18-21 month favorites

I won't call them essentials anymore, because that's not really what they are. Most of us can certainly get by without having them, but they sure made life around here easier and more fun:) Hope they help you!

Bumpkins junior bibs- I hate that I didn't find these earlier!  Once she started feeding herself, the sleeves and belly area of her shirts took a beating. This bib covers her shoulders and is much longer. This was a game-changer, and although pricey, they have saved lots of shirts and emergency laundry time.
Adding milk and a big girl spoon to cereal...this bib gets a workout!

Starfall.com and Flash English apps- I downloaded the Flash cards awhile ago, and she absolutely loves it. There are several categories for her to browse (food, animals, transportation, etc). I've noticed her saying more and more of these words when we see the object in real life. Starfall is a website I use with my kindergartners at school, and it is a hit. The app is a little easier, and is perfect for toddlers to learn phonemic awareness and letter ID.
Christmas morning, watching the "V is for vacuum" clip over and over. The real vacuum is her worst enemy though..?

Two-piece pajamas- We had been fighting the zipper battle for a while when I finally grew a brain and realized it was time to give up the footed PJs and go for the Carter's or Gymboree 2 and 3 piece sets. Our bedtime routine is much more peaceful. But I do miss those snuggly fleece footies:(

Giant Eagle mini pancakes- I know, not the healthiest snack, but she sure loves them. They take less than a minute to fix, she has a hot breakfast that sticks with her, and she is a happy girl. 
Brite White stain remover I know there have been a few times when I have thought I found the "best" stain remover, but it ends here. My mom got me a bottle from the hospital because the nurses raved about it. It has gotten out pen ink, chili, and many other toddler stains you can only imagine. You can't get it everywhere, but check around online and with nurse friends because it is worth it!

Happy 21 months!

Lucky #21. I suppose this is kind of a Golden birthday for her...her "real" one will be her 21st, so it'll be awhile. While we are on the topic, I have waited as long as humanly possible for my Golden birthday, ever since our first grade teacher explained it and I realized I had until THIS YEAR to reach it. Forget 30--31 is where it's at!

ANYWAY, this is about my little sparky and what she is up to these days. Check it out the new chair.
Spoiler alert: it's a potty!
New words: So many! We love to hear "bodaydo" (potato), "PLEATH!" (please), "ee ooh" (thank you/bless you), "blay" (play), "iPad" (yep).

Ways you make mama and daddy proud: Kicking a ball, identifying all the letters (except K- you don't like it!), being so friendly in the grocery store that it takes twice as long with all the strangers coming to talk to you

Ways you make us wish for a body double: We are ready to quarantine the kitchen, since every issue begins there. Oh, I got you water and you wanted milk?  Please, scream to let me know. You wanted Nerds for dinner because you see them on the shelf? Awesome.

Girl, you crazy: Making ambulance/police car noises when you see them on TV or in a book, picking up anything that looks like a phone and saying "Hehwo?", pulling the drawer out of the storage bed to climb up on it and jump!

Favorite activities: Blaying!! Outdoor and (now) indoor playgrounds make you so happy. You also love the iPad (with time limits now), fixing food in your kitchen, jumping on the bed, and sitting on your potty (fully clothed).

"Non-preferred" or s*it you hate: Judging from your performance at Story time (is it 3 strikes and you're out? Because we are out), I'd say you're not into the sitting in mama's lap to sing "Skidamarinky-dinkydink". Also not a fan of art yet. Basically, indoor activities are not looking good. Ideas??

Ah, Pinterest...

We need to talk.

We have been together since your days in beta (you had me at "invitation-only). I remember wishing for your existence as I was planning a baby nursery in a Word document. Oh, text-wrapping, remember the fun we had?  Then you came to fruition and my dreams had come true. I looked forward to naptime, when we could be together, discovering different ways to use pallets and mason jars (I never pinned those, because I knew better). We moved on to party-planning together, and I got a sense of joy when I had new followers or when something I pinned then got 15 repins.

But alas, you and I are maturing in our relationship. I now pin more things like this:
In case you didn't have enough...

and completely avoid the "Arts and Crafts" boards. We have had way too many trips down that road that begins with a trip to Hobby Lobby and ends with a piece of crap that I throw away.

In the beginning, I pinned things like this, thinking I might try my hand at it:

Now, after pleas from my husband and a landfill full of ingredients that went to die in my Crock Pot, I pin AND EAT things like this:
Thanks, Audra, for the best recipe ever.
Why am I coming to this realization now? Well, my friend, after going to Joann's to use the Teacher Appreciation Discount (Which, by the way, I talked them out of requiring me to show them my PAY STUB to prove it. My official ID and my cart full of BS apparently didn't prove it), I have a bone to pick with you once again.

Pinterest, you are making me feel like a bad mom. My daughter loves to "gick" balls around the house, jump on the couch, play with pots and pans, and uses the iPad like an Apple employee. She loves to read. But the girl is not into your idea of what good moms should be doing with their kids. Pins like THESE make me feel inadequate when they result in throwing, eating, and destroying the materials, and eventually lead to a full throttle meltdown on the floor.

Both from here

Ironically, these ideas are pinned to my board entitled "Fun with Lulu". Nope.

I will continue consulting with you for the one thing that HAS really worked for me.
At least I'll look good while scraping my disgusting taco casserole into the bushes for the raccoons.

And, we will still have fun planning our parties together and making holiday treats to give people the illusion that I really am good at making something. But, we are SO done with anything that makes smoke come out of my kitchen, tears come out of my kid's eyes, or money come out of my pocket at any of those freaking craft stores.

I hope you understand.

Letters

Dear Giant Eagle Marketplace,
I love you. Your free (HUGE) cookies for my little one make our shopping trips like a fantasy now. And the fact that you replaced my one moldy bag of taco cheese with three was well played. 
Well, it's $1 for the card, but we get a cookie every time we go!
Dear Sleepy Toddler,
You rock. You play hard but you sleep hard. For a few scary days, I thought you were going to quit napping on us, but you got back into the swing of things when I went back to work. Bullet. Dodged.
Check out the motion shot of our first attempt at "Month 20" photos.

Dear Flu,
Stay away. You are taking out kid after kid in my class, but don't even mess with me. I don't have time for you.

Dear Snooki, 
Lose the flower. Along with the rest of yourself, please.

Dear Gallon of Snapple Diet 1/2 and 1/2,
Could you BE any more delicious? (I hope you read that in Chandler Bing's voice)


Dear Cast of The Bachelor,
I have never watched you before (always been a Bachelorette fan and stayed away from the house full of women). But you, with your ever-flowing chardonnay, missing limbs (come on aren't you interested in that?  And the girl is 100% more confident than I am with 2 arms!), and catatonic responses from women in dayglo dresses...you intrigue me. Dammit.


TV...toddler style

A year ago, I could have told you what was going on with the Dunpheys, Schmidt and Jess, and what horrendous outfit Xtina was "rockin" on The Voice.

These days, I can explain the latest intern/resident romance at Seattle Grace Hospital. And THAT is it. Because someone has stolen my TV time. Now, don't misunderstand. The child never stops moving...she is not a couch potato. But it seems like we always have the TV on her "oh" (shows), and I am becoming pretty well-versed in the world of toddler television. For those of you who have your own, are going to have some someday, or who babysit anyone else's, I thought maybe you'd like my take on all the stuff that is out there. Because a lot of it is c-r-a-p and I see the effects of that when you fast forward a few years and drop them in my kindergarten room.

So, here are the ones that score well in my (and Larkyn's) book:

  • Sesame Street:  It can't be beat. I spent almost a whole day Wikipediaing this show and did not realize the deliberate thought that goes into the content of this show (each show is planned by a group of psychologists and educators!). I actually love watching it and firmly believe that if kids did NOTHING else with their parents to prep for kindergarten but watch Sesame, they'd come in with a lot of great skills. For those of you who still remember Maria, Luis, and Gordon, they are still on the show. I'm not as crazy about Elmo, now that he's...um...about to go to the slammer...but that is Larkyn's favorite part. 
  • Super Why: For some reason, this was the first show Larkyn attended to, and it has always been one of the only ones she actually watches. With my post-grad work being in childrens literacy, this is my dream come true. The show is FULL of letters, demonstrates letter sounds, blending, and fairy tales. Larkyn just likes the predictable songs, but I know that this show is where she began her love affair with letters. Also, Matt and I walk around the house, mindlessly singing "Who's got the power, the power to read? Who answers the call for friends in need?!", so that is added entertainment.
  • Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Did you watch Mr. Roger's Neighborhood as a kid?  I adored Mr. Rogers. Well, he's not on anymore, but his wife just helped create this show that is based on the old favorite. You'll recognize the beginning song, some of the characters (trolley! King Friday!), but now it is all animated. And not that ugly animated garbage...Daniel is too cute. I love that the content is based on social skills: dealing with anger, manners, listening to parents, taking responsibility, etc. 
  • Yo Gabba Gabba: OK, don't hate me.  In the airport, I downloaded an episode as I panicked to find something to keep Larkyn interested on the plane. I watched in total fascination, thinking it was THE most bizarre show I had ever seen. I made everyone at the beach watch it too, to confirm my opinion. That being said, the more I watch it, the more I like it. Yeah, the characters look like the scandalized Olympic mascots and DJ Lance is on FIRE, but this show gets the kids up and moving!  And there are more social skills packed in that little show than in almost any other. Give it a try. Or at least watch it for the spectacle of it all. 
What are some of your/your kids' favorites? Which ones do you hate?  I can't take Caillou. It is one of Larkyn's favorites, but his whiney voice and strictly primary-colored world make me want to gauge my eyeballs out with plastic play forks. 

Currently...

Lost in:  This book. Oh my. Check out my book reviews page and if you like any of those, you will love this one! The only reason I put it down was because I was going blind from reading too long and Larkyn woke up from her nap. It's also my first book on the iPad. I LOVE the "define" feature, as mackalisters and perambulaters are not part of my 2013 vernacular.
find it here

Wistfully thinking of:  My latest breakfast excursion with Julie. We went to High Street Grill, inside the historic Westin hotel. The picture below says it all. Except it leaves out this conversation: "Can I get you ladies anything else?" "I am going to need more whipped cream please" and a SOUP BOWL of it arriving a few moments later. I'll add it to the reviews soon, but trust me, go there.
She got french toast with caramelized bananas and sausage. I got malted Belgian waffles and berries with the crispiest bacon ever. FDR was onto something when preferred to stay and dine here. That and singing "Tomorrow" with Annie.

Sad about: Having less than 48 hours of my vacation left. For sure, the longer the break, the harder it is to go back!  I have become quite comfortable watching movie after movie (and I mean GUILTY pleasure movies like A Walk to Remember and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) while I catch up on laundry or tackle clutter. Not to mention all the family time we have had to run errands together, play indoor soccer, and just simply relax.

In love with:  My new boots! My friends and co-workers have heard for months that I have been on a search for gray boots for months. I've been wavering on Uggs because I still adore mine but wonder how long people will be wearing them. Thanks to a fabulous gift card from my class and an honest chat with the Nordstrom shoe manager (who confirms that Uggs are on their way out and that they couldn't keep Hunters in stock), I made my choice.
Look at all the pretty things here
 
Starting to think about:  Larkyn's 2nd birthday, since I apparently need 4.5 months to dream it up. I'm sure a Pinterest page will be dedicated to it soon.

Laughing at:  Larkyn's fascination by the baby doll...specifically when it does cries. The "Mmm, yum!" at the beginning is in reference to the delicious one droplet of milk she fed it.


In 2013...

  • I want to try to unplug from the iPhone, laptop, and now iPad and be more present, even if it is just to watch TV with my family. I feel like we have been on different planets during our relaxing time, and I can't let that get out of control!
  • I need to stop using Pinterest recipes unless someone else tells me it is actually good! It is back to the good old cookbooks and reviewed recipes for this household.
  • I'd love to go on a trip with Matt. The end.
  • I want to remember that it is OK to live a calm life for a while. I am soooo future-minded that I'm often looking forward to life's next adventure rather than focusing on today.
  • I (we) need to dedicate some money to savings. Even though the payroll tax expiration kind of screwed up that plan a bit, it still needs to happen.
  • I want to potty train Larkyn. When she's ready, of course.
  • I hope that there are weddings and babies to be had by our friends and family!
  • I want to read books again. Video killed the radio star? No, iPhone killed the Times best seller.
  • I need to drink more water.
  • I'd love to go out to dinner more often, baby free (sorry Lulu, we will still have dinner dates too but those are a little more exciting than a nice dinner with daddy or chatting with my girlfriends!)
What are your plans for 2013?
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