Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!

Eric's been laid out and bedridden with some crazy cold since Wednesday so we never pulled together any costumes or made it to any of the four Halloween parties we were invited to this weekend.  I picked up a flower costume at the consignment shop a few weeks ago so we dressed up Hannah for the farmer's market this morning.  The farmer's market is our regular Sunday activity, where we go for about 95% of our produce each week and 100% of our dairy. (We still get pork there too, but since we bought a quarter side of beef and 12 chickens from local farms, we won't have to buy meat for quite some time!) I've been meaning to take my camera all summer but wasn't properly motivated until today. Even still, I didn't get any good shots; it was too crowded to get far enough away to take a scene shot so you can't really tell where we are.

Banana flower out in front of our house.
Just after buying honey!  There's Grannah in the background.

After Hannah's nap, Grannah took us all out to dinner on The Avenue where we got front row seats to some really cute trick-or-treaters and some amazing costumes.  So, it was a low key Halloween, but a good one all the same!  Next year we'll have to get more into it, maybe even Hannah into the costume contest on The Avenue.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tree Huggers

I wanted to go for a bike ride on Sunday.  The weather here has been amazingly sunny and warm, and I know that any day could be the last one before we get thrown into winter so I'm feeling an extreme urge to suck the marrow out of whatever bits of summer we have left.  The problem with bike riding is that we don't have a kid seat for the bikes yet, and also that we didn't get our bikes out at all this summer so flats are likely.  I thought about heading up to Monkton to rent bikes and take a leisurely ride along the NCR, but it would have cost us nearly $60...So we went to Cylburn Arboretum instead and hugged a couple of trees.  For as close as this place is to our house and as pretty as it is, I can't believe we'd never been there before.

Once we managed to get her off the tree in the photos above (after a lot of kicking and screaming), she found this bench and refused to move from it. I snapped a few pictures and then pulled her away, again kicking and screaming.  I don't know why she gets attached to certain places, but there's only so long Eric and I can stand around a certain spot before we start itching to move, and since we'd never been to this place before, we wanted to explore.  

In addition to giving Hannah the creativity to clamor up on stove tops and the bravery to fly down stair cases, gymnastics has also taught her the simple, beautiful act of using a log as a balance beam.  

Then I traded Eric the camera for the baby. Since he was carrying the backpack and Hannah, he welcomed the trade, and since Hannah is so dang cute, I welcomed the trade too.

Not a bad way to spend our 2-year anniversary!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Her First Shiner

I totally forgot to tell you guys that Hannah has her first black eye, but if you looked closely at the pics from my last post, you might have noticed it yourself. While I have to take full responsibility for her careening down the stairs and also for her burning her hand on the pot that was boiling ravioli (did I tell you about that one??), Eric gets to take responsibility for the black eye.  The story I heard goes like this: They were playing in her room. She bent over to pick something up and while doing so, her butt bumped into something behind her which propelled her forward into her toy chest. It's easier to demonstrate than to describe....but hopefully that description was adequate enough to give you a visual. I haven't taken any new pics since the last post and anyway, it's fading now, but you can see it pretty well in those pics (it really goes with the ensemble, don't you think??) so check it out.

In case I forgot to mention the stove incident, that story goes like this: While I was making pesto, Hannah pulled out the drawer underneath the oven where we keep the cookie tins, stood up on top of the drawer using the oven handle to pull herself up, and laid her palm flat on the side of a pot of boiling water. I saw the whole thing but my reaction time sucked so my scoop up and save was milliseconds too late. I am crediting gymnastics to her quickness, her agility, and her creativity when it comes to climbing up on things (I was very impressed that she thought to use the oven drawer as a stepping stool). She did end up with a small blister on her thumb which was a much better ending that I'd anticipated considering she palmed the pot. After the scoop-up save I frantically attempted to soak her hand in ice water but since I was also holding and comforting her, I only had one hand free to force the soaking, and the kid is strong. She didn't want her hand in that cold water so she fought me with everything she had.  Since she refused the soaking, I thought for sure she'd end up with a giant blister covering her entire hand, but nope.  Oh, and this happened the weekend before the stairs fiasco...

In spite of all this, she's fine. The blister is gone, the black eye is fading, and I never did find any physical (or mental/emotional) sign of her flying experience with the stairs. I, on the other hand, have copious amounts of adrenaline coursing through my bloodstream these days and am finding regular deep breathing an absolute must.  Being responsible for the well being of such a strong, creative, and daring toddler is more fun than just about anything I've ever done, but it's also overwhelmingly stressful. I'm dreading the teen years and have fingers crossed that she retains her super human resiliency.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gussied Up and Girly

I put Hannah in a dress yesterday.  Since it's winter, that required tights.  And with tights, well, you gotta have the mary janes, right?  I can't tell you how many times someone has made some comment to me about how don't I love having a girl because I can play dress up with her, and I'm always like, "No. I can barely dress myself; the idea of dressing someone else does not excite me."  Buttttt, well, I have been having a teeny, tiny, itsy, bitsy bit of fun dressing her....Keep that to yourself though--I've got a reputation to uphold.
I can't get her to hold still for the camera and refuse to use a flash...

This one is from today.  I love the eyes!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Brain Rules: This Book Sounds Really Interesting!

My mom sent me this link today to a Huffington Post article about raising a brilliant baby.  Since that's the title, I was initially a little turned off because, let's face it, most stuff like that is a bunch of poppycock.  That's right, I said poppycock.  Anyway, skip the annoying title and check out the book description, or skip that site altogether and just go directly to John Medina's website on Brain Rules.  He's a developmental molecular biologist who has written two books based on a lot of legitimate research. The first is Brain Rules and the second is Brain Rules for Baby. I think they sound fascinating, but I love reading about various studies.  Unfortunately, my library doesn't have Brain Rules for Baby, but they do have his first book so I'm going to start there.

Oh, and there's a fun 20 question quiz on his site to test your parental braininess if you're bored. I missed three so I only scored an 85%.  Boooooo!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Family Time

My mom brought Clay down to play on Friday, and we spent the WHOLE day together. It was awesome! Well, not the whole day; I have a class on Friday mornings, so Grammy was left alone with the two babies for a bit.  When I got back, we fed them lunch, laid them down for a nap, and kicked our feet up. HA! I wish. No, I had this game plan for making autumn chicken pot pie so I started chopping chicken and kneading dough for what ended up being a way more labor intensive meal than anticipated, and of course, they took very short naps that day.  When they woke up, they played together in Hannah's crib for a bit. (They didn't sleep together there--yah right!  Clay slept in a play pen in me and Eric's room.)

This was cute--they were both holding on to the edge and giggling and jumping up and down.  The pic I took with the flash (next one down) just didn't show the cuteness of the jumping the way this blurry one did so I had to post 'em both.

Grammy and her grandbabies!
The sun coming in that front window is HARSH!

LOVE this one. I think it's a framer...and probably also a Christmas present...

They played on the car for a long time and for most of that time they shared pretty well.

I want to write more stories, but it's 10:00 which is WAY past my bedtime.  Suffice it to say that the day was great, and that I wish I could spend more time with my nephew and my mum, and I look forward to watching Hannah and her cousin grow up together.  Speaking of growing up, Clay turns 1 on Wednesday. Time is flying...

Sunday, October 17, 2010


A woman I met at that super cool playground the first time we went told me about a place called Storyville which she said was super awesome beyond description (like the playground) and was free (also like the playground) since it's part of the Baltimore County Public Library. We drove out to the Rosedale location on Thursday to check it out, and she was right: it's awesome beyond awesome.  It's this little village with all kinds of pretend scenarios for the kids to play in including a grocery store, play house, architecture area, garden, post office (and all the buildings have mailboxes so the kids can deliver mail), theater, and library. It's designed for ages birth to five years and is billed as "an interactive early literacy learning center." There are relevant kids books in each building, so, in the grocery store, there are books about foods, and in the house, there are books about family and stuff.

In true mamarazzi style, I took a ton of pics.  The light in there was kind of yellow, and there's only so much editing I can do using Microsoft Office Picture Manager (I have GOT to get Photoshop!) so you'll have to use them more as your window into the coolness of Storyville rather than as framers of The Banana.

This is Toddler Bay. That log in the back is a tunnel to climb through; the boat she's on rocks.
This is the grocery store. Hannah's manning the cash register.
Hannah liked carrying around a basket and filling it with groceries!
This is upstairs in the house. There's an awesome doll house up there and a trunk with dress up clothes.
Hannah just sat there on that chair and watched that little girl for what felt like eons.
I got tired of watching Hannah watch that little girl so I took this photo from my vantage point at the top of the stairs.
This is in the architecture loft so there are lots of blocks here.
I took this picture of the village while in the architecture loft.  In the foreground is the Baby Garden for nonwalkers.  The lighthouse in the background is part of Toddler Bay and beyond that is the grocery store.
The kitchen of the little house.
The only downside to Storyville is the drive. Rosedale is only about 10 miles, but with all the crazy traffic, it takes almost 30 minutes.  There's another location to the west in Woodlawn (close to where I-70 starts) that is even newer (finished in March of this year I think) and therefore possibly even cooler that is only 7 miles away.  I go that way to get to Hagerstown and think I can make it there in about 20 minutes. I think we're going to try to check that one out this week.  Any fellow stay-at-home moms want to come with????

Friday, October 15, 2010

All Together Now: Awwwww!!!!!

I've got a couple posts-in-waiting including a CD review that I was supposed to do a month ago, pictures from yesterday's trip to Storyville (probably the coolest kid place in Baltimore, and free!!), and more pictures from today's visit with Grammy and cousin Clay, but it's Friday, and there's new episodes of Sunny and The Office on the DVR that I'm eager to get to. So in addition to those other much longer and more detailed posts, I have these three super cute, super random photos of Hannah that I took this week, the first earlier in the week before the cold front moved in, and the next two, very obviously, after. We weren't doing anything special in any of them; I was just having some of those obsessed mommy moments, you know, the kind where you think your child is so obnoxiously, stinkin' cute that you've gotta take a picture and then share it with the unlucky souls who end up behind you in line at the grocery store.  Yeah, so you guys are in line behind me at the grocery store, and here are my look-how-super-cute-my-kid-is photos:

Love this tie-dye dress that my Aunt Pam bought her!
This was Wednesday, right after we got back from story time at the library.  I'm pretty much a moron at all things fashion related, but I was feeling pretty proud of this little ensemble I put together, so I pulled out the camera and had her strut the catwalk for me.  In true fashion show style, here's what Hannah's wearing: hand-me-down cords and hoodie jacket (no clue who from, but both are very loved and get a ton of use), hat from the Gap (from Terrill), an awesome pair of Keen shoes handed down from Libby and Esther, and I picked up that shirt last weekend at the consignment shop (along with a four other long-sleeved shirts, three blanket pajamas, snow boots, a fall jacket, a cute outfit, a pair of jeans, and a Halloween costume--all for $60!). Wahoo for looking good in mostly free stuff!!

Hannah has gotten really into looking at pictures of herself, both on the computer and on the LCD screen of the camera, so when I pulled out the camera and snapped the above picture, she got all excited and bum rushed the camera, pulling it from my hands and turning it over to study her image in the LCD screen.  That's why she looks excited in this next pic and also why her hand is in grab mode.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Taking the Stairs...And Playing with Kylie

I am starting to understand the importance of baby proofing your house.  Prior to this week, I assumed that as long as we taught Hannah properly, we didn't need to put up gates and plug up the electrical sockets, but yesterday, she log rolled down an entire flight of stairs. Fortunately, she's fine. I scooped her up (after a brief pause in which I wondered whether or not I should move her) and ran next door for help assessing the situation. MC started to feel around for bumps but then Hannah spotted Louie (their cat) and squirmed her way out of our arms so that she could run after him, who'd taken off up their stairs. (It should be noted that she was chasing the cat when she took off up (and then down) our stairs.)  It took me another 20 minutes to stop shaking and breathe normally.

This means that Eric is right, and that I need to hover over her more, especially when she's on the stairs. Since I'm with her more, I've become pretty confident in her abilities. I've watched Hannah crawl up and down the stairs with no help from me a kabillion times in the last few months.  She's gotten so good at getting down stairs that she doesn't even take them one at a time now, she just sort of straightens her legs and slides down a couple at a time (on her belly).  It's really cute, ask Joel, he got to witness it.  The problem is that she's gotten too confident and keeps trying to go down the stairs like a grown up, you know, standing up and facing forward, rather than laying on her belly.  The additional problem is that, like I said, I've gotten overly confident in my super child's abilities and have therefore allowed her some more space than I probably should have.

In addition to the stairs, she also walked off the booth/bench thing of our dining room table earlier today.  It should be noted again, that SHE KNOWS HOW TO ROLL ONTO HER BELLY AND SLIDE SLOWLY OFF OF THE BENCH, just like she knows how to crawl down the stairs.  Why the sudden obsession with leaping off things???  (Oh, and she was fine again; I was close enough when she walked off that I caught her before she hit the floor.)  I'm exhausted from all the adrenaline rushes, but she seems pretty resilient.

We've had a lot of fun this week, and since Grammy is bringing cousin Clay for a visit tomorrow, I've gotta start getting some of these pictures posted! Kylie came over Monday afternoon to play while her mommy and daddy worked. We hopped back and forth between their house and ours which passed the time and kept the girls stimulated.  They played together pretty well, though Hannah had her moments of attitude.  Lucky for her Kylie is pretty laid back and patient and didn't seem to mind.
Hannah sharing her snack with Kylie.
Showing Kylie how to honk the horn on her car.

Playing in Hannah's room.
Playing in Kylie's yard.
Kylie wanted to push.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Gymnastics Photo Dump

Eric was off for Columbus Day so he got to come with us to gymnastics which meant I got to take my good camera and get some pics (and by some, I mean a lot because I took advantage of the fact that Hannah had someone else spotting her and went all mamarazzi).  I'm not in the mood for story telling, and anyway, I already provided an overly detailed post on what happens at gymnastics, so I'll just dump the pics and offer a teeny bit of narrating.

We always try to get there 15 minutes early so Hannah can have some free play before class. She beelines for the trampoline which is in a darker part of the room and therefore impossible to photograph since I have to use flash which always screws up the coloring in my photos since I'm not skilled enough to use it properly.
So far the feet don't come off the surface of the trampoline, but she bends her knees a bunch in an effort to jump.

Taking a break from jumping.

Still in the free play room before class.
An older boy (blurred in the background) showed Hannah how to crawl through the tunnel.
The next few are from the obstacle course side (I didn't snap any shots in the circle room which is where every class starts). 

There were lots of tunnels in Mondays class so Hannah had a chance to really perfect her tunnel crawling.

The obstacle course after the munchkins moved on to the free play room (both rooms are changed up every week).
Ringing the bell with Ms. Sarah and a classmate whose name I won't post since his mommy might not appreciate that.
Swinging on the uneven bars with Ms. Sarah.
Putting the spots on the dalmatian.
Running around on top of the parachute.
Running around under the parachute.
The free play room after the munchkins cleared out.  The trampoline is way in the back by the window. It's the only thing that doesn't move from week to week.

For the first time in my life, I love Mondays, and it's all because taking Hannah to her gymnastics class is so much freakin' fun!