Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Little Shopping Buddy

On one of my days off, Allie and I headed to the mall to kill some time.  Allie doesn't get to ride in the stroller much in the winter time, so a trip to the mall is a treat for her.  She likes to ride in her stroller and will stay in there for quite a while on most days. 

Our first stop at the mall was the food court.  I grabbed Olga's to go and Allie and I headed down to the food court for lunch.  For lunch Allie had a peanut butter sandwich, grapes and mac-n-cheese.  Luckily she stayed pretty clean.  Usually peanut butter ends up all over her when she eats it...up her nose, in her hair, in her ears...no joke.  But today, she was a pretty neat eater.

Lunchtime at the mall food court

 I was considering buying a new pair of Tom's in the near future.  While I was trying them on, I learned that they made them for toddlers!  We HAD to go try them on!  Allie was ADORABLE in the silver, sparkly shoes.  We will HAVE to buy these for her one day.  They are TOO CUTE!

We visited the play area once before, but during our previous visit, Allie just stood and stared at all the kids playing.  Today however, Allie ventured out all over the play area.  She LOVED the ducks and kept coming back to them after making her rounds to all the different play spots.  It's so fun to see Allie becoming independent.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Do You Hear What I'm Saying?

WHOO-HOOO!!!...Allie is learning many new signs this month.  In the past week, Allie learned how to sign PLEASE, ALL DONE, and BOOK.  She also recently started nodding her head for YES and NO.  I'm so happy that all these months of practicing is finally paying off.  Life is much happier and easier when we can all communicate with each other.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Sense of Accomplishment

During my pregnancy while planning for the arrival of Allie, I often wondered if I was going to be able to breastfeed. I really, really wanted to, however in my mind I simply told myself I would give it a try and see what happens. I didn't want to be too disappointed if it didn't work out. There was a chance that Allie wouldn't latch properly or the excruciating pain that everyone talked about would prevent me from continuing. All I remember hearing from fellow nursing moms were the words "cracked," "bleeding" and "sore." I wasn't very optimistic to say the least. I honestly thought I would give it a try and soon my Allie girl would be downing a formula bottle every 3 hours.

I wanted to nurse for many reasons. Of course it is what's best for babies nutritionally. It was convenient and easy. There were no bottles. When I went out for the day, I didn't have to prep anything...Allie and I just went. I didn't mind the fact that I burned an extra 500 or something crazy extra calories while sitting and watching episodes of Ellen or The Real Housewives either. Saving money was a big incentive for me also...breastfeeding is not free (pump + freezer bags + bottles = NOT FREE), but it's definitely a whole lot cheaper than formula. The best reason I'm now just starting to adore is the bonding aspect. I cherish the snuggle and cuddle time Allie and I have had from her birth.

Right off the bat, I pumped...and pumped...and pumped. After every feeding (except those middle of the night ones) I pumped. I remember Allie lying so contently in the Boppy with a full belly while I pumped...AFTER EVERY FEEDING! My body probably thought I had twins and was feeding two. I was like the dairy factory...no joke! I froze so much milk. Our freezer in Boston was so packed with frozen milk, Todd couldn't buy any frozen meals because they wouldn't fit.

A freezer FULL of milk (those boxes have milk in them too!)
Each bag has 12 oz of milk...I packed in as much as I could.

After Allie and I made it through the first three months, my goal was to make it to summer...through the remaining 3 months of the school year. It was not easy. Pumping at work was no fun! First off, there was no comfy, quiet room with an electrical outlet, a sink and a nice cozy chair like most cooperate offices have. I had to pump in public school bathroom...Ewww! Gross! So, I opted to pump in my classroom. I locked my door, turned out the lights and prayed the custodian wouldn't unlock my door for a student that needed something from the classroom. I did get walked in on once by one of my students and his mother. Luckily I had my handy nursing cover on to cover up.

After summer came I cut out nursing sessions and gave Allie the frozen milk in the freezer. All the milk in Boston had to be transported back to MI. That was mess trying to figure out. We had to buy a rolling cooler and dry ice. Imagine dry ice vapors seeping out through the zippers of the cooler. I'm surprised no one yelled "BOMB!" on the plane. We did this for 3 flights in order to get it all back here. There was no way I was going to risk checking my entire stash of frozen milk to Delta airlines. Could you image the feeling of a lost bag...makes my stomach hurt to think about it.

As summer came to an end, I really didn't want to go back to work and pump anymore. In fact...I didn't need to. I had enough milk to make it to Allie's first birthday with her drinking breast milk. I packed up my pump and haven't seen it since. When school started I continued to nurse Allie morning and night, but the rest of the day she drank thawed milk from our freezer. She was 9 months when I went back to work. It's amazing how much more I liked nursing when the pump was not in the picture anymore.

When Allie turned a year old, we started giving her whole milk. At first it was a ratio of 75% - 25%...then it was 50% - 50%. As the weeks went by we would increase the amount of whole milk and decrease the amount of breast milk.

When I gave birth, I NEVER, EVER, EVER would have thought I would nurse Allie for this long. Yes...Allie received breast milk for 15 MONTHS!!! I'm so very proud of myself! I can't believe I stuck it out this long. I know I am lucky in the sense that we did not have any issues. No pain, no latching problems, and no low milk supply. Today, Allie finished off the last bag of frozen milk. Our freezer is now quite bare and has plenty of room for Todd's frozen meals.

The very last frozen bag

I know nursing Allie was the best choice for us. I'm very please with how it all played out. I am also very pleased that I could supply her with enough breast milk to last her to her first birthday, while working...and not pumping the whole time. Go ME!!! I feel like SUPERMOM!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday Dinner Dates

Allie has been so excited lately when Thursdays roll around.  Her Grandpa has been coming over and taking her out to dinner.  We look forward to having dinner with Grandpa...we love to see him and we love when he takes us out!  Each Thursday we go to a different restaurant.  I usually order her a kid's grilled cheese or pizza and we always have leftovers for the next couple days too!
Allie behaves pretty well when we go out for meals.  Todd and I have been trying to train her early.  On most occasions Allie sits nicely in the high chair and will occupy herself with sugar packets or coasters.  I tried to show her how to color the past few meals we've had out.  She really likes to hold the crayons, but doesn't really understand what to use them for just yet.  Overall, I'd say Allie's restaurant manners are wonderful. 

Grandpa and Allie

Important conversations going on here.

There's four great things about Thursday dinner dates with Grandpa...
  1. It's almost Friday...which means the weekend is here.
  2. I don't have to make dinner...or pay for it.
  3. I don't have to clean up dinner (my most hated thing about meals lately)!
  4. Allie and I get to spend some quality time with Grandpa.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

An Unproductive Weekend

The weekend started off with no plans....except Saturday dinner out with my dad (aka: Allie's Grandpa). Things were going to get accomplished. I was going to get some shopping done. Maybe hit the mall and and buy Todd a new pair of jeans. Make that cute project I saw on Pinterest. Hang up some art in Allie's bathroom. Go to kickboxing...my favorite class at the gym...really the only class I get to go to now-a-days.

My weekend came to an unexpected halt when I picked Allie up from day care Friday and it was reported that she had a temperature. I knew it was coming at some point this month. We couldn't have been lucky enough to make it through February without someone getting sick. This month we do not have super Grandma to come to our rescue (she is in FL enjoying some fun in the sun). Allie was diagnosed with teething...yep, teething. I guess you could say that we have that first time parent thing going on. We take Allie to the doctor a lot lately. We didn't hesitated in taking her this time because the last time I didn't take her right away, she had an ear infection.

Then I was hit with a double whammy. I got some sort of stomach bug. Let me tell you...taking care of a whiny, clingy one-year-old when you don't feel well yourself = no fun. Our Saturday and Sunday was filled with passing Allie back and forth, pumping her full of Tylenol and Advil, and me trying to simply survive. After the meds would kick in, Allie would get a burst of energy. She would play for a while before her next bout of teething pain. I'm so tired of picking up my house. Allie's nickname is "Tornado." When she leaves a room, it looks like a tornado hit it...as I'm sure is the same with every child at this age.

This is what our pantry looked like...

This is what our living room looked like...

Here is what our kitchen looked like...and the culprit in action!
Thank goodness Todd was home and was able to pick up a lot of the slack. Thank you T for being such a good dad. Allie and I love you for it. Too bad our weekend was no fun at all. Better luck next time.

I still do not feel like myself. I didn't make my kickboxing class. No trip to the mall was made. Nothing was hung up on the wall. Allie is asleep in her crib and I'm about to go to sleep myself. I did however, manage to FINALLY make the cute project I saw on Pinterest though. It's a little message frame that Todd and I...and hopefully Allie one day too...can leave each other some love notes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mommy's Sweetheart

Happy V-Allie-tine's Day! Allie was dressed for her fun day of hearts, love and smooches from her momma. 

Allie enjoyed looking at her Valentine's day cards from her Grandma and Grandpa...and Auntie Ellen and Uncle Joe.  Allie's says thank you for the LOVE MONEY!  She can't wait to buy herself something new.

Allie brought home an art project she made at day care.   Her heart went right up on the refrigerator with the rest of her art projects she has brought home.  She's so creative!

Allie also brought home some special Valentines from her day care friends.  She loved looking at her cards and treats. She carried them around the house before dinner and told me all about them...I think.  Thanks Lynnie, Debbie and Ilene for making Valentine's day fun for Allie.

After dinner, Allie enjoyed a yummy valentine's rice krispy treat that I made.  They were made with pink marshmallows and topped off with pink and white hearts...the perfect ending to Allie's LOVE-ly day.  She yummed it up!  Allie loved her special Valentine's  treat.

Monday, February 13, 2012

At the Top of the World

Ever since Allie started walking, I've done a pretty good job of keeping her away from the stairs (except the one time she followed me all the up and I didn't know it)!  Whenever she would go by the steps to go upstairs, Todd and I would tell her "NO!" We didn't want her climbing and fall when we were not paying attention...especially on the hard wood floor.  Going down to the basement was never an issue because we put a gate up.  I really do not want to put a gate up at the bottom of my staircase.  I have to draw the line somewhere.  Allie is learning her boundaries in our home, what she can touch, and what she should not touch.  The stairs was a place she would never go up, because she knew she wasn't allowed to...until today...when I gave her permission.

She's been walking for a good  two months now and has gotten pretty good at it.  I decided she should start to learn how to climb the stairs in the case she decides to NOT listen to her parents one day.  I want her to be able to do so safely.  I was surprised at how well she did right away.  I'm not sure if it was the excitement of being allowed to climb up, or her determination to prove that she could do it. 

This particular trip she made it all the way up...animal crackers and all.

"I'm not waiting around then."
"You're really going to let me?"

"Hooray!  I did it!"
"Almost there..."

Another trip up the stairs.  I sure did get my workout in today. I'm going to have buns of steel from all the stairs I'm climbing.  Allie let me get her on video on one of her dozen or so trips up.

Allie must have climbed the steps a couple dozen times today.  She was fast!  But now, we have a couple problems.  First, she thinks she can go back down also.  She has no fear.  She walks right up and just steps down...like she's going to magically float all the way down to the bottom.

The other problem is now all she wants to do is climb up the stairs.  Which means that I have to follow her around...a lot!  And I have to grab her before she decides to try and go back down.  I showed her how to turn around and go backwards down the steps.  It didn't really sink in yet though.  Now the bottom of our staircase looks like this.  At least it's only temporary...until the novelty wears off.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


It's a bird...
It's a plane...
It's Allie...
(eating ice cream...SUPERMAN ice cream!)

Allie eating Superman for the first time
When Todd comes home on the weekends, there are certain things he thinks he HAS to have.  Arby's, Jimmy Johns, Superman ice cream to name a few.  These are all things that he cannot have in Mass.  Jimmy John's and Arby's are not in the state and Superman ice cream...."What's that?" is all we hear at EVERY ice cream place we visit.  Apparently Superman is a flavor only found in Michigan...who knew??? 

For those of you that don't know what Superman is...it's red, blue and yellow in color (the colors of Superman).  I actually didn't know what the flavor of Superman was.  I had to look it up on the Internet. The yellow is vanilla, the blue is Blue Moon, and the red is black cherry.  Any kid that grew up in the suburbs of Detroit will fondly remember their neighbor ice cream truck making its daily rounds most evenings conveniently around dinnertime.  Superman was always a big hit.  It came in a cone shaped cup with a little wooden spoon and a surprise gumball secretly hidden at the bottom of the cup.  Any kids happy summer treat!

This weekend, I asked Todd to fill up my car with gas.  He left and came back with not only a full gas tank, but with 2 containers of Superman ice cream.  Almost immediately after walking through the door he scooped out a heaping bowl.  Allie ran to her daddy and was very interested in what he was eating.  Todd gave her a little nibble and that was just the beginning.  I have a feeling she is going to share a love of Superman, just like her daddy.

Superman of ALL ice cream....really?  It's the most artificial of any ice cream flavors.  Red, yellow and blue in color.  What flavor is Blue Moon any ways? 

Allie and Daddy bonding over Superman ice cream

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

14 Months Old

Allie became very affectionate this month.  She gave Todd and I hugs whenever we asked.  She also gave kisses every now and then, although she needed a little more practice at times.  I often ended up with a lick for a kiss.  Allie made the connection that her hair brush was for brushing her hair.  She knew exactly what to do with it.  Allie is becoming a pretty well mannered eater.  She made big improvements in keeping her food on her tray and not on the floor...most days.  Allie pointed and babbled a lot, but at times she became frustrated when Todd or I didn't understand what she was trying to say.  Allie's walking really improved.  She was able to walk quickly and steadily.  Allie began to wave bye-bye more often when someone was leaving.  She would open and close her fingers.  Allie got her first ear infection this month.  It was no fun for anyone...Allie was miserable.  When she felt better, her eating really improved.  She had a great appetite and would eat anything Todd, Grandma or I gave her, including chicken noodle casserole, macaroni and cheese, and meatballs.

You want to take MY picture?
How does my hair look?

Strike a pose