Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Playroom

Playroom view

Hi friends!
I've held out long enough and am ready to show you the full photos of Paige's new playroom!
As I'd mentioned in the past, we took the front room of our house that we used as an office and turned it into a play space. It simply wasn't being utilized as much as it could have been anymore as an office. Now we are in here most of the day every day and we love it! It's cheerful, energetic, and we feel happy here. In the photos you can see my little corner where I do my computer stuff, can do my own artwork, and store my own books and things. My inspiration board is there too. Paige can play all she wants and I can be in there too. I hope you like it!
I plan to make changes in the coming future to make room for Paige's play kitchen and a dress-up spot, but I wanted to show where we are at for now. I hope all is well with you as we are finishing up some nasty colds over here. It seems like we've been endlessly sick! Is it spring yet? haha.

Playroom Mom corner

Playroom art corner

Playroom 1

Sunday, November 28, 2010

19 Months

Dear Little P.,

Today you turned 19 months old! What a special time for you!
For the past week or two I've seen you really starting to come into your own as you start to show more sides to your personality... less of a baby and more of a kid. You love to roughhouse and wrestle with Daddy and to be picked up and dangled by your feet. You love to be held up in the air and tickled. That laugh you make is so robust and full; it's surely my most favorite sound! You've started running up to me out of nowhere and flapping your hand at me...waving hello...and then running away after I happily say "Hiiii!!!". Your hugs have become so vibrant since you now seem to enjoy a running start before flinging yourself into us head-first. And every once in a while, if you are in the mood and I ask if I can have one, you will pucker up and give me a wet sloppy baby kiss right on the lips. My heart melts every time.

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You've continued to demonstrate your love of music with drumming on everything in sight, dancing and twirling to music, and humming/mimicking singing when a song is playing. We've finished up your Music Together class and we need to decide whether or not to continue that particular class. You certainly seem to love it; but you also love the social aspect since you mostly run around to all the other people in there and sit in their laps out of the blue. You warm the hearts of those around you; that is a gift.

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This past month you've discovered a love of coloring with chalk and crayons on your easel. I think you love the satisfying sounds they make on the paper/chalkboard. I must admit, I love those sounds too! It's so much fun to watch you discover the different colors and shapes that come from your hands. There's so much more to come from the art world! Just you wait!

And finally, you've found that you love to wash your hands in the bathroom sink. You pull up your step stool and stand begging for me to fill the basin with water. You rub your hands and fingers together as we sing the hand-washing song...so cute! And I let you splash for a little bit extra time just for the fun of it.

We got you a Learning Tower (basically a fancy step stool that keeps you from falling), which enables you to see what we are doing in the kitchen and help out. You helped assemble it (well, Daddy assembled it and let you turn a screw with the Allen Wrench a few times) and then stood on it at the kitchen sink.

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We let you wash some plastic dishes and it was a HUGE hit!

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It kept you quite busy for some time and it was great to see you so happy and engaged. Just wait until we start letting you stir food and help us with the things we are making! Your tower will allow you to be in the action and I'm looking forward to showing you how things work.

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All in all, it's been a busy month of discovery for you. You've been really taking time to find what makes yourself happy and content. I can see you starting to blossom and I love who you are. What a blessing! Not only do I love you more than the universe...I like you so darned much. You're fun and such a treat to be around...I couldn't ask for a better sidekick. So thank you. Keep finding joy in the little things because that is what makes life great. You've blessed me with YOUR greatness and for that I am humbled and grateful every day.
Love you always and forever,
Mama

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all of you out there: Thank you so much! Having your support and kind words in this space has been such a pleasure and thrill. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Be back soon with the full playroom shots and Paige's 19th month letter.
Much love,
Megan

Toy Area

Hi friends!
Today I'm excited to show you Paige's toy corner.

Toy Corner

Her little Ikea shelving unit sits here and I rotate in her toys periodically. I like keeping it simple; Paige can see her toys and it's easy to put things away. I like that she can take her own toys out to play with and she's learning bit by bit to clean up after herself. We've got a long way to go with that, but the seeds are being planted!
The baskets come from Ikea as well; made to fit the squares perfectly. We found the sheepskin rug at Ikea and it's a soft and cozy place for Paige to sit and play with her blocks and other gadgets. The blue picture frames came from Ikea as well (you can't beat the prices!) and I put some cards I'd held onto from our trips to Bar Harbor inside them. One shows the seabirds of New England and the other shows the seashells of New England. The center print is of a crab. As Paige gets older, I think it will be fun to match shells we find to the card.

detail toy corner

The shelving on the walls comes from Ikea as well. I wanted places out of Paige's current reach where I could keep things stored. If she wants something, she can point up and I'll get it for her; but for the most part I can keep toys for rotating into use later on. Not yet shown are 2 other shelves where I store art supplies and the like out of her reach but in view to remind me to let Paige play with the supplies when I can. In the future, I plan to store board games and puzzles on these shelves. As long as there are tiny kids around, having a 200 piece puzzle thrown around the floor is happily avoided when possible. ha!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Art Corner

Hi friends!

Art Corner

Today I will show you Paige's corner for art. We got a Melissa and Doug easel that has a white board on one side and a chalk board on the other. It also holds a roller of paper in between and it feeds up through over the white board. Paige has been LOVING using her crayons on this; she can do big strokes and scribbles with abandon. I never considered using an easel before; I figured she'd be fine coloring in an art pad while sitting in her chair. It was fine for crayons; though she didn't do much for scribbling. The pad would move all around under her hand. Also, when she tried to paint, her fist would just go through the wet paint and smear around. The easel keeps her hands up away from the work surface. She seems so much happier with it this way, and it's neater for her. Having studied art professionally, I think it's important for children to have a space to create and experiment. So far so good! Also pictured is the container of beans Paige plays in (mentioned a few posts back). The artwork over it is a scan from a child's book that I printed on large paper and framed. You'll see behind the easel that we have some magnetic letters stuck to the wall...we did a few coats of magnetic paint in the entire corner from the floor to a few feet up. Those particular magnets don't work so great, but the thin kids of magnets seem to stick well. I hope to design and create some magnetic play sets/scenes for P to play with. I know we could have done chalkboard paint over it, but I feel funny encouraging Paige to write/draw on the walls. I would think it would be confusing to a little child...you CAN write on the wall HERE but not THERE. I decided to keep the festivities to the easel for simplicity's sake.
So, that's the art corner!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Colorful kid's room

Nursery

Hi friends!
I'm interrupting the playroom tour with a shameless plug of Paige's nursery: It's in the top 9 running in Ohdeedoh's "Small Kids, Big Color 2010" contest. Would you consider going on over there to vote for Paige's room? There's 48 hours to vote and we'd so appreciate it!
Thanks so much for your time! I hope you're having a great day!

Music Spot

Hey there!
Moving on in our tour, next to the reading area we've placed an old bookcase I painted blue for the purpose of housing Paige's musical instruments.

Music Shelf

Since they are out for her to see, she finds it much more convenient to grab them and play with them through the day. We plan on adding some more instruments to the shelves soon. My old keyboard from my childhood rests on top; we pull it down for Paige to play sometimes. She always delights in hitting all the keys and tapping out random tunes. I never realized I would actually like all the noise and welcome it. For NOW anyway, haha!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Reading Corner

Hello friends!
I hope you have been well! We got the playroom all finished up, so I thought I'd take time through several posts to show you around. I can tell you that we've been loving it and Paige seems to love running straight in there come morning. So far so good!

Reading Corner

We first start with the reading corner. I'd heard good things about book slings and how this kind of bookshelf shows the covers instead of the spines; thus making it easier for little ones to find the book they are searching for. Paige still enjoys taking the books out, but she also likes putting them back IN (when the mood strikes of course). It's much easier to keep things neat. We chose a holder from One Step Ahead. I wanted us to have a cozy place to sit and read together (big enough for us both). I found the Cocoon Jr. here (free shipping!). It's very comfortable and is made from recycled furniture grade foam in a microfiber zippered case. The filler goes in an inner liner (with a zipper pull you take off so it's safer for little kids) and the microfiber outer liner is machine washable.
The lamp was a brass one that was given to us; so I painted it blue. The little wooden sun was a gift from my brother many years ago. I also hung two of my favorite Norman Rockwell prints over the area for ambiance. I'll show them in better detail later on.
So, there we have it! I have lots of books waiting in the wings to be rotated into the space once Paige is seeming to be bored with these. In the meantime, we are enjoying her little nook together and I find so much joy in seeing her flip through books by herself on her cushion too.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Miracle of Sleep

Anyone who has followed along with this blog knows of how we've tried to get Paige to sleep later in the morning (5:15AM is much too early!). I'm happy to report she's finally sleeping until 6:15 or so. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. Putting her to bed within 4 or 5 hours at the MOST after her nap has made a big difference. Any more than that...well...she tends to get up earlier. UGH! But we're so glad to have found a solution that works for us so far.
Lucky for us, Paige has always been a pretty good sleeper. When she was very little, we used a Miracle Blanket to swaddle her and it worked wonders in helping to calm her and eased the fussies that kept us up all hours. I remember she went from sleeping to just a few hours to six straight hours when we first started using it. It only got better after that. The benefit of this blanket to other swaddlers is that it really held her arms down...she couldn't wriggle free! Paige NEVER stayed in other swaddles as they always fell apart after a while. I was also too worried about her sleeping at night with one...what if it came undone and covered her face? The other benefit was that there was no noisy velcro...some other swaddlers I had were so noisy at night when I was just trying to give Paige a quick bottle and diaper change. Nothing like a loud ripping of velcro at 3:00 in the morning to keep a baby in dreamland! We used our Miracle Blanket every night and for some naps until Paige outgrew it at around 5 months. Here's a video to show how it works. It always stopped Paige's crying too. She'd smile a little and go right to sleep.

This leads me to my first giveaway!! Da-Da-DAAAAAHHH!
The lovely folks over at Miracle Blanket will send one of my lucky readers a new Miracle Blanket for their own little bundle (or to give to a friend!) What do you need to do? First, go ahead and favorite Miracle Blanket on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.
In the comments section of this post, I'd love to hear about what your favorite thing about your bedtime routine with your little one; or your favorite night-time memories with your little one. I will choose a winner based on their answer. The winner will be ONLY be announced on Miracle Blanket’s Twitter page or Miracle Blanket's Facebook page the afternoon of Tuesday, November 9, 2010 (after 2:00 pm CST). Be sure to check there to see if you've won! The folks at Miracle Blanket will give the winner 24 hours to respond back, otherwise you forfeit the prize. Contest is open to U.S. and Canada. This contest will run from today, Friday November 5, 2010 through Monday, November 8, 2010 at 3:00 PM CST. Good luck!! I can't wait to hear your favorite night-time moments with your precious ones!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Acadia

The Bubbles

Hi friends!
I finally got around to editing some of my favorite pictures from our recent fifth wedding anniversary trip to Acadia National Park in Maine. I took 500 some-odd photos! Crazy.
Here are a tiny few; I can't say enough good things about that place. It's just gorgeous and so wonderful to hike. So much to see! I hope you enjoy these images and that perhaps they inspire you to visit!

Fall Treasure

Pond view

Sand Beach Autumn

sleepy

Acadia Wonder

Sand Beach

Bar Harbor views

Fun with Hiking

two paths at once

Hiking

To the Future

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cool Beans

Hi there!
We're coming along with Paige's playroom! The last weekend was spent gathering up toys, painting furniture, shopping for shelving and picture frames, assembling stuff...you name it. Chris did most of the labor. I did the painting and organizing. We made a great team and got the whole room put together! Now, I'm working on figuring out what artwork I want and where I want it. It will take a little time since I've been making sure to rest; this cold I've had just won't quit! So, I'm resting during Paige's naps and going to bed extremely early every night.

Sensory Play

A little while back, we put together a "sensory play box" for Paige. It's a Rubbermaid wrapping paper container that my Mom was getting rid of that we filled with all kinds of dried beans. I put in a few little toys to dig with and voila! an indoor sandbox of sorts was born. She will sit in there for a good half hour just burying her feet, pouring out beans, and the like. We haven't yet had trouble with the beans going everywhere. I take her out before she gets too restless...I can tell when she's getting sick of it. But it's the perfect thing to pull out when she seems whiny and ready for something special to do. You can see a little sneak peek of some of the playroom in the background, hee!
Have a great day friends!!!

Spilling the Beans

Beans in the toes

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween 2010

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Paige had a great Halloween! A few days before, she got to celebrate at her Dad's work Halloween party for the kids. Last night, she went on her first Trick-or-Treat expedition with her friend Matthew. As you can see, she dressed as a little piglet. She even kept the costume on the whole time! Phew. I hope you had a great Halloween too!
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Her first house she went to for her first Trick-or-Treat!
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