Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Day: The Sequel

For the Thanksgiving Day weekend, we packed up the Bean and went to spend a few days at Steve's parents' house, which is always a fun time! They live in a very small and very historic town full of cute shops, yummy restaurants, and even a ghost or two. And of course, Anna loved getting to spend time with everyone and being the center of attention (because she NEVER gets to do that at home, poor neglected baby - ha!).

SuSu and Aunt KFo even surprised Anna with some new toys that were definitely a hit, and we got plenty of pictures to prove it!

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Anna did a little gardening while we were there. I promise she was wearing tights and shoes at some point.

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Anna discovered how much fun my camera can be...I deleted about 200 pictures of Brad's shoes, the doorstep, and her toys, but I thought this one was cute! Good job, Bean.

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Three turkeys! One was a fryer experiment and it was quite tasty.

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Peace out, mustache!

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Stevo took Anna Black Friday shopping on my day to sleep in. This picture makes me laugh - she looks like she's on some kind of crazy sugar rush and so freaking excited to be at Walmart in her pajamas, hahaha.

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Picking out a Black Friday toy.

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Finding the new Harry Potter movie for Mommy.

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Lawnmower baby.

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Gotta get them roller-coaster ready early, you know.

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SuSu took Anna to the candy store while we finished lunch and then they found some leaves.

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Anna also discovered shoes this weekend.

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We made lots of ornaments!

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Baby path of destruction.

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Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving too - see you later, alligators!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Belly Babbles Holiday Gift Guide: Kiddo Edition

As promised, here are some fun ideas for the pint-sized set. I feel like a disclaimer is needed to clarify that these gift ideas are best for the toddler-aged and under...I have absolutely no idea what an older kid would want. I'd be "that" person that gives them awkward pajamas and a savings bond, because I'm lame and have no idea what's hip and cool.

Anyways, if you're shopping for a toddler-or-under, you're in luck. Here we go!

Arts and Crafts: The trick here is to keep it age appropriate...I would say within 3-6 months of the kid's current age. The other trick here is to keep yourself on Momma's good side - no glitter, sequins, or anything else that will make cleaning up a nightmare! Other than that, a toddler LOVES to be creative and to play with color. Make an art box full of paper, non-toxic crayons, stickers, finger paints, child art smocks, pre-inked stamps, and toddler-friendly markers. You could even consider some bathtub crayons! Organize it all together in a large locking plastic storage bin and you've got yourself an A+ holiday gift. Check out this page for some great ideas!

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 Let's Make Music Together, Baby: 10 points to whoever can tell me what movie that's from! Babies and toddlers love to explore sounds and rhythms, so cater to their developing ear with some music-minded gifts. Check out the B. Parum Pum Pum drum set, the Melissa & Doug Band in a Box (or a similar one from Hohner), an assortment of rainmaker toys, or a toy xylophone. CDs with children's songs are a great gift idea to consider too, especially for car rides!

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Get 'Em Moving: I am discovering that toddlers have an unbelievable amount of energy. Get them giggling and going with some of these fun ideas. A Little Tikes Cozy Coupe or a rocking horse are popular classics. Get them bouncing with a Trumpette Howdy Cow or a Bounce and Spin Zebra. You also can't go wrong with a ball pit (don't forget the balls!), a crawl tunnel, or a push toy.

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 Get 'Em Thinking: Get those little minds working with blocks,  activity cubes like the B. Zany Zoo, easy puzzles, animal sounds toys, shape sorter toys, or stacking toys.

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When I Grow Up: Toddlers LOVE to act like Mommy and Daddy, so get them some toys that help them pretend! In no particular gender order: a purse filled with accessories (or check out etsy for some handmade options!), a work bench, a doll stroller, a grocery cart, or even a smart phone. If you want to splurge, consider a play kitchen or a grill set.

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 Dress Up: I'm pretty sure it goes without saying that toddlers and young kids LOVE to dress up and pretend. If you're looking for a present idea that makes your future holiday/birthday gift shopping super easy, consider a dress-up box. Stock it with a few age-appropriate costumes for now, and then keep an eye out for post-Halloween or Disney sales to keep adding costumes and accessories. Even just last weekend, I still saw a few costumes at Joann Fabrics for 75% off! A toy box full of Puppets is a great alternative here too, especially for little ones, because parents can play too!

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Give Them Some Space: Kids LOVE having their own little kiddo-sized space that they can play in. Indulge them with a teepee, play tent, a playhouse, kid-sized chairs, or even bean bag chairs. Parents, consider a closet conversion into a neat little reading nook for your budding bookworm.This project can be tailored to almost ANY budget and DIY skill...believe me, this is on our project to-do list!!

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And, as always, you can NEVER go wrong with books, clothes, or baby necessities. Happy shopping and happy holidays!


Turkey Day Fun

My family will have already seen these, but one of the last-minute fun things I did for our Thanksgiving dinner was to make a youtube playlist full of Thanksgiving and turkey songs. Didn't know those even existed? Well, I hadn't either until about an hour before they got here...but I ended up finding some pretty funny ones. And then here's the link to the full playlist if you wanted to check it out.








Fellas, this one's for you. (if you have a sensitivity to uncooked animals then you might want to skip this one)



14 Months Old!

Anna Bean is 14 months old today! I'm not totally sure where the month of November went, so I'll do my best to recap.

We finally joined a consistent playgroup. This playgroup is awesome because all the kids are within a couple of months of Anna, and it's so much fun to watch the girls playing together. And she loves going to the other houses every week and getting to play with all of their toys!!

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We have had a lot of fun this month making up games for her. The other night I inadvertently created a game and I was beyond tickled when she woke up the next morning and started playing it with me, completely unprompted by me!! Genius baby. The game involves saying "ay yi yi" and putting your hand on your head. A hand over the face equals Mommy saying "Oyyyyyy!", and a finger on the nose is "HONK!!!!". Bean will do the hand motion and then giggle up a storm when Mommy or Daddy says the corresponding verbal part.

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Banana Bean LOVES dancing. She will get the music playing on any of her toys, and then stand up and bounce away. Sometimes she will bounce without any music at all. It's seriously the cutest thing I've ever seen. Sadly I haven't gotten a video yet but believe me, I'm working on it.

My mom surprised us with an absolutely adorable pastel painting/drawing of one of my favorite beach pictures of the Bean - remember this picture? I'm excited to get it matted and framed - Stevo's already claimed it for his picture wall in his office! Thanks Mom  :-)

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Back to my monthly update, Anna also greatly enjoys playing the piano now. She pounds away, turns the piano music pages, and tries to climb inside the piano (although obviously we don't let her!). Her face lit up with a huge smile and she started clapping when I tapped out the melody to one of her favorite songs, "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree".

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Currently, her favorite toy is this little house that our friend Kara bought for her birthday. She will spend almost all of her playroom time handing us the house and pressing the buttons on it while we hold it.

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The weather is finally getting cold here (sometimes), so I went out and bought her a couple of winter coats. How adorable is this one?? She has gloves too that she's supposed to wear on our walks but those usually end up on the ground or in her mouth or under her bottom.

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And one last VERY exciting update - we've got a WALKER!!!! I have been so excited for this milestone and every day she gets better and better! I am so proud of this little girl and it makes me unbelievably happy to see her toddling around by herself!







I think that's about all, folks. We are getting ready for a busy December and are looking forward to Christmas with Anna - it's going to be a fun one!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

We had my family over for an early Thanksgiving dinner, and good times were had by all.

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Deep-dish pumpkin meringue pie

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Apple pie and pumpkin pie ice cream.

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Anna was so tired from all the party prep that she fell asleep eating her lunch!!

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Our acorn centerpiece - Anna helped me collect all the acorns. She also helped to make sure we didn't have too many acorns in our bucket by taking them out again at frequent intervals.

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Gobble gobble.

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Anna was not impressed by this point in the afternoon. She went to bed shortly after this picture was taken. But look at her cute little Thanksgiving dress!

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Anna eating her very first Thanksgiving food - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and even a little bit of gravy! I forgot to get some of the sweet potatoes and green beans but she'll get some on Thursday, I'm sure.

Hope everyone has a fun Thanksgiving coming up!