Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sleeping Giant National Park

I just thought I would make note of an outing that turned into an epic fail.

We decided after eating out near Hamden, CT to go to Sleeping Giant National Park... this was on Seana's to do list so we figured why not...

Well we got there and found we were ill prepared... we didn't have the right shoes to hike, the right stroller to put Maggie in and we failed to have bug spray to fend off the mesquitos!

So I am sorry to say that this is STILL on Seana's to do list!

New York Time Square & The American Museum of Natural History

Have we mentioned that we love New York?  Well it's true and we decided to see more of it!  Our goal was to end up at the American Museum of Natural History.  We found our way to Time Square where we took a couple pictures and then had lunch! We forgot our camera so got to buy a very pricey one time use camera at Grand Central Station... Here are our pics!

 I love this picture! I just wish Maggie was awake and smiling big!
 We then caught the subway to the museum.  Unfortunately a lot of our pictures didn't really turn out... here are some that did... This was a cool scale model they had where the silver dome is used as a reference of size to something they are showing... In this photo below... the planets sizes were in reference to the dome if the dome were the Sun.  It was really neat because they should from clusters of galaxies all the way down to neutrons and protons!


 Maggie and Seana next to a Triceratops!
 Maggie and I with a T-Rex!
 Posing in front of what I call the cluster exhibit, they had everything on this wall from fish to birds to mammals....
 The museum was huge and right next to central park we ventured outside and caught a glimpse but spent most of our time in the museum lost... They don't have the best signage there... and finding a restroom is hard... it is even harder when Maggie's diaper fails and she pees all over me in an elevator!!!  I ended up stripping her down in a empty corner in a not so popular section so that at least the pee fountain was fixed up so we could continue our bathroom search with less to worry about!!  We did find it by the time we got there the pee on my was nearly dry... thank God urine is sterile (don't worry I still washed up)!

After the museum we headed back to Time Square (really it was a transfer stop for us on the subway)!
 We found a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co there and decided that was where dinner should be! And it was Delicious!!! The sun went down while we dined so as we left Time Square was lit up and if you look at the picture right above you can see the ball that drops every new year at the top of the ads behind Seana!
All in all a fun trip into the city! Also the one trip into the city that we witness a weirdo busy at making everyone uncomfortable on the subway... Luckily he ignored us!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

12 Months = 1 Year of Joy

DAILY ROUTINE:

The last few months we have thrown some variety in your daily routine.  This is usually how your day goes, you wake up between 630 and 930 at which point you "help me" jump start the day by freeing the dogs out of their crate, while I feed and take the dogs out as well as get myself around you watch a video and play with your toys.   You have breakfast then get bathed/dressed on our activity days we load up and take Muti to work.  Then we either go to Baby Be Bop, the Zoo or we go to the Mall play area.  On non activity days, I let you play. We have a mid day meal/snack then you take a nap and then in the afternoon we typically play with your toys.  Then you usually have a snack and then nap, once you are awake we either go to pick Muti up from work or you watch a video while I get dinner figured out.  In the evenings Muti hangs out with you, you usually play on the Muti jungle gym or we head to the Mall so you can play and interact with other tots!  Then it is bedtime, we do your bed time routine and then it is off to sleep.  You are usually asleep between 1030 and 11.

FOOD:

You still nurse.  The subject of weaning you has come up for discussion, but you are rather attached to being nursed.  You typically nurse for comfort not so much for a meal.  We feel that you nursing a little longer seems to be the right decision for us and you specifically.  We have a lot of transitions coming up and since nursing gives you a sense of security it is the last thing we want to take away from you.  In addition, you are not warming up to cow's milk or toddler formula and until we have established a nutritional supplement to breast milk the weaning is on the back burner.

In regards to other food... You have eaten pretty much everything Mommy and Muti eat with exception to beef, raw fish, seafood and spicy foods.  Almost all your meals are a combination of what ever we are eating and a baby food of some sort to supplement.  Breakfast is the only meal that you have something different than your Mommies.  You have a mish mash of fruit and oats/quinoa.  

My goal with your meals is to ensure you get all your "servings" of protein, dairy, vegetables, fruit and grains... Which is why we supplement your meals of our food with baby food.  It turns out as healthy as Mommy and Muti would like to think they eat... we don't get enough vegetables or fruit not to much the grains and dairy.  Having you has really opened our eyes to nutrition as we want you to eat healthy so you can grow healthy. 

You are a great eater! And you would rather feed yourself than be fed!

SLEEP:

You still do not sleep through the night.

You usually wake up twice a night, once between midnight and 2 am and once between 430am and 6 am.  You still nurse once or twice a night, your pediatricians all say that you do not need to eat during the night and are doing it out of habit.  We agree, but have chosen to not break the habit yet as we are working on your night time routine.  

So we have a go with the flow approach with you for most things in your life, including bed time.  We kind of had a routine but not really one we used consistently which negates the "routine" to a routine.  We put you down when you showed signs of being tired we made mediocre attempts at putting you down early and figured you will go to bed when you are sleepy.  If you woke up in the night and started babbling or moving around either your Muti or I would get up with you and let you play.  Well no more.  Looking back I see this as taking the easy road because I was so tired and just didn't want to fight with you.  I also think this is why you don't sleep through the night.

So we are taking steps to work on your sleep schedule.  First we established a bedtime routine.  To ensure you will not fight bed time to much, we start you wind down at least an hour before we start your routine by making sure there is no "screen" time... which goes for your Mommies too, this way our minds aren't being overly stimulated and we can ease in to our time of rest.   

So Bedtime routine...This is yours:

Change into PJs
Brush our teeth
Read a book and get your hair brushed
Say a prayer
Rock with Mommy or Muti to a song or 2 until you are almost asleep.
Lie down in bed and go to sleep

We are currently putting you to bed around 1030 but are working on creeping that earlier so that you are getting to bed at a more reasonable hour.  So far the routine seems to be working.  You still have not slept through the night but we have had some close calls, and we have noticed that you don't sleep as well when we don't do the routine.

We are also working on getting you to self soothe, which is why we no longer rock you completely asleep.  Right now we kind of lie near you and rock you when we first put you down, but we are slowly going to stop the rocking you, then remove ourselves from being with you in small steps.  Your Connecticut pediatrician recommended this method and mentioned this is the longer/harder way to do it but it avoids the Cry It Out method which Muti and Mommy just don't have the hear to do.

During the day you typically take 2 naps, one at 1130ish and one at 4ish... Although you have had some days where you have just had 1 nap around 1 that is longer.  On the 1 nap days you seem more ready to turn in earlier so it is tempting to transition you to 1 nap but I am not sure if this is a good idea or not yet.

MILESTONES:
You are walking!!! You started walking in August just after you turned 11 months!  At first it was just one or two steps but now you are all over the place!  You have not discovered the run yet but I know our days are numbered!

You still love to climb and now in addition to your climb you stand on top of things... Which is nerve racking for both Muti and Mommy!  You are a climber at heart and you live for the ascent!

You are making even more sounds!  You chatter quite a bit but we haven't figured out what you are saying most of the time.  Some words that we do recognize are: Doggie and Hooray!

You have also picked up some signs, you sign "More" but it seems like you interpret the more to also mean food.  Which makes sense since we usually only sign it to you when food is involved.  You sign "All Done" when you are finished, this one you seem to know exactly what it means.  Mommy and Muti glow with pride at your signing.  We are currently working on adding: Eat, Drink and Sleep to the list.

WHAT'S FUNNY:

You find the dogs to still be funny. You also still seem to think you are funny... you laugh to yourself quite a bit... You love Peek a Boo!  And you of course love the "FLOP"... this is where Mommy flops you upside down!

YOUR FAVORITE TOY:

Currently your favorite toy isn't a toy at all.  You love the swiffer so much so Muti shortened it for our safety!  You love to just carry it around with you perhaps you think of it as your Scepter who knows!  You also love mylar balloons, we learned this on your birthday when Muti got you your first princess balloon and nothing else existed until it lost some of its air.

CLOTHES SIZE:

You still wear the 6-9 months pants but they are getting short on you so we have been transitioning you the 12 month pants; for shirts you are still wearing the 9-12 month or 12 month tops. You can fit into some 18 month clothes you have a swim suit that you wear that is 18 months and a couple onezie dress thingies that fit you that are 18 months. You actually haven't "grown" much the past few months, but you are still changing quite a bit, your proportions are changing I think your legs are getting longer, but you are skinny skinny so the problem with 12 month pants is the waist not the length.

HAIR COLOR:

The tips are still brown, but most of your hair is a dark blonde with a strawberry hue to it, especially when you wear pink!

EYE COLOR:

Your eyes are definitely blue and pretty as can be!

STATS:

Birth: 9 lbs 8 oz (99th percentile), 21 1/2" long
3 Months: 14 lbs 3 oz (90th percentile), 24 3/4" long (97th percentile)
6 Months: 17lbs 12 oz (83rd percentile), 28 1/2" long (99th percentile)
9 Months: 18lbs 14 oz (56th percentile), 29 3/4" long (95th percentile)
12 Months: 19lbs 5 oz (21st percentile), 29 1/2"* long (67th percentile)

*Don't worry you didn't shrink, measuring your height isn't very accurate as they lay you down and mark off the end of your feet and the top of your head with a pencil then measure.  Chances are your 9 month measurement was off or your 12 month you had a bend in your knees or something.  



Friday, September 23, 2011

Bronx Zoo

After we dropped my parents off at the Laguardia Airport we opted to go to the Bronx zoo for the day.  It was a spur of the moment decision we had not planned on going at all during our east coast adventures and we had actually left our camera at home to charge for this "quick" trip into New York to see Grandma and Grandpa off... So we bought a one time use camera for our visit... it really made us realize how our picture taking has changed with technology!

On this trip is when I wonder how people found places before GPS!  My phone directed us to the nearest entrance... turns out there are like 3 or 4 entrances... we were guided to the entrance without a visible parking lot so we opted for the street... assuming that since it is a city zoo there isn't a parking lot or 3.  We parked hid our electronics and anything of value under the seats or in the glove box and were on our way.  The area we parked in was a bit shady and not because of all the trees...  The homes on the street were barricaded in behind tall fences with barbed wire on top and bars on the windows, many of the walls were decorated with graffiti and you just didn't feel secure.  If it were dark out or I were alone I would not have gotten out of the car much less walk several blocks down the street.  You get the idea.

On to the ZOO!  This thing is big I mean it is GINORMOUS! (as Buddy the elf would say)  We had to refer to the map quite a bit to figure out where we were and where we wanted to go!  They had several great exhibits, and I really loved how much space the animals had available to them as well as how well landscaped each was.  They seem to put consideration for the animal into how they built their "cages".  As you will see in the pictures, it looks like we are walking through a park that has a lot of wildlife in it instead of a Zoo in the middle of a huge city.

Maggie & Seana posing in front of a fountain we thought was pretty, uhh... hmmm it looks like they are posing in front of a parking lot....
 Self Portrait Time!

 Me posing in the Congo exhibit with an Okapi... It is there you just have to hunt for it!  They are very interesting animals they look like a mix between a zebra and a moose with no antlers.
 The Gorillas!  This is a fantastic exhibit!  The camera we purchases was an outdoors camera with no flash... This shot was done indoors... You can see the shadows of Maggie and Seana posing...surprisingly the Gorilla shows up pretty good!
 Lego Flamingos!! We are on this boardwalk bridge one side had Lego Flamingos the other side had real flamingos... apparantly the Lego Flamingos were more interesting!
 Seana and Maggie with some sort of African Antelope in the back ground.....
 Me and a Giraffe attempting to hide behind the tree... He would definitely lose if we were playing hide n seek!
I would love to say that we wandered through all the exhibits and saw all the animals... but we didn't in fact near the end we bypassed several because our feet were feeling it and we were done for the day and still had a long walk ahead of us to get out of the zoo and back to our car.

There was still quite a bit of daylight left in the day when we got back to our car... but as we approached we noticed the car that had parked behind us after we arrived didn't fair well.  The passenger window was shattered, and I am pretty sure whatever was in their car was now stolen.  We can thankfully report that our car was untouched... I would like to think that it was the lack of any electronic upgrades to the vehicle as well as our decision to hide any devices we had before locking up and heading out that saved us from theft.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Empire State Building and a protest??!!

We decided to venture into New York City while my parents were visiting... A must for my parents was the empire state building!


Here is a little pre-city shot of Maggie and I trying on her UCONN hat!  Isn't it super cute!!
she is also sporting one of her new shirts (a birthday present from Nana & Grampa!)
 Waiting to get to the top.... we actually chose to pay for the "express" pass if you will and did the Skyride... Ummm it is not good... but we got to the top in less than an hour and that was with some dallying!!!  For those who don't know the line to get to the observation decks are usually an hour and a half to two hours long so skipping that wait was well worth the jump in price and sitting through skyride... I have waited the other way before and it is not a good time.
 One of the views of the city, I like this shot because you can see the famous Flatiron building!
 My Mom and I!
 My Mom, Me, Seana and Maggie!
Seana, Maggie, My Dad and Me!
 Seana and Maggie
After checking out the views of the Empire State Building we decided to make our way over to Ground Zero which is now the 9/11 Memorial.  On the way to the Memorial, my Mom spotted THE Macy's and insisted we go in.... Seana and I exchanged glances of.... ARE YOU SERIOUS??  You are in NY and you want to go into a department store??? ... My response... Fine.  It is your vacation... 

Please note, I will now confess, I ate my words not something I want to repeat any time soon.... We were awestruck by its size!  It has 8 effen floors!! 8.... it has 3 Starbucks that I saw.... It has to have everything imaginable for sale.   I am happy we stopped in I needed a potty break and while I was in the bathroom my Mom wandered off to the RED section... the woman's clothing department has sections by color?? Are you kidding me??!!  

My entire perception of department stores has changed, I now know that almost every Mall in America is lame in comparison... I think New Yorkers probably find them to be a joke.

We didn't stay long despite the urge to explore, we caught our subway then walked the couple of blocks to the World Trade Center... It is amazing how much it has changed since I saw it in 2002.  First off we couldn't get access to the memorial, it requires a reservation and when I checked before my parents came it was completely booked, so we walked the perimeter and got to see the new building 7 and the progress on the Freedom Tower and building 2...  We were able to catch a glimpse of the memorial from a distance through a window on a pedestrian bridge connecting a couple of the surrounding World Trade Buildings.  We didn't take photos we just took it in.  

After our stop there, I led us to Wallstreet, a spot I have wanted to see and it was only a few blocks away so I took the opportunity as the guide!  Seana had said she was told that you have to go through security checkpoints to go onto Wall St.  I found this hard to believe, why would they do that for a street??  So we got there.. and there were barricades up and police officers standing shoulder to shoulder blocking Wall St!  Not only did she appear to be correct but they were in full force which we all thought was overdoing it!  So no Merrill Lynch Bull photo op and we were off to the subway to head home...

Once home I decided to check into how you go through the security screening process to see Wall Street for a future visit... well it turns out.... There was a huge organized protest... See news report link below!!!


So you should be able to visit Wall St without being barricaded out just check to make sure no one will be protesting the nations wealthy!



Saturday, September 17, 2011

Maggie 1st Birthday!

The great news about Maggie's birthday is my parents flew in for the event!!! YAY!  It was so nice to spend time with family!  On Maggie's special day we didn't do anything extravagant we are saving that for when she requests it!

We started the day with a trip to the mall, where we did a Sears photo shoot, these pictures are to come!!

We then wandered the mall while we shopped for gifts for Maggie (yes we waited until the absolute last minute!!)

Here I am pushing Maggie around in a rent a stroller/car that she loved riding in and playing with the steering wheel!
 Once all the shopping was done, the gifts were wrapped and the naps were taken... Maggie discovered her favorite gift... This balloon from her Muti!
 Here is a shot of all of Maggie's gifts all wrapped and ready to be opened!  I had to steal the balloon from her to get it in the picture.
 The stealing of the balloon brought on big tears... here is a shot of My mom soothing Maggie as she gets her balloon back... I am such a mean Mommy!
 Maggie with her gifts!
 Maggie had no interest in any of her presents thanks to the balloon!  But we managed to hide it from her after some time past and she started to look over one or two of her other gifts... Her own vacuum from Mommy (yes I am training her now!!)
 Her first baby doll from Aunt Amber and family!
 Her attention span for the gifts was narrow so I didnt get photos of her with her other presents.  We took a few videos, I compiled them here... it is a bit long.



Now the cake!!!

Seana voted for carrot cake cupcakes and well won because there were only 2 of us voting and I loved the idea.  So I baked her cupcakes and frosted them with cream cheese frosting (I am proud to say I did it all from scratch!!)

Maggie eyeing her cupcake!
 We expected a big mess, but Maggie is a bit of a clean eater when it comes to cake so she really didn't make much of a mess of herself.  She seemed to enjoy the cake but really who doesn't love carrot cake???!!


A video of her first birthday song and tasting of cake!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oyster Festival!

The trip to Block Island left us a bit spent for the weekend, not spent enough to not do something but enough to not tackle any real big outings...  Luckily we had anticipated this and made plans with our friend Laura and her family to go to the Annual Oyster Festival in Norwalk, CT!

Let me just preface that I have never tried raw oysters, the closest I have come to consuming these bad boys is in fried form.... While in Nashville this summer I enjoyed a fried Oyster Po'Boy sandwich and it was delicious!!

When we arrived we saw another light house in view in the distance from where we parked!  This is the Peck's Ledge Light house.

Here is a link to its History: http://www.lighthouse.cc/pecksledge/history.html


When we arrived at the festival, we quickly tracked down Laura and family and watched her boys ride a couple rides!  Then as a group we headed out to find food...

I had the thought to try a raw oyster at the festival... but to my surprise and a touch of relief we could not locate many oyster munching options... The only option we saw was fried!

We all had different tastes in mind so we diverged and wandered off our separate ways... Seana, Maggie and I of course stuck together..... Seana got a hotdog!! And since I have tried fried oysters before I opted for one of my favorite dining options BBQ RIBS baby!! I purchased ribs from this award winning place (so they advertised with trophies and banners of their accomplishments).... sadly my ribs just weren't that great... they were actually very chewy and dry I had to set them in a bath of bbq sauce to cover the texture a bit.  The sauce had good flavor though I give them that!!!

After lunch we met up with Laura and family and started through the craft booths, but her boys wanted to do more rides and they left us to peruse.

Once we were through the booths we decided to head back home.  We had a great time despite the lack of Oysters.  Funny how something starts as an Oyster festival and ends up a craft show with carnival rides and fair food.

They did have this sand carving...worth posing in front of!




Block Island and Lighthouses!!!

The place to go for Connecticuters to get away is this little place called Block Island, Rhode Island.  A little Island that is about 12 miles off the coast sitting just above the mouth of the Long Island Sound.  On the advice of some of Seana's coworkers and a bit on a whim... we decided this was the place we wanted to spend our day on Sunday.

This was a great decision... aside from me getting a touch motion sick on the ferry ride on the way home.

Let me just start out by admitting that I have a love for lighthouses and was super excited at the opportunity that I might see one!!  Seana was not so into the idea of doing a ton of site seeing she wanted to just relax, go there, eat, wander, relax.... I of course wanted to see the island and most importantly I wanted to get up close to a light house.

On the drive to the ferry, we discussed and I read to her about the lighthouses in the area from my "New England Lighthouses" book.  This perked her interest and she caved and allowed a visit to one lighthouse!!! YES!!!!

So here we go! 

Seana and Maggie hanging out on the deck of the ferry!  While on the ferry we actually saw 4 lighthouses I was nothing short of ELATED!
 Maggie and I posing as we docked at Block Island... isn't that beach in the background beautiful?!
We had lunch where I had my first lobster roll!! Then we decided to catch a cab and be given a mini tour of the island... first stop the light house of course!  This is the Southeastern Light of Block Island.  Still active!  It actually sits near a cliff and it actually had to be moved back from the edge as erosion threatened to cause her to topple down the cliffs into the sea!  Don't worry no tax dollars were used for the move, some lighthouse lovers managed to raise 1.5 MILLION to pay for the move.

Here is a link to historical information on this light house :  





We then drove up to the cemetery but didn't have time to really look around, we were blessed to have a very informative and friendly cabbie... he was great... filling us in on all the history as we rode along.

Our trip was short, so we ended the day with some shopping, I opted to splurge on a hoody.

On our return trip on the ferry I was determined to get a couple photos of the lighthouses  we saw.

This one below is the Race Rock Lighthouse which wasn't featured in my New England Lighthouse book.  A link for more information on Race Rock:

http://www.longislandlighthouses.com/racerock.htm



This beauty is the New London Ledge Light,  she is quite a sight, like a house just hanging out in the water.

The link:

http://www.lighthouse.cc/newlondonledge/history.html


This is the New London Harbor Light, which is the first lighthouse we saw for the day and as such the last.  This picture is not the best.

Here is a link to the history:

http://www.lighthouse.cc/newlondon/history.html



We also saw the Block Island North Light when we were arriving and departing block island but I failed to get a photograph. Here are a couple I pulled off the internet.



A link to the history: 


We had a great time it indeed is a wonderful day trip to make!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mall Rats

Well sometimes in life you find you have gone full circle.... In high school all I wanted to do was hang out at the Mall.... Well lately I am finding myself wanting to hang out at the Mall....   The difference is I spend all my time at the Mall playground these days and not so much time wandering the shops gossiping...

Said Playground.  It is perfect for Maggie's age (the ground is spongy and all the jungle gym items are soft too, not too mention adorable) and it is free!!!  There are other perks for Mommy and Muti like a Starbucks and a Godiva!!


Maggie climbing on flowers!
 Maggie discovering a girl who is not to happy to see another kid on her flowers!