Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mega Bloks winner

There were 1439 total entries into the awesome Mega Bloks giveaway, I appreciate every one (all 120 of you) who took the time to enter!

Be sure to check out my new giveaway, for The Party Works party pack for 8!

Cheesecake Day Wordless Wednesday #WW I#linky

My sister came to visit us, so we had to pick her up at the airport today. We made a day of it by going to the outlet mall for a tiny bit of shopping (got G the cutest shirt and shorts) and then running to the Cheesecake Factory for their national 'Cheesecake Day' celebration extension (1/2 price slice through a facebook promotion). The only bummer was I forgot my credit card at the Cheesecake Factory--bummmmmeeerrr! Also, G took forever to fall asleep because her nap was so late.
Here are a few photos:

camera phone pic of the NEW Oreo Dream Cheesecake - ahmazing
even G got some & said, 'mmmmmmmm!'
I forgot her cup in the car, so this worked for a little bit, but my sister did run to get her cup eventually
If you have a WW post this week, please link up below!!

The Party Works {party pack for 8} Giveaway

This a unique post on Letters from Momma, as I haven't ever posted a giveaway for something that I haven't personally reviewed. Recently, though, I was offered the chance to giveaway a package of party supplies from a San Francisco based online retailer, The Party Works. I couldn't turn it down because I know so many of my readers have kid's birthday parties to plan and budget out. I hope to help one of you out with a free party pack for 8! (If you are needing more, you can purchase additional matching items or an extra pack as needed)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

17 months & 18.5 weeks

Call me lazy, but I prefer re-prioritized, the blog has taken a back seat (once again) to life with a toddler and growing fetus.

G has reached 17 months of age! WOW!! Next month she will be a year and a half old. Looking back at her early infant days, I thought 18 months sounded so far in the future--so old--but it really has flown by.

At 17 months, I think I'll just do a bullet point list because it's better than not getting this post published!

  •  Roughly 32 inches tall & 22 pounds (with a belly). 12 teeth. blue eyes and fast growing blonde hair that I refuse to cut into bangs. Size 18 month clothes, and some 2t shirts (and shorts with cloth diapers). Size 4.5W (and a few 5) shoes.
  • "All the time words" as of 7/25: Dada, Bite, Drink, Yeah (often repeated quickly), Please, Up, Bye-Bye, Hot, and her version of blueberry
  • "Sometimes / prompted words": Dog, Ball, Kitty, Momma, Night-Night 
    • Most of her words are not particularly clear or complete. For instance, Ball is typically "bah" and Please is just "puh-puh-puh." The "B" sound has become more prominent in her vocabulary and she'll repeat it a lot. I'm waiting for baby to come out :-)
  • Animal Sounds as of 7/25: Woof, Roar, {snort attempt for pig}, Eeee-Eeee {monkey}, Dool-Doo {rooster}, tweet-tweet and cheep-cheep for birds and chickens {these aren't always clear}, finally Meow has appeared for kitties, and she now tries really hard to make a fish face for fish--it's SO CUTE
waving to the cow
  • Foods: Still not a fan of meat except for ham-off-the-bone, the occasional hot dog, & chicken or beef ravioli. Loves scrambled eggs with cheese. Fruit is a big favorite, but she ADORES blueberries above everything else. Still drinks 2% milk, much to my chagrin. Likes carbo snacks like pretzels, crackers, etc... Likes cereal and granola bars. Will eat the occasional PB&J, but not often. Pasta makes a daily appearance at lunch or dinner. Doesn't like fresh farmer's market (or otherwise) tomatoes and still scoffs at potatoes. Does like Veggie Pasta :-) -- I generally have to make veggies fun (except grilled zucchini, that she loves) by making them jump or fly or sing.
  • Sleep: G sleeps from about 8:45 (bed time is 8:30) until 8ish in the morning. She takes one nap (you may recall that she's been on one nap since about 11 months old) from about 1:45 to 3:15 pm. 
    • Some nights are better than others, as far as ease of falling asleep. I've not determined a viable reason. I would blame it on teeth, but it isn't consistent, so who knows. In general, she sleeps through without crying out, but with teeth, she definitely cries some in the middle of the night or early morning. I love how reliable and predictable her sleep patterns have become. I will miss that when the new baby comes.
  • Social: G is seriously so social! She likes to wave & say hi or bye to whoever will participate. She has gone on a lot of play dates this past month. I've really been trying to get her used to not being the only kid in town. She will sometimes interact with other kids (especially at the gym), but will still solo-play a lot, too. She's not scared to go to other kid's houses, as long as I'm there. At our neighbor's house, she even went into another room to play--out of my sight--and was giggling as if she didn't even notice I was "gone." 
    • So far, it seems, her favorite playmate is the 2.5 year old who lives across the road. He is always up for a game of chase and I think she kind of likes his rambunctiousness--even though she was put off at first. He does a lot more 'big kid' things that are fun for her to see and try. His house also has an awesome ride-on toy that bounces.
tuckered out at the end of a play date
  • Temperance: The 'terrible twos' have made a few appearances. I know it has to do with her inability to communicate effectively--not to mention she doesn't always get what she wants. I just ignore some fits, talk calmly through some, and distract her out of some. In general, though, she's a very mild mannered baby--I'd probably go so far to say she's one of the best kids around. She is helpful, polite (for a toddler, you know), friendly, sweet, and smart. She doesn't bully, in fact, she is often the "bullied" on play dates but takes it in stride. I think it's because she's super pint sized and knows it...haha
  • Milestones:
    • Building a 6 high block (wooden) tower! She can build super tall Mega Blok towers.
    • Getting pretty successful at using a fork, but with most foods she prefers her hands. She's also moved on to eating bigger bites / I don't have to cut things up as small any more.
    • CLIMBING! She loves to climb up on cabinet doors that have little molded borders (no clue what those are called), so that she can see what is on the counter or into the mirror. I know I need to get her a step stool.
    • Running. She had jogged a little bit before, but she can now pretty much take off at a decent pace for a 1.5 year old.
    • A full month or more with NO tears or looking back when I drop her off at the gym. She LOVES it. I'll talk about this in another bullet.
    • Participating more and more at library story time.
    • Helping make more things in the kitchen and now she loves playing with tongs.
    • Trying to put on shoes by herself (this had appeared before, but it's more often now), and trying to put on shirts. She will try to put shorts on her arms. She also got a hold of a bra she tried to wrap around her too...comical, though I suppose inappropriate.
    • first painted toes!
    • swim lessons
    • nearly a month of being weaned -- hasn't asked for it since a few days after

  • Fun little anecdotes:
    • G is usually doing something different every time I come to pick her up at the gym. Once she was in the little kid's gym where the 3-6 year olds were playing with balls. I thought she would be scared of all the action, but one of the girls said she was just loving all the noise and fun! Another time she was 'helping' a big girl color, while sitting at the desk with her. Another time she was playing with this little touch screen thing with a 4 year old girl. I watched them for a bit before G noticed me, and the little girl put her arm around G and gave her a little kiss on the head. It was SO sweet!
    • G's been playing in the dirt since my dad showed her 'how' to do it, but this month she decided sitting in the dirt to play was better than sitting on the edge....greeeeaaat.
    • G took a bite of a crayon this month. I was freaked out when I saw a weird red thing in her diaper, but then I remembered....
    • Speaking of diapers, G is pretty much ready to potty train. She doesn't have words for pee or poop yet, and she doesn't seem to hate having a non-clean diaper; but she has a good amount of bladder control + will sit on the potty for a long time. I just need to 'mom up' and do the 3-day thing where she doesn't wear a diaper and learns what going on yourself feels like for real. I'm waiting until we get back from our Tahoe Trip (our small 2-night vacation for the summer).
    • I also think G's pretty close to a big girl bed. I reaaaaallly don't want to push this one, but I know it's coming. She would totally climb out if she wasn't so tiny. She's beyond independent, so I assume after potty training, we'll get her out the crib.
    • G loves buckles. If you have any cool toy ideas with buckles, let me know! My husband figured out that our Beco Gemini (soft-structured-carrier) is great for keeping her busy. She loves trying to do and undo all of the buckles it has.
    • G likes to play with either of our wallets. We had our best hour at church last weekend because during consecration, when she got a little ancy, she took things out of my wallet and tried to put them back in. I should get her own and fill it with fake or canceled things, rather than things I'd hate to lose.
I always feel like I leave stuff, out but I think that's a good run down of G at 17 months :-)

July 22 2012

And not to waste your time with additional clicks to other blogs, I'll throw a few facts in about myself at 18.5 weeks pregnant with #2.

  • Mostly the same as last time I wrote...except I am showing WAY more. The check in lady at the gym was pretty bold, and announced I am having twins by the way my belly just jumped out over night. I sure hope not!
  • I've had a few days of real blah-feelings. The new baby must have been going through a HUGE growth spurt because I felt soooo fatigued and had two bad headaches this week. I was also starving, but didn't know what to eat.
  • The other night, my husband (who has been feeling the baby for quite a while now) and I experienced a SUPER earthquake in my belly. The baby was moving like crazy for about 5 minutes straight.
  • Still jogging, but not as often, about 2-3 times a week instead of 3-4. I go to the gym 4-5 days a week, but do the elliptical and light weights the other days.
  • Still craving dairy. I got mozzarella jalapeno cheese sticks this week and they are soooo amazing. I could eat 4 at a time, but they weren't cheap, so 1 a day :-) I'm doing better at making myself take time to care about eating healthy for the new baby. With G, it's hard to be "selfish" like that.
  • I'm up to about 12-13 pounds gained...a bit on the high side of average, but that's how my last pregnancy was too and I lost all of it plus extra, so I'm not worried. Unless it is twins...then I'll be stressed.
  • Our ultrasound is less than 2 weeks away. I cannot wait! I was hoping they'd say it's a boy...but to be honest, I love our agreed upon girl name so much, that I kind of want them to say girl now! :-) SSSOOO either way, I will personally be totally stoked. Watch them say {a} we can't tell, or {b} there's two! GGGAAAHHH!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tilden Park, Bay Area's Best

In my humble (less than a year resident), Tilden Park is by far the cheapest, coolest thing for toddlers in the entire Bay Area.

Maybe it's just because we had such an AWESOME day yesterday, but we all absolutely loved the activities in Tilden Park. It's nestled in the hills between Berkeley and Orinda (so it's part of the northish East Bay).

If you are coming to the Bay Area for a vacation, or live in the area but haven't checked it out...do so ASAP!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

G's Swimming Lessons

First, I'm glad that we did them.
Second, they were pretty much a waste of money.
Sad, but true.

The instructor was really nice and did show us some things that I wouldn't have thought to do. She taught us various ways to hold our kids so they support/float more of their own body weight--including a handy way to get their legs out for kicking if they are still being clingy. She taught us to count them down from 3 and then say 'go!' before letting them do anything (so they learn to listen for our cues around water). She showed us how to practice blowing bubbles on the surface & also to use ping pong balls to give them something to focus on moving with their air.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fashion & Service Wordless Wednesday #linky

If you are friends with my personal FB page, you may have seen this already... but here is my little Fashionista :-) Eat your heart out Katy Perry! My dad already noted her farmer's tan...poor thing.

And here she is delivering cookies to our neighboors...on a more normal dress day :-)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mega Bloks First Builders Review & Giveaway

I reached out to Mega Bloks to be a part of the Babies First Birthday Blog Party, but didn't hear back from them in time. Luckily, they were still interested in working with Letters from Momma! I was recently sent a new Mega Bloks Big Building Bag {in pink} to review with G. She's had the classic colors bag since Christmas, and they are one of her favorite toys. Last month, Mega Bloks released a First Builders Let's Build! app for the iPhone. To go along with this great app release, they've revamped some of their products geared toward younger kids. They've grouped all of the preschool blocks, designed for ages 1+, under the First Builders brand name. Check out my review below, download the iPhone app for free, and be sure to enter the great giveaway at the end of the blog post!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The weaning of a 16 month old + tips

To catch up on our weaning process, be sure to check out my previous posts: 

As of two Fridays ago (June 29, 2012), G has been fully weaned.

The definition of weaned is for a mammal to receive all nutrients/calories from non-mother's-milk sources. It doesn't matter how, why, or when it happens...that's what weaning means. Some babies are weaned from the very start, which is kind of sad to me, but I do know that for a lot of moms, breastfeeding is not their thing. I certainly am not in a position to judge their lives or choices--but let it be said--I certainly think breastmilk is the best source of food for babies.

G has always loved nursing, especially because I did allow her to do it for 'comfort' at a young age. It was not always easy, and there were definitely trials we had to get through, but all-in-all, it was a nice bond for us to share (in addition to healthy for us both). I'm not a mom likely to nurse past 24 months old, but I do believe in nursing past 12 months old.

When #2 was conceived, I did consider tandem nursing--for about 10 minutes. I then decided there was no way I could wanted to physically do that to myself or the new baby. In my honest, non scientific, opinion, I thought the only one who would benefit from tandem nursing was G (I know many of you would argue the other way, that's fine, I noted this is simply my opinion). No offense to my precious little girl, she's already gotten the best start in life possible, her new sibling deserves 100% of the same opportunities. I feel it's only fair to my worn-out self and new baby to devote all of my available nursing time to #2.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Catholic Family Gifts Winner

Thank you to all who entered the Catholic Family Gifts giveaway! There were 195 entries and the winner is:

Be sure to stay tuned for an upcoming Mega Bloks review and giveaway!! It will be posted by the end of the week :-)

Friday, July 06, 2012

Nearly 16 Weeks with #2

It's hard to keep you updated on the pregnancy--that is, if you even want to be--because life is happening all around us. The time to sit and write is being eaten up by an active little toddler and summer life in CA. I do want to record the little pregnancy milestones and preserve memories that #2 might ask about later in life (or his wife might be interested in, if it is a boy).

First of all--I have been feeling the baby move for about 2 weeks now. This is CRAZY because I didn't really feel G until 18 weeks (and even then, I wasn't sure about it). My husband has been feeling the baby on the outside, for about a week. 14 weeks is really early to feel the baby move, so we have quite the rambunctious #2.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Oreo Brownie Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake {America's Birthday Cake}

No, this isn't red, white, and blue...but it's the cake I made for America's Birthday--that is, our Independence Day feast.

If that doesn't make you salivate...we do not have the same taste!

It was pretty easy, you just have to let some layers freeze between adding them so that it turns out as good as possible (so it is kind of a long process). Of course, you can sub in a different flavor of ice cream to suite your desires.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Songs that Mean Love to Me {right now}

Betty Beguiles, a blog I occasionally see (mostly due to Mandi @ Catholic Newlywed), is doing a link-up for your love song playlist. I should be blogging about being 15 weeks pregnant (because #2 deserves the same pregnancy memories as #1), but because I recently found a new favorite song that is absolutely adorable and full of love, I must join in this link-up! I hope you will check out my songs below and also the other lists linked up! My list might be a little less traditional for 'love' songs, but it's songs that make me think of my husband, our past, our future, and our present.

So, my new favorite song is Josh Turner's Find Me A Baby. I don't think it's released yet, it's on his latest album. Here is a fan youtube video (song + lyrics). Seriously...I could listen to it all day. LOVE LOVE LOVE

Win a Trip to LEGOLAND Florida from Atlantic Luggage

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Atlantic Luggage for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

During our recent mini-trip to Yosemite National Park, we stayed in a really nice cabin that had extended TV channels, including History Channel. Late in the evening, tired from a long day of sightseeing, we relaxed on the couch to watch a special on LEGOs! Both my husband and I grew up loving to build things with our LEGOs, so it was fun to watch the history of the company and product, in addition to the future plans of LEGO--including themeparks. Our previous home of Kansas City just opened a LEGOLAND, so of course we have to check it out when we go back to visit. I've since learned that there are several LEGOLANDs across the country!

Monday, July 02, 2012

GGB with a toddler - The Fog in San Francisco

Fog! I guess it's just part of being such an odd climate near the Pacific Ocean. San Francisco's weather is so finicky! It was supposed to be sunny and warmish when we went down to the Golden Gate Bridge with my parents a few weeks ago, but because I've been there before and lived here for a few months, I knew to pack a light jacket for myself and G. My mom asked if she should bring one and I told her it was up to her, but that I probably wouldn't end up using mine anyway.

Wouldn't you know it was nearly freezing {with the wind chill} and pretty dreary looking above. In fact, we couldn't even see the whole bridge and I know I felt a few drops of either rain or some serious ocean spit. Seeing the bridge is something you have to do when in the Bay Area, because it's such an iconic picture opportunity. It just celebrated its 75th birthday this year. It may seem red, but it's technically orange--like a burnt orange. I think the views are wonderful from either side of it (I've seen it from both), but we've only ever taken pictures looking north (that is, from the south). The fog kind of gives pictures a gloomy look, but it's still cool, IMO.