Thursday, June 30, 2016

Life Lately

Emphasis on the late. 

My phone isn't sending pictures to my laptop like it should, but I managed to transfer a few of them.

This is why I try to make oatmeal muffins instead of feeding Lucy regular oatmeal. 

Monday was HOT so we met some friends at the splash pad next to our house. Lucy LOVES the splash pad, especially this little feature here. She stands and bats at it with her hands for as long as I'll let her.

The water stopped, and Lucy is looking at the big kids wondering if they are going to hit the button to turn the water back on or if she's gonna have to go over there and do it herself. 

After almost two hours of splash pad and hot weather, Lucy took a marathon nap. I finally went in to wake her up, but had to snap this pic first. 

Snack time in her club house!

My friend Bridget had her second baby a few weeks ago. Jack is an itty bitty peanut, and I love him!

Drinking a pouch while waiting for Thai food, which she loved! Please note the strange high chair that they gave us at the restaurant. It did not accommodate our high chair cover and was not the cleanest high chair I've ever seen. We wiped it down twice and let it go!

You can't tell from this pic, but Lucy was bopping to the music in the park. 

Fun at the library. Lucy loves the puppets!

She stood at the busy wall and watched an older girl spin the glitter tube for several minutes. I love the intent look on her face. 

Dinner al fresco. There was some kind of strange plant in the planter outside. I wish I'd taken a picture of it because Lucy loved it. She kept pointing at it and squealing. 

That's all she wrote, folks. We are headed to the lake for the 4th of July. Here's hoping for a little bit of rain and a lot of happy baby time!

Have a great holiday weekend!


Sporadic Book Revew

It's Thursday, but this is not a Life Lately post. Due to technical difficulties with my phone, I had to switch things up a bit. Technology was definitely not my friend yesterday. So today you get a book review, and tomorrow, hopefully, you'll get a bunch of pictures of Lucy Belle!

When I started this blog, I tried to do monthly book reviews. But, between raising a sweet baby girl and doing schoolwork for my classes, it became clear pretty quickly that it might take me more than a month to get through one book! So now I'm just going to do these reviews sporadically as I build up enough books to share. 

This is definitely me lately. 

I'm a big fan of Elin Hilderbrand books, and this one did not disappoint. There weren't too many characters, which is sometimes the case in her novels, and I was really interested in the plot twists and turns. If you're going to be lounging in a beach chair somewhere this summer, this would be a good book to throw in your bag. 

2. Better

I am a huge fan of Good Morning America. I have it on every morning while we go through our morning routine. I knew that Amy Robach was a breast cancer survivor, and I heard her discussing her book on air one day and thought I'd give it a try. Because she is a survivor, it was a very inspiring read. Cancer was really just the tip of the iceberg as far as medical struggles go for Amy. Hearing her describe her various illnesses along with her daily personal and professional schedules had me feeling a bit overwhelmed at times . . . like if she didn't have a panic attack I was going to have one for her! Also, I had no idea that you can be bullied and shamed not only for the type of cancer you have, but also for the course of treatment you choose. I found this to be a very interesting read. 

I had seen this book mentioned on several blogs that I read and finally decided to give it a try. I really enjoyed it! It's told through the stories of three generations of midwives. Basically it'd be like if me, my mom, and my grandma were all midwives and told our life stories. There's a bit of mystery to it. I found it very intriguing and was hooked from the start. Also, since I have recently had a baby, I found the comparisons between hospital childbirth and midwifery to be very interesting. 

I just finished up this book, and I think I would recommend it but not in a "Oh my gosh, I loved this book you have to read it" kind of way. It took me a while to read it, which may have contributed to why I had a hard time staying interested in it. I also didn't love a few of the characters (particularly the way the mother handled a few issues with her daughter). I've really enjoyed many of Mary Kay Andrews' books, but I don't think this one would be at the top of my list. Who knows, maybe you'll think differently though!

If you've got any good book suggestions, feel free to comment and let me know. It's always great to get recommendations from others!


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Must Have Baby Products for the First Year

Now that Lucy is one year old, I thought I'd do a post on some of the items that helped me survive my first year of mamahood. Funnily enough, four out of the five items weren't even things we registered for!

1. Video Monitor

So this hasn't been packed away yet . . . and probably won't be until she's 18! I seriously don't know how people survived before these things were around. If I had a dollar for every time Matty or I have looked at the monitor to check on Lucy, we'd be living large in the Bahamas right about now! 

We bought ours from Amazon, and it doesn't seem to be available anymore. It was reasonably priced, as far as baby monitors go, at $150. Knowing what I know now, I wish I had gone for a slightly more expensive model to get a few more upgrades such as a thermometer and a way to manually switch it to night vision. During Lucy's naps it's often too dark in her room to see her on the regular monitor, but too light for the night vision to kick in, which is frustrating. This was, hands down, the most used item of Lucy's first year, so I wouldn't feel badly spending a little more money on one.  

This was not too long after Lucy was born. It's like she was staring right at me thinking, "Why would my mama just leave me here?!"

Why would we get chores done at night when we can just sit and watch her sweetness on the monitor?!

This was an absolute life saver . . . that we didn't even acquire until Lucy was almost a month old. We hadn't registered for one, and our friends the Crupis were kind enough to loan us theirs. It was easy to transport, comfortable for Lu, and she loved napping in it. This is a link to an updated version that rocks itself! The one we used was two years old and didn't have that feature. Matty spent many an evening sitting on the couch watching TV with one foot rocking that sweet baby to sleep!

She looks pretty comfy to me!

3. Swing

Another lifesaver courtesy of the Crupis! Swings are expensive, take up a lot of space, and we had heard that some babies hate them. For all of those reasons, we decided not to register for one. Well, on our first visit to take Lucy to visit at the Crupi house we tried her out in their swing and she loved it . . . so it came home with us along with the rock n play! We got months and months of great naps out of this thing and were so sad when she outgrew it. 

Here's an example of her starting to outgrow it! haha

This is a totally frivolous item, but it has definitely been one of my favorite purchases as far as baby gear goes. When Lucy was first born, I just used the regular wipes containers that the wipes came in. First of all, no one told me just how often or how much babies poop! I was constantly changing her diaper and trying to hold squirmy little baby legs away from the dirty diaper while trying to pull out a wipe one-handed . . . and would end up pulling out 5 wipes! The Mother's Room at Buy Buy Baby provides wipes for you, and when I was changing Lucy's diaper in there one day I noticed that they used this container to keep the wipes in. It was genius! There's a weighted plate that holds the wipes down so that you can pull out just one at a time. I was sold! It comes in a few different colors, and I LOVE it. 

Yet another favorite of ours that we didn't register for! This little gem came from my nephew, Gordie, and Lucy absolutely loved it! From about three to six months, the piano was pretty much her toy of choice. We'd set it next to us on the couch, lay it on the floor in our closet . . .

 . . . we even took it on a road trip and to a funeral luncheon! This little lady kicking away on top of a table was a bright spot on a sad day. 

It also seems appropriate to reflect on items that didn't work out for us. I can't tell you how badly I wanted Lucy to go in a carrier. It would have made grocery shopping easier, I could have gotten a few more things done around the house, Matty could have carried her around . . . it would have been wonderful! However, despite attempts with 2 different kinds, I couldn't make it work.  Obviously, I'm not discouraging anyone from buying these because they work out great for many people . . . just not for us!

Here's my first attempt in the Baby Bjorn. She lasted about long enough for me to snap this picture. I gave it a few more tries, and each time she would just cry and cry. 

So then I exchanged it for the Ergobaby. I found this one to be easier to use and more comfortable for me to wear, but Lucy disagreed. Oh, the crying! 

Finally, I'll leave you with Matty's #1 pick for surviving the first year:

Go ahead, add it to your registry! ;)

As far as I can tell, the must have baby product for Lucy's second year is going to be patience. Good thing it's free, because we need a lot of it around here lately!


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Weekend Recap

Thursday morning we were all decked out in our Tigers gear, but only one of us got to go to the game. Hint: it wasn't me or Lucy.

Already graduating to big girl books! #donttellmehowitends

Thursday evening I had to drop some paperwork off at our church, and this "little" lady greeted me at the door! She is Blizzard, a 132 pound St. Bernard, and she was precious!

We had a visitor in our garden on Friday morning. I was on the phone with my SIL and practically hung up on her so I could snap this pic. I did call her back, though!

It's street fair season! My mom, Lucy, and I went to the Trenton Art Fair on Friday. The weather was perfect, and Lucy did great. The water bottle and the graham cracker cookies helped!

Loving her green balloon!

Bought a lot . . . all for Lucy, of course! Dress, bibs, and hair bows. 

Lucy fell asleep on the way home from the fair. I didn't want to risk waking her up by taking her out of the car, so I parked in the park next to our house and read for a bit. I usually do laundry and cleaning during naps, so this was way better!

Taking an afternoon milk break with Minnie and Nemo. 

Ahh! That was good!

Lucy wore her street fair dress on Saturday, and it was a hit! I love it . . . almost as much as she loves her Daddy's water bottle. 

Our friends Brandon and Stacey had their second baby girl two weeks ago. Stella Violet joins her big sister, Genevieve Rose, who is almost exactly three years older. The photo on the left is Matty and me three years ago when we met Genevieve. The picture on the right is when we met Stella on Saturday. Two babies, three years apart . . . same dress! #whataretheodds 

When you walk three miles in 85 degree weather, you deserve some frozen custard! #bobjos

We did a 4th of July photo shoot bright and early Sunday morning . . . like 7:45am early! This is all you get for now. All I can say is the theme of the shoot was definitely Red, White, and Cute!!

This is Lucy's new playhouse. Why does it look a little faded, you ask? Because it was mine from 30 years ago!! #noboysallowed

My dad started assembling it in our yard, and Matty finished on Saturday night while Lucy was sleeping. We showed it to her after the photo shoot. I think it's safe to say she is happy about it!

We wrapped up the weekend with our first homemade pizza of the summer! The basil is from our garden. Can't wait for our tomatoes to come in as well!

It was a fun, busy, HOT weekend. 

This week is full of play dates, new baby visits, and preparing for 4th of July at the cottage. Because I'm a glutton for punishment, we are going for five days. Lucy has to sleep at some point, right?! 

Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Life Lately

Oh, hello there. 

I know we are only halfway through the week, but it feels like it's been a long one! Matty traveled to Mexico early Monday morning until Wednesday evening. My mother-in-law graciously volunteered to keep the doggies while Matty was away, so it was just Lucy and mama for three days and two nights. 

We have to keep the toilet paper under the sinks in the guest bathrooms because the dogs will pull it off and eat it. I thought that since they were gone this week I could put the toilet paper out. I was wrong. Apparently dogs and babies both share a love of unrolling toilet paper!

Don't let that sweet face fool you. A few minutes after I took this picture, Lucy threw both bottles on the ground and then ran her hands across the tray until the Cheerios were on the floor. #wherearethedogswhenyouneedthem

Tuesday was National Selfie Day, so we had to take one while at a picnic lunch with Stephanie!

Lucy and I had a major milestone on Tuesday evening. Both of us have been having some major separation anxiety (Lucy is worse, but I don't love leaving her either). In an effort to help Lucy get used to other people and to help me get a little bit of time to workout, I thought I'd join our city rec center and utilize their Kids Corner. I got a one week trial membership to make sure that we both can handle it. Tuesday evening I took her for the first time, and she was the only baby in the room! Lucy immediately found some giraffes in a toy basket, so that was a good sign! She didn't cry when I left . . . and I didn't cry either! After sending off a few texts announcing to people that I had actually left Lucy with someone other than her grandparents, I was able to be on the elliptical for 28 minutes before one of the girls came to get me because Lucy had started crying.

Here's me all sweaty and red-faced when I went to rescue her. She happily started playing at the Lego table once I arrived. I really want this to work, though, so I took her again Wednesday morning. There were about 10 other kids there and she did great for the 40 minutes I was gone. The ladies said she cried for about two minutes and then started playing again. #babysteps

We are usually confined to playing in Lucy's bedroom or the playroom because the dogs will most certainly eat her toys if left on the floor in the main part of the house. With the dogs gone, both Lucy and I enjoyed spreading her toys out everywhere and being able to play wherever we wanted. However, Matty was gone too, so it was hard to clean up one room before Hurricane Lucy moved on to the next. I was getting her ready for bath Tuesday night and thought I'd document the state of the house. 

Books all over her room.

I don't know why I even bother to fold her towels. 

More books!

This mess didn't bother me because we have LOVED spreading out and playing in the family room. 

Measuring spoons, cups, and spices in the kitchen. 

Lucy had some trouble picking out an outfit on Wednesday. She kept throwing things out of the drawer and babbling angrily, which I think meant, "I have nothing to wear!!" #likemotherlikedaughter

Music in the Park started this week, and we had a great time with our friends. Don't let that serious face fool you, she had fun. I think she was just bummed that the hat covered up her pigtails. 

They turned their lunches into a baby community food bank.

So happy to be by the fountain!

Catherine's daddy brought her to the playdate today, and he fit right in! :-) We missed you, Leslie!

Taking a break from reading.

So silly . . .

 . . . so grumpy!

He's home!!! And already back to his regular nightly routine. #thatsnotwater

Hope everyone has a great weekend. 
Stay cool!