Thursday, July 17, 2014

Vacation 2014: Back to the Mountains

We headed back to western North Carolina for family vacation again this year. Every year I look forward to a week in the cool mountain air. This year was no exception. We rented the same Nantahala Lake home that we rented last year. It was as beautiful as I remembered.

On the trip up there, Lydia was such a doll! We left around 7:45 AM on Saturday morning. This year we took Hwy 78 to Birmingham then I-59 to Chattanooga. We had one small detour in Birmingham, but other than that, I loved this route way more than the north Alabama route we have taken in previous years. For the first leg of the trip from Oxford to Birmingham, Lydia and I played with some new toys that I had purchased and saved up for her. There was a travel magnet set, a couple of Melissa & Doug's Water Wow pads, and a Color Blast pad (they sell all these Melissa & Doug toys -and more- at Square Book Jr!).

The Water Wow pads are AWESOME! I filled a little brush with water and as she "painted" the pages, color and images appeared. The best part is that as the water dries the color and images disappear, so she could do these over and over again. She is obsessed with pigs (blame Peppa), so I think she spent an hour just painting the pigs. Those toys lasted us all the way to B'ham! I was so surprised. After lunch at Chickfila, she napped in the car for a couple of hours. Then, we were in Chattanooga for grocery shopping at Fresh Market. The last few hours in the car we played on the iPad. Her favorite apps were If You're Happy and You Know It (especially the Peekaboo game), Itsy Bitsy Spider by Duck Duck Moose, and Elmo Loves 123s. The Elmo app was a little too advanced for her, but she loved hearing Elmo's voice and the search and find numbers game. After she got tired of the apps, she watched a few hundred (it seems) episodes of Peppa Pig on the iPad. My child will scream out, "Aaaaaa PIG!" whenever you sing that little song to her. Gah.

We grilled burgers Saturday night at the house and just took it easy Sunday (Father's Day). That evening the Rebels played their first College World Series game in Omaha. I was excited to see them play in the big tournament, but I really got tired of watching baseball almost every night. Vacations are supposed to be where you play board games and watch goofy movies. The Rebels hijacked my evenings! Chip did teach Lydia how to say "Ole Miss Rebels" which I have yet to get on video. So cute!!
Splashin' in the cold river




Monday morning Chip, Ray, and I took duckies down the Nantahala River. I had a crappy run (pulled my shoulder a little and almost tipped over on Patton's Run) and didn't do the Falls. I was definitely out of practice since I hadn't paddled anything in the year since I'd last been up there. We ran the river again on Friday, and it was really the perfect run. Misty on the river, cool in the rapids, warm in the sun, and I nailed the Nantahala Falls. Yay!



Lydia's wild morning hair (just like mama's)

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we went to the Biltmore in Asheville. I wasn't sure how that would work out with a toddler, but there were lots of things for her to do. We went to the farm on Tuesday and saw baby goats and chickens. Then on Wednesday morning Chip and I rented bikes and a trailer for Lydia. Wednesday afternoon we tried to take Lydia swimming in the hotel pool, but it rained ( I found out when we were leaving that there was an indoor pool, too... Boo). She loved the hotel room room though! The windows were low enough for her to look out of, and it was carpeted, so she walked from one end to the other. So sweet! She slept great in the hotel crib, too.
Our view from the hotel room


The gorgeous room




Chickens! (bok-bok!)





Afternoon nap on mama


To me family vacations are all about spending time together. Relaxing. Making memories. We sat outside a lot. I cooked a lot. Some people might think that's weird (cooking, on vacation?)... but to me cooking for my family is how I show them love. I'm not a writer and do not claim to be one, but Amber Wilson over at for the love of the south is, and her post about her kitchen is so simple and sweet. A love note to cooking and making dishes for those you love.


The mom I want Lydia to have cooks her good food, and the family I want her to have sits down at the table together to share a meal. Maybe one day when she grows up we'll all play a game or cards together. But for this trip I was happy to blow bubbles over and over, color, paint, dig rocks, and look at bugs. Precious time with my precious girl!


Friday, May 30, 2014

21 Months.. AKA Time to Stop Talking in Months...

Gosh, my little girl was 21 months old on May 16th! When people ask how old she is, I now say "almost 2"! Unbelievable.


The biggest news is that Lydia is walking some. Dr. Singletary told us that she'd send Lyds to physical therapy if she wasn't walking by 20 months. April 16th rolled around, and Lydia still had not taken the first step, so I called Lydia's nurse (Lauren... LOVE her) and gave her the report... no walking. Lauren made an appointment with a physical therapist for the following week. I took Lydia to the therapist, and the therapist let Lydia play around for a good 20 minutes and just watched her play. She thought Lydia was moving really well and didn't see much cause for concern physically. Thank God! She really thought Lydia was just delayed due to her prematurity (and lack of regular "encouragement" from other kids). She recommended we buy 1/2 pound slip-on weights for Lydia to wear on her legs during the day. We got them, Lydia wore them, and she was walking 5-6 steps on her own within the week. It worked!

Right now we are really working on getting her to walk as much as possible on her own (no help). She still can't stand up on her own without pulling up on something. We will go back to the physical therapist soon for a follow up to make sure Lydia is still on track.



Lydia's biggest development is talking. Woah, this girl can TALK. She repeats all kinds of words: water, juice, bottle, book, circle, yellow, blue, this, that, outside, peas, ham, apple, walk, and Walle... and animal noises: moo, roar, bok bok, meow, baa, oink, quack quack, sssss (for snake), tweet tweet, and hop (for rabbit). She says phrases, too: I'm ready, Sorry Daddy, Go go go, All done, All gone, I pooted (I don't know who taught her that one - must be Daddy).


I am busy with trying to keep her interested in activities! Lately we have been working on fine motor skills. I bought three packs of dried lima beans (big enough that she can't put them up her nose because she likes putting ANYTHING up her nose), and we've been practicing pouring and scooping with those. She likes coloring, too. I've tried to interest her in stacking blocks, but blocks just aren't her thing.

Lydia's sleeping routine has changed a bit recently with the longer days of summer. She generally sleeps 10-11 hours straight each night. She wakes anywhere from 6 to 7 AM depending on when she went to bed the night before. As for naps, Lydia takes one nap a day, usually around 11:30 AM. A good day is when she naps for 2-3 hours. A bad day is when she naps for 40 minutes (yep, it's happened). Bedtime is generally 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM. She wakes at night from time to time, but we rarely have to go into her room to quiet her down. She generally soothes herself back to sleep. She sleeps in a Halo sleep sack with a pillow, two "woobies", and a blanket. We make her leave the woobies in the crib when we get her up in the morning... I can't handle her tracking them all over the house.

Lydia is still a pretty good eater. She'll try pretty much anything, but our go to foods are ham, turkey, chicken, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, cheddar bunnies, peanut butter crackers, apples, pears, grapes, bananas -- gosh any fruit really. She does not like spicy food. Most of the food I cook has cayenne or jalapeno or something spicy in it, so she rarely eats what I cook.

Lydia still doesn't eat any dairy because it stops her up so bad. Up until now we've given her an 8-ounce bottle of Toddler Transitions formula each morning when she wakes up then Sunny (her sitter) feeds her breakfast around 8:30 AM. During the day she drinks water, a blend of water and apple juice, or unsweetened almond milk. I've been hesitant to stop the formula because it has more calories per ounce than almond milk or soy milk. I hate to deny my baby any calories. But she's growing fine, and at almost 2 years old it is time to stop the bottles. Tomorrow morning will be our first morning without a bottle. I'll offer her a sippy cup of almond milk when she wakes up, then I'll offer breakfast soon after that. I'm starting the transition to Montessori school now because in the fall we'll have to give her breakfast before we leave for school. I'm starting the transition early so that there aren't a ton of changes for her to make all at once for school. Gosh, I hope it goes well. She still gets another 8-ounce formula bottle at night before bed, and I plan to quit that when we start potty training.


Goodness, what else... I feel like I'm leaving out what makes Lydia so special - the child is so happy! She LOVES comedy. One of her favorite things it to poot in the tub or poot on our hand while we change her diaper. Geez, at some point I have to teach her "Excuse me" and all that jazz. But for now it is hiarious!

And another thing, the child hates hearing No! If she is close enough to you, she will try to slap you in the face! She makes this "I'm frustrated" face then wants to slap and hit. Ugh. We are telling her "You may not hit" and "touch gently" and the "I understand you are frustrated but you cannot hit". Sheesh. It works in the moment to make her stop hitting, but she doesn't remember it for the next time. I'm sticking to my guns on this one and hope it sinks in. Something tells me we have a firecracker on our hands though.

Next post is 2 years old. Man, time is flying!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Look Who's Walking

Lydia took her first steps on my birthday last Thursday. Here is a quick video of her walking.
- Posted from my iPhone using BlogPress

Friday, April 11, 2014

Yoga Videos on YouTube

For the past few months I've been involved in a work project that has kept me away from the Wednesday @ noon yoga class that my employer offers. I've been missing it SO MUCH. A noon class at work is really convenient. Little to no effort goes in to me actually getting there, and the teachers we've had are excellent.

I wanted to add a practice back into my week because I really love yoga, and I think it helps me focus and regroup. In the past I've done some of the free Yoga Journal podcasts, and I've liked those. Since my Samsung TV is connected to YouTube, I thought I would try out some of the free YouTube yoga videos.

But, let's face it, most yoga videos on YouTube are pretty bad. I've seen my fair share of folks who have recorded themselves in their tiny apartments on dirty carpet with dogs barking in the background. Not to mention the awful sequences in general and bad instructions.

But, I've found some gems, too, so I thought I'd share them . The first one is my favorite. The instructor, Ali Kamenova, has a beautiful Russian accent. Her hot body and the gorgeous Santa Cruz beach in the background doesn't hurt, either. This is a challenging sequence. I appreciate that she adds in a chaturanga between upward and downward dogs, creating a little "push up" in the sequence. Georgette, my yoga teacher in Clinton, added that little push up to her sequences, too, and I love it. This is more a of a strengthening sequence.

Energizing Morning "Coffee Cup" Sequence:



The other video I like is more of a flexibility sequence. It flows very quickly and is a great warm up for the body. Again, I love the beach setting. This one is less challenging physically, but a little harder to follow because she flows through the poses quickly.

Morning "Blush of Dawn" Routine:

If you are looking for some good, free routines, give these a try. Both are great for an intermediate yogi. I wouldn't suggest them for beginners. If you know of other YouTube gems that I should check out, let me know in the comments.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Smoothie Kick

I've been on a green smoothie kick lately. It started with Lydia's babysitter. She would whip one up when she got to our house in the mornings and would often share with me. I was hooked.



I started making them myself a few weeks ago, and I love it! Here's the basic recipe I use.

1 cup flavored Kefir (I usually use strawberry or peach because that's what they have at Kroger)
1 large handful of greens (I've used kale, swiss chard, and spinach)
1/2 banana
1/2 cup fruit (raspberries, strawberries, mango, etc)
1 Tbsp black chia seeds (for fiber to feel full)
1 Tbsp flax seeds (protein for sustained energy)

Blend on low, then high until smooth. Add 1 cup ice if you like yours chilled. Blend on high until all ice is blended.

So, depending on what fruit you add, the smoothie will probably be brown or gray. Not green. But that doesn't bother me. I feel great getting in so many fruits and veggies first thing in the morning. I do find that sometimes I need a mid-morning snack when I just have a smoothie, so I keep Autumn Wheat Kashi at my desk to munch on.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Trike

We picked up a trike with a steering handle at the recommendation of our friends. (Thank you, Leah!) Lydia LOVES it! We like it too.






We've been all over the place. Up and down the driveway FAST FAST FAST. Up the street and back. To the park and back. All over. Not a weekend has gone by that we did not use it. By next summer, I hope she can reach the pedals!