Bridgey’s got it

Don’t worry, world. “Bridgey’s got it.”

This is what we hear quite regularly at our house when we try to put on Bridget’s coat, help feed her, attempt to wipe her nose, or buckle her seat belt. The humor and reality of this statement raises a mix of emotions for me.

1) It makes me laugh every time she says it. Every time.

2) I’m glad to see her becoming independent, and I know her stubbornness strong will will be an asset in life (when in check, of course). She’s so eager to learn and experience things, and I hope she never loses that desire.

3) On the flip side, her strong will can be very challenging at times. As much as I love watching her try to clasp and zip her coat, it’s not the ideal use of 20 minutes while trying to leave daycare. And I certainly don’t love getting hit, kicked, and scratched while trying to help. :)

4) It’s a subtle but constant reminder that our baby girl is growing up. This sounds so cliche, but it seems like yesterday that she was just our little bean.

You’re right, Bridgey. You’ve got it. And I am so grateful to get to witness it.

20140212-095411.jpg

Bridget writing out Valentine cards for her classmates. She had a big smile on her face when she said “Leo”.

Advertisements

Beating cabin fever

Tired of the frigid temps and non-stop snow? Us too! We’ve exhausted our play room and the mall playground. Unfortunately it’s too cold to get out and play in the snow, so we ventured out and experienced beautiful CLE’s offerings.

In January, we visited the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Thanks to the thoughtfulness of my coworkers, we have an annual family membership, so we visited the Rainforest and the Aquatics & Primate Center (all indoors and heated!). I love the zoo any time of year, but felt like we found a hidden gem this round. Apparently people either don’t realize it’s open year round or they stay in during this weather because it was basically empty. Front row parking, no lines, heated shuttles, and up close and personal with the exhibits…it doesn’t get much better than that.

This past weekend, we visited the Children’s Museum in University Circle. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this venue. Some parents love it, others don’t. We really enjoyed it aside from the drive, somewhat expensive admission ($8 per person), and my germophobia in high gear. There is so much to do there: a farm experience, bus, grocery store, bank, house, hospital, water table, weather center, and Bridget’s person favorite, the large indoor sandbox.

20140211-213553.jpg

We could have easily spent the day there, but we’ve learned our lesson the hard way. No one wins in a Bridget nap-free day.

How are you beating cabin fever with kids? Thanks to good ol’ Phil, we’ve got another five weeks to occupy so ideas are welcome!

Bridget-isms: Months 18 & 19

I haven’t posted about Bridget-isms recently. These past few months have been crazy with the holidays, and that we are waist deep in house projects. (Shout out to my handyman husband who is replacing garbage disposals, switching out fixtures, replacing door knobs, staining cabinets, and the list goes on.)

Meanwhile, Bridget is growing like a weed, literally and figuratively. She’s still in the 100th percentile for height (still not sure where that came from) and she’s learning so much so fast. The 18-month mark was a turning point in her abilities and personality.

Although each stage has been amazing and challenging in its own way, I am enjoying early toddlerhood the most thus far. She’s so much fun, and every week brings something new and fun to experience together. In no particular order, here’s what Bridget’s been up to lately:

– She still loves to read. We read the same books over and over again and they never get old to her. Her current favorites are The Adventurers and Stumped. She gets excited every time we read them.

– She is just loving her Lego blocks from Christmas. It’s the first activity she’s solely independent with, so I was able to make a home-cooked dinner three times last week. Score!

– Her favorite thing to do is color, or as she calls it, “yellow”. She has crayons and color wonder Crayola markers that she’ll just “yellow” away with.

– She knows all the basic colors, so everything she says leads with its color: yellow bus, purple coat, pink hat, blue butterfly, etc.

– We have a lot of tea parties, set with “teapots” and “hot coffee”.

– Brian asked me a few weeks ago how many times I hear “mommy” in one day. I first answered with about 100. Shortly after, she must have said it at least 25 times in a minute. I undoubtedly underestimated. Regardless of the number, it doesn’t get old.

– Her favorite foods are “hot” broccoli, cheese sticks, and cheese balls. I’m not proud of the last one, but sometimes it’s the only way to get through the grocery store. I’ve learned in my short time as a mom that sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do, and cheese balls help me do that.

– She loves bath time, and it’s a struggle to get her out every time.

– She’s still an early bird, up by 6:30 every morning like clock work. I would pay to sleep in uninterrupted just one time, but until then, I’ll enjoy morning chatter and cuddles. Listening to her talk before we get her out of her crib is hilarious. For example, last week, she was still saying goodbye to Santa and snowman.

– And finally, my personal favorite: she says her prayers on her own each night before bed. Sometimes you have no idea what she’s saying, but she’s saying something, and that makes me happy.

20 months, here we come!

Sunday Snow Day

Before the Polar Vortex blanketed much of the country last week, we took Bridget outside to play in the snow for the first time. It was a balmy 36 degrees and we had the remnants of the New Year’s snow storm left to play in.

We bundled her up in multiple layers (maybe too many), and pulled her around the yard. She loved every minute of it, and snacked on a few snow balls along the way despite our efforts.

DSC_2762

 

DSC_2773

 

DSC_2795

My mom, Grams, even joined in the fun. Apparently grandparent-hood does crazy things to you. Yes, you are seeing this correctly: My mom in the snow, in capris, with my hand-me-down winter clothes because the woman doesn’t own a single winter clothing item. She’s crazy, I know. But we love her, and so does Bridget.

DSC_2777Here’s to warmer weather, but maybe a few more snowfalls so we can enjoy days like this.

My 2013 magazine cover

For our last date, Brian and I went to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I am a sucker for Ben Stiller movies, and it was just the light-hearted, feel good kind of movie I was hoping it would be. Without sharing too many details of the plot, it’s a story about the cover image of the final LIFE magazine, and the journey to find the perfect image.

While sifting through the hundreds of photos from 2013 in an attempt to create an album for my sister-in-law for a family photo calendar (sorry, Leslie – I’m still working on that), I came across this photo. It was taken on May 28, the day before Bridget’s first birthday. I was testing out my camera settings before I took Bridget outside for her first birthday photo shoot, while she watched me from the front door.

DSC_1141 - Copy

It wasn’t planned. She wasn’t dressed in her photo best. And it didn’t make the “album” of my amateur photo shoot. But it makes me smile from ear to ear, while the Lonestar lyrics of “My Front Porch Looking In”play in my head.

My blessings are in front of me, it’s not about the land
I’ll never beat the view from my front porch looking in

If my 2013 could be summed up as a magazine cover, this would be it. The view of big B, little B, and Josie Bear smiling my way.

Christmas 2013 recap

Another Christmas has come and gone, and it makes me sad every year. It’s such a happy time of year, and a chance to visit with friends and family who we don’t see as often as we’d like. But this year, I am mostly sad to see it go for Bridget.

She loved Christmas: the tree, lights, ornaments, Nipper, and the songs. It is true what they say; experiencing Christmas through a child is like living it all over again yourself…but better.

This Christmas was memorable for so many reasons. Here are just a few:

Bridget had her first “dance recital”. Yes, you read that correctly. She’s been taking a dance class for several weeks at daycare and they shared their talents in front of dozens of people. It was so cute, and she seemed to really enjoy it.

PicMonkey Collage_Recital

Two of my cousins welcomed new babies this year, making six great grandchildren for these two gems of grandparents. They’re celebrating 63 years of marriage this February. What a beautiful sight, indeed.

DSC_2626

We hosted Christmas Eve at our house again this year. It was a wonderful day with my family. And, I cooked my very first turkey. I don’t want to brag, but my mom said it was the best tasting turkey she ever had. She’s not biased or anything, either.

DSC_2655

Four generations of my family are in this photo, and I just love everything about it. I hope there will be many, many more of its kind.

DSC_2667

Waking up Christmas morning and watching Bridget open her presents from Santa brought back so many memories from my childhood. It was such a privilege to provide the same excitement for Bridget as I remember. Here are a few of the goodies, one of which we gave a little early…we just couldn’t wait.

PicMonkey Collage_Morning

Bridget and her cousins have so much fun at Grandma and Grandpa’s. Here are a few pictures of the beautiful chaos that ensues with 10 grandkids and 14 adults.

PicMonkey Collage

And all of this completely exhausted Bridget who fell asleep within five minutes of our trek home.

sleeping

Merry belated Christmas and happy New Year to all!

Portable North Pole

Thanks to the recommendation of a co-worker, I discovered Portable North Pole; a super cute personal video message from Santa.

Simply visit the website: www.portablenorthpole.com and enter your child’s information (you can do it for any child or adult): name, age, photo, state, what they’ve been asked to work on this year, an item on their wish list, and if they’ve been naughty or nice (most of the information is in multiple choice format). Santa then uses this information to customize a message to the child.

It’s free, fun, and high quality. Bridget was on the nice list this year, but asked to continue working on not throwing temper tantrums.

We showed Bridget her video from Santa tonight. She was enthralled. When it was over, she waved to the screen and said, “bye bye, Hanta!” She’s still working on the “s” sound.

Try it for yourself!

Christmas is coming!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. These songs are running through my head as I write this post.

Christmas decorations are up. I am especially excited for this year’s decor because 1) We got a new 9-foot Christmas tree to fill our vaulted ceilings, and 2) We finally have a fireplace to decorate. I always dreamed of having a fireplace with the stockings hung and lit garland, and it’s come true. Here’s a picture of each:

photo 1 photo 2

Bridget met Santa Claus again this year Although this year’s meeting was less enjoyable for her than last. Our plans were to wait an hour or more in line for the mall Santa on a Saturday, but during a spontaneous weekday trip following a doctor appointment, we opted to take the photo then since there was no line. Bridget was not dressed in her Christmas best, she sat on his lap for two seconds, and I’m out $22. But, I will love looking back on her evolving relationship with Santa.

Bridget Santa

Our family ornament is on display! Each year, we buy an ornament that represents our year as a family. I particularly like the family personalized ones, and we went with the penguins this year. Bridget’s current favorite book is Elmo Loves You and there’s a page with penguins that she always stops on, points, and smiles. This ornament will help me remember those simple, yet meaningful memories.

photo 3

We welcomed our newest addition to the family: Nipper Snow Bum (we call him Nipper for short).

**CAUTION: If you are a child who Santa Claus will visit this year, please stop reading this post immediately.**

I’ve seen the many posts, stories, and ads for Elf on the Shelf, and wanted to join in the fun. Nipper joined the family last weekend, and has been making his rounds through the house each day since. Bridget loves “saying” his name and finding him each morning.

Quick side story about Nipper: Before I had read the book and properly completed my research on the dos and donts of Elf on the Shelf, I was excited to share with my in-laws that we had bought an Elf. After slipping that we bought Nipper (meaning Santa didn’t send him) in front of my 6-year-old nephew, Jacob, he reassured me that, “Don’t worry, Aunt Shannon. We don’t have one. It’s just a scam for people to make money.” Again, he’s 6. I couldn’t stop laughing, and he made me feel a little better for unknowingly letting the secret out. However, the throw-her-head-back-laugh Bridget does whenever she finds him is easily worth the $30, so I guess I’ve been scammed, and I’m okay with it.

We visited the Candy Cane Christmas at Spring Mist FarmsI’ve posted about this local farm before, and cannot say enough good things about it. It’s so close to our house, and offers year-round seasonal activities for kids. In December, their event is called Candy Cane Christmas. It’s $4 per child and $3 per adult, and includes a visit to their barn filled with Christmas tree displays of all different themes, train sets, and city displays. Then, for $4 more, Bridget got to sit with Santa in his workshop and build a wooden toy train that he then wood-burned her name and year into. Finally, their barn is open to view all the animals, including Charley the camel, horses, sheep, and Santa’s reindeer. It’s just the cutest place, inexpensive, and family-owned. We are becoming regulars, and I encourage you to visit and take your kids. Don’t expect extravagance – it’s pretty much exactly what I just described, but there’s something about local, simple events that fit the spirit of the holiday season.

Feeling thankful

Not just on Thanksgiving, but always, I am thankful for the blessings I enjoy every day. And this season is a time to celebrate them with the ones we love, around a table filled with lots of food.

Here’s a wrap up of our Thanksgiving 2013:

– I spent my 29th Thanksgiving with my family at my mom’s cousins’ house. My favorite people, delicious food, and French silk pie made it another one to remember.

– A weekend at my in-laws can be summed up by full bellies (my mother-in-law can cook and bake, let me tell you), endless laughter, lots of hugs from my sweet nieces and nephews, and a couple chilly nights in the hot tub. Can’t wait to do it again in a few weeks.

– Bridget playing with her cousins is something I’ll never tire of watching. Granted, the few days off her nap schedule resulted in more-frequent-than-usual melt downs, but she made up for them with her adorableness. Sorry, but I’m not sorry. I love that kid!

– We scored a 4-piece luggage set for $35 from JCPenney on Black Friday…from the comfort of home on my Smartphone. While part of me is slightly curious to experience the
madness since I never have before, I think I’ll continue to live vicariously through others.

– Saturday was a college football day for the books. My blood pressure has finally leveled out, and I’m still saying GO BLUE over here. Thanks to the Cleveland Browns for raising me well, I know that there’s always next year.

– We helped celebrate my best friend, Jenny’s husband’s early 30th birthday. Jenny and Tom are expecting their first baby in February (yay!) just a week before Tom’s real birthday, so she had a surprise party for him at a local restaurant for the Browns game today. It was great to see everyone and the place was really neat: Union Depot in Berea. Check it out sometime!

I hope you and yours had a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving. Hello, December!

A big milestone for Bridget bear

Today was a big day in the L household. I don’t often share “bathroom” information, so this is the first and likely last time you’ll read about it here. But, Bridget went #1 AND #2 on the potty for the first time tonight. Cue the applause and cheers!

This was fairly unexpected because we haven’t been pushing the matter; only casually pointing it out and encouraging her to sit on it every now and then. And tonight, it just clicked…twice!

We will see what the coming days bring, but for now, we are just enjoying the mix of surprise and pride we all feel. Oh and this funny photo taken shortly after while sporting her Thanksgiving hat:

20131126-214018.jpg