We’re here, I swear!

Oh my goodness. What a gap in writing.

We are here and we are all doing well. Just busy.

Lillian is almost 16 months old and she is a chatterbox. She says mama, mommy, dog, cat, hat, hot, yogurt, panda, touchdown and baby just to name a few. She also will tell you the animal sounds for cow, sheep, chicken, pig, dog, lion, alligator (claps her hands really wide) and giraffe (makes a chomping sound like she’s eating leaves). She is communicating very well with us and it is so cool to see. Last night she signed more, and I asked her what she wanted more of and she shouted “YOGURT!” Clearly she understood my question.

She is also very active (she runs around like crazy) and outrageously funny. Last night, I went downstairs to start laundry and she always waits behind the gate at the top of the stairs for me. So when I start going upstairs, she heard me coming, then I heard her running and laughing. She had hidden in the kitchen and when i came up she jumped out from behind the wall with her arms in the air and yelled BOO! We all cracked up.

Lillian is also big on body parts and knows her eyes, nose, ears, hair, head, feet and belly button. She will also show you her tongue if you ask. She can also say belly button which is pretty funny and super cute.

I am going to try to post more but between having a crazy toddler, a busy house and busy work, it has been hard to remember to do it.

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Tired and Inspired

So there was no post yesterday. No excuses. Just didn’t get to it. I have been exhausted I thought about it a lot. I knew what I wanted to write about and how I wanted it to sound, but it just didn’t happen. My apologies.

But I do have a lot to say today and it is all centered around inspiration.

Here’s the backstory to my inspiration:  I work for a nonprofit that provides addiction treatment services for people throughout Maryland. One of the special populations we serve is pregnant and parenting mothers who come into residential treatment with us and bring their kids (this eliminates the barrier of women not coming into treatment because they don’t know who will take care of their kids for 5 – 7 months).

So, with the holidays coming up, we are always looking for people to help us with our small holiday party for the women and children’s program by donating gifts and “adopting” the kids for the holidays. The participation and excitement varies from year to year, but we always try to make it a very special holiday for the kids, many of whom are spending their first holiday with their moms in a healthy state.

In searching for a way to boost participation this year and help make sure all of the kids were taken care of, I sent my email out to a bunch of business colleagues. A few spectacular folks responded immediately and signed up to help, but a few days later I still had more than 15 openings. So, being a youthful, techphilic young mama, I did what I do anytime I am looking for assistance, advice, etc: I turned to Facebook. I posted the information and asked people to let me know if they were interested. And you know what…

Within 49 minutes, all but 4 kids were adopted!

I was amazed, inspired and sincerely touched by all of the fast responses and enthusiastic people who gleefully signed up to adopt one or more kids this holiday season. Everytime I got another answer, I shed another tear.

And it got me thinking.

I have been very lucky in my life. There have been times that haven’t been easy, months where our spending has been lean or limited, but overall, I have had so many wonderful experiences and opportunities, and I am not in need of anything. If I want a new coat, or new tennis shoes or to go out to dinner with friends, I may have to shift some funds or cut spending in one area, but I can do it eventually. Many, many people can’t.

And so, this year I am starting what I hope to be an annual tradition: My No-Giftmas.

That’s right. I don’t want anything. Nothing. I don’t need anything.

But you’re my secret santa/mom/grandma/friend and you really wanted to get me something? Ok…

Give me the gift of giving back to one of these amazing charities:

Recycled Love (outstanding animal rescue group in Baltimore): http://recycledlove.org/home.html 

or their other rescue branch: http://www.jasmineshouse.org/home.htm  which serves those amazing pitt bulls that we love so much in our house.

This is another wonderful organization, founded by Sonja Sohn, one of the stars of HBOs hit series, The Wire. They do great things in Baltimore: http://rewiredforchange.org/

and lastly, The Family Tree is a great group that we accepted donations for in lieu of gifts at Lillian’s 1st birthday party: http://www.familytreemd.org/   They work with preventing child abuse and neglect.

Holiday Cheer in the Making

This year, we decided we want to MAKE holiday gifts for people since we think they mean so much more when they are from the heart and the home and not some big box store.

So about 2 weeks ago we started our first project and yes, we needed to start then because it takes 6 – 8 weeks to properly make… homemade vanilla extract (if you read this blog and then receive a bottle, you MUST act surprised 🙂 ).

So here are two pictures of our work in progress (week one and then week two):

 

 

 

Tsk Tsk, Bad Blogger

I missed my post-of-the-day yesterday and I am so disappointed.

But… I have a good reason…

Lillian is dropping a nap and going from two to one nap per day.  So I was busy saving my sanity yesterday and sitting around like a big pile of mush when she was asleep last night.

We are trying to move her morning nap back a little bit so that it is closer to noon to make her well rested and not a little cranky creature at 5:30 pm.  It is easier to do on the weekends than when my mom is here watching her during the day, but all in all it is hard on everyone. Cause, I mean, who really wants to hang out with a sleepy toddler while trying to hold her off for another hour until a nap?…

So, I missed my post yesterday and I am sorry, but I am hoping that these links to some amazing recipes we have made recently will help you all forgive me 🙂

http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001525.html

 

http://glorioustreats.blogspot.com/2011/09/pumpkin-pecan-dessert-in-jar.html

http://life-as-a-lofthouse.blogspot.com/2010/09/baked-sweet-and-sour-chicken-with-fried.html

http://sixsistersstuff.blogspot.com/2011/09/slow-cooker-orange-chicken.html

So Much Junk!

Lauren and I decided that we needed to tackle our bit-of-a-mess basement to try to declutter and reorganize. Now, we did this while I was pregnant, but most of it involved me sitting on the couch and putting things in bins since I was gigantic and sluggish.

So today, during Lillian’s morning nap we started our great basement project. The hour and a half that we had down there went MUCH better than I thought and we cleared out two trash bags of trash and a huge box of recycling. We also condensed a lot of things and started utilizing our crawl space under the stairs a bit better.

Our goal tonight is to clean out our monster of a desk so we can take a photo of it and try to sell it on Craigslist. Who knew that we would be getting rid of our great desk that served as our undergraduate and graduate school paper-writing-station to make room for a play kitchen and some rid on toys.

Ah, kids, the infiltrate your life and force you to rearrange your house every few months to make more room for things that beep, blink and sing. 🙂

Whew! Brush those teeth, girl!

I never knew that Lillian would have stinky breath at just 13 months old, but man… whew.

I suppose it could be attributed to the garlic and brussel sprouts we fed her for dinner, but oh my goodness it is terrible. Thankfully we recently bought her some Tom’s of Maine toothpaste for kids that she likes so at least she has a garlicy-strawberry odor coming from her mouth… it makes it a little more tolerable. 🙂

Say It Ain’t So!

Sometimes I foolishly think that Lillian will forever be spared of things such as sleep regression, temper tantrums and learning to walk. I assume that she will always remain small and will never go through the things that all the books tell you about. Most of the time I am quickly shown that I am wrong.

My most recent “I was wrong” moment centers around the shift from two naps to one. I really thought I had another 6 months or more until our glorious two napper decided to drop one — afterall, she is still tiny, right?

Well she has a different plan in mind.

During the past few days, we have been struggling to get in a second nap, with her most stable and consistent nap of the day occurring from about 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 or so. And that’s it!

Yesterday she played in her crib for over an hour before she finally passed out for 30 minutes, and today my mom said she didn’t sleep a wink after 75 minutes. Ugh! Thankfully she is still pretty pleasant (pleasant enough to take her out to have sushi last night, and god knows we wouldn’t take a monster out in public).  I just hope that the pleasantness continues and the one nap per day transition is kind on all of us.

I guess it’s true that the only thing that is constant is change.

But it doesn’t mean that I have to like it.