Tuesday, November 30

Mini Scarf & Hat Set

After combing through stores for a toddler-sized hat and scarf set for Olivia, I went to back to good ole trusty Etsy for an excellent selection of affordable handknit crafts.

In less than 3 days this little set arrived at my door.

And of course, I made Olivia model.

Oh and see the naked Christmas tree? Charm City Daddy surprised me by putting it up before I got home from work. Made my day.

Currently Craving: Pumpkin Spice Cake Doughnuts

Today is the last day that these amazing, crackish doughnuts will be available.

Krispy Kreme only makes them for a limited time each year for the month of October and November.

I am not even a sweets person but I have eaten more of these over the course of the last 2 months than I care to share with you lovely readers. Take my word for it. I like them a LOT. For example, it's hard for me to drive past a Royal Farms knowing that they sell these bad boys in there. For their big season finale,  I got two half dozen boxes from Sam's Club this weekend. Yep, $6 well spent.

Oooh and if you really want a treat....eat them with a cup of decaf coffee with vanilla latte creamer.

The New Nanny

She's from Paris, France  but she's lived in the U.S. for 3 years on a student visa and is fluent in English. We were lucky to scoop her up from a DC family with three young girls (age 6, 3, 1) that she had been with for the last 3 years but the family is moving to the Midwest.

In contrast to Olivia's last nanny who was really Olivia's 3rd grandma, she is very strict and structured and it is all paying off.  Olivia is thriving from the challenge and finally learning Baby Can Read! She's more polite and oh so happy to see me come home and tell the nanny "bye bye."

The only thing is, I don't think Olivia has caught on that the nanny actually lives with us---on the third floor. We went with a live-in nanny, yet again for the pending arrival of baby #2.  It is was just so nice and so convenient to have someone around in the first few weeks, and it helped me sneak away to the gym quite often too. Speaking of gym postpartum, my silly sister told me she went to the gym 4 days postpartum but didn't really do anything. OMG. Good thing our mom is there to talk to sense into her.  I think she realized that those narcotics (for contracting uterus pain- OUCH!) and postpartum girdles give you a false sense of security.

Back to the nanny--since this is now our 3rd nanny in a little over a year, here's what we've learned about what works for us:

1. Older, experienced nanny for the early stages (newborn - 9 months)
2. Younger, energetic, structured nanny for 10 months/walking and older
3.  Live-In works if you set guidelines on work hours, food (mini-fridge), cleanliness, curfews, car access, can give them a private area of the house.
4.  Live-Out works if they have reliable transportation and have some schedule flexibility.
5. Agencies: are helpful for screening, but can add costly overhead and excessive fees/wages--use referrals from friends, or nannies looking to exit their existing au pair/nanny agency.
6. Schedules, contracts, and detailed directions are a good thing. They give you both something to consult to be consistent.
7. You can never be clear enough about expectations and it will require some tweaking on a weekly basis at first, so plan to recap at week's end good or bad.
8. Finally even the best laid plans will change with your baby's needs so be flexible.

Monday, November 29

Chirren and Chittlins

First of all Thanksgiving was fantastic. However, I took ZERO pictures. Sorry. I'm disappointed too.
But hey, here's a random recent pic of Olivia asking for "more muck peeease!" aka more milk, please.

Back to Thanksgiving--I am pooped just thinking about it. At this time I would like to "shout out" to all of the folks who spent lots of time on their feet preparing their Thanksgiving dinner for their families. I have done it only once before, but this was the first time as a preggo, and I had to stop a couple of times and pull up a stool and eat a snack just to make it through. I spent three hours alone at the kitchen sink cleaning Chitterlings on Wednesday night. Yes, you read that correctly. Chittlins people! My dad, bro and I are BIG fans. I season them with so much vinegar, lemon juice and hot sauce, and onion, you can barely taste them--but that's how I like 'em. When all of those spices combine enough to make your eyes weak (and mouth water) over the bowl.  Ahh--the family delicacy comes but once (sometimes twice) a year--Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Charm City Daddy, O and I celebrated Thanksgiving with my dad, younger brother, and my mother-in-law came down with a little 5 year-old cousin to play with Olivia. With the exception of my dad's fried turkey, my little brother and I split the cooking responsibilities (WHOAH) and we ate at my parents' house while mom was in the Windy City tending to my sister and her new arrival, Camille Arielle! The "peanut" finally arrived on Tuesday, November 23rd at 6 lbs 3 oz.!

All in all, it was a wonderful 5-day weekend filled with some light holiday shopping and lots of family time with Olivia including a trip to the National Aquarium in Baltimore.  

Monday, November 22

15 Month Stats

Taking a "bubbies!" aka bubbles aka bath.

Here's Olivia's 15-month stats:
  • Height: 32.5 inches (90-95th percentile)
  • Weight: 24 lbs 7 ounces (50-75th percentile)
  • Head Circumference: 47.1 cm (75-90th percentile)
We're hot off a doctor's visit and feeling mighty good! Why? Our pediatrician was very impressed with Olivia's verbal skills! Olivia was her usual talkative self in the doctor's office too, carrying on a full conversation with her doctor and even asking her a few jibberish/real word questions of her own.

She uses some two word sentences and finds it hilarious when I actually respond the way she wants me to b/c I understand her. My favorite phrases so far...

"I gottit" if she drops something that she doesn't want anyone else to pick up--like trying to help me sweep with the dust pan. Sometimes she interchanges it with "I diddit" or "I do it."

"I ruv vue." We all know what that means. Melts you down to a puddle.

Last night, Charm City Daddy told her to run back from the front door and give Granddad a kiss before we left. She ran into the kitchen where my dad was and said "Mmmwah" in the air and ran out back of the room. Hilarious.

And there's nothing better than a baby that tells you it's bedtime or naptime when she is tired. She chants it like I always have as I carry her up the stairs to her bedroom (daddy chants too). To address my anxiety about messing up our perfect bedtime routine, the doctor suggested that we not change her to a toddler bed until after the new baby is ready to come out of the bassinett and into the crib at about 8 weeks old.  This way she said i don't lose any unnecessary sleep in case there are issues with the transition. By then Olivia will be 21-22 months old. I hope that works.

Speaking of new baby..this boy is doing somersaults in my tummy!

AND...we are STILL waiting for my niece to arrive! Sorry sis! We just hope she doesn't arrive on Thanksgiving Day.

Wednesday, November 17


That's all I could think of to describe this post.

Good lawd, I'm tired and a lot is going on, but as you can see above--we're all doing our best to hold it together. I could only imagine if I were amidst grad school right now as I had planned.

Last weekend I co-hosted a baby shower for a dear friend. I must admit it was a lot to take on while pregnant and balancing a busy time at work and the needs of a 15- month old (and husband), but it was FUN nonetheless--AND Charm City Daddy was a big help--and scored BIG husband points.

Olivia's development and transition into toddlerhood continues to amaze me. What happened to my baby? She's so grown up. She has full conversations with us now, although we usually can only understand the first and/or last word in the phrase she says. Example...

Me: Olivia, are you ready for some breakfast?

Olivia: Eat? Eat? ah nah doli sheh sheh Nana?  (*Translation: Yes, can I eat a banana?)

Questions are answered with questions.  Commands such as "No Olivia, don't touch!" are repeated back to us "Nonononononono" while she backs away or most times (keeps doing the forbidden thing).

And most recently this week scolding gets a dramatic facial reaction with her head tossed back and her hands to cover her face while fake crying. This did not go over well at dinner out last night. We looked like those parents.

We still have a hard time holding back laughter at some of her antics. Like last night, Olivia was in the middle of begging for a sip of my water, when the waitress stopped by just to drop off appetizer plates and Olivia stopped mid-whine, turned around and said perfectly and politely, "Thank You!" to the waitress and then turned around to continue begging to me.  THAT was funny.

Overall her behavior is much improved over the direction it was heading for a while. We changed nannies recently for a number of reasons but mostly for O's need for structure and intentional teaching. More on the new nanny and that transition over the past 3 weeks later.

Meanwhile...I will tell you that the new nanny is Parisian and has a great sense of style and can braid O's hair (jackpot!). So now I come home to a mini-catwalk cutie.

I love the boots (a gift from mother-in-law), but they are already too small at size 5. We can't event zip them all the way up O's fat little calves. Last weekend we took O to Stride Rite kids shoe outlet where she attempted to pull every single box of shoes within her reach off of the shelves and I spent as much time chasing her and putting boxes back as I did searching for her size, and Charm City Daddy was yelling at me, "Babe, hurry up and let's get her OUT of here!" we found out she is a size 6 shoe! Is that not HUGE for a 15-month old?! I just find it baffling.

She takes after her mama, I guess. Big teeth. Big feet.

Speaking of big. I'm feeling big at just 21 weeks.  My baby belly is officially "beyond the boobs" and I'm find myself more stiff and uncomfortable than the first go-round of pregnancy with Olivia.  This pic was taken Oct. 24 (nearly 4 weeks ago) but you get the idea of my size--especially with those hypnotic stripes. Nice.

More to come on the new nanny, my new niece (coming soon this week, I HOPE),  Thanksgiving, and my toddler bed transition anxiety.

And CONGRATS to my Miss America pageant "pow" Madonna on the arrival of her new son Jack Ryan! Yeah!

Wednesday, November 3

On Motherhood...

I don't know if it's pregnancy or the experience of already being a mom, but these days I can hardly stand to hear people sentimentally talk about their mothers without  crying my eyes out.

And boy, did Alphamom Chris Jordan get it right on her "16 Things I Have Learned About Being a Mother" post on Oct. 20th. I haven't even experienced some of the instances on the list--but the entire thing really resonates with me. Among my favorites on the post:

5: The healing power of a hug. Hugs rank right up there with baked goods.

7: You have an infinite reserve of patience. Yes, you will be tested. Yes, there will be times when you think you are right at that edge of your sanity. But then your kids will push right over to the other side and you realize, with surprised joy, that you have not strangled them nor has your head popped right off. And at that moment, you should feel proud.

12: Don’t wait for your house to be perfect to entertain. As long as you have children it never will be.

14: Cheerios. When your children are small you are required to carry around a container of them. Always. I am not sure if any kids actually eat the Cheerios. BUT THAT IS NOT THE POINT!

15: Smile.

Tuesday, November 2

Halloween Weekend

It was weekend chocked full of excitement to exhaust entertain our little energetic toddler!

We kicked off Halloween weekend early on Friday by letting Olivia wear part of her BumbleBee costume out and about--since it's essentially a fleece jacket.  Since the nanny often takes here to the library or local bookstore for story hours (explaining Olivia's favorite thing to do BOOKS! BOOKS!MOMMY!), Charm City Daddy and I were sent this picture message in the middle of our workday.

I was just impressed she stood still--as was the nanny.

Then on Saturday morning we took Olivia to her first live show, Disney on Ice--Toy Story 3. While I went to Disney on Ice-The Little Mermaid as a kid, Charm City Daddy had never seen one of these particular children's ice shows before and was impressed with the performers' "athleticism."  Remembering in my previous experience (age 9 ?) that I always wanted a lighted wand during the show but had to settle for the souvenir cup,  I insisted that Olivia get a wand. Mistake! She commenced to beating us and those around us in the head with it until we finally had  to distract her to confiscate it. When we left at intermission she was returned her beloved magical wand.
Turn your head: pic won't save rotated...weird.

Saturday afternoon we drove to Charm City Grandma and Grandad's house to participate in their neighborhood's annual parade. We rounded out the rear of parade so Olivia could chase the dogs also participating. :) Here we are looking tired already. Post parade we all took a nap.

Olivia's cousin was also a bee for Halloween so she gladly strong-armed Olivia for a photo op.

After the parade, my dad got the Big Loser (least amount of votes) award in his neighborhood Chili Cookoff for his chicken chili. Haha! I think he knew it wasn't his best batch as he kept trying to force Fritos on those of us who ate it. It's tradition to sign your name to a recipe book that is passed around to each year's losers and leave a comment. His comical response was "Free loaders! See what you get next year!"

Sunday, was church (one day we'll get to enjoy the sermon in peace again), then serious grocery shopping, then while Charm City Daddy entertained his friends, I attended the Miss Maryland USA pageant with a friend--no glam this time--just mom jeans and my boots. Yes mom, I was the only former Miss Maryland not in cocktail attire-- but I was also the only preggo one.

Here's to a low-key, relaxing week and weekend ahead.