Monday, July 29, 2013

Pool Party

It has (thankfully) been a milder summer here in Atlanta, coupled with about a million and a half thunderstorms. So when we get a warm, sunny afternoon, we take advantage by letting Anna play in her little pool on our screened-in porch.


Normally I just keep Maddie penned up inside with me, and I can watch Anna while I finish up the dishes or clean the kitchen. Today though, I was filling up the pool and Maddie acted like she couldn't wait to take a dip too! So I ignored my dirty kitchen, got both their tushies covered up, and pulled out my camera.



Watching these two girls play together brings me SO much joy. They truly adore each other and although they already have their squabbles, they are so sweet with one another and are totally content being with each other all day. Anna was delighted to have a pool companion today and Maddie wanted to do whatever big sister was doing - even the slide!





I know the focus on these pictures is a little dubious. The auto-focus on my lens isn't working and manual focus is not one of my strong points.






Happy girl! Maddie kept doing laps around the pool, splashing all the way.


Giving baby a "bath"

 Trying to steal the string off of Maddie's swim suit




My beautiful girl. Do you like her tattoos? They are her new favorite things.



I think she was singing "Wheels on the Bus" here.


See you next time, little fishies!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Poopty Poopty Pants

As you might have surmised from the post title, this post could be copied directly from STFU Parents, but other parents will be interested - we have entered the exciting world of potty training!

I had had a mind to give potty training a go with Anna for the last few months of her morning out program, but we waited until the summer started and our schedule cooled down. I didn't do a ton of research (who has time for that anymore? lol!) and I didn't really have a set plan in place. I wasn't going to push her if she wasn't ready, but I had a feeling that it was time to start, and I figured we could see how it went. We did prep the process a bit by adding a few potty books into the nighttime rotation, and I kept talking to Anna about how soon we were going to say bye-bye diapers and she could go in the potty. She would listen to me very closely so I was curious to see how much she was really absorbing this concept!

Basically we just cleared our calendar for a week or two, let Anna run around in her brand-new big girl underpants, and kept her little potty in easy reach. I would ask her often if she needed to go and offered to help if she needed it.


Well, it turned out that peeing in the potty was a total piece of cake for her. The novelty of going in a potty was such fun for her that she only had a couple of accidents before getting the hang of running over to her little potty, and the subsequent celebration of a successful potty visit was enough to keep her going. I was further thrilled when she handled the regular toilets too - what a pro!

We stayed at home for a full week and a half while she practiced going potty, and then we took our first trip out to the YMCA. The child care center there has a bathroom built in and the staff there has been awesome and happy to help with the process.

I quickly realized that being truly out and about with an overly full diaper bag, infant, and potty-training toddler is really a lot to handle, so I took my friend's advice and bought a travel potty off of Amazon to keep in the car. Now, anybody except another mother of a potty-training toddler might be totally grossed out by this, but basically it's a folding plastic potty and it comes with plastic bags with an absorbent liner. The child goes potty, and then the bag can be removed, tied up, and tossed in the trash. It has been a total stress-reliever if we are out running errands or at the park where there isn't a public restroom handy. Anna has also been skittish around public toilets that automatically flush, so the portable potty has been useful there too!!

We also bought a special insert for her car seat - just in case she has an accident, it helps prevent the entire seat needing to be washed.

As long as we are consistent with keeping her in underpants and we are mindful of her cues and asking if she needs to go potty, Anna is doing fantastic with potty training. We are still working on pooping in the potty, which as far as I can tell is totally normal to take longer, and she is still in pull-ups for naps and bedtime.

I am so proud of how well my big girl is doing with the potty, and I am also so happy having only one kid in diapers again!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy Birthday, Maddie Magoo!

We opened our doors to our nearest and dearest this weekend to celebrate Miss Maddie's birthday, and it was SUCH a fun time. We are so appreciative of everyone who took time out of the weekend to come to the party and we are thankful to have such wonderful friends and family!



Steve and I had been brainstorming about this party for quite some time. We tossed around a bunch of ideas but Steve really nailed it on the head when he said "We need this party to be special for Maddie. What does Maddie love?" And I knew right away that the answer was music!



We were delighted when the girls' music teacher, Miss Kristen, agreed to come do a sing-a-long at the party with all of Maddie's favorite songs and instruments. Kristen is a Center Director for the Music Together program, which Maddie has done essentially since birth, and it has been fascinating to watch Maddie explore music, rhythm, and movement, even at such a young age. Music has always been one of my favorite ways to connect with Maddie, and is often the only thing that can calm her down when she is restless and fussy. And Anna loves singing and dancing with her sister too! So our plan was set, and I filled in the rest of the details with every musical touch I could find!

Maddie invite




Don't worry, this picture was taken after the party. No floor straws were on the tables!




I know I am including too many straw pictures, but I can't help it. They are too cute.


I also knew that a crucial component of this party in particular was to be realistic about what I could accomplish. Taking care of two little children is demanding and time-consuming, so I knew I would have very little free time to work on projects. We kept the guest list to a manageable number of friends, and all of whom Maddie sees on a very regular basis. Decorations were simple and either store-bought or ordered from Etsy, and the menu was kept to one table full of favorites. I worked on getting what I could set up throughout the week, so all we had to do at the end was clean and put everything up. It's always a little stressful at the end but oh so worth it, to see my happy girl's face and all of our friends enjoying themselves!


Anna was in absolute heaven throughout the entire week as the party preparations kicked into high gear. She is a little obsessed with birthdays right now - singing the birthday song, reading birthday books, eating birthday cake! Anna loved checking out all of the decorations, sampling the party foods, and practicing the birthday song. She was absolutely giddy the day of the party, and bounced right up from her nap ready to play!!

Maddie had a wonderful time at the party too. I can't even tell you how much I loved seeing her crawl all around the room "saying hi" to everyone. She was thrilled to see all of the drums and keyboard and Music Together instruments, and especially her beloved Miss Kristen.



All twelve kids bounced between the music and the fish tank - our aquarium was quite the hit!



Gotta crack those knuckles to get them warmed up!





5 in the bed and the little one said "Rolllllll over!"

Kisses from Sophia

Peekaboo with Jake

"Hannah-friend" and her family


Oleks knows how hard it is to get a family picture with everyone looking at the camera, haha. See my family picture at the bottom of the post!

Daniel and Allyson

Our party guests enjoyed wine and beer (all specially picked by Bartender Stevo), and nibbled on artichoke dip, tomato and basil bruschetta, fruit salad, cheese and crackers, and pigs-in-a-blanket. We also had pink lemonade and water, and even special little cups for all the kids. A slideshow of all of our favorite Maddie pictures from the past year played on our TV throughout the party and a fun playlist of music put a beat in the air.


Just imagine a big dish of artichoke dip there in the middle, haha. It was in the oven when I took the picture.


After the sing-a-long wrapped up, it was time for cake! Maddie dug right in to her smash cake - a surprise after the tepid reaction to her cupcake last week. She even shared with her sister!









I am so happy SuSu got this video - I think it is too cute! Anna was having some kind of meltdown right next to Maddie's chair and Maddie was hilariously unconcerned about it - she had fistfuls of cake to attend to!!

We sent everyone home full and happy, and each kiddo grabbed a special goody bag on the way out of the door.




Once everyone had gone, Steve and I collapsed on the couch until it was time to open presents. Our friends were so generous and thoughtful, and we were thrilled to add some new toys to the playroom. The girls haven't stopped playing with all of the fun new things since we got them all opened!



Anna fixed herself a plate after the party. I had to laugh when she stuck a straw right into her cake!











We were so happy to see all the work and planning pay off for a successful party - we loved being able to host so many of our friends and we were so thankful to get the chance to celebrate our little girl. Happy Birthday, sweet baby girl!!