Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sometimes "Thank You" isn't said enough ...

Abby, Max and I just returned to Baltimore after spending four days at my parents house. I know I've said it before but having family close by is such a blessing. It's really nice to have a change in environment and hang in the country for a bit. Different things to do and different places to see.

It's also great having family around to help out with Abby, who has endless amounts of energy these days. Sometimes it's really hard when the hubs is on the road and I'm left dealing with challenging moments like meltdowns and mini tantrums. It's exhausting and sometimes Mama just needs a break.

So for all those times this past weekend that the fam helped ...

Pushing Abby on the swing. Playing with her on the porch in the heat. Walking her down the street. Taking her to see the Kitty.


Watching her while I showered. Alone. In peace! Watching her while she napped so I could run errands.


Reading to her. Teaching her new things. Making her laugh and smile. Showing her love.


Whatever it was, I want to say THANK YOU for allowing me to have some time to myself, whether it was an hour or five minutes. It's sometimes easy to forget these two important words, but they should be said more often. I THANK YOU and appreciate the help that you are always willing to give. :)


Friday, May 27, 2011

Mama vs. Binky Round One

Round one of the Binky Battle crushes the Mama.

Here's the background.

Ever since Abby was an infant, she's been attached to her binky. She'd use it when she was fussy in the car, a little at home, and at nap or bed time. It seems like the older she gets, the more she wants it. I know it's a comfort and security thing for her and at times I think it's cute, but I'm really worried that the more attached she'll get, the harder it will be on all of us to take it away. So Jim and I decided it was time to start lessening the amount of time she had with the binky. And to be honest, Jim does a much better job with it.

Awhile ago I vowed to refrain from buying any more binkies. We were going through them like rapid fire ... losing them at the grocery store, at the park, and even around the house. So earlier this week we were down to three ... then two ... and then the one and only sacred binky. I couldn't believe it. One left! I was excited and nervous about our next step in the binky battle. I was keeping tabs on that binky like it was the most valuable treasure I owned.

And then it happened ... Target happened. Abby and I went shopping yesterday for a water table, some water toys, and some other odds and ends. And you know what? I caved. I bought a pack of two binkies. Ugh. Round one goes to the binky. The hubs will be so disappointed in me. I had been so strong and adamant about the whole thing and in one second I gave in.

To top it all off, we returned home and were later playing in Abby's playroom. Guess what she pulled out of her purse? Three binkies! That's right friends... now we're back to having five in our possession! These are the last five. Seriously. Hubs and I are in this together and eventually the binkies will be gone. But until then, I'm keeping an eye on those suckers ... a very close eye.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Favorite Toy ... for now anyways :)

Toys. Tons of toys. Abby has almost everything imaginable ... or at least it sometimes feels that way after a busy day of play in our house. Abby has yet to find that one toy that she truly loves playing with. Of course there is Baby and she is getting more and more attached to her as the days go on. But all of the other toys usually get a few minutes of her time and then she throws them on the floor and goes on to the next one.

A friend of mine, who has a son very similar to Abby told me about his new found love and attention span for Mr. Potato Head. So on our next Target shopping spree, I picked up Mrs. Potato Head for Abby, expecting this toy to be one amongst the others that gets looked at, played with for a few minutes and forgotten about until next time.

I'm glad to say I was wrong. Mrs. Potato Head captures her attention and she loves putting the parts on and taking them off. Over and over again. With such concentration, Abby puts Mrs. Potato Head together, smiling and giggling the whole time. Love this toy!

I'm sure it won't take long before the newness of Mrs. Potato Head wears off, but she is having fun while it lasts ... and she's making her Mama laugh in the process. :)


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordless {ish} Wednesday - Rody

Every Daddy out there spoils their little girl. Right?!

After each road trip, Jim has been bringing something back
for Abby. Returning from Chicago, he came home with two
American Girl Bitty Baby outfits and some great PBK finds.
After the series in Boston, he came back with this.

Meet Rody. The inflatable horse that has us all intrigued.
Even Max watches as Rody grows ... and grows.

Success! Daddy does it again ...
making his little girl smile. And us laugh. A lot.

Abby's first reaction to Mama riding Rody.
Later she must have realized how silly Mama looked
because now I'm constantly being summoned to ride Rody.

Thanks Daddy! :)


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Something Good - Possibilities

The Life of Rylie...and Bryce too!

I'm linking up with LeeAnn again this week to share something good. If you want to link up or check out what other people are talking about, head on over to The Life of Rylie ... and Bryce too!

Living in Baltimore during the baseball season opens a door to all kinds of new things. The aquarium. The zoo. Museums. Libraries. And then right outside of the city are many other things like petting zoos. Farms. Play Centers. Living in Baltimore, the possibilities are endless and that is a huge bonus for the time we are here.

Last week, I met up with some of the ladies and their kiddos to explore Port Discovery. This place is awesome! There was so much to offer for kids of all ages and Abby just loved it! We will definitely go back and play some other day.

Abby and her friends play in the Diner.
Such a cool room ... a mini diner that is kids size.

Abby also loved the Water Room.
Lots of fun to be had in here ... plus you can get wet!
Of course the kids love it :)

There was a toddler room just for the littles.
They could climb, crawl through "caves," and look down through port holes.
Abby is signing for "more" in the top left picture :)

This giant harp was fun for Abby & Jacob
... and fun for Mommy to photograph :)

I'm loving that there is so much to do in this big city ...
and so many possibilities :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Something Good - What's Cookin?

The Life of Rylie...and Bryce too!

I'm happy to say that I'm finally linking up with LeeAnn over at The Life of Rylie ... and Bryce too! Here's the deal. Every Tuesday she hosts "Something Good," where you post about anything good that happened that day or earlier in the week. Easy enough so I'm not really sure why I've procrastinated with joining in on the fun.

I originally was going to post about visiting home but of course I forgot and already did that yesterday. The bestie posted her something good about our trip home on her blog today. Check it out for pictures of our girls reuniting.

I'm keeping it simple with my something good tonight. We had a great time playing with friends at Port Discovery this afternoon (more to come on that later) and it was really nice coming home to dinner that was ready to put on the table. I love simple crockpot meals. I put it together while Abby naps, the smell takes over the house, and come dinner time ... the work is already done and it's ready to eat!

So today I made one of my favorites ... Italian Garden Hillside Soup. Tortellini, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, onions, celery, basil .... delightful!! Not to mention the recipe makes way too much and you have frozen leftovers for another quick meal. So simple and it's definitely something GOOD!


Monday, May 16, 2011

No place like home ...

Tonight I'm finally unpacked and feeling settled from our trip back home. Abby and I headed to Sarasota last Wednesday to catch up with some friends and enjoy a few days at our house. It was the perfect time to visit ... the weather wasn't too hot (although I did complain it was hotter than I expected), I was missing my bestie and lunch at Jason's Deli was long overdue, and the O's were in St. Pete playing the Rays.

Despite the fact that it was a whirlwind of a trip, Abby and I did a lot and got a chance to see a lot of our friends. Thursday morning we headed into school to see some of the teachers I used to work with. It's great having so many teacher friends because they are all in the same place! :) Then lunch with the bestie and pool time later that night. Abby was so excited to see Camdyn and Chloe. They had a fun time playing outside, eating pizza, and swapping babies.

On Friday we headed to the park and fountains at the marina. Abby preferred the park, while her buddies preferred the water. Oh well ... next time! Later after nap time, Abby and I met up with Michelle and Jonah for fine dining at Chic-Fil-A. Even though it was a spur of the moment and too quick dinner, the kiddos enjoyed themselves and us ladies got to catch up a bit.

It was really nice having a few nights to spend at our house. I must say it was quiet ... very quiet ... especially with no TV. We always turn the cable off while we are away to save some dollars. Thankfully I had my iPad and was able to catch up on some reading and the quiet time was actually something I needed.

On Saturday Abby and I headed up to St. Pete to stay at the hotel with Jim before we headed back to Baltimore the next day. Abby loved playing in the hotel ... running up and down the halls, flirting with the bell boys, and exploring our room. Huge thanks to Andrea and her family for coming up to babysit Abby that night. I was able to catch up with more friends, actually watch a baseball game (instead of chasing after a toddler), and hang out in the dugout after the game listening to Darius Rucker perform. What a fun concert and I must say I actually wished Abby had been there with me. She would have loved the concert. Families from both teams were on the field and the kids were just running and playing everywhere! Abby would have joined right in and danced the night away. But ... Mama needs a night out every now and then!

I only wish I had taken my camera to capture some of the fun we had. It was so nice being home, enjoying time with friends, and realizing that traveling with an almost two year old is doable. Not that I'll do it often ... but it can be done, especially when such great friends travel along! :)


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wordless {ish} Wednesday - Abby's Obsession

Not sure if any of you Mamas out there have heard of
The Laurie Berkner Band,
but my child is completely obsessed.

When I say obsessed ... I mean it.
We listen to the CD in the car, watch the DVD, and
I downloaded the bands music app on the new iPad.

I can't seem to escape Laurie Berkner these days ...
I wake up singing the catchy songs that she sings... every. morning.

It's all worth it when I see Abby light up, smile, and start shaking her stuff.
This child loves Laurie Berkner. She loves music.
And she loves to dance.

Did I mention I already bought concert tickets for a September show?!
What have I gotten myself into ...???!!!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A day for Mama :)

Celebrating Mother's Day is much different than it used to be. Yes, I still celebrate my wonderful Mama and praise her for raising three girls. My Mama holds a very special place in my heart and if you know me, you know just how close we are. We didn't get to spend the actual day together, but we have been spending several days together since we live closer this time of the year. I am enjoying all the time we have together!

Being a Mama changes everything. It changes the way I look at life, it completes me, and it even makes me dress the same as my daughter ... some days.

Being Mother's Day and all, I had to take full advantage of the matching Matilda Jane skirts I bought for us back in March. Cheesy but cute.

Our family had the perfect day together. It started off with a busy, half crazy kind of morning, but things started to slow down and we had some fun playtime at home. Abby napped and then we headed into the ballpark to watch some of the O's game. Abby had a blast playing in the suite with some of the other kiddos, cheered her Daddy on, and came home with quite the sugar high. :) Since it was a day game, we were able to enjoy dinner at home, together. It's so nice to sit down as a family when we can, especially on Mother's Day. The rest of the night was all about the fam. A walk around the neighborhood, playtime, and gifts for Mama.

Jim usually always goes a bit overboard with gifts. But ... he is a great gift picker-outer and he always knows just what to get me. So naturally, I don't mind. :) I got a new Michele watch, matching Williams-Sonoma aprons for me and Abs, and ::drum roll:: an iPad! The watch is beautiful and perfect for everyday wear and the iPad is something I've been wanting for a while. I was so excited and have been playing around on it nonstop. The aprons were such a perfect gift from Abby and I love that Jim thought of that idea on his own. I imagine Abby and I will spend a lot of time baking together when she gets just a bit older.

The reasons why I get to celebrate Mother's Day :)

Hope everyone had a special reason to celebrate such a special day. Happy Mama's Day! :)


Thursday, May 5, 2011

NO spitting allowed ...

You may remember me rambling on about how busy Abby and I have been over the past week. Last Sunday we spent the morning with the ladies (Aunt Jenny, Aunt Heather, and cousin Emily), visiting the llama barn, perusing the beautiful flowers at Homestead Gardens, and eating out for lunch.

Visiting the llama barn was something out of the ordinary for us to do. I didn't know much about llamas and to be honest when I mentioned this idea to my sisters, they both replied with, "Llamas?! Llamas spit!" And if you know me, of course I had to google llamas the night before we went. I wanted to know why these animals had a tendency to spit. It made me feel better (maybe not my sisters) to know that llamas don't typically spit at you, they spit at other llamas, usually over food.

Llamas are quite interesting looking. I'm not really sure whether they resemble a horse, goat, camel, or maybe they're just a mixture of all of them. As odd as they look, they are equally as cute... well maybe.

The llama barn had twenty six llamas scattered across the fields. Abby just watched in awe, excited from afar but more unsure once they came close. And let me tell you, they came running ... literally ... when we were about to serve them up some treats.

I wish I had more video footage of the llamas running towards us. I focused on the one llama in the video but they were coming at us from all angles. The llamas definitely gave us all a good laugh. Once they came down to the fence, we fed them their treats out of our hands ... everyone but Abby. She wanted to so bad, you could just tell. But when the time came down to it, she thought twice about it. Maybe next time. :)


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - All about the ducks. And Daddy.

Abby loves to feed the ducks.

Better known as "quack quacks."

She waves "hi" and "bye" to them. Watches in wonder.
Even steals some of their bread or crackers for herself.

Love this. Love them.

Any photographers out there know of a sharpness action available for download? I feel like these photos are just missing something... is it sharpness? Suggestions welcome! :)


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

B-U-S-Y. But who isn't?

Excuses, excuses, excuses. Here I am slacking at the blog thing again and all I can do is give you a few different reasons why. 1. I've been super busy chasing a toddler around and keeping her entertained. 2. I'm staying at my parents this week since the hubs is on a road trip. 3. I forgot my camera cord to upload new photos of Abby. 4. I'm tired. I hope those are good enough excuses for you ... please forgive me!

We've been doing a lot while at my parents house. Visiting the llama barn, feeding the chickens, playing on a new playground, watching a little baseball, enjoying lunches out, and even squeezing in a little shopping. With the help of Anthropologie & Zappos, I've added a few new things to my closet. I cannot help but l-o-v-e everything from Anthropologie. It's my weakness. That and pretzel m&m's. Ugh..

In other news, Jim will return from a week long road trip (Chicago & Kansas City) late Thursday night. Abby and I are super excited and can't wait to have him home. Even if it's only for five days before Abby and I are off to Sarasota next week. We are headed home for a quick trip to visit friends (that we miss way too much), enjoy our pool, sleep in our own beds, take in an O's/Rays game & Darius Rucker concert, and a one night stay at The Vinoy (one of my favorite hotels). So excited!!

Since my number four excuse for not blogging was "I'm tired," I think it's about time I call it a night. I'll return tomorrow with some WW photos! :)