New Year Already?

We had a fabulous Christmas! We hopped from house to house over several days and spent a lot of time with our families. Lea had a blast and handled all the mayhem very well. Bailey, on the other hand, hated it and spent most of the time hiding under tables or beds and behind sofa cushions. :) Now, time for some picture overload...


Lea's three favorite gifts were, in no particular order, a custom made rocking chair, a pillow pet and a Leapster lap top.

Skyping with Uncle Dave & Aunt Sarah

Playing in the snow!

It's hard to believe that a new year is right around the corner. So many wonderful things happened in 2010, I can only pray that 2011 will be just as good. I'm not really one for "new year's resolutions" but I did make a list of things I want to do and places I want to go this coming year. It's a list of fun things to do as a family... things like going to the zoo, camping at the lake and visiting family in FL and NM. I am looking forward to this new year and watching little Lea grow & learn even more... is that even possible? She's already changed so much! She just had her 15 month well check right before Christmas. 25th percentile for weight and 70th percentile for height. The doctor said she's perfect... but we already knew that. ;)


Yay, Christmas!

I am SO excited for Christmas this year!

Kevin came home today after two weeks in NJ (with a short weekend home in the middle). Now it feels like Christmas. ;) Lea and Bailey were so, so very excited to see Daddy walking up to the back door today. Kevin brought Lea a little stuffed giraffe from his trip and Lea just loves it.

 When you have a little dog that isn't so crazy about a toddler in the house, it's kinda hard to get a good picture of them together...

This was the best I got! lol
Our Christmas shopping is all done... gift wrapping is almost done... we might actually get some snow flurries on Christmas day... plans are all set for the next several days... and Kevin remembered that I had a tub full of old stuffed animals & dolls in the attic so Lea will be getting several more surprises from Santa! YAY!

Merry Christmas!!!

Lea's ready to open some presents!


More words...

Lea continues to say new words every day. She usually just says the first syllable of a word, but I read that any sound they make consistently for the same thing is considered a word.

Last night, as she was playing in a bubble bath, I asked her to say 'bubble'.... she immediately said "bub-bub". :)

Another thing she's into right now is her stuffed animals. She's always loved soft, fluffy stuffed animals but recently she's really been interacting with them. Almost every day she will line them all up on the sofa (or chair or floor). She makes sure they are sitting upright and gets mad if they fall over, then she talks to them. Yesterday, I am pretty sure she was scolding monkey. Her little finger was pointing in his face and she raised her babbling voice. Then, she stepped back, waited a second and proceeded to clap her hands at him so I guess monkey apologized to her. lol

Here's some adorable pics of Lea taking care of Grover...

"Want some milk, Grover?"


I'm Lovin' It!

I am really enjoying being at home with Lea. She is learning so, so much these days. Just yesterday she learned how to say "grape" (actually, she says "Gggrray").

This morning, as I was working in the kitchen, I heard Lea groaning. She sounded like she was in a little distress, so I peaked into the living room. When I saw what happened, I immediately grabbed my camera (like any caring mother would) so I could capture this....

"Help, Mama! I'm stuck!"


Lea & her stroller

Here's a cute video of Lea playing this morning. This is one of her new games... she pushes her little stroller around the house and then over to me so she can go "under the bridge" (i.e. my legs)!


Little Stinker Review

"Ew... what's that smell? Uh oh... I think the baby needs a diaper change... Not It!!!"

We've all been there, more than once. You get a nice whiff of a stinky diaper and proclaim that it's not your turn! With a 15 month old that will eat almost anything, I have been in that situation more than I can count on all my fingers and toes. I thought nothing could make stinky diaper changes more bearable. Until...

I met Kathy Dalton, CMO of Little Stinker, at the first annual EVO '10 conference. Kathy joined two other parents to form an alliance and rid the world of stinky kids. Little Stinker makes products that are natural and organic.

When Kathy first told me about her Baby Butt Spray, I was pretty skeptical. At that point, Lea was still nursing and her dirty diapers really weren't that stinky. Fast forward a few months when Lea was completely weaned and began eating almost anything.... let's just say dirty diapers took on a new meaning. Little Stinker Baby Butt Spray to the rescue! Seriously, this stuff is amazing. It's made with yummy, organic extracts like blueberry, aloe, cucumber and apple. The Lavender/Vanilla scent perfectly camouflages stinky smells while also being light and gentle enough so it's not irritating. I can't say enough good things about it... and I can't bear another dirty diaper change without it, either! You know how your baby has that particular smell that just melts your heart? It could be a special baby shampoo or laundry detergent you use. When you smell it, you know that's your baby. Well, this spray is now that for my little Lea.

Check out Little Stinker online. They have a Natural Nursing Balm and Cooling Breast Cream for nursing moms, too. These would make fabulous stocking stuffers!

Disclaimer: This review is based on my own personal opinions and experiences. I received a sample of the above mentioned product and no other form of compensation.



Lea is finally starting to say some words. I think her first word was 'Dada' and now she sometimes even says 'Daddy'. She calls me 'Mama' now, too. It melts my heart every time! Every night at dinner, we tell Bailey to "Get!" while pointing into the living room (we don't allow Bailey to sit by the table while we're eating). Well, wouldn't you know that Lea decided that would be her second word... "Git!" she yells, while pointing at the dog. lol

Lea is still signing for some things, such as 'more', 'up', 'all done', 'hungry' and 'milk' so I am now saying to her, "Can you say it in words?" when she signs. It actually worked! Yesterday Lea was holding her arms in the air (asking to get up from her high chair) and I asked her to say "Up, please." Next thing you know, she said 'Bup!' :) I am also working on 'milk' so I'll let you know how that goes.

Here's a list of words and sounds that Lea currently knows (she'll be 15 months old on Dec. 19th):

Git (Get)
Ga (Grandma)
Bup (Up)
Muh (Milk)

Uh-uh (dog)
High pitched squeal (cat and bird)
Ggrrrrh (lion, bear, pirate)
Schhh (snake)
HmHmHm (Santa)

I feel like I am forgetting some sounds! She also waves at EVERYONE and sometimes she just waves at no one. She can blow kisses and she likes to give a kiss to anything... she kisses her stuffed animals, Bailey, books, etc. She gives sweet, short hugs and will sometimes run over and just give you a quick hug for no reason. I love it! She is starting to do the hand gestures when we sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider". When anyone laughs, she has to laugh along. It's like she's saying, "I don't know what's so funny but I'm not going to be left out!" And, she dances.... a lot. Her moves are evolving. She used to just sort of bounce/ bop in place but now she's adding some arms and even some twirls. She loves music and will stop in her tracks to dance if she hears any type of music. :)

Friday morning we're going to see Santa. I've been showing her pictures of Santas and talking about him a lot so I hope I am preparing her a little bit. It should be interesting. I imagine it could go one extreme or the other!


It's the most wonderful time of the year!

We kicked off our holiday season with Lea's very first Christmas parade. She loved the big bands, drums, trucks, dogs and flags flying around...

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend. It started with Grandma Sue's side of the family the Sunday before Thanksgiving... about two dozen kids and just as many adults! After an amazing pot-luck lunch, all the kids headed outside to play. Lea fit right in as she followed the big kids around.

Wednesday night we headed to Aunt Jill & Uncle Chris' for super yummy spaghetti, lasagna, salad and bread. Lea really has a blast playing with her cousins and this visit was no exception.

Cousin Kristin making Lea laugh!
Thursday morning we headed to Grandma Sue and Papa Gene's house for another delicious meal and Lea got to play with her cousins again! Friday we spent the day cleaning and decorating for Christmas until Gramma Deb and PopPop came up for dinner. Then, Saturday we headed down to their house for Thanksgiving dinner with Aunt Sarah and Uncle Dave. It was so wonderful to see them! Lea warmed right up to them and we all had a blast playing outside in the leaves. The weather has been just perfect the past week. We stayed so late that Lea got her jammies on before we went home. :) Sunday morning, everyone came up to our house for breakfast and one last visit before Aunt Sarah and Uncle Dave had to go back to New Mexico. We miss them already!

Now... Monday morning came along and Kevin headed back to work... but not me! It was my first official day as a stay-at-home mom. Lea and I have continued our busy trend with play dates, flu shots, grocery shopping, cookie baking, house cleaning and, yes... even laundry. :) So far, I am really enjoying my "extended vacation". We'll see what tune I'm signing after the holiday hustle and bustle.

Here's a few more pictures from the past week...

Lea got her very own Christmas tree!
Playing outside with Uncle Dave.
Lea LOVES running through the leaves!


More, Please!

This video is a little over a month old, but I thought it was fitting for Thanksgiving... and it's just really cute!


Crack the Door

When Lea was about 6 months old a couple of friends tried to talk us into getting a video monitor. At the time, all we had was a cheap little Fisher Price monitor that wasn't even wireless. We live in a fairly small house so it worked fine.

About that time, though, was also when we began trying to do a little "sleep training" with Lea. I've never been comfortable with letting her "cry it out"... but I was ok with letting her fuss and cry gently for a little bit before showing my face to her. At least... I thought I was ok. My limit was 20 minutes... if she was still upset after 20 minutes, I had to go in there! Those 20 minutes seemed like an eternity. So, after a couple nights, we decided to look into video monitors.

Holy cow! Those things are not cheap! There was no way we were going to fork over a couple hundred dollars for a video monitor in our small house... seemed like a luxury we could do without.

Until.... one day when we were checking out the deals at the local children's consignment store... there was a video monitor for $40!!! We tested it out in the store and took it home a few minutes later.

How did we ever live without a video monitor before? It was like reality tv at it's best. Kevin and I sat in front of that thing for hours (ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration) just watching little Lea sleep. It really did help us with the "sleep training" transition.

Needless to say, I am so glad we got it. I love being able to check out Lea any time I hear a little noise. Recently she's had some trouble sleeping again. I couldn't figure out what was wrong. My mother (who helps watch Lea while I am at work) suggested leaving her bedroom door cracked when she's sleeping. So, recently, we've tried that and it worked! Tonight, after a book and a little rocking, I put Lea in her crib, wide awake, gave her a kiss and said good night as I walked out... leaving the door cracked about two inches. I came downstairs to check her out on the video monitor. She didn't make a peep... just sat up to see if the door was cracked and then laid down for the night. :)

So, if you're considering a video monitor, I highly recommend it... if, of course, you can find a good deal!


Gender Roles

As Lea gets older, I have really been thinking about gender roles. Yes, Lea is a girl... she has lots of pink things and almost always wears something pink every day. However, I do try to incorporate "boy things" in her life, too. Such as books about trucks and toy cars. I don't really care if she is a "girlie-girl" or a "tom-boy"... I'll be happy either way... honestly. But, I want her to decide which way she wants to be.

Sometimes I wonder if she has too many "girl toys". The child loves to play with jewelry and prances around the house with her pearls on... but where did she get that from? Perhaps she watches Mommy and Gramma put jewelry on and wants to copy us. Lea recently received a gift of an adorable play purse. It has things in it like play money, a mirror, bracelet, keys and pretend lipstick.... yes, lipstick. To top it off, it sings a song about going out that says, "Look into the mirror, put my lipstick on. It's time to say bye-bye. I won't be gone too long." Um... something about that just doesn't sit right with me. I do not want my beautiful little girl to think she needs to put on make up before she goes somewhere!

Ok, ok... I totally understand that I am being a hypocrite... I mean, I put on make up before I leave the house (and yes, Lea sometimes watches me). But, how am I supposed to raise a little girl to think know that she is beautiful the way she is when her own mommy doesn't always represent that in herself?

So, what do you think? Is this important to you or do you think I am over analyzing the subject (like I usually tend to do!)?




I've been hearing some talk about parabens recently and wanted to do a little research to find out what all the hoopla was about. This is what I have found in a nutshell...

What the heck are parabens?

Parabens are synthetic preservatives used in lots of products; most commonly cosmetics such as moisturizers, shampoos and deodorants. Several types of parabens exist: butylparaben, ethylparaben and methylparaben, to name a few. If some type of preservative wasn't used in a any given product that contains water, then it would mold and grow bacteria over time. Typically, the amount of preservative used in a product is very low. There are natural preservatives, such as some essential oils, that have anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties, however they often require high concentrations, don't last as long and are only useful against some bacteria/molds/etc. Parabens have been used for over 50 years, only require minimal amounts to be effective and are cheap.

So, what's the problem with using parabens?

Studies have shown that parabens have weak estrogen-like properties. Since this female hormone is  known to cause breast cells to grow and divide, the concern is that parabens may be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Unfortunately, only one small study on this was conducted back in 2004 and the findings were basically inconclusive because of several factors that were overlooked. Larger studies must be done to find out if parabens really have any effect on breast cancer risks.

You want my personal opinion? I'll wait to see some solid study results before jumping to conclusions. It seems like there is always something new that people are worried about and I would just rather not live my life worrying about things unless I have to! You decide for yourself, do what you want, and we'll all be happy. :)


Big Changes

When Kevin and I were dating, I told him that I wasn't so sure I wanted children... yup, I didn't think I wanted any kids. He in turn said that he knew he wanted kids one day. We left it at that and didn't talk much more about it until after we got married. Then, the tables turned... my biological clock started ticking like crazy and I wanted babies! However, Kevin wasn't so sure.

Fast forward a few years (including a really hard year of struggling with infertility issues) and little Lea joined our family. :)

I always knew that I wanted to be a "stay-at-home mommy" but I didn't know if it would ever be possible. I was fortunate enough to have my mom stay at home with me and I always knew that I wanted my children to have the same experiences. Obviously, there are pros and cons for every situation... one of which being finances, so when little Lea was just over three months old, I returned to work part-time.

On the outside, it seemed as though I had the best of both worlds. I was home with Lea all day Friday through Sunday and worked about five to six hours a day Monday through Thursday. But, on the inside I was not happy. Every morning was a huge internal struggle for me...I felt so incredibly guilty leaving my baby (even though I was leaving her with my own mother and mother-in-law... that helped lots!), something inside me just didn't feel right.

After almost eleven months of long, procrastinating breakfasts with Lea, we have decided that it's time for me to stay home!!! I am beyond excited about this new adventure. It's been a long time coming and something I have always dreamed about. My last day working will be November 23rd, the day before Thanksgiving. Now, I won't lie... I am a little nervous, too. It will be strange not having somewhere to go each day, no deadlines and no time sheets. I know it will take some time to get used to it. I have no doubts that Lea and I will make a great team, though.

I've already started to get play dates and activities on the calendar for us. I think it will be important to keep a little busy. Luckily, we live in a great area with lots of children around. There's fun things to do at the local cultural center and even a nice play ground two blocks down from our house. I'm determined not to let the cold weather keep us in... we'll just have to bundle up!

Here's some adorable pictures of Lea testing out her winter wear...

I just got Lea some new hats and dug out some more of her winter clothes so I'll have plenty more "bundled up" pictures to come. :)


Happy Halloween!

This is Lea's second Halloween... but the first Halloween she has gone trick-or-treating! I wasn't really sure what to expect from a 13 month old and wasn't actually planning on trick-or-treating. The plan was just to walk around the block and check out all the other kids trick-or-treating....

After the first house, though (saying hi to the neighbors) and seeing all the other kids, Lea was so excited and ready go. She carried her little pumpkin bucket and walked (almost) the entire time. She really had a blast... knocking on doors and waving at everyone. We all had a great time! I can only imagine how much fun next Halloween will be. :)

Lea also helped me carve a pumpkin today.
Yesterday we had fun at a fall festival with Lea's friend, Josh.



Fun at the Fair!

Yesterday we spent the day at the state fair. I mean.... the. day. We got there a few minutes before 9am and didn't leave until a few minutes after 2pm! Kevin's parents met us there and we had a blast. Lea was great, riding on my back in our lillebaby EveryWear carrier for the first half. Then, she walked... a lot. She loves being around the action and hustle & bustle. When we walked through the rides and games section she loved it. All the loud music, huge rides spinning around and people yelling didn't scare her one bit. She just watched and danced! I was amazed at how much energy she had. Even after a nap in the car on the way home she kept her energy up for the rest of the day. Here are some highlights from the trip...

Sharing a ham biscuit for breakfast.

Checking out some big pumpkins.
It was cold!

Carving some wood w/ Roy Underhill from Woodwright's Shop.

Hanging w/ Roy

Having Lea's silhouette made. It turned out beautifully!
YUM, again!
Playing w/ mommy

Riding on daddy's shoulder's back to the car.


Sleeping on the way home. :)


Like mother, like daughter

I found these old pictures of myself when I was a baby... I think it's safe to say that Lea has my eyes!

Me at 3 months
Lea at 3 months

Me at 6 months

Lea at 6 months

Me at 1 year

Lea at 1 year
So, what do think... See any resemblance? My mom wants me to try and get a picture of Lea wearing my blue dress (above)... that's just like my picture. Um... it's kind of hard to 'pose' a one year old! But, I'll try.