 28 (psst, it's a freebie!)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

somewhere over the rainbow

Last week, I came across a lot of different spring and St. Patrick's Day-type kids activities (like this one), but I thought they were a little advanced for Morgan. So, I came up with this fill-in-the-blanks rainbow instead.

I grabbed some construction paper: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and white for the background. On the white piece, I drew a rainbow in pencil and Morgan and I talked about all the colors in a rainbow. I wrote out each color in it's space, and then we got cutting. I bought Morgan her first pair of rounded tip kids scissors last week during our craft supply shopping trip and wanted to see if she could get the hang of it.
I cut two narrow (about 1/2"x12") strips of each color of construction paper - one for Morgan and one for me. I showed her how hold the scissors in one hand, the paper in the other, and to snip off little pieces of paper and watch her fingers. She did really good for her first try! When she was getting frustrated, I told her she could tear the paper instead if she wanted. Nah, the scissors were more fun!
After all six colors were cut up, I spread some regular white glue in the 'red' section. I was going to put glue on the entire rainbow at first, but I wanted to avoid her putting colored paper squares wherever she pleased. Then, she stuck down as many red squares as she could fit in that strip. We continued to fill in the rainbow - orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. As we glued and stuck, I explained to her how rainbows form (as simply as I could). I hope we can see one this spring after a rain shower!

Next, the clouds. I dabbed on some more glue at the ends of the rainbow and Morgan pulled apart a few cotton balls. She pressed them on and I fluffed them up.
Pretty cute, huh? The rainbow turned out good, too! ;)
She loved her rainbow so much that she wanted to hang it up on her bedroom door. Up high though, "so Parker can't reach it."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Today


Outside my window the sun is out, but it looks deceiving. There isn't much snow left in our yard and I hope it stays away.

I am thankful I didn't need to be anywhere this morning, or this week for that matter. It's going to take me a good week or more get used to this time change.

I am thinking about Mark's sketch and design for our backyard landscaping this spring. We ripped out virtually every plant last fall, so it's a clean slate. New block walls, new pathways, new plants and flowers are all part of the plans.

From the kitchen it's after 3pm and I'm just finishing cleaning up from lunch. Peanut butter and jelly, carrots and blueberry greek yogurt for me. Chickie Wickies, pretzels, berries and a yogurt tube for Morgan. Spinach, green bean and apple puree for Parker.

I am wearing a kelly green long sleeve t, a GAP hoodie I unearthed during last weeks closet clearout, jeans and Wigwam socks.

I am creating a weekly meal plan and grocery list spreadsheet because I am tired of the one I've been using. When you can't find one you love, do it yourself, right?

I am inspired to make lots of yummy homemade popsicles. I am crazy about this link my mom sent me, and the Zoku blog. Tons of great recipes!

I am going to step outside and see what 37 degrees feels like. I'm itching to fit exercise into our daily routine, even if it's a 20 minute walk through the neighborhood.

I am reading my favorite blogs thru bloglovin' now. And I love it! Mostly because it links you to the actual blog - you aren't just reading from a list. I'm thisclose to ditching Google Reader. Try it out if you use one!

I am remembering how fun it is to go to the Secretary of State. On a Saturday. Ha! This was my year to renew my license in person and damn, the place was packed. We have taken care of a lot of other boring, but very necessary tasks this month, like taxes and finally getting life insurance. I know. Bad. It feels good to have it taken care of now.

I am looking forward to lunch and pedicures with Kristin this weekend. I can't wait to have some girl and relaxation time with my sis.

I am hearing a lot of 'mama' from Parker the last 12 hours or so. He said it for the first time in the middle of the night. How come they say 'dada' so excited and happy and 'mama' is always sad and whiny? "ma-maaaaa..."

Around the house, we have a fireplace full of ashes. We burned the last of our firewood yesterday and I'm kinds sad about that. I need to sweep up the floor because bark is one of Parker's favorite snacks. Right now, Morgan is giving all of her stuffed animals haircuts and Parker is playing the drums. And I'm avoiding the mess in the kitchen.

Plans for this week: purging and organizing our paper clutter. Finally ordering a bedframe for Morgan. Working on installing and uninstalling programs onto my mac since I was able to upgrade to Snow Leopard last weekend, all.by.myself. It's like having a new computer. :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Project: Simplify - Hot Spot #1: The Wardrobe

This week's Hot Spot was the wardrobe. I'll admit, the contents in my closet needed an overhaul. At the beginning of the year, I started to pick and pull items out that I didn't wear anymore. Or, after two babies, didn't fit anymore. My wardrobe as a stay-at-home mom is quite a bit different than the one I had as a 9-to-5er. I started making a pile. But the pile didn't make it very far. This week's project was a good starting point for me. I completely agree with Tsh that I feel more productive (and less stressed) when I'm dressed and ready for the day. I even asked Mark if he'd play along this week and clean out his side too. He agreed with zero complaints. What a guy, huh?

Step one: laundry. I did that on Monday after I took our *before* pictures so we could go through all of our clothes at one time. On Tuesday night, after Morgan and Parker were in bed, we retreated to the bedroom to purge. We each started making piles of 'give away' and 'toss' clothing that grew quickly. We spent about an hour and a half trying on clothes and asking opinions and in the end, we each had a trash bag full of clothes that I happily took to Salvation Army on Wednesday afternoon. And we almost filled a bag of unsellable items - the unworn and overworn stuff that was stained, or holey, or was a 'backup' that was really just taking up space. I felt rather liberated getting rid of those old socks and undies.

This is the before and after of my side of the closet:
And the before and after of Mark's side of the closet:
Our closet wasn't overly stuffed, but it looks so much nicer now, especially since we don't have doors on our closet yet. On Thursday, I started rearranging. I organized my shirts by color, then Mark's shirts. Then it became a bit of an obsession and I moved on to all the folded clothes - ha ha! I'm sure it won't stay like this more than a few days, but it sure does look cool for the *after* photos! And, we also have a little more free space for some new spring and summer clothes. Though, I'd like to start to use the one-in, one-out rule.

P.S. If you are wondering were all of our shoes are, we keep them in our mudroom closet by the garage door. I try to get everyone to take off their shoes before coming through the house. With all this new flooring and a newly mobile baby, I try to keep our floors as clean as possible.

One week down, 4 to go. How'd you do? I can't wait to sneak a peek at everyone's before and afters this weekend. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to see them for yourself. I'm excited to see what Hot Spot #2 will be on Monday!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

girls on trampolines

Last Saturday, Morgan and I went to the Farmington Public Schools Early Childhood Open House. Morgan technically wouldn't be ready for 'preschool' until September 2012, but we got a postcard in the mail and I was really interested in checking out the Alameda School that is super close to our house. Plus they have a very flexible 3's program that Morgan could participate in in the fall.

She didn't know what to think about 'going to school', as I don't think she remembers much now from her daycare days. Even when we visited her old school a few weeks ago, she was pretty shy and timid. Of course, all of her old teachers and friends wanted to hug and talk to her. But she was 'ready to go home'. Morgan says she wants to go to school but when I explain to her that mommy wouldn't stay with her, she gets a little freaked. I'm sure, just like any transition, she will get used to it and she would have a blast.
Morgan really enjoyed touring all of the classrooms, playing in the play kitchens and putting puzzles together. The 3's have a play-based curriculum and even the half-day schedule is packed with all kinds of fun and activity. One of my favorite parts was that they classes within their class - like going to the science lab, media center and gym. Oh, the gym! Morgan did not want to go home after visiting the gym. She LOVED the trampoline!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

more Parker updates

Parker had his 9 month checkup this morning. His stats are:

Height: 29 inches
Weight: 20 pounds 6 ounces

The doctor said all looks great and she had some encouraging words for me about Parker's sleep. Or lack of sleep. As of late, most nights are better than others, and I continue to remind myself that he is a baby, and he is teething, and he is not Morgan. He is my beautiful baby boy and I know that he, and I, will sleep through the night again, someday. Other than that, he didn't need any vaccinations this time (yeah!), just a couple of finger picks to test his hemoglobin (which is good) and something else that escapes my mind right now. Ah, mommy brain. Her only note of mention was that she thinks, because of the shape of the tip of his tongue, he might be tongue-tied. Parker wasn't cooperating with anyone trying to jam their finger in his mouth to check. He obviously isn't having any problems nursing because of it. The only other issue he could have (if he really is tongue-tied) is his speech. Time will tell with that.

And, this is a clip from Parker's first 'art' project on Monday. I thawed some carrot baby food cubes to test his desire to eat the 'paint.' And he did. I knew it! In hindsight, I should have thinned it down more to make it look like paint and not food. Oh well, it was still really cute and fun:

During our craft supply shopping spree on Monday, I found a 16" x 20" canvas for Parker to paint on. Someday soon, I'm going to have him make his first piece of real art for his room. Something to match the one Morgan made in daycare when she was 4 months old. I think we might have to make it when Mark is home so I can keep his hands out of his mouth and still have photographic evidence. :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

One Little Word: March (so far)

Our March prompt for One Little Word is to take action. We had to think about our word and what we want it to invite into our life (from the January prompt). After writing down what I've done so far to help myself FOCUS, I also made a list of more things I want to take action on. Ali encouraged us to choose one thing. To make it something easy. Something attainable. Simple enough.

I chose something that will help me FOCUS on my health and my family. This month, I will FOCUS on getting more sleep. My goal is to be in bed by 10pm. Even if it's just to read or write for a little bit to unwind. Parker continues to wake up 2+ times a night but I find myself staying up later and later. Not a good combination. I'm hoping that, by the end of March, I can get in the habit of going to bed at a decent time because my ultimate goal is to be an 'early to rise' person and enjoy some quiet time before my day begins. Here is a peek at my layout so far. Aren't these Pink Paislee page protectors cool?
outside with flap closed
inside with flap opened
I'm using the calendar page to record my bedtime each night. As you can see, I'm not doing so good on my goal...yet. But, I'm getting better and I've still got a few weeks to go. I am going to write my journaling for the 'documenting my experience' section at the end of the month.
On a similar note, I finally created a cover insert for the front of my album. I'm using an American Craft corduroy album and since Ali doesn't think we are going to completely fill our album with our One Little Word layouts, I decided I'm going to put this year's Week in the Life project in this album too. As far as I know, Ali is on doing her Week in the Life at the end of July, so I will plan on joining the masses and playing along too.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Parker: nine months


started crawling all fours, pulling up and cruising within a matter of a week! In the meantime, he's received more than his fair share of bumps and bruises.

so happy - smiles and laughs, a lot. He is ticklish too, especially his little feet.

blows raspberries all the time.

started making B and D sounds. Says da-da (of course), ba-ba, HI and waves!
climbs up on anything he can prop his knees on.

likes to hold his bottle when he's drinking it.

is going to need a haircut very very soon.

follows me around when I vacuum. Funny, because Morgan runs to the other side of the house because she hates any loud noise.
enjoys playing and exploring at the library. Loves watching the other kids.

loves to stand up in the bathtub, then splash back down. He gets really excited when he hears the faucet running in the bathroom and races to see if it's his turn for a bath. Parker likes to stand at the edge while the tub is filling up and reach his fingers under the running water.

likes to practice walking and has gotten brave a few times and lets go.

claps with one open hand and one closed fist.
had his first sled ride in the backyard with Morgan and Daddy and was pretty okay with it.

loves to eat, especially feeding himself. This month's favorites: tortillas, egg yolks, mum mums, oranges, shredded chicken, cheese, yogurt drops and cut-up grapes.

loves to drink water from his straw sippy cup.
is constantly moving and crawls fast! He is a boy on a mission and Morgan hates it. He's gonna be a chaser. Sometimes he crawls so fast that he topples over on his side or back. Slow down is not in Parker's vocabulary.

is mesmerized by fires in the fireplace.

after lots of whining, finally learned how to sit down from standing, and from crawling.

likes to sit on his knees and with his feet behind him.

Wow, kiddo. 9 months old! He is at my favorite age so far and is so so much fun. Parker's 9 month checkup is on Wednesday, so I'll share height and weight stats then.

Happy Monday! Don't forget to check out Hot Spot #1 for Project: Simplify. It's a good one! This morning, Parker had his first art project (ohhhh, messy!) and this afternoon, we're heading out to start collecting supplies for our craft cabinet. I wonder if that will be a Hot Spot in the coming weeks.