Friday, November 23, 2012

Zoo Days

We went to the zoo this past week while Steve was off work, and I had originally planned to put these pictures in my Anna's Antics post but I loved too many of them!

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Anna's Antics

I have been missing having a monthly update for Banana Bean so I think I am going to start doing them again. I might not get it done every month but she is so entertaining and imaginative right now, I want to preserve some of these stories!

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Anna loves her sister and calls her "Sweepy" (that's toddler-speak for Sweetpea). She is always very concerned about her Sweepy and if she is not in the same room with us, Anna asks where she is! Lots of hugs and kisses, and "No touch!" is finally starting to work better for things like the swing.

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Life is basically one giant tea party for Anna right now. Any cup, or anything that remotely resembles a cup, is instantly a tea cup and necessitates pouring tea and eating cupcakes. She also highly enjoys "princess" cups and utensils. She got her paws on one of my antique goblets when we were rearranging the dining room, and I made the epic mistake of saying "Oh look, it's a REAL princess cup!" Her eyes immediately lit up and it was pretty much WWIII to get that cup away from her before she broke it.

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Banana Bean has also started voicing opinions on what to wear. As long as it's weather-appropriate I generally let her wear whatever she wants. The Cinderella dress makes a frequent appearance, along with her sparkly shoes. She also likes to pick out what movie she wants to watch, and sometimes she will go through her entire selection before finally settling on one.

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Anna has been doing great at the YMCA child care, and there are many days that she asks to go play at the Y! I am even back to considering the Mommy's Morning Out program there for Steve's spring busy season, because she does so well there.

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Every kid is a "fwend" right now. It was hilarious at the zoo because every time she would see a cluster of kids, she would point and ask "Fwend? Fwends?"

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We have finally made significant progress on Anna's sleep habits, which has been a huge relief to everyone in the house. I think I'm going to do a separate post about it when I get a chance, but this has been the best sleep situation since she was in her crib, and we are ALL thankful to get a good night's sleep!!

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We have also been taking baby steps towards potty training. We let Anna take the lead on it and we aren't in a huge hurry to get her out of diapers...in fact, we are hoping that she holds her horses on that until we get back from Disney, haha. But I am happy to report that we have had several successful potty sessions and she is getting better and better at telling us when she needs to go. I think once we are done traveling in December we will try the 3 Day Potty Training method and see if she's ready to fully make the switch. Such a big girl!!

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The other fun discovery this month is sock puppets. I had pulled all the laundry into the nursery to put away, and Anna was helping me by handing me hangers. I picked up one of Daddy's black socks and on impulse, put it on my hand and made it say "Hi Anna!" and gave her a kiss with it. Anna giggled at that for several minutes and then immediately found her own socks so she could have puppets too. Now it's rare that she will find a sock and not make a puppet out of it.

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Anna is turning into such a little parrot. She is constantly repeating things that we've said and learning new words. And it's even funnier when she mimics our tone of voice - I laugh SO hard when I yell "Stop it!" at her if she's doing something naughty, and then she screeches "Stop it!!" right back at me. I guess it's a great way to break the tension because she usually avoids a time-out if she does that, haha.

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We are now getting ready for Christmas and have already procured some of Anna's presents. It has been fun keeping them hidden from her and we are so excited to see her face on Christmas morning!! This really is such a fun age and I know it will just keep getting better!

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We celebrated Thanksgiving at home this year, with my BFF sister and her family. Cooking the big dinner was quite the adventure with the two little ones but it was fun and if anything, we learned some good lessons for Christmas!!

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Playing with Daddy's toy helicopter, she loves this thing.

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This year also had the added challenge of cooking dairy-free dishes because of Maddie's sensitivity. I spent quite a bit of time poring over recipes and recipe reviews and tips on baking and cooking with dairy substitutes, and we were all very impressed with how everything turned out. I did cave on the pumpkin pie - all of the yummy vegan recipes we found for pumpkin pie seemed to have a lot of ingredients that I would have to buy, and I just wasn't all that interested in tackling that. But except for the pumpkin pie (which I skipped), everything was dairy-free and got the thumbs up from everybody!! The turkey had to be popped back into the oven, but I'm going to blame my very wonky oven for that one. The green bean casserole was the definite winner and will be making a reappearance at Christmas!

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This was the list of recipes that I used. I also bought coconut milk ice cream from Publix, dairy-free rolls from Whole Foods, and made some standard mashed potatoes. We used almond milk where we could directly substitute, and then we used the Earth Balance "butter" sticks in place of butter.

Turkey
Gravy
Green Bean Casserole
Butternut Squash Crunch
Bread and Celery Stuffing

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Anna procured a whisk and pretended to cook her fruit.

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Marshmallow goes on your nose, obviously.

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Look at this kid!!! I love him!

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Lots of leftovers!

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Scarlett and Sophia!

The darling twin girls from our playgroup turned two, and we had been looking forward to their birthday party for weeks. We had to skip several parties this year due to various illnesses and I was very much looking forward to seeing our friends again. Plus, I knew Lana would throw a great party and this one certainly didn't disappoint.

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You see those pink cake pops? Anna pretty much inhaled hers.

It was held at a nearby horse farm, and the party setup looked like something straight out of a magazine. I had no idea how Anna was going to do with the horses, but we were hopeful when we had to turn around in a nearby neighborhood, and she spotted a girl on a horse and got all excited and started pointing and shouting "Horse! Horse!"

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There is a big beautiful horse tied up right when we walked through the gates, and Anna timidly petted him. Then she surprised us all by LOVING the pony rides. She had actually been begging Steve to go "More? More? Again?". She's come a long way since our first visit to Tanglewood Farms where she wouldn't even put on her helmet!

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We had to duck out a little early - Maddie started having a meltdown and I could sense that Anna wasn't far behind her. But we left with plenty of good pictures, plenty of treats, and thankful that we could visit with good friends.

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The birthday girls!

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Happy Birthday, Scarlett and Sophia! Thank you for inviting us to your wonderful party!