Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Winnie-the-Pooh Day!

On Monday I had the playgroup over for a party in honor of A.A. Milne's birthday. The theme of the day: Winnie-the-Pooh!

Before the guests arrived, Rosemary unleashed her inner Picasso by painting with water on her easel. I kept it up with a couple of Winnie-the-Pooh and Friends paint with water pictures during the playdate and some of the other kids took their time to become artists.

After everyone arrived we crowded around our dining room table and made Winnie-the-Pooh masks. Here's Rosemary working hard:

And here she is with her finished product:

I tried to come up with a themed meal. I ended up with some themed snacks instead. Here's Rabbit's Veggie Patch:

Here are Pooh's Hunny Buns:

After lunch the kids played while the moms has an opportunity to catch up. Here's Rosemary taking care of her baby:
It was a really fun playdate! I hope to be doing more like it in the future. In March I'm planning on hosting our second annual Plant A Flower Day playdate. Last year we planted sunflowers. I think I'm going to stick with that because they grow so quickly and so large that the kids can really see their efforts pay off. I'll be sure to blog about it when I do!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Just a typical Sunday

This has ended up being a pretty fun family weekend. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera ready to go so I missed Rosemary's first geo-caching adventure. We went to two places around here, and found one micro-cache. It's so funny to hear Rosemary say "I like geocaching!" Maybe she has a future as a cartographer, or an anthropologist, or a city planner. Someone who uses GPS!

I also got a little gardening done. I cleared a tiny part of our yard that was affected by the recent freeze (and a few months worth of neglect). I still have over half the yard left, but it felt good to get as much finished as I did! I have more plans for a spring butterfly garden and I cleared out the bed where it will hopefully go, so that was good.

This morning we went to a birthday party for one of Rosemary's boyfriends. It was a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse themed party. I wish I took pictures! Rosemary got her nose painted like Minnie Mouse! She had a lot of fun, too.

I spent much of the weekend preparing for a Winnie-the-Pooh themed playdate I'm hosting tomorrow. Anyone who has known me for any length of time might think their eyes are playing tricks on them, but you aren't seeing things. I said Winnie-the-Pooh. Yup, I'm a mommy now. I host Winnie-the-Pooh playdates. It is A.A. Milne's birthday. See, it's all related to literature. That's not much of a stretch for me ;) I'll try to get some pictures tomorrow so you can see the craft I have planned for the kiddos!

I thought these pictures were kind of funny. This was Joe and I working tonight.

He is so seriously focused on his big engagement.

I am so seriously focused on cutting out Winnie-the-Pooh heads.

You might notice the paint splotches in the background. We are FINALLY picking out paint for the living/dining room. I think we're going to paint the hall as well so most of the house is one color. The two colors we're choosing between are Behr's Gobi Desert and Harvest Brown. They are so similar it's really hard to tell which one we like better. Lighting makes a huge difference. I'm hoping we'll get the house started next week so I'll post pictures! I can't wait! After we paint we can add little decorating touches. I'm thinking some teal would be nice. I can't wait to get this house all finished and cozy on the inside! Yay!

Here's a little picture from earlier in the week. I took Rosemary to the aquarium with our playgroup. I finally figured out how to turn my flash off so I get pictures of the fish!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Two year old reflections

I don't have any pictures today. I'm having trouble sleeping, even though I'm beyond exhausted, so I thought I'd blog while I sip my Sleepytime Tea.

Rosemary is going through a very clingy phase. It got to me earlier today when we met our playgroup at the park and Rosemary wouldn't even walk up to the playground. She waited for me to walk back and pick her up. I started to get a little frustrated and I went and got her and sat down next to a friend and her little boy with Rosemary on my lap. That's when she started getting more comfortable and eventually got into a pine needle throwing contest with the little boy and as she warmed up she became less and less clingy. By the time we left she was climbing up and going down the slide all by herself. She just needed a little encouragement and some love from mommy. She fell asleep in the car but woke up as soon as we walked into the house. It wasn't a peaceful wake up. It was a crying, whining wake up. I laid her down on our bed and rubbed her back until she calmed down a bit. Then I mentioned that we had cranberries and she perked right up. It's such a weird age. She's starting to whine a LOT. She'll cry or moan "mommy, mommy, mommy" repeatedly. I've started telling her that's not how she gets my attention. It's like she forgets that she can talk, but as soon as I remind her she becomes this sweet little girl who asks politely for whatever it is she wants. Earlier today she wanted to get on her swing but the buckle was already buckled. She was crying when she walked up to me. I told her to use her words and she instantly stopped crying and said "Fix the buckle, please, mommy." And she was perfectly happy. I just have to remember to be patient. And as for the clinginess, it probably won't be long before she doesn't want to cling to me and that'll be even worse! I resolve to not get upset when she clings to me instead of instantly running up to her friends and joining in the fun. She's my little girl and I love her so much. If she would rather sit on my lap or have me pick her up in my arms, then I'll do it as long as she'll let me!

Some of my favorite things Rosemary does/says right now:

- "Can I hug my mommy?" She says this when she wants me to pick her up and carry her. I thought it was so sweet that she wanted to hug me all the time, until I caught on. Although I do miss "Up-a-daisy my mommy" which she used to say.
- "Ding dong" This is what she calls a hanger. Go look at one. Picture a bell. She's pretty smart!
- Sing "Sing, sing a song!" or "La, la, la" whenever she hears music. This is adorable. Whether at church (which we're trying to take her to) or in the car, she tries to sing a long!
- Her daily bathroom ritual. At least once a day I give her some free time in the bathroom sink. The first day she dumped out a new pack of at least 300 piggy-tail rubber bands into the sink, which was full of water. When I found her, she told me she was "cleaning" them and was so proud of herself! Another time the water was still running and the sink was just about to overflow. She had one of her mermaid dolls in the sink. I rushed in and turned off the water and she told me she needed the water because her mermaid was swimming!

Ok, the tea is starting to kick in so hopefully I'll be able to catch a few hours of sleep tonight. My sinuses have been bothering me so I haven't had a peaceful night's sleep all week. Let's hope tonight is the lucky night!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January Play!

This month is already getting away from me! Our goal was to settle down a bit and get back into a routine, but it's turned out that we're not finished having fun! Here are some of the things we've been doing to keep busy in this new year:

This was our second annual New Year's Day trip to the Florida Aquarium. It's pretty neat to see Rosemary get something new out of the aquarium each time we take her. This time one of the roseate spoonbills was on the loose- fishing in one of the exhibits! It was pretty amazing to watch! Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a picture of it because everyone there had cameras out and was posing next to it so I missed my opportunity, but Rosemary now knows a new word- spoonbill. Not sure too many 2 year-olds are that well versed in Florida birds!

Our next little excursion was to the Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach. On a tip from a friend who said to make sure to go when it's cold, we went out there all bundled up and it was AMAZING! There were probably over a hundred manatees out there. If you look closely you can see all the little manatees in the water in the picture. The other picture I just thought looked neat of our shadows!

As a finale to the fun and excitement of January so far, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus came to town!!!!! I'm not sure I would recommend going with a 2-year-old, and I'm pretty sure I had more fun than she did, but overall it was great. We got there early enough to enjoy the floor show, meet some of the performers and even try on some of the clothing! At one point after the show actually started, we got a little tired of trying to finagle Rosemary to stay seated, so Joe took her out into the lobby to let her run around a bit. When they came back, Rosemary was covered in face paint and had a big red nose! Joe had taken her and got her face painted and picture taken as a clown! It might be the cutest thing I've ever seen. She may not look so happy in the picture, but believe me, she was actually loving it! In fact, now when Joe gives her a bath, he takes a paintbrush and uses water to put "clown makeup" on her because she loved it so much!

Not quite as exciting as the circus, but I've been doing some fun things with Rosemary while Joe works. One day I took her to Gator Freds, a local indoor play area with bounce houses and a pretend village made for toddlers and preschoolers. She had so much fun! I took a million pictures, but here's one of her when we first got there. In a boat.

Since Rosemary gave up naps when she was 18 months old, I've been looking for a way of getting a little break into our day, so I'm trying to have a daily "quiet time". I put a movie on, cuddle her on the couch with a blanket, and lay down next to her. What's happening right now is that I'm falling asleep while she pokes me for a good 30 minutes and then she gets up and is off running around, but hopefully eventually she'll get the idea and we'll both get a nice rest during the day! Doesn't she look all cozy cuddled up?! She likes to say "Hi mommy. I love you, mommy. Are we cuddling, mommy? Is that your nose, mommy? Hi, mommy..." and on and on and on. She really doesn't get the whole "quiet" thing!

Another thing we like to do while daddy works is play "under the sea." This blanket makes the coolest fort. It really does feel like we're under the sea! I wish my flash didn't brighten it so much because it's really cool!

And to leave you a little two-year-old behavior that Joe and I knew was coming eventually, Rosemary got into my purse tonight and found my lipstick. Here's the result.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Toy storage

As part of my house reorganization/redecorating/restructuring process that I've been in for, oh, about two and a half years or so, I decided to take back my dining room and organize all of Rosemary's toys. I wanted to make sure they were organized and accessible, but also cute. I also wanted them out of sight when I'm trying to eat dinner. And I thought it would be nice to actually have a table to eat dinner on (our table was replaced by her toys a few months ago when I decided our dining table made a better sewing table and we didn't really need a place to eat anyway.) I'm really happy with the result! All of her toys are now in her bedroom (minus her kitchen and easel and a few ride-on-toys that, alas, are in our living room- but at least all the toys with pieces parts are gone!).

Here's the view as you walk in.

The toy chest was mine when I was a kid- repainted and refurbished by my dad before Rosemary was born.
I had been looking for a place to store of Rosemary's fairy wings, princess dresses, and tutus. The clothesline idea was stolen from my classroom days. I used to display my student artwork on a clothesline. The wings and headpieces are so pretty and were getting crushed in the drawer where they were previously stored, I figured I may as well put them on display. She can also access them easier. Of course, when I was showing her how to get them off, it became a full day of playing with clothespins rather than her wings. I'm trying to decide how to pretty up the clothespins- paint them, hot glue something on them. I'm not sure yet. The flowers are the barrettes leftover from the favors for her birthday party. I thought they were cute enough to display and she can wear them whenever she wants! I also like the fact that she can look out the window while she plays fairy dress up. Kind of sets the magical-fairy tale mood- set in a forest wonderland (ok, it's actually a bed that has way too many overgrown ferns, but it kind of looks fairy-tale kingdomish).

Here's the best organizer in the world- the 9 cube storage unit by Closetmaid. One of my biggest needs was a place to store Rosemary's books. I had some on a bookshelf in our dining room (that I was able to completely remove thanks to this wonderful little unit!) and the rest in the basket on the nightstand and in the drawers of the nightstand in this picture. There were just way too many books! Now they're all neatly organized in her little reading nook.

Here's also where my analness came in handy. In the top drawer of the nightstand are delicate paperbacks and antique books that I don't want Rosemary to play with by herself but I want to access when we read together. In the bottom drawer are mini board books. In the top left cubby of the storage organizer are her books from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (awesome program- free books for all kids under age 5). In the top right cubby are her educational books- colors, shapes, numbers, etc. In the middle cubby are storybooks (fairy tales and classics) and animal books, separated by a Disney Princess board book set. In the bottom left cubby are her Dr. Seuss books and part of a set of Disney hardback books that belonged to Joe when he was a child. In the bottom right cubby are her bedtime stories. In the top pink cubby are her Barbie-type toys (mostly Disney princesses, but also her My Little Pony and Mr. Potato Head.) In the left green bin are her musical instrument toys. The right green bin has her fine motor skill toys (lacing beads, a peg and hammer set, etc). The bottom green bin has her Little People toys. On top of the cubbies are her puzzles, big books that wouldn't fit on the shelves (and thematic ones I put out- something I started doing as a teacher and now do for her. For the holidays I had Christmas books out. I'll probably put out some winter books next. What can I say- I was both a teacher and a librarian. I love books!), and stuffed animals that go along with some of her books. In the basket on the nighttable are electronic toys.
The only thing I need to find a good place for now are her dolls. Right now her cradle is replacing the big bunny in the above picture and her dolls are all around it, but it looks cluttered. So I'm rethinking that. But for now I'm really happy with the way all her toys are organized! Oh- and I found a drawer for the floor piano that is in front of her cubbies in the above picture so it isn't cluttering up the room any more and she can take it out when she wants to play with it. I think Joe and I play with it more than she does (seriously, Joe used to teach piano lessons so he can play some Bach on that thing. It amazes me!)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The big event!!

Now that we're a good 48 hours into the new year I'm going to finish up our Christmas celebration with a quick blog about our actual celebration! We celebrated Christmas with my parents, as we do every year, in Ponte Vedra. No one can do Christmas like my mom so there's no point trying to start a new tradition here in Tampa when we can have the best up there! Our big day is always Christmas Eve. We start with a huge feast. As you can see, Rosemary was SO excited about dinner!
Growing up, my parents always liked to torture my sister and I and make us do the dishes while my parents SLOOOOOOWWWWWLLLLY sipped coffee before opening presents. But seeing as how our little one is like a time-bomb that will explode if she does not get to bed on time, we decided to skip the anticipation and get right down to business.

After opening presents, Joe and I went to midnight mass at Our Lady Star of Sea- the church where we got married. It was my first time ever going to midnight mass. I'm so glad we went. Now I know where all the Christmas carols come from! The next morning when we woke up, Santa had come and left Rosemary a couple surprises. Well, he had a little help from grandma and grandpa. This was my doll cradle when I was little. My parents gave it a new coat of paint (it used to be dark wood with a little girl painted on it) and made it all pretty. Tinkerbell sure enjoys it! (credit must be given to Joe for this picture. Whereas I'm the snapshot taker, he actually gets decent photographs!)

One of the best things about spending Christmas in Florida is that it is a tradition to go to the beach on Christmas morning. This isn't the most flattering picture of me, but it's the best I got!Rosemary loved it! (this is another Joe photo) I'm not sure who had more fun, though- grandpa or Rosemary. Notice the clouds rolling in in this picture. We were lucky we made it the beach when we did. It ended up being a rainy Christmas. Grandpa and Rosemary spent some time jumping in the waves before the sprinkling started and we high-tailed it back to the car just in time for a downpour!

The next day we spent some time at a playground. I just love this picture of Rosemary!

That night Joe and I got to go visit a good friend of mine while the grandparents babysat and were treated to an exquisite bacon-wrapped steak and crab cake dinner, along with some good wine, good rum, and great conversation. I tried getting some pictures of the flaming bananas foster dessert, but they just didn't turn out that exotic. So just let me describe them in one simple, yet appropos word: YUM! Thanks Alex for such a nice evening!

The next day we took a trip to the mall just to get out of the house for a while (and in search of a gift for family friends that I'll be talking about next). To our great surprise, the Avenues Mall now has a train that goes all the way around the downstairs! It was so much fun! Rosemary rode it twice- once with Joe and I and once with my mom!

The next day we woke up and drove westward. We were planning to visit Joe's parents, but unfortunately were unable to due to illness (thankfully we found out today that his mom is on the mend!) but didn't want to miss out on seeing some friends out that way so we made other plans. We made a quick stop in Tallahassee to have lunch with friends, and then continued to Laurel Hill to visit Joe's best friend's family. They bought some land out there (an understatement- "some" land is over 100 acres and currently has at least 3 families living on it) and are in the process of building a house on it. That house is AH-mazing! I'm hoping Joe was inspired to buy me some land and build me the exact same house on it one day ;) Here are some pictures of the two days we spent out there, starting with a picture of the house. (ala Joe)

Joe's bff's nephews and nieces were staying at the house as well so Rosemary was lucky to have some playmates. I'm pretty much betrothing her to this little boy as I am in love with this family and determined to have her married into it. Other than my own family, I have never felt so accepted and welcomed into anyone's home and family as this family makes me feel. The mother of the family is an amazing woman who treated Rosemary as though she was one of her own grandkids and made me feel so at home there.

And I just love this picture of Rosemary (via Joe). She looks so grown up and independent. You can't see in the picture, but she was walking toward a herd of cows (though you can see the tell-tell signs that a cow or two has been around if you enlarge the picture). I would love to buy her some land one day so she can be the queen of her castle and run around and be free!
I can't leave off a description of this trip without a picture of the horses! These horses just live there. Roaming free. How can you not love that?! I want land with horses!

On the car ride home, which was the longest car ride yet as it took us about 9 hours- YIKES!- we once again stopped in Tallahassee for lunch. We wanted to take Rosemary to our favorite place in the world. As we like to tell her, we've traveled the world and there's no place like Lake Ella.

Of course, while we were gone, Santa came to our house as well and left Rosemary a couple goodies. Here's a cute picture of Rosemary having her first tea party with daddy.

I think that just about sums up our Christmas holiday. Joe has one day left of vacation before going back to work on Monday. It's been an incredible 2 weeks. I feel refreshed, rejuvenated, revived, and alive! Family, friends, presents. I couldn't ask for more!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Christmas festivities

Most of my favorite memories of growing up are centered around our Christmas traditions. Baking and decorating sugar cookies, meeting Santa, getting dressed up in pretty new dresses (usually made by mom), putting up Christmas lights, drinking hot chocolate after playing in the snow... While playing in the snow is not possible here in Florida and I was very lazy this year and never got a dress made for Rosemary (sad, I know) we did manage to get in the Christmas spirit and create some new traditions of our own! Because there are going to be so many pictures, I'm making then small. Click on them for a larger view.

While we may not get real snow, a Chik-Fil-A up the road goes all out with holiday decorations, including snow machines! So I guess this counts as Rosemary's first snowfall ;) She was pretty excited!!!!
Every year, my mom has at least one homemade Christmas present for everyone in the family. I try to do the same. This year I got Rosemary into the action by taking her to a paint-your-own pottery studio. Here she is painting a ceramic tray for all Joe's shaving needs. He uses an old fashioned straight-razor with all the accoutrements (shaving mug, razor, etc) and it takes up a lot of room on the bathroom counter. Now he has a nice way to store everything complete with art work by his little girl!

One of my favorite things to do growing up was to make cookies to leave out for Santa. I cheated a little this time and bought ready-made sugar cookie dough. I won't make that mistake again! They spread way too much and some of the cookies lost their shape. Luckily, I didn't cheat on the frosting- homemade all the way! Even though the cookies themselves weren't what I remember from childhood, the frosting saved them and brought me back to a much simpler time! I know, I sound old.

Knowing we were going to be gone for most of the holiday season, it was really important to me to have the inside of our house decorated while we were home. So before we left for our Thanksgiving/West Virginia trip we put out our Christmas tree and set out some decorations. I added Rosemary's name to her stocking before she was born. We don't have a fireplace, therefore no mantle, so I made do the best I could. I ended up changing the decorations on our entertainment unit. My mom gave me part of a Christmas village (including a State College, like where I met Joe, a candle shop, a church, and a train depot) so I put that up. I didn't get a picture of it, though, so I posted a picture of my first attempt with the candles and nutcrackers! Rosemary put the first ornament on the tree. It's not upside down. That's how she put her little ducky ornament from her first Christmas.

Those are some of the pictures I have of our pre-Christmas celebration! Next up will be pictures of our actual Christmas in Jacksonville. That might be another long post! I might be finished with all of our December activities before the next new year!