Friday, June 28, 2013

5 on Friday!

So excited to be linking up with Hello Happiness and others to share my take on 5 on Friday... 5 of my very favorite things this week!  Here we go!

1.)    New job! Yep, I am officially 4 days into my new J-O-B and it is going great!  Sooo much to learn, but I am so very excited to have the opportunity to learn from some of the best, and really grow my skills.  Oh, you might be wondering what my new gig is?  I officially took the position at the United Way, as a Quality First Director.  Not sure what that means?  In a nutshell, Quality First is Arizona’s quality improvement and rating system which uses a five star system to essentially grade early care and education programs.  The star rating that each program gets is used to let parents, and the community, know what level of quality that program is (by looking at ERS/CLASS scores).  Soooo awesome, and so important.  (Flashback to my post about finding Quality Childcare…how helpful would it be if every state had something like this?!)  I also get to spend about 20% of my time working in Professional Development, which is totally my ‘thing’!


2.)    Chalkboard Mason Jar Mugs.  Seri? I love Mason jar anything (if you saw my house, you would think I am crazy.) Pair that with chalkboards, and I am dying over here.  (My chalkboard obsession has taken over my house… seriously.  I painted our guest bathroom walls with dark gray chalkboard paint to people can potty and doodle…weird? Too much? I don’t care.) Annnyway, these are a must have for the summer.  I will take them!

3.)    Brickyard Buffalo Store.  Have you all heard of this?  OMG so great!  You can follow them on their instagram feed, or just go straight to their site—they feature great finds from (usually) somewhat smaller/unknown/etsy style shops with great deals!  Everything from handmade baby clothes/accessories to pillows to jewelry…check them out!  I am certain you will see something pretty unique that you cannot live without.


4.)    Prinst-gram.  Soooo I have been trying to figure out how I was going to take the 500+ instagram pictures from my phone, and print them into nice, non-morphed photos to keep (mostly because they chronicle some fun moments of Ledoux’s first year!) I found this website, and the prices are fairly cheap for quality photos.  You can get calendars, prints, etc. with your instagram photos.  Can’t wait to get mine in the mail!!!


5.)    Planning Ledoux’s first birthday! WHAT?! I don’t know where in the bloody hell the first year went, but it has almost passed us by. I am half sad, and have overjoyed that I actually lived through an entire first year! I did it! I lived! Seriously though, I got the invitations ordered, but haven’t done anything since.  In fact, I haven’t even addressed and sent them out.  I am so behind!  My priority this weekend is to actually invite people to her party, and then start to plan out the festivities.  The theme? Western.  With a name like Ledoux, what did you expect? J

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday ramblings

Hi there! I really hope everyone had a most fab weekend, and are ready to get this week started. (sighhh..)  Be warned, my post today has absolutly no flow to it...and is full of totally random thoughts.

1.) That moment when you have spent the entire morning with your little one, chasing them around and trying to keep them out of every potential hazard and danger, and they finally are **this close** to napping.  That was me yesterday.  After a morning of playing, chasing, crawling, and walking around the house, over and over with Ledoux, I was exhausted.  And she was well overdue for her little baby nap.  So I dimmed the lights, turned on the lullabies, and gave her a bottle.  As I was rocking her, and she was **this close** to falling asleep, someone knocks on the door.  And my dogs go crazy. Of course, is startles the babydoll and I am left with a decesion- do I get up and answer the door (and risk her not napping), or do I stay put and keep rocking her to sleep?  I choose option B. Don't get me wrong, I love playing with  my baby, but I live for the 45 minute naps she takes so I can dash around the house like a mad woman getting everything done that needs to be completed, before she wakes up and we start all over again.  Any other moms feel me on this?!

2.) I discovered the most amazing thing in the world this weekend.  Now  that Ledoux eats solids, and we are introducing more and more finger foods at mealtime, food is everywhere.  She takes fists full of food, with the intent of stuffing it in her mouth, only for it to end up all over the floor.  And of course, the dogs know better than to eat fruit and veggies (wayyyy to healthy for them!) so I have to get down on my hands and knees and pick it all up.  Have you ever tried to pick up a half of a banana, mashed up into small pieces?  Can we say slippery/sticky/gross.  Ugh!  Enter: the most amazing bib ever made.  It is some type of plastic/silicone (translation: you clean it in the sink, easy peasy!) and has a "lip" on it that catches about 80% of the food that would usually end up all over the floor.  Ahhhhh-mazing.  Seriously, every mommy needs one of these.  You can find them here, but I but found mine at Target for half the price Amazon has them listed for.

3.) Today marks my very last day before I start working in an 'office' job again.  Although I am excited to have a mission, if you will (like get up, actually shower and get dressed, and go to work), I am conflicted at the idea.  I have been working from home since I moved to Tucson, and although it is hard to work from home, it has offered me a ridiculous amount of flexibility, and time to spend with my little Doo.  I am not sure I am ready to jump back on the going to the office wagon...wish me luck!  I know it will take a bit of time and it will be fine, but I will miss being able to pick up my baby from childcare whenever I want (not to mention my trips to Target in the middle of the day, just because I can).  Sigh. I am also a bit worried at how I am going to juggle it all, but most of us mommies have to do it.  If y'all can do it, so can I!

I plan to spend the rest of my day off, before going back to work tomorrow, watching a lifetime movie and relaxing.  No cleaning the house.  No working out.  I am going to lay here, and do nothing.  And enjoy it.  I hope you all had a great weekend, and your week is off to a great start!  XOXO

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Baby Brains and Literacy!

Via First Things First

Hi Y'all!  Happy Thursday!  I really hope your week if flying by, gosh... mine sure is!  I still haven't made it to Express (or the mall, actually...) to buy some cute new work clothes in prep for my first day on my new job next week, but I have been spending some time reading some interesting information on young children.  If there is one thing that I cannot stress enough, it is the importance of understanding the impact we have on your children.  It just kills me when I see parents, grandparents, or just people in general who don't realize how much of an impact they have on children.  Whether its because they don't care or they just don't know, it is sooo important to educate everyone!

I think that picture at the top of this post says it all: The brain is the only organ not developed fully when a baby is born.  What does that mean?  It is constantly developing in the early years... and we are they key in that development!

So in short, what can you do today to help encourage learning and brain development?  Well, the list can go on forever, but we can start by focusing on literacy in the early years.  It is as simple as that- read to your babies!

  1. Read to young children EVERYDAY! (It doesn't matter if they are a newborn or a 4 year old!)
  2. Talk to your babies, regardless of age, and explain to them what you are doing.  Ask them questions (even if they cannot talk yet!)
  3. Take young children to the library.  Let them see you reading.
  4. Tell your children stories.  Make up stories with their name. 
  5. Read nursery rhymes, or even better, make up your own rhymes!  Sing them, chant them, whatever you want to do!
  6. Point out letters around you. Read alphabet books.  Play with Alphabet magnets.
I leave you with this awesome statistic, below.  Now, go READ to your babies! :)

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Babies, and bows, and onesies...oh my!

Holy Canoli!  I have been knee deep in creating, making, and shipping baby bows and accessories lately!  I just updated my Etsy Shop with some new designs, and have started creating baby onesies in addition to baby bows (and a few baby boy bow ties...more to come soon!)  Sorry, the wine in the picture isn't included in any bow purchases.  However, if you live near Tucson, come on over! :)

As a special little gift for my friends in the blog world, use promo code BLOGGER to get 30% of your purchase in our store!  We also do custom orders, so if you see a bow you love, but wish you could make it another color, change the headband, etc. just let us know!  We will make it to your heart's desire.  Here is the link:

I hope everyone out there is having a great week- Happy hump day, y'all!  It is **almost** Friday!  Wahoo!

Ledoux modeling one of our 4th of July bows!

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Our weekend recap in pictures!

Well, we meet again Monday.  Ugh.  This is my last week of working from home, before I start a 'real' job again.  I am very excited, a bit nervous, and somewhat bummed at the idea of actually having to wake up, dress up, and go to work.  Luckily, the only person who will have to deal with the transition is me, as Ledoux has been in childcare for a while now, and has developed quite the 'second' family there.  I think a trip to Express to stock up on some cute work clothes is in order this week.  Twist my arm.

Anyhoo, I hope y'all had a most fab father's day weekend!  We celebrated Lee's first Father's Day on Saturday, because my honey works Sundays.  So Saturday morning, we just lounged around as a family, and gave Lee is father's day gifts.  We got him a date-vitiation which he loved.  He also got a high powered pellet gun, so he can sit on the balcony, and keep the nasty little Arizona critters off of our piece of desert.  We decided the bunny rabbits, birds, and lizards are free from the wrath of Lee, but the snakes and spiders are free game.  Not to mention the wild pigs, coyotes, etc. that often make their way down the wash to our front door.

We spent the afternoon re-decorating our loft area.  We have an entire second level, that has a huge open space and our master bedroom bath, and we have had the hardest time deciding what to do with it.  Although it is far from done, we spend almost all of our time up there thanks to it being the only area of the house with carpet, that is totally baby proof (so Doo can move and groove to her hearts desire!)  I made her a little spot that is all her own, and I think she loves it!  Her favorite part?  Staring at pictures of herself.  Of course.  It is meant to be a fun place for her to lounge, read books, and maybe...someday...curl up and take a nap!? Yeah right.

 That evening, I surprised Lee with a date night to the zoo!  Ok, ok, I know you are thinking that sounds lame!  It was a special, after hours event at the zoo called 'Brews at the Zoo' and it was so fun!  For 3 hours, 15 or so different breweries set up shop in the zoo, and we walked around, sampled beers, and played at the zoo.  There is nothing I love more than the zoo, paired with unlimited amounts of beer...?  Count me in!

Since my hubs had to work Sunday, it was just me and Doodle!  We designed her 1st birthday cards (and old west theme is what we decided on!) and did some grocery shopping.  And yes, she actually loves to wear sunglasses.  She takes on a whole new 'tude when she puts them on, and I love it.  So sassy.  Soooooo sassy. She wore mine through the store, the whole time were there.

I hope everyone had a most fab weekend, and that your Monday flies by!  Only 4.5 days until the weekend, you can do it!!

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Baby Ledoux is 10 Months!

Ten Months Old!  How is time going by sooo fast? I just look at her and wonder where these last ten months have gone.  Everyday, she learns a new 'trick' and watching her learn and grow is such a trip!

Stats: There is no doubt she continues to grow (obvi!)  I don't know her actual weight, but she is definitely over the 20 pound mark, without a doubt!  She is also in 12-18 month clothes now, and size 4 shoes. She is super tall, and has really long fingers (future piano player or basketball player, maybe?!)

Sleep: Still a little angel (knock on wood) when it comes to sleeping at night.  She is in bed, every night, by 7 pm, and wakes up between 6:15 am-6:45 am.  Whatever you do, don't try and push bedtime past 7 pm.  She will make your life hell.  She is very clear on letting us know when it is 'that time' and Lee and I rush home like crazy people to try and make our 7pm deadline, before baby flips the bitchy baby switch!  I am not complaining, but I sure do miss sleeping in... I don't think I have slept past 7 am since Ledoux arrived... sigh.  She continues to not nap much during the day, sometimes she will take a nap, around lunch time, for about an hour, and a couple random cat naps in the car.  Other than that, this baby is go-go-go.

Eating: This is one of my sweet little piggy's favorite things to do.  Ledoux is officially eating big girl food, all by herself!  Lee is still terrified to see her eat actual food (he worries she will choke) but I am getting more used to the idea.  Her favorites are bananas and string cheese.  This little monkey will down an entire banana is less than 5 minutes (true story, I timed it this morning at breakfast!)  She pretty much eats whatever we eat, as long as we cut it up into small pieces.  She also had shredded chicken and really liked it!  Mostly, she eats fresh fruits though.  She still has the normal baby food, but everyday starts to hate it more and more... she would much rather feed herself.  We are down to about 3-4 6 oz bottles, but most of the time she doesn't finish the whole thing.

Health: Nothing in the last month!  She has been healthy, happy, and beyond active.  I am exhausted just thinking about it, hah!

Milestones: She now says "mama" and "dada" all the time.  She also stands up, crawls, and pulls her body up on to everything (chairs, baskets, ottomans, etc.)  Ledoux can also stand, unassisted, for a few seconds at a time!  She took her first half step last week (ahhhhhh!) so I am certain we will have a walking baby in the next couple weeks.  She LOVES to walk, and if we hold her hand, she will walk all throughout the house. Over. And over.  And over.  We also bought her a walker, and it is hilarious to watch her walk and push it around the house.  It is her (and our) favorite evening activity.  If I take her away from it, she screams.  New fave toy!

Likes: As mentioned above, she LOVES her walker. She cruises throughout the house with this thing, non stop.  She also has started a new game at dinner, and as soon as the spoon gets close to her mouth, she takes her hands and claps (so that the spoon is between her two hands) and food goes flying everywhere.  Of course, she laughs hysterically.  She also loves playing peek a boo, and hide and go seek (I hide, and yell "where's my baby?!") and she will come crawling looking for me- and then I jump out and scream "baby!"  It spooks her every time, and she loves it!

Dislikes: She has stranger danger, especially older men . The minute she sees one, she cries.  So odd! 

How are mommy and daddy? We are doing great!  Lee is rocking it at work, but working a lot of long hours lately. Boo!  Good thing he gets paid a lot of overtime! :)  I just got a new career working at the United Way, and start in a couple of weeks. Bittersweet, because I have really enjoyed working from home and the flexibility to spend time with my little darling, but I have to go back to the 'real world' sooner or later! We have what seems like a million baby showers coming up over the next 6 weeks, with 6 new babies getting ready to arrive before the end of August!  Holy canoli! My head is spinning, but I am so excited for all of our friends to meet their sweet littles!  Such an exciting time (and even more exciting?  I have almost made it through my first year of parenthood!)

I am looking forward to Lee's first father's day this weekend...planning is in progress as we speak! :)

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Baby Bill of Rights... A letter from your baby to you!

I remember when Ledoux was just a newborn little baby... all the nights of no sleep, frustration, love, sadness, pretty much every feeling you can possibly have in the world.  In fact, it feels like it was just yesterday.  I found this 'Baby Bill of Rights' during our first week home, and it really helped me keep everything in perspective.  I came across it again this afternoon, and wanted to share it with all the mamas out there... It just rings so true when you look at that sweet little face.  Even if that sweet little face is screaming back at you. Take a deep breath, read this, and maybe it will help you too.
My little baby isn't so little anymore...

Talk to me

Sing, hum, babble, or even read the funnies to me!

I don't know exactly what you're saying, but I need to hear you.

And I do know what you mean, even if I may not know words.

For example, your voice tone means "I love you". When you yell, I hear, "You're a pest".

Unless you communicate with me, how can I learn? I learn from you.

Hold me

Everything is so big and new to me. I don't understand where I am, or who I am.

And I get scared. But when you hold me, I feel better.

Your warmth warms me. Your breath and heartbeat make me feel I belong.

Belong here. Belong to you.

Answer my cry

I don't cry to upset you, or to get you mad.

I cry because I can't tell you how I feel any other way. I have no other way to communicate with you.

Maybe I'm cold. Or wet. Or hungry. Or scared.  Or lonely.

Answer my cries. You'll soon know what each one means. You won't spoil me.

You'll help me to be a better baby...and to make you happier, too.

Love me

Like me. Love me just as I am.

Don't expect me to do what I can't do. I'm still brand new.

My muscles aren't ready. I know I'm messy. But I'm growing.

Overlook my baby weakness. You're the most important person in my world.

I can't make it without you. Get to know me.

Have fun with me.

And love me...just as I am!

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Our favorite things: Months 8 and 9!

Well, we are about to dive into month 10 tomorrow (eeek!) and realized I hadn't done a month 8/9 favorites!  I have a bazillion things I loved these last couple months, that also made our life a teeny bit easier, but I narrowed it down to the following things:
1.) Fisher Price Brilliant Basics Musical Walker: Best. Purchase. Ever.  Just last week, Ledoux started **trying** to walk.  Although still a bit unsteady enough to walk unassisted, she uses this walker to walk all around our house.  She hasn't quite figured out how to turn it, so she runs it right into the wall, and will let out a loud shriek to let Lee and I know it is time to come and turn her around.  So that she can run it into the wall on the other side of the house.  Over, and over, and over again.  She loves it. That's what matters, right? (PS: I left the batteries out of it.  I cannot take one more singing toy in my house!)

2.) Bright Starts "Having a ball" activity table: This is one of Ledoux's very most favorite toys.  When she started standing up at the end of month 8, this was so much fun for her!  She could pull herself up on it, and play with all the music and sounds (and lights!)  Side note: I have every song it plays memorized, and find myself humming them under my breath.  When Ledoux is not around.  Sigh.

3. Yogurt Melts: Hands down, next to bananas, Ledoux's go to snack are yogurt melts.  She loves these, and I go through about 4-5 bags of them a week.  She shovels these things into her mouth.  I don't blame her for loving these, have you tried them?  Gosh, at the risk of sounding like a weirdo, I love baby food.  SOOO good.  (another of my her favorites? Baby 'Cheetos' found here.  So good!)

4.) Munchkin Snack tower: Love this!  Ledoux's snacks all go in this, and it pops apart to easily pour out for her for each snack time.  I put fresh fruit, melts, puffys, you name it in this.  Its neat, organized, and takes up very little space.  Win!

5.) Edushape My Soft World Blocks: I had no idea Ledoux would love these as much as she does!  These are her "go-to" toy in her nursery.  She crawls right over and takes them out of the container.  They are foam, and super soft, and she loves to chew on them.  Great buy for less than $20!

6.) MAM teether: Doodle is teething right now (when isn't a baby teething though...really?!) and she loves this teether.  She carries it around in her mouth, as she crawls, like a little puppy dog.  Its pretty funny! It fits her gums well, and has little 'bristles' in it that massage her gums when she bites down.

7.) This Little Piggy board book: This is Ledoux's current favorite book.  Who doesn't love the little piggy story? It has a fun little finger puppet in it, which makes Doo crack up laughing! 

8.) Eric Carle "Around the Farm" sounds book: Ledoux also loves this book.  I love Eric Carle anything thanks to the bright pictures, and I am glad Ledoux does too!  Each animal picture also has "sounds" so on each page, we can press the button that goes with the animal and she can hear what noise each one makes.  Her favorite is the turtle (random) and the horse (neeiiiggggggh!)

So there you have it, our favorite things for 8-9 months!!  I cannot believe that tomorrow my baby turns ten months... one year old (and a walking baby) are right around the corner! Slightly nervous, very excited!

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Not my usual trip to Target...a dilemma of sorts

So today at lunch, I found myself wandering the clearance aisles of Target, seeking deals that I just couldn't possibly live without.  There is nothing like a little red clearance tag that gets my heart pounding with joy.  Well, maybe that is an exaggeration... a nice glass of wine seems to have the same affects on me lately. Ok, I lied again.  Not just lately.  It always has that affect on me...both wine and clearance tags.  Anyway, my favorite section of Target is the baby aisles, because let's face it: Target has cute baby clothes that rival those at the baby gap.  And they are half the price.  What does that mean to me?  I can get twice as many clothes at Target, because my logic is this- from what I am saving by not shopping at baby gap, I have excess funds that I would be spending on baby clothes anyway, so I my as well get more for less.  Ok, perhaps my logic is totally flawed, but I don't care. 

My story actually has nothing to do with anything in the first paragraph, sorry about the tangent.

So as I was looking at baby clothes, a mom around my age (perhaps a bit older) was on the other side of the department looking at the women's clothing section with two small children- probably around the ages of 15 months, and maybe 3ish.  It was pretty clear that the mom was visible annoyed with them, I could sense her frustration from across the department, simply by the way she was jamming hangers back on to the racks and breathing heavily.  She was also in a fascinating phone call with someone about last night's latest drama with a friend, or husband? Not sure.  One of the children, the older one, was sitting in the cart and tugging on her shirt, clearly trying to get her attention, saying "Mommy."  She twisted her head around (Poltergeist style) and said to her child "SHUT UP!" She continued to say "If you don't shut up right now, you are getting nothing!  I can't believe that you act like such a naughty little selfish brat all the time!"  STOP THE PRESSES.  Did I seriously just hear her talk to her young child like that, in that tone?  I immediately pretended like her child was Ledoux... and how I would never speak to her in that tone, with those harsh words... it just broke my heart.

I get it, us mom's get frustrated. Its over 100 degrees outside (which tends to make everyone a little cranky.) I am no angel.  I have had to put Ledoux in her crib, walk away, take a breath and collect myself, and start over.  In public, Ledoux has thrown straight up temper tantrums. I didn't yell at her. I didn't call her names or put her down.  I don't care what the situation is, no child should ever be spoken to in that way.  The way in which we speak to our babies, regardless of age, is shaping how they see the world, how they will develop, the type of little person (and eventually big person) they will become... Speaking to our babies must be intentional. Take for example the picture below:

Take this into account, the next time you want to fly off the handle at your little darling:
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself
If a child lives with acceptance, and friendship, he learns to love...

At that moment, I wasn't sure what to do... do you confront the mom?  Do you try and ease the situation?  Or do you just walk away, and pretend that you didn't hear it?  What would you do in this situation? Sound off mommies!

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