Wednesday, December 31, 2014

14 MONTHS OLD!




Milestones:

Violet is so fast.   I don't mean she's fast for a baby, I means she's like Olympic athlete fast.  I now understand why parents put their children on a leash.  (Note:  I do not own a leash for Violet...yet.)  She also has great balance.  We've had some boards on the floor during our kitchen remodeling and she loves walking from one end to the other.

In this past month V's ability to communicate with us (aside from crying) has really grown.  She says "mah" for more and "nana" for bananas.  She waves when she's saying "hi" and when we say "bye bye."  And she's learning more animal sounds.  She now also knows meow for cats, who for owls, and she roars for lions, tigers, bears and horses---I can't explain the last one.

Violet can now identify where her bellybutton (and my bellybutton) is.  And she think's it's the most hysterical thing ever to really jam her finger in there.







Likes:

Food.  All food, except eggs and raw tomatoes.  For literally almost every bite of food she takes, she says "Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm."  And she definitely has a sweet tooth.

Funkadelic's music.  Violet is George Clinton's #1 fan, or at least his youngest fan.  Girl can get down to the funk.

Here's a little video of some of her best moves.

video

Dislikes:

She still pretty much detests being in her carseat.  We're planning on getting a car DVD player to see if it will help keep her calm for our longer journeys.  I know television before two is so bad, and I don't want to rot her brain, but I really feel like she's chiseling at my brain with an icepick when she screams bloody murder because she hates being strapped in.





Life Now-a-Days:

Leading up to Christmas, we listened to a lot of Christmas music and anytime "Oh Holy Night" was played, she would sing along with it.  For whatever reason, it's the only song she'll sing to, so even though the tree is on the curb and the decorations are packed (sorta), we sing it just to hear her sing with us.

Sometimes Violet likes to scream at the top of her lungs just to see our reaction.  And then she smiles or laughs because she thinks she's silly.  And then we smile or laugh because it is.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

OUR CHRISTMAS

When I was a kid, all the days leading up to Christmas creeped forward at a snail's pace.  This Christmas just flew by so quickly though.

We hosted Christmas Eve dinner with my side of the family at our house this year.  Hosting is so much work!  Especially with an almost-fourteen-month old running around.  I'm putting that girl to work next year!

Christmas morning, Violet slept in until 10:30, which was heavenly because we were up soo late wrapping presents.  Santa brought Violet a couple life-size stuffed animals, which she immediately gave a hug and kiss upon seeing.  After her little meet and greet with her new dog and orangutan, we moved on to stockings.  We'd been practicing taking blocks and cookie cutters out of her stocking so she'd know what to do on game day and the girl was a pro.  When it came to unwrapping presents though, she had next to zero interest in ripping the wrapping paper unless it was one of our presents.












Violet's big gift was a play kitchen Jon built.  This play kitchen is the real deal.  Short of running water, this thing is nicer than our kitchen.  A couple weeks ago we had new countertops put in (and we're still in the middle of giving our kitchen a facelift) and we were also able to get a scrap piece of granite cut for her little kitchen.




And despite the total awesomeness of her new play kitchen, I'm pretty sure her favorite toy is the 25 cent finger puppets she got in her stocking.

After opening presents, we drove to Mississippi to spend Christmas Day with Jon's side of the family.  We ate, and ate, and ate good country (and Korean) cookin'.

Then, after a long (napless) day of celebrating, we brought our tired girl home.  And when she finally went to bed,  Santa brought us another Christmas present later that evening with Violet sleeping all night without waking once.  That there is a Christmas miracle folks.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

'TIS THE SEASON FOR A TODDLER

I think Violet is officially a toddler.  Here are some signs that she has made the transition.  Firstly, our Christmas tree is top heavy with ornaments.  Any ornament within her grasp has been relocated.  Many are on the floor, some are in her toy basket, and a few have been replaced on the tree.  When we first introduced her to the tree, she had so much fun taking all of the animal bottle brush ornaments off and giving them kisses.  We'd say, "Go put it back on the tree, Violet" and point and she'd walk back over and try to shove it in the branches.  Since that day, I have found a small stuffed animal, a lone sock, and my contact case in the tree.



My other sign that she's a legit toddler is she's started throwing mini tantrums when she doesn't get what she wants.  She'll throw her little body to the floor and scream and grunt with such passion you'd think we just told her we were canceling Christmas.

Violet has also learned to say "no."  It had to happen eventually.  And I know she learned it from me, so I can't really blame anyone but myself.  I mentioned before how horrible, catastrophic, dreadful, god-awful, heinous, gruesome, grisly diaper changes had been somewhat of a struggle.  Well, quite often I would tell Violet, "NO!" and well, now she's gotten the hang of it herself.  And when it comes time to go into her carseat, she so sweetly shakes her head and says "no, no, no, no, no."  On a positive note, I should add that diaper changes are not bad anymore.  And hopefully I didn't just jinx myself!


Now I want to share with y'all a Christmas miracle.  For the past two nights, Violet has gone to bed without her usual hour long screaming!  For the past couple of months, bedtime has been just awful.  Jon and I tried soo many different things to make it better and nothing was working.  It was so stressful for me because I hate to hear her cry and because I felt like I wasn't doing something right.  I would rather go for a swim in Satan's sludge than have to go through another bad bedtime.  Just saying...

Anyway, I am schedule keeper.  I have kept a log on my phone of the times Violet eats, sleeps, and diaper changes. I have been doing it every.single.day since March.  The file for this note is so big, but I can't bringing myself to delete.  So, I looked back at all the days Violet went to bed easily and tried to find what there was in common.  Every single one of those days, she only napped for about an hour and a half and every bedtime was about five and a half hours after waking up from her nap.  So, two days ago I woke Violet up after and hour and a half and put her to bed five and a half hours later.  BAM!  No crying.  Thank you sweet baby Jesus.  Rejoice!  Rejoice!!!!!


Cajun Christmas Smocked Dress c/o Southern Smocked Company 
This sweet dress Violet is wearing is from Southern Smocked Company.  A friend recently started this business and she sells the cutest smocked dresses, bubbles, and jon-jons, along with a bunch of other super sweet outfits.  If I wasn't on a stay-at-home mom budget, I would probably own one of everything she sells.  She offers free immediate shipping, so if you're looking for an adorable Christmas gift for an adorable little one, check her shop out.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

13 MONTHS OLD!


Milestones:

Violet now has eight teeth and another soon to arrive as I noticed today she was chewing on her finger so much she left little red teeth marks.  Teething has gotten much better.  She wakes a little more often during the night, but still goes right back to sleep after nursing.

Speaking of sleep... :( Bedtime has been a tough one for a couple of months now.  Violet used to go down so easily, but then after a cold in August, some teething, and Wonder Week 55, it seemed to all go downhill.  I've been trying to adjust bedtime a little here and a little there to try and figure out what works best and still haven't found the magic answer.  However, the other night Violet sleep SEVEN HOURS AND TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES STRAIGHT!!!!!  Holy freakin crap.  Dreams really do come true.

Our little girl is quite the little chatterbox lately.  She "reads" books aloud and her versions are much more interesting than what the pages actually say.  Sometimes she's screams like something shocking just happened and makes an "o face" while saying "oooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh."  She also now says "apple" (though she doesn't know what "apple" means), and she'll make the animal noises for a dog, monkey, and an elephant when we ask what they say.

Violet can identify fingers and tongues.  When we say "fingers" she wiggles her fingers and when we say "tongue" she'll stick her tongue out.







Likes:

Food.  She's very willing to try new foods.  When she's hungry, she'll sometimes walk up to me with her mouth open and say "aaaaaahhhhhhhhhh."  She also points at the food or drink she wants.  She llooovveesss opening her FOOGO cup.  She'll take a sip and then pass it to me to close so she can open it again.  And again.  And again.

Stuffed animals.  Starting a couple of week ago, as soon as I get Violet out of her crib in the morning, she'll walk around to all of the stuffed animals in her room and give them a hug.  She even pointed at the ones on top of her bookshelf for me to get down so she could hug those too.

Books.  Violet's not really into toys.  We've got plenty of noise-making toys, but she always goes for the books.  I give her one for car rides and she's a happy camper.

Outside.  She loves going outside.  We usually go outside a couple times a day to get the mail, go for a walk, and to swing.  We have a lot of pine trees, so I'm always having to scramble to throw all the pinecones out of the way so she doesn't scratch her sweet little hands with them.

Music.  Give this girl the smallest, simplest little beat and she's dancing.  Seriously, if she notices someone just casually tapping their fingers on a counter top and she's swaying-side-to side.



Dislikes:

Diaper changes....still!  She usually needs some serious distracting to get a diaper on this girl.  And I don't think it's ever going to get better.  I'm hoping this means she'll be eager to potty train in a few months.

Being buckled in her carseat.  Once she's in with a book, she's usually okay, but I often have to distract her with a cheddar bunny to get her strapped in.


Life Now-a-Days:

Violet been kinda mama-clingy lately.  She's wanting to be held much more often than in recent months.  And holding her in my lap often isn't good enough.  She'll sometimes walk up to me while I'm sitting on the floor with her and wrap her arms around my neck and try to lift up---it's her way of telling me to stand up with her.  Then she wants down.  Then up.  Then down.  Then up.

She also tries to put clothes on and take them off, which is pretty cute, except when I'm trying to get her dressed and then it's just difficult.



Violet loves to come over to us with a book and sit in our lap so we can read it to her.  She likes to share everything she's got in her hands.  I still think it's the sweetest thing ever when I go to get her from her crib in the morning and after naps, turn the lamp on, and even though she can't open her eyes all the way because it's too bright, her little hand is up in the air reaching a pacifier to me.  It's such a joy to spend every day with her and I'm so grateful I get to watch her grow and learn.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

FIRST YEAR FAVORITES

When I created my baby registry for Violet, I put in a lot of research hours trying to find the perfect everything.  I wanted to get things that were practical, good quality, and could stand the test of time.  I searched for things with tons of reviews by other moms and would always read the bad reviews first to see if it was something I could live with.

Looking back on Violet's first year, I just thought I'd share my favorite items.  Some of these are obvious and are a necessity, but others just made life a little easier.
  1. Sleep Sack---  I love the Halo Sleep Sacks.  They are safer than a blanket and I know my sometimes wild sleeper stays covered.  I bought the ones that were 100% cotton, so they were soft and comfortable and they were perfect for warm weather.  I've washed and washed and washed these and they are in just as good of condition as the day I bought them.  Now that the cold weather has made its way down south though, I knew I needed to get something thicker to keep our little girl's toesies warm.  I recently bought Violet the Baby Deedee Sleep Nest and let me just say I want one in my size.  It is super cozy and I rest easy knowing she stays warm on cold winter nights.  (Though it's not winter yet, it sure feels like it!)
  2. The Snotsucker---  Okay, so the idea of sucking someone's snot out of their nose is downright disgusting.  However, when it comes to your own child, boogers are seriously the best of the bodily fluids to deal with.  This thing is way gentler on a baby's delicate nose than the bulbs that can cause their inner nostril to become inflamed.  Plus those bulbs are supposed to be one time use.  The Snotsucker can be washed with warm soapy water and is as good as new.  Now maybe this is TMI, but if you ever have a baby was a particularly hard booger, I always shot a little breastmilk up Violet's nose to soften it up.  (I'm sure a mom somewhere can appreciate that tidbit.)
  3. Pacifiers---  Ohhhh pacifiers.  They are a blessing and they are a curse.  You can't live with them and you can't live without them.  Violet was a baby who sucked to soothe, so it was either going to be a pacifier or her thumb.  There were many a nights (too many) where I'd wake to Violet crying because she lost her pacifier.  What I liked about the Soothie was that it was one solid piece of silicone, so I never had to worry about the pacifier somehow coming apart and becoming a choking hazard.  Jon's boss told him the best thing they ever did was teach their babies to suck their thumbs.  So, next baby it's definitely something to think about.  I know thumb sucking is much more difficult to stop than using a pacifier is, but there were definitely some months where I considered the pacifier a thing of the devil.  (P.S.  Don't forget pacifier clips!)
  4. Video Baby Monitor--- I have a Sony video baby monitor that I'm not impressed with.  I ended up having to get a regular (non-video monitor) as a back-up because literally the first night Violet was in her room, the sound cut out.  Sony's customer service is also not awesome, so next monitor, I'll definitely be going with a different brand.  All that being said, video monitors are awesome.  Being a first time mom, in the beginning I felt it necessary to constantly make sure Violet was breathing.  I'm sure many of you can relate to this. :)
  5. White Noise---  I read soo many reviews on sound machines and was unable to find one that I felt was worth the purchase.  Instead I bought an mp3 download of a "cozy heater" that's 10 hours long!  We transferred it to an iPod, put it on loop, and hooked it up to some speakers in her room.  Best $5.99 I've ever spent.
  6. Baby Carrier--- I tried a bunch of different baby carriers and ended up liking Baby Bjorn the most.  It's super convenient to put on and allows me both hands to get stuff done while wearing her.   
  7. Hyland's Products--- So I've only used their teething tablets and cold tablets, but both work amazingly well.  
  8. Wipes Warmer--- Our first winter with Violet was one for the records.  It was cooolllddd.  There were days that southern Louisiana was literally the same temperature as places in Alaska.  Craaazzzyy.  I'm sure Violet's little bum appreciated the warmth of wipes during the many, many diaper changes.  (This particular wipes warmer is meant to be used with reusable wipes---a must have if you're a cloth diapering mama.)
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Over the weekend, Jon's brother and his family came in to celebrate Thanksgiving early.  We ate Thanksgiving dinner, Southern style---fried shrimp, fried fish, fried bell pepper, boiled shrimp, grilled oysters, fried turkey, pecan pie, and peanut butter and coconut pies made by Mennonites in South Georgia.  It was gloriously gluttonous.  







Side note:  There's no such thing as a non-action shot with a 12 month old.