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4.18.14 – Good Friday!

18 Apr

It was certainly a Good Friday indeed. We had absolutely gorgeous weather in central Illinois. Laney really can’t get enough of being outside, and she is even getting over her fear of grass. But her favorite is playing with the rocks Daddy is working on installing in our flower beds. She also loves watching the older kids in the neighborhood ride or scoot on by, and I can tell she really wishes she could keep up with them.

I decided to break out my camera. Even though the sun was a bit harsh in the late afternoon, I thought it would be great practice for me. It is always so hard for me to choose photos to post, because each expression shows me a different part of her personality. So here is the slightly condensed version of our Friday. :)

And here are a few iPhone snaps:

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We are looking forward to celebrating Easter with Kyle’s side of the family. Have a blessed Easter, everyone!

28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

4.12.14 – Spring Break 2014

12 Apr

Are you prepared for a monster of a post? Good, because we had a pretty great spring break with lots of pics and videos to show for it.

Grandpa and Mimi were kind enough to invite us on Spring Break to Okaloosa Island, Florida with them this year. With Kyle required to travel for work half of the week anyway, we quickly said YES!

I will admit I was a little nervous about the flight. The only reasonable flights available were smack in the middle of nap time. It only took about ten milk explosions for us to wise up and unscrew the cap of her sippy to release some pressure before opening the straw. Other than getting a milk bath several times during both flights, they went very smoothly. She didn’t nap, but she really hung in there.

My advice for flying with a toddler: a couple of new toys (like these), these headphones for Barney viewing (I have a new appreciation love for Barney and his annoying friend Baby Bop), and emergency beloved snacks (like Reese’s puffs). And, of course, watch out for sippy cups that have experienced too much pressure during flight. Oh, and leave your germaphobe issues at the airplane door, because there isn’t enough hand sanitizer in the world to keep your toddler from encountering a bazillion germs from touching every possible disgusting surface on that airplane. Some fun photos and Laney’s enjoyment of her first take-off of memory:

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Laney was of course thrilled to see everyone when we finally arrived. We enjoyed some of the best pizza I’ve had in awhile and called it a night. Sunday was chilly, foggy, and rainy, but we managed to squeeze in some beach time and  a couple walks. Baby Bug was NOT a fan of the sand (i.e. refused to put her landing gears down) until she realized she got to splash in the water. That night we enjoyed a tasty dinner at McGuire’s Irish Pub and picked up some Donut Hole donuts for the next morning.

 

Monday: torrential downpour. The only indoor activity nearby was the Emerald Coast Science Center. The price was right (cheap) and provided an hour or so of entertainment – at least until we could call it lunchtime. Here are some pics:

We scooted on over to Props Brewery where we pretty much had the place to ourselves, which resulted in Laney running around like a crazy person…and an unfortunate accident where Mimi chased her onto a freshly mopped floor and ended up smelling like a mop bucket the rest of the afternoon. We also hit up the HUGE outlet mall in Destin and had pizza (again) from Helen Back (also good).

Tuesday: finally some sunshine! We made it a day at the beach – it was a little chilly during cloudy times, but overall a gorgeous day. Laney finally started warming up to the whole sand experience and was very upset when it was time for a nap. We enjoyed some tasty Mexican at La Cabana Del Amigo and got some fro-yo at Bippy’s at the Beach.

Wednesday: We had a little dance party in the morning, and then we decided to check out the Gulfarium despite its reviews as a “sad little place.” It was OK. We then had lunch at Floyd’s Shrimp House, which was pretty tasty with an ocean view. The girls had fun running around on the deck outside. We hit up the beach in the afternoon and said goodbye to Daddy. :( We had Caffe Italia one89 for dinner. The food was good but portions were small – especially for the teenage boys. It was a gorgeous setting and ambiance, and again the girls had fun running around on the deck outside.

 

Thursday: was a day full of beach fun with absolutely perfect weather. Laney finally decided that sand was fun and that Jacob was her favorite person ever. We played a couple of tough matches of beach volleyball and all got a little too much sun. We ate some southern comfort food and pie at Mary’s Kitchen. After dinner, the big kids had some fun taking a couple spins around the go-cart track.

Friday: unfortunately, Laney was increasingly whiney the last couple of days and woke up really early the last day. Florida has been wonderful for her eczema – not so great on her nose. She actually took two naps, but we did squeeze in a little beach time. After her second nap, we ate dinner at Hog’s Breath Saloon and Laney had so much fun dancing to the live music. We also went to Sugar Land for some ice cream where Laney was literally a kid in a candy store. She was running around grabbing things off of the shelves like a crazy person. After ice cream, we took one last trip out to the beach and packed for home.

Saturday morning ended up being more eventful than I planned. I got a later start to the airport than I wanted. The lines at the tiny regional airport were then longer than I anticipated. I was in a full sweat by the time I made it through security where I nearly left my laptop. God bless the lady who offered to push my stroller as I was running with my screaming child and two bags to my gate just in time to board before departure. The stewardess told me the wrong gate for my second flight, and I had to hightail it to a different terminal. I couldn’t find an open restroom to change Laney before the second flight. She pooped right after I had finally changed her. I was starting to just laugh at the days events, but the day turned around on the second flight with an open seat next to me for prime Barney viewing, and Laney actually took a catnap. I am extremely thankful for all of the kind people who offered to lend me a hand today – maybe because I looked like a train wreck, but more likely out of the goodness of their hearts.

We are finally home safe and sound. I knew I had made it back to Illinois when the plane was bouncing all over the place during the landing because of the wind. And boy does it feel good to be home.

4.12.14 – 19 Months!

12 Apr

Another month has flown by. We spent a fun week in Florida with most of my side of the family and are just getting home today. Our little girl is feisty and ornery as can be, but she is also so much fun! She becomes more brave and independent each day. Although I now spend my days chasing after her rather than walking along side her, I really am glad to see her exploring on her own. She is definitely testing limits and our patience at times, but her silly little personality keeps us laughing. Her smile and giggle bring us so much joy, and I love seeing her develop into a little person.

Clothes: 24 Months (some 2T); size 5 in most shoes

Favorite foods: Cheese, mac and cheese, and milk. I’m considering buying a cow to make my own dairy products. She also generally likes cooked carrots, fruit cups, avocado, eggs, yogurt, and anything sweet. But it really depends on the day. We are seeing more typical toddler eating tendencies lately – especially only eating one meal a day and only wanting snack foods.
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Favorite words: Her vocabulary has really taken off in the last couple of weeks. Rock (ock – either the inanimate object or the action), cheese, milk or more (both “mi”), star, moon, baby, ball, bubble, beep beep! (especially when I ask her to move or any time she hears a car horn), and car. Uh oh!, Oh man!, and Whoa! are still the phrases said most often.
Favorite activities: Being on the move, playing with rocks or water, being chased (either as a game or to avoid a diaper change), hide-and-seek, pointing and naming body parts, throwing or kicking balls, blowing bubbles, dancing, ring-around-the-rosey, snuggling with her blanket and giraffe, singing songs with hand motions, reading books, being around other people – especially kids, and watching Barney. Oh and testing limits. :)
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Least favorite activities: sitting in her high chair to eat, getting her diaper changed, and being held in public places. (Hard to believe just a few months ago this girl refused to walk independently!)
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Signature moves: Diving out of your arms when she wants to walk and saying “alk.” Listing family members’ names with either “hi” or “bye.” (Mimi taught her to say “night moon” and “night stars” on the beach last week – which she now says even in the daytime when we are outside.) Slapping or throwing objects when she is frustrated or wanting attention. Leaning forward to do her power walk when she is holding our hands. Saying “Whoa!” when she almost falls or when we hit a bump in the car (or when daddy makes a crazy turn!). Saying “CHEESE!” and smiling for photos. Reaching and pointing where the snacks are kept even if she just ate. Running away giggling when you want her to do something she doesn’t want to do (diaper change, get dressed, go to bed, etc.) Singing along to songs – today she was singing “E-I-E-I-O” to “Old MacDonald.” Going to her room to play to get a blanket and giraffe snuggle (we don’t allow them out of her room unless we are traveling). She also has the cutest little shimmy dance move now.
Mom’s favorite moment: Our week at the beach. It was really nice to get away and spend so much time outside. She didn’t love the beach like I’d hoped and was a little sick, but we still had a lot of fun! I also love seeing her become braver and more independent – even if it means she is getting into stuff more.
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Dad’s favorite moment: our family walks on the beach in Florida.

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3.29.14 – Overdue Update

29 Mar

It’s been awhile! Life has been a bit busy in our world. I thought I would give a quick update in photos.

1. Due to our busy-ness, we have been eating out way more than we should:

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2. The Death-mobile (a.k.a. Kyle’s ’99 Toyota Camry) officially kicked the bucket, so we had to go give Daddy a lift. We are now the proud(?) owners of a ’91 GMC truck. Let me tell you… it’s a golden beauty. Laney calls it “big truck.”

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3. We are still anxiously awaiting spring. But on the days it has been warm enough to be outside, we have discovered that grass is pretty scary to walk in and touch…

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And we just aren’t quite ready for shorts yet…

4. We are still fighting Laney’s most recent eczema outbreak. Keeping her constantly covered in ointment has caused some pretty greasy hair.2014-03-21 07.28.01

 

5. Laney has learned to bear crawl and spin around.

 

 

Despite the moments of stress we have had the last couple of weeks, we are still trying to squeeze in a lot of FUN!

 

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Happy weekend, everyone!

3.17.14 – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

17 Mar

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Hope everyone is having fun catching leprechauns and pinching people who aren’t wearing green. ;) We are having just a regular day here with a few special treats.

Here’s our little babe last year:

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And here she is today:

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What a difference a year makes!

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Happy day, everyone!

 

3.12.14 – 18 Months!

12 Mar

It’s hard to believe we are already half-way to 2 years old. Here’s a little update on our 18 month old. We were so happy to see Daddy when he returned yesterday. It was fun to be able to meet him outside (hopefully this snow melts soon!).

Age: 18 Months

Stats: 25.4 lbs (81.62%), 32″ (57.99%), 18 3/4″ head

Clothes: 24 months

Favorite foods: This girl still likes to eat except when she is sick, which happened a couple of times this month. Favorites this month: avocado, mac ‘n cheese, yogurt, bananas (nanas), pancakes, pizza, cereal bars, and anything sweet. But I think she would drink milk as a meal replacement if I let her.

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Favorite words: Hi (insert name here) or just Hi! often with a quick, little wave. Bye-bye (insert name here – usually Da-da). Uh-oh! Oh man! Whoa! and All Done! are said MANY times a day. New words: WEEEE! or Wee! Wee! Wee! Yum! and Vroom! Vroom! Balloon said correctly. Broccoli and blueberry. Mom! (yelled like a teenager thanks to Annie’s example; even if I’m sitting right next to Laney) Grandpa, Annie, Jacob, Ryan, and Kyla often listed in a row along with Mama and Dada (we spent a week with my family). She is also starting to label and echo us a lot more.

Favorite activities: Chasing and being chased or peek-a-boo around the house; pointing to body parts (eyes, nose, belly, etc); spinning around and walking backwards (with assistance); clapping/kicking/dancing; pouring or scooping items like rocks or dry noodles; opening/closing doors; playing in/with water; throwing/kicking balls; snuggling her stuffed animals; and BEING OUTSIDE (come on already, spring!).

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Least favorite activities: coming inside, getting dressed, or not getting her way.

Signature moves: Saying “Ra-ah-ah” when she wants to hear Katy Perry’s “Roar” on my phone. Saying “beep beep!” whenever she hears a horn “woof! woof!” when she sees a dog or “tick tock!” many times when there is a clock in the room. Biting or slapping when she is mad/frustrated (mostly herself, the table, or her toy – let’s hope it stays that way!) Crawling away giggling when it’s time for bed, getting dressed, etc. Whining and pointing when she wants something. Standing at doors or windows begging to go outside. Standing on her tip-toes reaching to open doors (she was successful once so far). Climbing to get on furniture or chairs. Stopping whatever she is doing, looking out the window when she hears something outside and looking at me to label it (airplane, train, construction truck).

Mom’s favorite moment: Spending a week with my family while Kyle was on a business trip. And getting to spend a little time outside.

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Dad’s favorite moment: Our weekend in Chicago with family and friends. Seeing her yesterday after missing her for a week. And finally a couple of warmer days.

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Here are some portraits I took of her last week (do not use without permission of JLP Photography):

 

Lastly, I rocked my baby girl to sleep for her nap today. As cliche as it sounds, time does keep going faster, and I am realizing how quickly she is growing up. Well… and because her nails really needed clipped, and clipping her nails while she is awake is as painful as getting teeth pulled without meds…for me…for her it’s a fun game of “keep away.” ;)

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She brings us so much joy!

3.11.14 – Hello from the Hoosier State!

11 Mar

We’ve spent the last week staying with my family in Indiana while Kyle was out of town on a business trip. And I’m sure glad we did, because Laney was sick and needed a lot of attention this weekend. So it was so nice having an extra set of hands (or 6) to help out.

Despite being under the weather for half of the trip, we still did have a lot of fun! We played with so many new toys, cheered Jacob on during his Sectional basketball games, followed Briggs the dog around, played outside, went shopping, took Annie lunch at school, and snuggled everyone.

I also had the honor of taking Ryan and Kyla’s engagement pictures while we were here. I can’t wait for their wedding! Here is a sneak peek:

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(For more follow my business page JLP Photography.)

We sure miss Daddy though and our house, so we head out today! Until next time, Indiana…

3.3.14 – Messy Monday

3 Mar

Hello, March! So glad you could bring us more snow this weekend…NOT!

February was a rough month for me. I’ve had a lovely back spasm turned sciatica that has caused a lot of tears, lack of sleep, and frustration. Being in pain makes being the primary caretaker of toddler very challenging emotionally and physically. I’ve been feeling some mom guilt lately. Social media doesn’t help. I would look at pictures of moms fighting cabin fever with fun, creative activities while I was struggling to hobble  walk around the house. I knew in my head I was doing my best, but that mom guilt is a tough thing to shake. I’m happy to report that I no longer want to cut my right leg off. My pain is lower and spirits higher this week (thanks to a Mimi visit, some pain pills, and an appointment with a specialist). I have resolved that March will be happier and more fun.

This isn’t a sympathy post, but I wanted to explain why I went the extra mile for fun this Monday morning. And I wanted to let you know that this toddler paint recipe is super easy to make and clean (1/2 c baby wash; 1/4 c corn starch; drop of food coloring). I always like to avoid Pinterest fails when possible, so I figured other moms would appreciate knowing this pin is a keeper. Cue the pics of Laney have some messy fun!

Of course she liked the clean-up process better than the painting. (Definitely inherited my clean-freak gene!)

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And a quick weekend recap:

We had fun playing with Mimi on Friday.

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We made sure the house and baby were squeaky clean Saturday.2014-03-01 09.28.01 2014-03-02 08.44.56

(all the toys had to be on one side of the tub)

We stayed hydrated at a fun birthday bash.

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And we watched Dada shovel more snow on Sunday.

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Hope everyone has a great week!

2.23.14 – Weekend Wrap-up

23 Feb

We had a great, whirlwind weekend in Chicago visiting family and friends.

We started the weekend visiting Nana and Papa and one of Laney’s fav dogs Macey.

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Saturday we visited our cousins Eric and Jess in the city and had a tasty brunch.

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Then we headed to Uncle Rick’s and Aunt Emily’s house for a much needed nap. While little bug was napping, I got a chance to play with my adorable nephew RJ (and of course snap some pics!).

Laney was reunited with her exersaucer that we let RJ borrow, and she was obviously pretty happy about it.

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Finally, we headed into the city again to meet our good friends Ryan and Mike for brunch on Sunday. Laney decided Ryan was her new BFF. :)

It only took her about 2.2 seconds to pass out on the way home.

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And it sure feels good to be home watching cars from our own window.

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Thanks to our family and friends for hosting us this weekend! We had an awesome time. :)

 

2.21.14 – Week in Review

21 Feb

Just a quick post tonight as we are visiting Kyle’s family and friends this weekend.

We had a fun week getting back into our activities after the crazy snow storms we have been having. Laney and I attend two different music classes and a Mom’s morning out program during the week to keep us from getting cabin fever. Plus we have swim classes with Daddy twice a week, which Laney loves despite the very cold water!

But most importantly (to me anyway) I got a new camera this week, and I have had so much fun trying it out and getting used to the new set-up. There are so many reasons it is better than the one I have, and I can’t wait to use it for portraits for my business.

Therefore, the main reason for my post is to share some of the pics I took this week. :)

Happy weekend, everyone!

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