Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolutions

Last year, I created a ridiculous list of resolutions.  This year, I'm making one.  And I'm keeping it to myself.  But I'm going to stick to it and make this a great year as a result.  Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I'm Fine

Cece has been talking so much more lately and with such expression.  A recent trip to mom-mom's house with daddy provides an anecdote of her personality shining through.  Daddy and Cece went to mom-mom's house for lunch.  Mom-mom persisted in offering Cece one thing after another to which Cece replied (seemingly exasperated) "I'm FINE mom-mom, I'm OK, mom-mom!"

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Foldability Factor

And, the gift with the best foldability factor was the Dora tent/tunnel/ballpit.  It all folds down easily and doesn't need to be inflated.  Bonus for quick indoor play on a rainy day.
Vamonos!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Super Why

Cece also scored a Super Why puzzle.  Why?  Why not!?!  Though I don't promote excessive TV watching, Cece does.  Lately, if it involves Caillou.  She definitely goes through phases.  The first of which was Barney, followed by Curious George and Elmo and lately it's all Caillou all the time.  Interspersed there was Super Why, which is when I fell in love.  What a cool show!  Also, Sid the Science Kid rocks my socks off, except for the vaccination promotion episode which was iffy for me.  Check out the PBS Kids Video channel.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Just B You

I'm not exactly sure why, but I was enamored with this company this holiday season.  Just B. You just has great marketing.  With their cardboard-y tags and lovely expressions, I was drawn in.  The toys are predominantly plastic.  Which I am predominantly opposed to.  And yet.  I loved the colors.  I'm a sucker.  Santa read my mind (ahem) and crafted in his workshop a "H 2 Whoa".  Do you not just love the name?  I had to pull myself away from the aisle several times to not pick up a Take It Easel, but there's always that birthday coming up in July.  Most of the other items I had little difficulty walking away from.  I think I was most drawn to these two items because Cece is turning into such an artsy kiddo and I want to encourage that without her art ending up in places other than intended.  The H 2 Whoa seemed like a good solution...to Santa.  And the story behind the company and its practices is still better than most...right?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

This morning, as we open gifts, the true gift of the holiday season is being able to spend quality time with family and friends.  I plan to both give and receive that gift this year and I hope that all of you can do the same.  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Lukewarm Relationship with Santa

Cece loves Santa, from a distance, for now.  This fall, the mere mention of Santa would make Cece quiver with fear.  Enough so that we once convinced her to "hide" and "sleep" longer.  As the fall progressed to winter, she started to warm to the idea of this Santa character.  Jeff would walk with Cece in the mall.  She saw him from the second floor.  And that was just fine by her.  Earlier this week, Cece was willing to go downstairs in the elevator and get right up to the ropes.  But when asked if she'd like to go sit on his lap.  "No, thank you."  Oh, did I not mention that?  We say "No, thank you" now.  Then, she proceeded to explain to daddy that she needed to be wearing her black shoes to go and sit on Santa's lap.  So, on Tuesday night, we ventured to Tonelli's annual dinner with Santa at KV Middle School and got in the (very long) line.  As you can see, she loved it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Our 2011 Holiday Card


Happy Holidays to all!  Here is our Holiday Card this year.  Since 2009, we have done an electronic holiday card and emailed it out.  Each year, I make our card using Scrapblog.  Usually, I embed the code for scrapblog here.  This year, the website doesn't seem to be meshing well, but I was able to export the "project" as a jpeg and copy and paste it to send out to the world.  Some people think I'm lazy to do an electronic card.  Don't worry, I'm not worried about what others think.  But, just for fun, here are a few reasons I love to do our cards this way.

  1. In scrapblog, there is more freedom to work with templates, and additional pieces.  I'm not limited to the number of photos or other elements because of a plug and play card.
  2. No paper
  3. No envelope
  4. No postage
  5. Do 2-4 make me lazy?
  6. We can share our card with the world, not just a select few friends and family.  If we are connected via email, facebook, twitter, or this very blog, you've seen it (or had the opportunity to do so).  For the few who are not in the online world, we can still print a few color copies.
  7. And, for those who care to do so, they can comment, like, or respond to say hello back.
  8. Generally speaking (except for this year's glitchy snafu), by utilizing scrapblog, I have a running profile of scrapblog projects including all of our holiday cards and any fun projects I was actually able to steal a few minutes to throw together.  And that's all it really takes, a few minutes.
And, on that note...enjoy!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Halloween Bag

Cece loved Halloween, well, she loved the candy anyway.  And she loved having a bag to collect it all in!  Mrs. Succi gave her a Halloween gift inside of a Care Bear Halloween bag.  She filled her bag with candy.  And pretzels!  The next morning, when she woke up, she called out, "My bag, my bag!"  We are parsing out the candy one piece per day.  And all the pretzels a girl could want!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Number of the Day: 9

Cece's favorite (and only clear) number is 9.  Similar to her recognition of the letter D and/or B, 9 is the answer to everything number related.  Including her age.  She's advanced.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Word Girl

Cece has been rapidly acquiring new words.  Including the word clock.  Except for when she leaves out the letter l.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cece's Name Game

Two weeks ago, Cece began audibly and clearly saying her name.  It is so emphatic and sincere.  Jeff came home from a weekend trip to New Hampshire and arrived back home around 1:00 AM on Sunday night.  I was sleeping.  So was Cece.  The next day, when I got home from work, he wanted to surprise me (and hoped I wouldn't cry) when he demonstrated how Cece could say her name.  I grimaced as I realized I hadn't mentioned that to him.  For once, I got to experience an exciting first!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sesame Place

We tried out Sesame Place during the Count's Halloween Spooktacular on a spectacularly warm day in October.  The water features were even open!  Cece isn't quite ready for characters so a season pass is not in our future.  I had a great time.  Cece tolerated it.  She did enjoy posing in both the fire truck and the loading dock front loader (I think that's what it would be called...).  So, it wasn't all bad.  We will try again next spring or fall when the coupons can be used to discount the rates a little lower.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Vegetarian Food Misconceptions

A while back I was taken aback when told by someone that the sugar content in soy milk, which was what I added to my cereal at the time, was higher than that in cow's milk.  The next time I was in the store I held the containers side by side and compared the nutrition facts and there were no "facts" to the basis of the soy milk having a higher sugar content.  I now use coconut or almond milk as I've found the health benefits to be superior to soy OR cow's milk

More recently, I examined the sodium content of our vegetarian bacon and found that, contrary to a proposed notion, it was in fact, MUCH lower than that of regular bacon.  The sodium content of two slices of regular bacon would be 400 mg and the sodium content of Morningstar Farm's bacon is 230 mg.  Likewise, the fat content of regular bacon was 3.725 grams (of which .625 was polyunsaturated) and Morningstar Farm's was 4.5 grams (of which 3 grams was polyunsaturated, another 1 gram was monounsaturated and the final .5 was saturated).  Polyunsaturated Fats and Monunsaturated Fats are "Good Fats."  And the protein content.  Regular Bacon: 3.86  grams/Morningstar Farm: 2 grams.  And calories...depending on the thickness of regular bacon, and we'll go on the thin side here 2 slices will likely cost you 100 calories.  2 slices of Morningstar Farms will rack you up 60 calories.  And, it does taste good.  Try it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cramming for Vacation

On our last day in Las Vegas, we figured EVERYTHING out.  Because that's a logical time to do that, right?  Saturday morning, I researched the Buffet of Buffets and decided it was a worthwhile investment.  Had I been really proactive, we would have gotten this on Friday and had late breakfast, lunch, dinner, and early breakfast.  So, that's what I'd recommend to others as it is a 24 hour deal.  I also got us bus passes for 24 hours for $7.  At first, I had thought we would have to figure out a bus schedule and intersecting lines, etc.  But, the bus runs, frequently, up and down the strip from our hotel at one end (Mandalay Bay) all the way to Fremont Street (our evening destination that was MUCH further than I had originally understood.  RTC had a stop right outside our hotel with a kiosk where you could pay for a 24 hour pass with a credit card.  So, the "exact change" necessity was no problem on the bus either.  The buses were double decker so you could get a view from the top and the seats were very comfy.  So, Saturday was our tourist-y day.  We still made time for the pool (of course) but we started the day with a trip to the bus kiosk for me, then brunch at Caesars (to kickoff our Buffet of Buffets tour) and then we scoped out Treasure Island and The Mirage for later and I figured out the times for those outdoor free shows as well.  We planned to be at TI at 7:00 for the Sirens of TI Show (awesome - looks much more scandalous on this webpage than it is...) and the erupting volcano at The Mirage at 8:00.  We ate dinner at the buffet at Planet Hollywood and following the two shows walked through The Venetian.  Then, we took the bus to Fremont Street to take in the overhead show and all the "old vegas" sites.  To clarify, Fremont Street IS Old Vegas.  I kept looking for information about "Old Vegas" and was having trouble getting anywhere.  I think they are trying to get away from calling it "Old Vegas" but it IS "Old Vegas." According to the linked site, it seems they are trying to sell you that Fremont Street is the "Real Vegas".  It is not.  As it is essentially enclosed due to the show that projects on the canopy overhead, it gets very SMOKY.  This may have also had something to do with the Harley Davidson convention going on while we were there.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it MAY have made things a bit more...smoky.  After Fremont Street, I was ready for the Stratosphere and Circus, Circus.  Jeff was not.  We attempted to get dessert at a buffet, since we were on an all you can eat 24 hour pass.  Unfortunately, my last minute research did not include the hours of each buffet.  Just because it's a 24 hour pass doesn't mean they're open 24 hours.  Hindsight is 20/20.  I now see that the website linked above does give the hours of each buffet in one convenient table.  All but one are open until 10:00 PM.  Which, for us...that night, was not late enough.  Fortunately, the location where I had eaten a delicious savory crepe breakfast the day before was also a frozen yogurt place reminiscent of New Hope's The Blue Penguin.  Yogurt In hit the spot and was a perfect ending to a perfect, if fast, trip to Las Vegas.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

So, since Cecelia isn't a huge fan of costumed characters, we don't have particularly high expectations for Halloween this year.  Christmas last year was a scream!  Cecelia did surprisingly well during our Halloween Parade this past Friday at school but required being held at all times and clung tightly to me several times when scarily dressed students approached.  But, sidenote, she has QUITE a fan base at Pine Road.  Since her picture (with her name carved in the sand) is quite prominent on my desk at school, many students called to her from the parade route.  After the parade, she was a big fan of the goldfish crackers in the classroom parties that we visited and had a blast playing the dramatic play center in one kindergarten classroom.  While we had three borrowed costumes to choose from, she chose the least "costumey" and most "outfitty" costume.  While more like an outfit (a costume in disguise), she still made for a super cute pumpkin.  In fact, she wanted to put it right back on again the next day, so I don't think we'll have any trouble getting her into costume for trick-or-treating tonight.  But I do not think a tiger or monkey will be in her future.  Happy Halloween to all!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Are You Ready?

During Jeff's first trip to Las Vegas, his friend Ryan constantly said, "Are you Ready?" in a Criss Angel voice.  We went to the discount tickets booth, and wouldn't you know, tickets to Criss Angel's show were available.  The show was in the Luxor, right next door to our hotel.  We spent the majority of the day Friday at the pool and lazy river.  We ate a late lunch and snacked for dinner at the Criss Angel show.  To be honest, the show was much funnier than I expected.  It was a combination with Cirque de Soleil and some circus-like characters were a part of the show as well.  Overall though, magic shows truly do amaze me and I find them to be very enjoyable so it was a really fun night!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

When In France...

Our first night, I was determined to use the free tram as much as possible.  A tram connected our resort with Luxor (pyramid/Egyptian) and Excalibur (castle/Medieval Times).  So, we checked them out first.  Luxor was very cool.  The architecture throughout Las Vegas was over the top and interesting.  While Luxor was neat, I don't think I'd want to stay there as it also seemed very dark.  Likewise with Excalibur, though I have always wanted to go to a Medieval Times dinner, though I don't know what I'd eat as turkey legs aren't my speed.  I also happen to know a "knight" at the one in New Jersey, so I just have to get there one day.  Next, we walked to New York, NY and over to Monte Carlo (I think...this is now all from memory).  Monte Carlo, Aria, and Bellagio were all connected by tram as well, so we took the tram to Bellagio and explored inside taking in the sights.  My favorite was the Chihuly installation.  We had seen a documentary show on this artist and I was blown away by what he had done here.  But, as we know from Ocean's Eleven, the real beauty is outside.


And, we were just in time.  And, we got a prime spot for viewing the beauty of the fountain.  I had been told the best view of the fountain show was from the Eiffel Tower and I planned to see it from there.  When we got to the base of the tower, we saw there was a restaurant.  And it was that time of night.  So we decided to check it out.  As it turned out, it wasn't the kind of place you check out.  Once you're in, you're in.  We decided to make this our "nice" dinner.  And was it ever!  At first, the host asked if we had reservations.  We responded no, expecting to be immediately escorted back to the elevator and back to the ground level with the commoners.  But, instead, with zero wait time, we were shown to a table one row back from the windows in a cozy private round booth-y thing with a view of...the Bellagio.  Couldn't have planned it more perfectly if we'd tried.  In my effort to try something different, I selected the Baked Herbed Crepes, Artichoke, Walnuts, Slow Roasted Tomato Coulis, Basil Pistou.  I still don't really know what that was.  I just copied it from the restaurant's online menu.  But, what I do know is that it was AMAZING.  We ended a perfect night on a perfect note.  We went back to get a good night's rest.  Well, I got a good night's rest.  Jeff engaged in some of Las Vegas' finest gambling. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vegas Bound (A little late...)

Last month...let's start there...it's been awhile.  But anyway, last month Jeff and I went on a trip to Las Vegas.  I had two days off of school bordering a weekend, making for the opportunity for a 4 day trip and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.  Cecelia stayed with my mom and we had prepared her with one night visits to make sure she was comfortable staying overnight without us.  She was.  We left early on Thursday morning and arrived in Las Vegas before lunch time (I love when time changes work in your advantage).  On our flight out, I was seated next to a husband and wife who live (literally) around the corner from the house I grew up in, and the husband grew up on the same street as me.  Small world!

We stayed at Mandalay Bay, and it was pretty amazing!  We ate lunch at the place Jeff had raved about from his previous trip, Raffles.  For whatever reason, from his descriptions (and I recently found out I was not alone in this interpretation) I had pictured Raffles as a diner.  It wasn't!  It was quite nice.  But, in hindsight, I should have stuck to the more diner-esque menu items.  I branched out and was a little disappointed, but you live and learn.

In the afternoon, we explored Mandalay Bay and rested by the pool and lazy river (the real reasons we had chosen to stay there).  Ironically, Jeff had been to Mandalay Bay before and hadn't realized there was a lazy river.  They had been too "lazy" (pun intended) to walk a little further to the right and discover it.

More about the night in a bit.
I'll post a little from our trip each day to prolong the fun.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Footie PJ Update

While I got a good bit of feedback from others whose children did not like, or they personally did not like footie pj's, Cece got over it.  When the weather warrants some warm, snuggly, pj's, she is happy to oblige.  She can unzip her pj's when prompted to do so, but has never (knock on wood) tried to disrobe in the middle of the night or otherwise.  Personally, if footie pj's were available and affordable in my size, I'd probably live in them.  But that's just me.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sleep Update

I realized, after someone stopped me in the hall to ask about it, that I had never updated about sleep here.. I had put an update on Facebook following the link to the post, but had never shared that sleep is happening once again in the Zschunke household.  Cece does not take a nap now.  Well, that's not exactly true.  She will often fall asleep in the car in transit for about a half hour, sometimes even less, and that helps her to power through the day.  She is happy when she goes to sleep and happy when she wakes up in the morning.  She is going to bed between 7 and 7:30 these days.  We read a book, sometimes several, lay her down, tuck her in, and she's off to sleepytown.  She hasn't been waking up through the night and when she wakes up in the morning, she is happy, if hungry.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Vegas, Baby (or...well, not Baby)

Jeff and I are off and away in Las Vegas for our first real trip together away from Cecelia.  While we're missing her like crazy, it's also nice to have some together time.  We are celebrating our fifth anniversary in style.  We are staying at the Mandalay Bay Beach Resort so that I can pretend I'm just at a beach resort, but we're also planning to take in some sights while we're here, including all the over the top casino decor.  Maybe one day you'll see pictures.  Maybe not.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Danger Seekers: Episode # 1



Contrary to what it looks like, Jeff does not knock  Cecelia down as he plummets down the slide.  He went down head first with his hands and camera out in front.  What an artistic shot!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Putting Two and Two Together

Cece has been using two word sentences lately.  They generally consist of: "No, Daddy."  and "No, Mommy."  So, when saying, "Hello" I've encouraged her to add the person she's saying hello to as well.  It's funny as it's a halting hello.  Hello. Mommy.  Pauses galore, but progress, nonetheless.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Motivation

If you ever need motivation to speed clean your house, have a realtor office call you with less than two hours notice for a showing. Awesome.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Not a Fan of the Footie

Last night, and yesterday, it was officially chilly. So, I busted out the footie pajamas...for Cece. Sadly, I do not have footie pajamas. But, back to Cece. She has grown rather accustomed to having "free" feet at night. And anytime during the day that she decides that it is time to remove her shoes and socks.

So, we put on the footie pajamas and she was none too pleased. She tried, valiantly, to pull them off as she would socks. To no avail. I explained to her that these are footie pajamas, it's all one piece. She wasn't happy about it but she was also exhausted so it wasn't too difficult to coax her into a sleepy state. We will see if she protests in the morning soon enough.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sleep Study

You may remember that not too long ago, we returned to a rigid nap/sleep schedule to ensure that Cece was getting the rest she needed. Over the last two weeks or so, she has pushed her nap back further and further so that it almost, and sometimes does, back up directly to dinnertime. Which made bedtime a transient thing. She was also having a great deal more difficulty falling asleep in her big girl bed. She was insistent that we lay down and sleep in the room too. And we did. In the beginning, we would lay down for, maybe, ten minutes. She would fall asleep, and we could walk out. No problem. Easy. Then, she started not falling asleep so easily, and freaking out when we left the room, springing instantly back awake. So, I was laying down for a half hour, an hour, an hour and a half, two hours. Do you see where this is going? Several nights, I would fall completely asleep and Jeff would come in to wake me up. So, bedtime was getting to be a bit much.

Then, it got worse. While we were at the beach, Cece started waking up early again, 5/5:30. Which isn't so bad. All last week (to add to the fun, it was my first week of school with students) she woke up early AND several times through the night. And she was no longer knocking politely on the inside of her door. No, she was screaming upon waking. Because we weren't in there, sleeping next to her. The first three nights of this, we took turns going in and sleeping on the floor. Comfy. On Thursday night, I was done. I talked to her about how things were going to go down tonight. We took a bath, put on pj's, read books, and then I tucked her in, said good night, kissed her, and walked right back out.

I listened to her fun-reak out for a while. Then, her voice turned. She was just asking, "uh...mom?". Then some more sad dramatics, then, "mom?", then nothing. For whatever reason, my great fear was that now that she was in a big girl bed, she could be anywhere in there, so when she did fall asleep, she could be on the floor. First of all, why this was my great fear, I'm not sure. Second, when I went in to check on her she was in her bed with her blanket. Perfectly fine.

She woke up once through the night. I think...it's all a bit fuzzy these days.

The next day, Jeff was able to get her closer to her normal nap time. We were hoping this would get her back on track. (foreshadowing: it didn't). That night, same deal. Bath, book, tuck, goodnight. 30 seconds of sad sounds, and she was out. Already, this was better. But then, she continued to wake up. I went in, said goodnight, she went back to sleep. The next time, she used the potty and went back to sleep. I decided that if this happened the next night, I'd let her use the potty. She's been staying dry at night, so that's sort of a step in the right direction. Next morning, still 5:30...not ok on the weekend, kid. Jeff decides that maybe she's ready to cut the nap. I agree that we will try it. I wondered though if she still needed that daytime rest. I'm pretty sure I still need that daytime rest, but I'll try it. Ironically, Jeff has this idea when I'm the one who has to carry out the plan. He will be at work all day.

I keep her busy, busy, busy. She falls asleep in the car twice, but not for a full nap time. She goes to bed on the early end of her bedtime range: 6:30. Again, about 30 seconds, and she's out. All night long. I am writing this 12 1/2 hours later. (for those of you confused, I wrote this on 9/11 at 6:30/7 but scheduled it to publish on 9/14) And she's still sleeping. We will see how she does today and tonight. Good hypothesis, Jeff.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Grandpop

My dad is celebrating a big birthday today. We were glad to be able to spend Labor Day weekend with him at the beach (even if it did throw Cece's sleep for an irreversible loop - see tomorrow's post for more on that). Happy birthday Grandpop!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Beach Baby

Last weekend, we went to the beach in Sea Isle City. Cece has been to the beach for short trips each summer. Throughout that time, she has had different reactions to the sand and water. You might say she has a love/hate relationship. Last summer, one trip, she wouldn't touch the sand. She was repulsed. By the end of last summer, she was running all over the sand. This trip, she was back to disgust. Her toes curl and she points and frets at the grains of sand. Aunt Sheila tried to lower her onto the sand and she kept her feet elevated by extending her legs into a straddle and raising her legs ever higher to ensure that they never touched the sand. Try it. It's really hard. Her musculature is amazing. On the love end of things, Cece enjoyed the water more than ever before. She was thrilled and kept signing for more. Even though she was fuh-reezing. She probably would have stayed in the ocean, with some willing participant holding her the whole time of course, all day long. I love that she enjoys the ocean. And hopefully next summer, she'll be back to loving the sand too.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11: Where were you?

It really is true that I can find it difficult to recall exact details of where I was on a particular day last week, and yet, I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing ten years ago today. It is not particularly remarkable, but it is a moment stuck in time.

I was a Residenr Assistant in my Junior year at Shippensburg University. I lived in Kiefer Hall on the third floor. I woke up to get ready to go to class and tuned into the Today Show. I watched as they reported on a plane flying into the first tower, and thought like everyone else, "Huh, that's weird.". And riveting. That first plane got your attention. I sat and watched as they speculated, and sat and watched as, in real time, the second plane flew into the second tower. I sat on the floor in my dorm room. Residents streamed down and I comforted them. Then, we heard about the Pentagon and I froze. My sister. My sister had just begun her freshman year at Catholic University in Washington,D.C. I called my sister, I called my mom, I called anyone I could. But the phone lines were well past capacity and no one could get through. It was hours before I confirmed my sister was fine. Finally, we got news of the plane crash in Shanksville, PA. For students at Shippensburg, many of whom hail from rural Western and Central PA, this hit close to home, and lots of residents were in need of someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, and that's who I was. I had emailed my professors, telling them I wouldn't be coming to class that day. I organized a trip for residents who wanted to feel like they were helping, doing something, to go and give blood at a local hospital. Other people had the same idea. Since then, blood donation levels have dropped significantly, so if you are wondering what you can do. To help, to remember, stay tuned to your local blood drives and give often.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Walk On

Cece enjoys pushing her baby in her doll stroller. She also enjoys pushing her own stroller, empty. To the casual onlookers from the front, it would look like a stroller moving independently since she isn't tall enough to peek over the edge. Last week, Jeff pushed Cece to Storytime in the stroller. The whole time she wanted to get out and push, but he knew they would never get there in time. Remember, if you're late, you wait. So, he told her that she could push the stroller on the way home from Storytime. She did a great job during Storytime. Immediately after, she walked right to the stroller, and proceeded to the trail. An hour and a half later, they arrived back home. Cece walked the whole way. It's quite a walk.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Makin' Music

Following up from yesterday's post, our library also hosts a music class once a month on the second Thursday of each month. Last year, Jeff sent me a video of Cece going crazy with some rhythm sticks. I watched it repeatedly and loved it a little more each time. She was tap, tap, tapping on the ground along with the instructors but she was also flailing, which I think was "off book" and smacked herself in the head at least once in the process. What a wild woman! When I had the opportunity to go with Cece this summer, on her real birthday, it was such a treat to watch her enjoy the music. The group that turns out for this class is huge, so the room was wall to wall children. And yet, the instructors did a great job of facilitating participation and distribution of materials for a hands on experience for all. Yesterday was September's music class and Cece is already looking forward to next month's class.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Library Story Time

Cece goes to story time at our local library each week. There are different sessions through the year and different times through the week. Cece had always been a "Tuesday" girl, but Jeff switched it up this session and signed her up for Wednesdays. We love the programs at our library. And evidence toy so do a lot of other people. Storytime fills up fast at Horsham Library. Jeff always makes sure to sign up on the first day you are allowed and he was fifth on the list. There is usually a wait list and if you miss two classes, you're out and one of the wait listers is admitted. Its a tight ship. If you're late, you wait. Cece loves books, songs, reading, and being read to. I couldn't have asked for a better outcome. She has been going to Storytime since she was about 5 months old. Miss Ellyn provides parents with lists of books appropriate for the age group and songs so that parents can use them at home and fully participate in the class. She does a wonderful job creating a great experience for kids and parents and setting them up for reading success. We feel so lucky to have such a great public library so close by.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Faux Meat

In our veg household, I've recently tried some recipes I'd been wanting to try for quite a while. Cheez-"steaks" and "Chicken" Paninis were both great successes. We had an encore of Sloppy Joe that was delicious, and tofu tacos are always a treat. Interestingly, I didn't like cheesesteaks when I ate meat. The real ones. And I live near Philadelphia, so that statement is akin to blasphemy. But I didn't. However, veg cheesesteaks made with Morning Star Farms bacon were delicious. I like to "surprise" Jeff. He asks what we're eating for dinner. I tell him it's a surprise. He doesn't like that. And then he does. Each time, he tells me I should have made two sandwiches for him. After cheesesteaks, he wanted to know what it was supposed to be. I asked him to tell me what it was most like. He guessed right! These new recipes were all a success. Most came from the Skinny B in the Kitch recipe book. The B rhymes with Kitch in case I've just confused anyone. I don't condone the title, but I do condone the recipes.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Girly Girl

Cece has always had an affinity for purses, her own and those belonging to others. She is not shy about rooting through the belongings of others, strewing keys, phones, and wallets all about. Cece will request a phone by saying, "Helloooooooo" with her hand cupped to her ear. When Cece has her own purse, she insists on slinging it over her shoulder. The other day, Cece discovered a pair of blue sandals with a flower on the top that she wore at the end of last summer. I was pretty certain they no longer fit. I was wrong. With some effort, we squeezed Cece's feet into the shoes. I told her to show daddy her shoes. She walked into the next room, placed her hands on her hips in a very diva-like pose and extended her foot, toe pointed down. What a girl! How did that happen? I do enjoy bags and purses, and always have. As a young child, I was bribed to continue with swim lessons by plying me with play purses. And I enjoy shoes, but not like most women. I don't wear makeup or give all that much care to my hair, but I think Cece will. Her tendencies seem to lean to purses, shoes, and phones.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cheesy Smile

Cece has recently begun posing for most pictures with the cheesiest, ear to ear, face melting smile you have ever seen. It is awesome.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Her First Sleepover

Jeff and I are planning a trip to Las Vegas at the end of September. It will be the first time that we both are away from Cece over night. We have both been away as individuals but not together. My mom graciously agreed to watch Cecelia during the time we are away. But she, very wisely, wanted to try it out first, ease Cece into this. There are options. My mom can stay at our house during those days and nights, but we are going to try to get Cece comfortable with staying overnight at my mom's house. So, this past Wednesday night into Thursday, we had a trial run. Cece ate dinner and bathed at our house, got in pj's and then we headed over to mom-mom's. Cece was excited to be going over to mom-mom's but was not all that interested in sleeping over. At least not at first. Since Cece has moved up in the world, into a big girl bed, we wanted to try out something similar at my mom's house. There is a pack and play, but I was worried she wouldn't do it. So, we set a mattress on the floor, and put a sleeping bag down next to it (for inevitable rolling out purposes). While downstairs, Cece indicated that she and mommy and daddy should be getting along now, indicating that she would really like to drive the car back home. But we prevailed. We read our usual bedtime stories and talked a lot about what was happening. Cece waved bye-bye to the bed. I laid Cece down and laid next to her on the sleeping bag. I told her that I would sleep there and then I would sleep outside the door (it worked the night before at home...). An hour and a half later, she allowed me to do just that. After inching closer to me, half rolling off the bed while acrobatically sitting on my head, I told her we would sing one more song, and I would lay down with the pillow outside the door. I asked her how many songs? She put up one finger. I said, "And then where is mommy going to go?". She pointed to the door. So, we sang, and I went. When I got to the hall, Jeff was there. He had been worried that I fell asleep next to her. Which happens from time to time. It was quiet in the room, and we can only assume that she eventually slept.

As I'm writing this, it is Thursday morning, so my next post will follow this adventure with mom-mom's recap.

When Jeff and I left, we went to dinner (at 9:00, but still...dinner) at Iron Abbey. Then Jeff stopped at Wawa. I wasn't going to go in, but then I did. Because I could. When we got to the house and went upstairs, Jeff turned to me and said, I was being really quiet coming up the stairs. Because normally at that time he would need to. I looked into her room with its wide open door. Weird. She's getting so big - her first sleepover!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sneaky

After dinner on Tuesday night, after my first day of in-service at school, I was finishing up dinner and daddy was explaining to Cece how they were going to (shhhh) sneak past mommy to get a cookie, don't tell mommy (mind you, I was right next to them). So, Cece turns to face me, puts a finger in front of her lips and, shhhhh. Then she stalked into the kitchen where she and Jeff got two cookies and took them to the living room. Cece didn't actually want to eat a cookie. So, graciously, Jeff ate two.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Leisure Diving

On Monday morning, the creators of leisure diving were showcased on the Today show. This was the first time I had heard of leisure diving, though I was also late to learn about planking. When I told Jeff about it, he immediately realized that a friend's Facebook profile picture had been an example of leisure diving. What is leisure diving, you ask...check it out here: www.leisure dive.com

Mostly, I wish I had discovered this sooner. As a diving coach, I feel confident we could have done a lot with this in the summer months. I no longer coach year round, but even if I did, I think the lighting quality wouldn't be quite as good indoors. In good news, I am going to the beach tomorrow, so if weather permits it, there are possibilities there. AND, Jeff and I are going to Las Vegas at the end of the month. And there will be a pool, so you just never know...

Speaking of planking, I'm planning to scope out the library for planking possibilities. Thoughts?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fair Warning

Today is my final day of in-service. Which means that on Tuesday following Labor Day, I'll be back to teaching six classes a day in the library. Which means my posts here may become more scarce. Maybe not, but you all saw what happened last year, right. So consider this fair warning. I have all good intentions of carving out time to write, but, well, I know myself a little too well. Jeff plans to email me stories of he and Cece's adventures on the home front. Copying and pasting should be easy enough. Fingers crossed. I'm going to miss my love bug. And Jeff too. It's time to leisure dive back into the school year. More on leisure diving in tomorrow's post. Happy September!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy Birthday Aunt Sheila

Today is my younger sister's birthday! Happy Birthday Sheila DeMartino...weird to type that...also known around here as Aunt Sheila or Lala. My sister is an incredible woman who I am proud to know and admire. I can't wait to see her this weekend in one of our joint favoritest locations - Sea Isle City! Happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy BIRTHDAY!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Earthquakes, and Hurricanes, and Tornadoes, oh my!

Completing the trifecta of natural disasters in the Philadelphia and suburban region for the week, in addition to Hurricane Irene, we were also under tornado warnings through the night on Saturday.  This following our brush with am earthquake on Tuesday.  But, as Jeff pointed out, "Ellen had NO trouble sleeping.". And, in fact, I did not.  I did everything I could to prepare for possible power outages and I was exhausted.  Among the preparations:

*Getting all FOUR of our flashlights ready as well as any, and all candles, including the favors still leftover from our wedding...five years ago.

*Running all our electrical appliances, washing dishes, and clothes in case we wouldn't be able to for Mayor Nutter's predicted two weeks

*Charging my phone non-stop.  It has a short battery life, so I figured if the power went out, then I would stop using it except for in an emergency, and it would have a fully charged battery.

*Filling up every possible water bottle, of ours and Cece's just in case clean water stopped running.

*Moving Cece's bed.  First, I pulled it across the room away from the window.  Then, I decided that she could roll out and find herself in any part of the room.  So, I turned her bed so that it was facing the closet and door.  This way, if anything fell in her room, a TREE for example, then it would brace on top of her bed and not strike her.  And, if she rolled out of bed, she would only have the space between her bed and the closet to get into.  Unless she wanted to be the most dangerously defiant child on the east coast and situate herself elsewhere in the room.  Which would be just my luck.  The only reports of deaths at that time were of children (if I understand correctly) being hit by trees in their houses.  It is completely possible that I misconstrued these stories and irrationally set up a feat of engineering genius (if I do say so myself) in my daughter's room.  Here's what I do know.  She made it through the night in one piece and I had peace of mind that she was far safer than her father and I in that daybed structure.  We do have beautiful, sheltering, huge, old trees, and any time there are strong winds, they can appear mugh more menacing.  The first floor worries about flooding, we worry about the trees.

*Bathing Cece, again as if it might be the last time for a while.

*Then deciding a post- Cece sleeping bath would not be a bad idea for myself at all either. So, I did.  When Jeff got home from work... Did I mention that Jeff had to work!?!  When Jeff got home from work, he asked if this was our bathtub full of drinking water.  Noooo.  I did NOT think of that.  But I was feeling relaxed and at peace.  Also, if there was a tornado, I'm pretty sure one of the places you're supposed to go is a bathtub, just probably not filled with water.  Technicalities.

*I also "saved" any activities that I could do just as well IF the power went out, like putting away all the laundry, and....well, that was about it.  Still waiting for the power to go out.

*In the meantime, while we had power, I made a dinner necessitating the oven and stovetop, because I could, and watched TV, because I could.

And, when the time came, I went to bed, because I could.  And slept quite well, because I could.  And when I woke up, the world wasn't all that different than it was the night before.  Some people are angry at this.  At all the hype of the weather reports.  I'm not angry.  I feel lucky that we haven't (yet, anyway) lost power.  That we didn't experience water damage in our home.  That a tree did not fall on our home, or car.  I feel lucky that, upon preliminary check anyway, most people I know can report the same.  Or that damage they have experienced, or power they did lose can be fixed, or will return.

I feel lucky to have felt prepared for the worst and surprised by the best.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Earthquake in the Library

Cross posting from ontheshelf4kids:  http://ontheshelf4kids.blogspot.com/2011/08/earthquake-in-library.html

Tuesday, August 23rd, sometime around 2:00ish in the Pine Road Library, I find myself perched on a ladder.  With the transfer student meet and greet in the library, I decided to spiff things up a bit and make the place look welcoming and put together, and so commenced, with the help of a nesting Mrs. Abramson, the chores of displaying books, re-affixing any posters or wall decoration that had fallen toward the end of the school year or over the summer, organizing the student's work supplies, and picking up stray pencils and crayons.  So, while hanging a poster on the top step of a ladder next to a wall bookcase that probably is not affixed to the wall, Mrs. A looked at me and asked, "What's that?". To which I replied, "What?". I heard the noise.  There are four pillars in the library which contain, I believe support beams that I can hear jangle around in high wind, so I began to explain this when we heard noise above as if someone was walking in the ceiling.  That was new.  Then I looked outside expecting high winds but not a leaf was out of place on any of the trees.  Then it stopped.  So we got back to work.  I never left the top of the ladder.  It never occurred to me to do so.  A few minutes later, one of the custodians came in and asked, "Did you feel the earthquake?". The what-quake.  We are in Pennsylvania, folks.  No fault lines here.  But he confirmed that he had just gotten off the phone with his daughter who had felt it too.  As it turns out, lots of people did.  From South Carolina all the way North to Canada.  And I was on the top of a ladder.  I'll bet that's not a strategy in any earthquake emergency preparedness literature.

*Additional family info: I called home to Jeff to check in, he had been getting Cece ready to nap.  He reacted as many out here did.  That was an earthquake?  Huh.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Letter Recognition

For a while now, every letter has been 'd' but recently, Cece has added 'b' and 'e' in to the mix. But her default is still 'd.'. When singing the alphabet, you might hear, "d, d, d, d, d, d, d...". Sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Or, if Cece is watching Super Readers (great show in my opinion) and Wyatt asks the viewer to identify a letter, Cece enthusiastically replies, "D!!!"

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sentence Structure

Cece has begun to string together short, but legitimate sentences, such as but not limited to:

"I goooooooo"
"Bye-bye daddy" (said with enough of a pause between to sound awkward but intentionally strung together)
"No, me" (we hear this a lot)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Big Girl Bed

Cece's bed transformed Sunday evening into a big girl bed. Her crib is convertible in four different fashions and this reincarnation is as a daybed. Since we just love living on the edge around here, we did not utilize a bed rail. The stories that have emerged from this change are fabulous. At least to me. And I'd like to preserve them here. Especially tonight's memory.

The first night, once Cece was well into REM sleep and before I turned in for the night, I wanted to check on her positioning. Cece likes to do veritable cartwheels in her sleep, so there was concern that she would fall out of her bed. It is a mere 1/2 foot or so from the ground, but still, a concern nonetheless. I was also concerned that she would turn the knob, walk right out of her room and do who knows what in the middle of the night. So, the first night I went in to find Cece rotated so that she was perpendicular in the bed with her head by the wall, arms up with her palms clasped behind her head and her feet dangling off the edge of the bed. Since she was in a deep sleep I was able to move her back to a "normal" sleeping position.

Two nights later, when I went in, she looked to be clinging on to the side of the bed closest to the wall so as to stay as far away as possible from the edge.

The first and maybe second morning, upon waking, Cece stayed in her bed as if she was still confined to do so. By the third morning, she was knocking on the inside of her door (very politely) upon morning waking and following naps as well.

Tonight was the night. We didn't hear anything, but when I went to check on her, Cece had rolled off the bed and across the room close to her changing table. She was sprawled on her back, with arms and legs in the position you might see if you imagine a police drawn chalk outline on the sidewalk. Again, she was in a deep sleep and I was able to swiftly pick her up and place her back in bed with only a slight stirring. But as I sat down to write this, wanting to preserve this memory, I just heard a thud. Better to sleep on the floor, or possibly fall again?

*UPDATE*

When I went in to check on Cece following the ominous thud, she was back in bed. Which indicates to me that she got back up, climbed into bed, and fell back asleep by herself. Sigh. She really is all grown up now....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Help

Many moons ago, my book club read The Help. It is, simply, an amazing book. It will make you laugh, cry, and open your eyes. I saw this morning that there is some controversy over the portrayal of characters and, particularly, Skeeter's character for standing up for the rights of others. When it comes down to it, this is one story of many from the time of the Civil Rights movement. This is one perspective. And it's a darn good story. But I digress. Our book club had the opportunity to see the movie in a preview this past Tuesday night at The AMC Plymouth Meeting 12 movie theater. One of the book club members had gone to the website for the movie and a 1-800 nu,ber was listed along with information on the showtimes for previews. Once you call the number, you pay over the phone and a ticket is sent via email, which you print and take to the theater. What an awesome experience, to not only get tomsee the movie early, to get to do so with other people who care deeply about the story, and at a discounted rate too!

For other movies in the future that I am planning to see in theaters, I will try to remember to check the website for a special preview. And you should too!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's All About Meeeee

And by me, I don't mean me, but rather Cece. New word alert. So, shortly after Mommy, as opposed to Mimi, Mama, and the like, came just plain me. Following on the note of h-e-l-p, we often hear, no, meeeeee. I've stopped asking if Cece would like to help me or if I can help her or if I should do just about anything. Even if I am going to do it, I tell her she is going to do it. Amazing what a little semantics can do for you.

Some of the things Cece likes to do herself these days.
1) Pour cereal
2) Pour almond milk
3) Pour a big ole' glass of water
3.5) do you see the puddles all over our house?
4) Get the kitchen towel to soak up wet spots, complete with stepping on the placed towel to really get it all up.
5) Countless other tasks that she is/is not quite ready for at the ripe age of 2 going on 20.

Sigh.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Help - The New Four Letter Word (Having Absolutely Nothing To Do With the Book or Movie)

Help is a word that is off limits to Cece. "Do you want mommy to help?". NO. "Can I help you with..." NO. We're very independent these days.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Say Cheese

Also on the morning following the wedding, in our living room, Cece set up the camera, pressed a button, moved over to the couch, turned to face the camera, smiled, then went to check the picture. She was imitating setting the self-timer on the camera and taking her own picture. She did not once ask me to be in a picture with her. Harrumph.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Batter Up

On the day following Sheila and Chris' wedding, there was a breakfast buffet at the Marriott hotel where most out of town (and a few in town) guests stayed the night following the wedding. I gave Cecelia a choice of two shirts to wear, one of the, being her pink Phillies shirt. She chose the phillies shirt, clasped her hands together and swung them from the front right side of her chest across her body. Then she did it a few more times. Only them did I realize she was swinging a baseball bat. Because she knew that was a baseball shirt. We went on to "throw" a (imaginary) ball to her that she would hit out of the park and the. Go on to run the bases. I don't know how she knows these things, but she does. She constantly amazes me with how much she picks up on. Our little sponge.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Reception

The reception was held at Spring Mill Manor.

Spring Mill has a bridal suite that the bridal party can access before and throughout the wedding. Many brides, grooms, and bridal parties stay there throughout the cocktail party, but we like to mingle...and eat more than our maitre d' could possibly have kept up with, so down to the cocktail hour we went. I was happy to take a sneak peek into the ballroom as well.

Centerpieces included dark pink roses and a lighter pink hydrangea in 6" x 6" glass cubes. Blake's Florists in Rockledge, PA arranged all the centerpieces and bouquets and did an amazing job.

Chairs were covered in white and wrapped with bright green sashes and napkins complemented the colors as well.

The cake was 5 tiers and decorated, including a monogram on the side by Lochel's in Hatboro. The cake topper was a pair of starfish decorated to look like a beachy bridal pair. We got both the starfish and the scrapbooking accents to dress them from Michael's. Add a small bit of tulle and voila, you have a bikini bride and board shorted groom.

Sheila and Chris were planning to sit at a sweetheart table, so the other members of the bridal party were seated around the room at tables with their friends, cousins, or other people they knew. While the bridal party got along very well and had a great time all day, I thought this was a great alternative to the long table at many weddings.

Outside the ballroom, a photo booth was setting up to take pictures throughout the wedding. What a great addition! All through the preceding week, I had pictured a photo booth like the kind you might find on the boardwalk, unmanned where you squeeze in and end up with a strip of four photos. But this photo booth idea was very different. There was a backdrop and chalkboards. Anyone who wanted to could get their picture taken and get a copy of the photo, or two copies for larger groups. This was a great option, especially for groups who could then organize their own shot. Different family groups, college friends, high school friends and the like all gathered for their own photos without taking the main photographer away from the dance floor action. Funny captions accompanied many of the photos via the chalkboards as well. The best part, at the end, Sheila and Chris will get an album of all the photo booth shots. I would definitely suggest this for anyone planning a wedding. While it is not a necessity, it was a lot of fun!

Following the rpcocktail hour, the bridal party, including the bride and groom, made a grand entrance. I'm not sure what everyone did, but there was definitely a wheelbarrow. We entered as a bullfighter and bull, and Sheila and Chris hiked a football pass.

Sheila and Chris danced to Into the Mystic. I cried. Speeches were given by my dad (the Father of the Bride), myself (the Matron of Honor) and Michael (the best man). The food was delicious, and the dance floor was even better. While I'm sure there were a few people who stayed back at the table, it sure didn't seem that way on the dance floor. The DJ did a great job keeping good songs playing so that dancers were motivated to get back up.

When the last song played, Sheila was really surprised that the reception was finished. It was a great night and very memorable for everyone. And it wasn't really over as many of the guests continued on to the Willow Grove Courtyard Marriott Hotel.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hustle that Bustle

Following pictures taken behind the reception hall in the lush green area behind Spring Mill Manor (there is a water feature, bridge, gazebo, and beautiful flowers), we continued on to the bridal suite. When Sheila and Chris joined us, it was bustle time! The boys were generally flabbergasted as to what a bustle was, except for one. T.J., though I still don't think he was sure what a bustle was, knew that he had broken his wife's on their wedding day. And I don't think he ever gets to forget that. Ever. So part of my job was securing an indestructible bustle. The seamstresses at David's Bridal had created quite an intricate series of buttons, clips, and clasps to ensure that there would be NO bustle breaking on this day. And they were almost totally successful. Jacki and I got to work quickly and Jeff handed me the tweezers I had strategically placed in his tux breast pocket. Like a surgeon asking for a scalpel, we got to work. Why tweezers? Because the seamstress told me too. On the day of Sheila's final fitting, I had an in depth tutorial of the bustle. And it all made perfect sense. On August 13th, I took a look and saw all the hardware and couldn't quite get it. But then I did. Through a top row of buttons, and a bottom row of clips, we used the tweezers to squeeze the clips completely closed so that nothing could slip out. We were secure. On lockdown. Sheila wanted to be able to dance without tripping. Then came the entrance. She heard a pop. Upon closer investigation in the bathroom, one button did pop off, but through some crafty thinking, I hooked the loop onto the next closest button and we were back in business. Sheila's bustle stayed in tact the entire night. And her dancing and that of the guests around her certainly tested its strength.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mr. And Mrs. DeMartino: The Ceremony

My beautiful younger sister, Sheila, is the newest Mrs. DeMartino, joining the ranks of two pretty classy ladies!

Just as it had with the rehearsal, the ceremony went smoothly, without a hitch.  Cece made it up the aisle in daddy's arms and only had to leave during the vows while I was up on the altar.  Like the rehearsal, she could roam freely in the first pew between daddy and I.  I'm told that whenever I went to adjust Sheila's train, Cece would mischievously poke her nose out into the aisle as if she would make a break for it, but (fortunately) never followed through on that.  Father Frank's homily was very pertinent to Chris and Sheila and the foundation of a great life that they are, together, building.  Father also read from letters that both Sheila and Chris had composed telling the story of how they met and came to this point on their wedding day.  It was beautiful to hear their words about each other and the love encapsulated there.

Besides a temporary bubble location snafu, everything went really well.  Sheila was telling me how bummed she was that she couldn't see everyone coming in.  I explained that that is just what the videographer is for.  You can only file so many memories without the benefit of another set of eyes.  So many great, lasting memories were made that day.  More on the reception (or the aftermath coming tomorrow).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wedding Day Preparations

The bridesmaids prepared getting their hair done at Aerodrome, and makeup done by 

Both our hair and makeup artists (and there is no better way to describe them) did an amazing job.  I'm not much of a makeup person, and ... Asked if I would like a more natural look, or a dramatic look.  I asked for a more natural look and was very pleased with the results.  I would highly recommend ... As a makeup artist for friend's weddings in the future,  she came to the house and was well prepared, kind, and fast.  To help the hair/makeup process, Sheila had set up a schedule to keep things moving along.  At the hair salon, one of the hair dressers commented that she had never heard of a bride setting up a schedule before (which, to be  honest, surprised me).  Anyway, the schedule kept things moving in the right direction and by the time the photographer arrived, everyone was dressed and ready, felt prepared and ready to assist Sheila.  

When it came to preparing the flower girl, a big part of that was just trying to get her to rest so that she would not be cranky for all the festivities.  We all wanted to be ready by 12:30 at the latest, so in order to try for a two hour nap, Jeff put Cece in the car at 10:00 and drove around until she fell asleep.  Her normal nap time is 1-3, but on this day that just wasn't going to work out.  Then she got a nap before coming to mom-mom's house to get dressed.  Just like the schedule worked out well for all the bridesmaids to get ready and be "in position," it also worked out well to get Cece ready.  I was last on the makeup docket and Jeff and Cece arrived just as my makeup was getting finished.  I took Cece upstairs, potted her and got her dressed, got dressed myself, and Jeff got dressed as well.  All with time to spare to pose as I was zipping Sheila's dress.  

We took pictures both out front and in the back at my parent's house and the trolley arrived to take us to the wedding.  Cece and Jeff followed in our car and, evidently, Cece loved watching us all in the trolley.  But she also thought she would eventually get to take it out for a spin.  Since Cece still needs a carseat, and we would need a car to get home at the end of the night, we thought this was our best option.  We arrived at the church with time to spare.  More on the ceremony tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wedding Weather

The weather on Saturday could not have been more perfect.  When I went to pick up Sheila a little over a week ago in Arlington, Jeff had checked the ten day weather forecast on www.weather.com and Saturday was clear.  Nine days out, however, that was no longer the case.  Scattered thunderstorms plagued the weather forecast.  We kept reminding ourselves that those were scattered thunderstorms.  That could mean it would be nothing.  Or nothing during the morning.  And,as the day approached, the forecast and the skies cleared.  Making way for a relatively cool, sunny, and at just the right times for perfect pictures, overcast day. The weather held until the trolley left the reception hall. Jeff and I literally closed the door of our car and the skies opened up. We could not have asked for a more beautiful day to set the scene for my sister's wedding. I feel truly blessed that not a drop fell from the sky until it was time for everyone to cool off from all that dancing.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Rehearsal

Sheila and Chris are married! It's official...and sometime tomorrow they will be en route to Costa Rica. Jealous. The weekend could not have gone more perfectly!

Friday, some of the bridesmaids, the bride, and our mom got our nails done (a treat on any day) and some of us went to lunch at Cosi. I hadn't been to a Cosi in a while but after such a yummy meal I'll be sure not to let such a time lapse between visits happen again. Our family (Jeff, Cece, and I) had a pre-rehearsal. As the Matron of Honor, mother of the flower girl, and wife of the ring bearer (yes, you read that right), I was a smudge stressed about the role my family and mostly my daughter would be playing. I knew that no matter what, the show would go on. Whenever we talked about Cece walking down the aisle with daddy, she would interject, "No, mommy.". We tried to explain that that wasn't what would be happening, but we thought some hands on experience inside the church would be good. So, we went early and our organ player was there so we practiced with music. We watched YouTube videos of other flower girls walking down the aisle, and we practiced, practiced, practiced. When it came time to practice with everyone else, Cece was doing a hesitation step march (which was super cute) pacing back and forth in the back of the church. She made it about halfway down walking and then asked daddy to scoop her up for the rest of the walk. During the rehearsal ceremony, she was able to walk freely between daddy and I. We bribed her before, during, and after the rehearsal with Annie's brand fruit snacks. Cece has an addictive personality when she finds something she loves so we had to dose these out. She hadn't had them in a long time so they were an extra special treat. And they worked wonders.

Back to the bride. Sheila was beautiful, calm, cool, and collected. Our parish priest presided over the rehearsal, but Chris' home parish priest would be presiding over the wedding the following day, so we were told things could change based on preferences. Sheila and Chris were both flexible and open to ideas. The wedding party, though somewhat large with eight female attendants and eight male attendants, were all attentive, respectful, and good at following directions. Everything went smoothly and we continued on to dinner at Cafe La Fontana. Sans Cece. Cece went home with Jeff who met up with Nana. Nana stayed home with Cece so that we could both attend the dinner. It was so nice to spend time with friends, family, and new friends, and family as well. Both our family and Chris' family both get along so well, so this union has seemed both natural and seamless. More on the wedding day tomorrow.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Speech

First, I want to thank all of you for being here tonight to honor my sister and Chris as they begin their lives together.

 My sister sometimes reminds me of the main character in the movie 27 Dresses.  For those of you not familiar, Katherine Heigl finds herself a bridesmaid in 27 weddings and the focus of a news article.  She also has a terribly self centered and obnoxious  sister, so clearly that part is different.  This is not some joke about my sister always being a bridesmaid.  In fact, my sister has been to approximately 30 weddings  (she had trouble keeping them all straight).  She wasn't a bridesmaid in all of them, but over the past 5 years or so has collected quite a few dresses.  

The reason I bring this up is because it strikes me as extraordinary, but not at all surprising to me, that so many people found their relationship with Sheila and Chris to be so special that they made them a part of their wedding day.  I think it speaks to the kind of people they are.  Thoughtful, kind, generous, and really, really fun.  They have surrounded themselves with great friends and have maintained friendships that began at work, in college, high school, grade school, and even one or two that can trace roots back to preschool.  These kinds of friendships don't just happen. Like a marriage, they can be a lot of work.  Along the way, there will be tears and laughter, and all of that will serve to bring you closer to each other, to know each other even better, and to  love each other even more.  Know that as you step, and sometimes misstep, you are surrounded by the love you feel tonight in this room, the support of all the people gathered here.

According to my five year old nephew, Nathan, Married is when there is just one person you want to be very friendly with and you don't live with any other people.  Of course, he then went on to explain that he will be marrying his brother since they are best friends.

In each other, you have found a best friend, the one person you want to be very friendly with.  For the rest of your lives.

Please take a moment to raise your glass as we toast Sheila and Chris.  We love you.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Walking in a Wedding Wonderland

Today's the big day! Well, sort of. Today (as you are reading this).IS the big day, but I am writing this on Thursday, as I'm pretty certain I'll be a little busy on that day. So, back to "today."

Today is my sister's wedding. I couldn't be more proud of her and happy for her. I am honored to be a part of her day as the matron of honor and hope that I can do that bustle justice. Through the past few months, I have tried my best to "be there" for my sister in much the same way that she has always been there for me. She is my best and oldest friend. I am happy to see the happiness that she and Chris bring to each other and to others whenever they enter a room. Chris is a lucky guy. And Sheila's lucky too. For one thing, the initial for her last name doesn't change. So any monogrammed items can stay monogrammed. Imagine the ease. I, for one, can speak to the last name loveliness that my sister is entering into. But that's not all. She also, this day, joins with a husband who loves her more than I can say. Which, clearly, is a lot.

Tomorrow, you all get to read my speech, you lucky people, you. And one day, I'll recap today, but for now you can expect some pre-scheduled posts for a bit. Enjoy!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wedding Central

My sister Sheila chose to DIY a few things for her wedding. And by a few, I mean 500 + chocolate covered pretzels, and the cutest. cake. toppers. ever. You will just have to wait for pictures because I'm not ruining the surprise. There were other items too, like the place cards, hotel bags, bubbles, and programs. All of this, she thought of, planned, and executed. She is, simply, amazing. Her wedding will be the picture of class and style. And I cannot wait. In all our DIY'ing, we made a cake box from an existing gorgeous and perfectly matched box by cutting a hole in the top, hot gluing ribbon around the edges, and hot gluing pearls down around the opening. Sheila called me the next day to report the opening was not the right size to fit...a card. A little ironic, right. But it sure was pretty. And fix-able. It is always fix-able.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy Anniversary

My husband, Jeff, and I celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary today. But, we really celebrated Monday night...because we weren't sure today was going to "work out". It turned out to be a PERFECT last minute date night. I called my mom on Monday afternoon, and fortunately she was ready, willing, and able (and understanding of our last minute-ness) to watch Cece that night so we could dine out on the town. Utilizing Open Table always gives me the opportunity to search for an open table (get it?) somewhere we have been before and loved OR discover a new, great place. And that is what we did on this particular occasion. We had thought about going to a Mexican place called Tortuga something (not really something, just can't think of the rest of the name) in Lambertville, or maybe back to Lovin' Oven in Frenchtown, but Tortugas isn't open on Mondays, which made me remember that lots of restaurants choose Monday as their day off. So, to OT I went. I found a place that sounded good to me (beachy), checked the menu (looked amazing), and a nice location (New Hope).

We both had excellent meals with just right portions and, thanks to a Monday night 25% off everything special (every week - I definitely suggest checking them out on a Monday night!) a just right price too. It didn't hurt that, as it turned out, a friend's husband was tending bar. So, where were we? The Sand Bar, residing at 90 South Main Street (former home of the cleverly named 90 Main) in New Hope, PA.

To start, we ordered Spicy Tuna Nachos, which were AWESOME! They weren't what you would normally picture for nachos, but that turned out good since we could actually eat our meals without rolling out the door. Also, they weren't too spicy. I ordered the Avocado, Mango, and Lump Crab Salad, which was presented artfully. I felt like I should have taken a picture, but it looked so good that I dug right in (in a very lady-like manner, of course). Jeff ordered a Cuban Turkey Burger and cleaned his plate. I got a taste of the Chipotle Mayo which was delish. Where can one go about getting/making chipotle mayo? Thoughts? Though the desserts looked amazing, we wanted to try out a place Jeff's mom had mentioned called Blue Penguin.

Blue Penguin is, basically, a Build Your Own Frozen Yogurt Sundae shop. You pay by weight and can choose from an incredible variety of flavors and toppings. For example, I mixed Red Velvet Cake, Cake Batter, and Godiva Chocolate, and added berries, granola, and lots of other (less healthy, so I won't brag about them on the Internet) goodies. Also, if you friend them or like them on Facebook, you get $1 off. I know this because the young gentleman in front of us in line said so. So I (wink, wink) was also a FB friend of the Blue Penguin. Don't worry, I definitely will be soon. And you should too.

To finish off the perfect anniversary date night, we strolled across the Delaware River to Lambertville.

www.sandbarnewhope.com

http://www.facebook.com/BluePenguinYogurt

Bonus day date today! Unexpectedly, we were able to go out to family lunch (Cece crashed the party) and went to Lunch at Ted's Montana Grill. This is where we went for our very first post-baby anniversary date lunch in 2009. That time, it was just the two of us, but this was pretty good too. Now, I think I've actually blogged about Ted's before, but just in case, here's a second time. Ted's Montana Grill might sound like a place that is not up my alley. But sometimes beef/bison joints will surprise you by making all their burger options available as a veggie burger, or by having Eco-friendly straws, or natural borax soap, or recycled paper table covers, or corn based to-go cups, or something like that. Sometimes meat eaters will surprise you. It's the little things.

http://www.tedsmontanagrill.com/eco.html

And, speaking of the little things...it's the little things that make for a great marriage. Thank you, Jeff, for all the little things along the way. I love you more today than yesterday and I'll love you a little more tomorrow. Thank you for making this life together with me. I love you.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Carseat Complaints

I'm pretty sure I may have mentioned...a few times...that Cece didn't love her carseat in the manner that most young babies do. At first we thought when she turned around she would be better. And she was, but it is still not her favorite place as my sister learned firsthand this past Friday.

My sister is getting married this coming Saturday. More on that in future posts. She is home all this week and was planning to take the train up last Friday. Which is a perfectly good option, but I knew there would be plenty to transport and offered my transportation services, as opposed to either Sheila or Chris having to rent a car. Cece and I drove to Sheila's work in DC on Thursday during nap and the trip down was rather uneventful. We stayed the night in Arlington and planned to drive again during Cece's nap with the idea being that she would sleep in the car for pretty much the whole trip. Which would have been true were it not for that overturned tractor trailer. We were held up in a traffic jam for approximately an hour and a half. At which point Cecelia woke up. She was rather distressed that we had not yet crossed the border out of Maryland. Throughout the rest of the trip, she worked herself into such a state that she threw up in her carseat. She had never done that before (thank goodness) and hopefully will not again. You don't realize just how many crevices there are in a carseat until you're cleaning it at a rest stop along I-95. After that she was much more pleasant for the remainder of the trip. We all got home safe and sound and that is the important thing. Cecelia still doesn't love the car - noted.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

World Breastfeeding Week

Every year from August 1-7, WBW is celebrated around the world. Locally, the Breastfeeding Resource Center in Abington has events today. Sadly, with a jam packed weekend schedule, we cannot attend this year. This year, in celebration of WBW, I am doing something a little different...weaning. Breastfeeding has been and still is, a most amazing bonding experience for Cecelia and I. I am happy that she has nursed for 2+ years, and honestly we could go longer. Through this journey, some of my ideas have changed.

While I was still pregnant, in about April, a friend told me that going to a La Leche League meeting was really helpful for her, and doing so before she had the baby. I figured I'd check it out. The group of women I found was incredibly helpful, supportive, and just plain nice. I learned, after I had been to several meetings that LLL has historically been viewed as a "militant" bunch, but I can speak from experience that that is not the case with our Montgomery County East group and I attended a PA conference and found likewise. It was nice to talk to others having or who had the same experiences and then later to be able to offer my own help.

Through different reading on the topic of Breastfeeding, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed Cecelia for at least two years. The AAP guideline states exclusive BF for 6 months and until a year or until mutually desired (indicating that if mom is "done" we are done and that mom should not "force" child...- interesting concept, I can say that was never necessary). The World Health Organization indicates that two years is ideal. So that was my goal. Fast forward to the end of this school year. Due, mostly, to my schedule, Cece was down to one, if that, nursing per day. I figured tapering off until two and we'd be in the clear. Then came summer. Mommy was home and Cecelia saw this as an all you can eat buffet opportunity. Which was partially my fault. Because it was easier. But this resulted in the exact opposite and I wasn't sure quite how to terminate our Breastfeeding relationship. But I am determined. A friend told me about her experience with her older daughter and how they substituted a cup in at bedtime. I already knew Cece was not a fan of milk in a cup, but I knew I should figure something out. My concern was that she would just fuh-reak out, as she is sometimes prone to do, and I would just give in, which would reinforce bad behavior. The next day, I decided to try. So, she asked, and I said no. And she gave me a look, but didn't put up a stink. At nap time, she asked and I said no. We sang songs, she put her head down, and she went to sleep. This was going to be easier than I thought!

The next day, she started with a runny nose and a horrible cough and I...blamed myself. Through breastfeeding, I surmised, she had maintained excellent health. And through weaning, I had singlehandedly in one day, gotten her sick. Bad mommy. So, I made a perfectly logical decision...to drown her in milk. And I did, and she got better. Which she would have done anyway. And then I got back on track. I made a plan. Because cutting off in one day hurts. So, instead, I made a gradual step down plan...like any addict. And I got some cabbage for myself. Because it helps the hurt. And I can say that by 8/31, Cece will be all done. Before school starts. And about a year before any siblings will enter Cece's world and steal mommy and her milk away. So hopefully, she won't remember...or she'll remember that she is a big girl now. How did that happen?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cup Roundup

When Cece first started drinking from a sippy cup, I blogged about different ones we found. Now that Cece has moved on to bigger cups, I wanted to tell you all about them too. The Foogo cup by Thermos that we used is still great, but it holds what now seems like a very small amount of water, so we have since upgraded to these ones. Of course, Cece has also perfected drinking from just about any cup, including those with no cap or straw...most of the time.




Friday, August 5, 2011

Out of Business

As it turns out, Whitehall Jewelers went out of business...in 2008. Clearly I wasn't paying attention. When the "shank" (just learned this term Wednesday evening - it means the thin part of the ring's band) needs to be repaired on your engagement ring (who knew it could even crack) and the jeweler has gone out of business, a jewelry service plan doesn't mean much. So, as a result I investigated the cost of repair with every jeweler remaining in the Montgomery Mall. It amazed me the difference in cost that was possible. The first jeweler quoted a price at $64. I thought that was a pretty good deal considering the service plan that was now void cost more. But as I researched further, I found some were more and some were less. Some cited the rising cost of gold as accounting for a high price to solder a ring. How does that work exactly? In the end, Belden Jewler won our business for the fine and fair price of $35.99 plus tax. Two weeks from now, my ring will be good as new!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

EC: A Retrospective

For all intents and purposes, Cece is "potty trained" during the day. The night might take a while and I'm ok with that. I used to EC Cece at night when she woke up frequently and seemed to need to go. When she still woke up, but didn't go, I stopped EC at night. As a mom in my Diaper Free Baby group once said, "Sleep trumps pee.". But, back to the potty success story. EC was a practice I learned about from a friend when I was halfway through my pregnancy and as I am apt to do, I read EVERYTHING I could find on the subject. Which, maybe not surprisingly, was not a lot. Hmmm, a book I could write that may have a growing market...but, the book I suggest to inquiring friends is Christine Gross-Loh's "Diaper Free Baby". It is the one that is the most practical, not too loaded with "theory", it makes it all seem very do-able. Which is good. Because it is. Looking back, I don't know that I would have tried this had I not known someone who had done it. It made it so much easier to justify to others. Well, so and so did it, so I am trying it. That was another key, telling people I was trying it sounded very non-committal, though to be honest, I was bound and determined. The first time I held Cece over a potty, she was six days old. Prior to eating solids, we caught mostly pee. Around 7 months, after being introduced to solids, she pooped only in the potty, but still peed in her diaper too. Gradually, over time, she has learned to signal that she has to go. During the time of her terrible teeth, she went on a potty strike, telling us she had to go, but really just washing her hands. But since then, she has been consistent, and dry through the days. She is now sleeping in gdiapers, which means the few disposables we have are reserved for babysitters. She is in underwear at home, and cloth diapers out and about. But they stay dry. Monday, she had a milestone wherein she signaled to the awesome Miss Jamie at our gym's daycare that she had to go, and let Miss Jamie help her go potty. Then she did it again on Tuesday. Cece consistently goes #2 before (or during) barytone, and always in the potty. She still prefers to face backward for #2, but since watching a friend go independently facing front, she has made the switch for pees. She has always wanted to go on the regular toilet. Even though we have a Baby Bjorn little potty, pink IKEA potty, see through little potty, foldable potty insert seat, and the Potette plus, Cece will have nothing to do with any of them. To look on the bright side, I never had to clean out a potty as she went direct to the source...or end...source doesn't make much sense there.

So, while I am still careful to never pat myself on the back, I look at EC as a healthy choice for my daughter, both psychologically (she's happy, proud of herself, and was never cajoled, pressured, or rewarded for using the potty) and physically (she has never had diaper rash or any other related issues). We will not have two kids in diapers because she'll be out of them by the time number two is a glimmer in my eye. Note: not yet folks.

For any friends, or strangers yet to be friends who are wondering, EC is short for Elimination Communication and I would encourage you to give it a chance...the rest of the world does.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Bedtime Story

In her two short years, Cecelia has been both a super sleeper, and a sleep deprivation machine. Her dual personalities can be, at times, frightening. Especially when you've grown accustomed to one and the other rears its ugly head.

To encapsulate Cecelia's sleep, she was NEVER the baby that comes home from the hospital and instantly sleeps all the time, not at night, not in her bassinet pack and play, not in her crib, not even in the specially designed Arms Reach co-sleeper, the one I got specifically to avoid having Cecelia in our bed. Because, you see, no one plans to co-sleep. I shouldn't say no one, but I'd say a whole lot of the people that do end up co-sleeping didn't plan to when they were pregnant. Because haven't you heard, there are blankets, and pillows, and smothering, flailing parents. Well, I can tell you that in our case, there was no flailing or smothering, bur there was functional sleep for everyone. Early on, Cecelia slept ONLY if she was within a breath of another person. And there are reasons for this. It regulates her breathing, calms her, she can hear a heartbeat (also regulating and calming) and she is warmed. This went for daytime sleep too. She slept in a sling. Period. I tried and sometimes did transfer her onto a surface still cuddled in her sling, but for the most part, I found she got her her best rest in the sling. And for any anti-baby wearers, the sling we had was not recalled. The ones that were recalled were designed to look more comfortable, safe and secure, being worn with the baby down at your waist, and they were buckled in, so that must be a good thing, right? Wrong!

So, Cecelia slept with us for at least a portion of the night for 13 months, and during that time she did not sleep through the night. Around 13 months, she started taking more regular naps, but there was also a shift. Even once she shifted to sleeping in her bed, she would fall asleep cuddled with us. Then one day, that changed. She couldn't fall asleep with us there. She needed her own space.

Cecelia developed a good routine. So much so that she got to a point where she would point to her bed, we would lay her down, cover her with a blanket, and she would look up with a huge cheesy grin. We walked out and that was it. Same for naps and night sleep.

Then she turned two. It seemed like that was enough to put her and us over the edge, but the key was in the routine. Our home is listed for sale and with trying to navigate home showing times, and my nasty habit of loading the day up with activity, Cecelia strayed far from her normal routine. And we all paid the price. She stopped napping, gradually. First, she could no longer transfer into the house from the car, or if she fell asleep at all in the car early in the day would not be able to fall asleep at her nor,al nap time. Then one day, I stayed home and tried for normal nap. And it still didn't work. So, I resigned myself to car naps. And that was ok. Until it affected night sleep. One night, Cece fell asleep on me and would not transfer to her bed. I chalked it up to a stuffy nose/cold, and decided she could sleep on me that night. She slept in our bed and slept well. But a two year old is much different than a one year old. She did gymnastics all night long, in a different position all night. But it was nice. Until 4:30 rolled around and she was up and at em. Not cool. We decided that the next day, we would try to get Cece back into a routine. That night, she fell asleep on me again. After an hour and a half of trying to transfer her, I decided she could sleep in our bed. Except she wasn't sleeping anymore. So into her room she went. She had a cage fight with herself and TWO HOURS later fell asleep.

The next day was daddy's routine bootcamp. And it was the kick in the butt/reminder that we all needed. That she did still need to nap. That she could get back to sleeping 10-12 hours at night. And that sacrificing my jam packed days was well worth the healthy, happy child that was returned to our doorstep. And that a little tv time to wind down is ok too.

A friend recently said she has learned not to give herself too much credit when it comes to her kids. I absolutely agree. You do what works for you...until it doesn't work anymore. And then you figure out what does. It might be different for everyone, and the greatest mistake we can make as parents is to judge. When you feel judged, you close the door and don't let others in, and the only way we can learn from one another is by opening that door.

Cecelia has returned to going to bed easily without a fight, without tears, and with a huge, cheesy goodnight grin.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Blueberry (Yaris Edition)

Background. I seem to have a thing for blue cars. Preferably ones with good gas mileage. The first car that I bought independently was a royal blue Kia Rio. This was back before anyone else had heard of Kia. I did my research. Oh, I forgot to mention, I'm also a fan of inexpensive cars. And it was. Jeff dubbed this car the blueberry. When we were pregnant, we had a plan to upgrade Jeff's 2 door, and did so through a Kia trade. My Rio for a new Kia Sportage. Because, at the time, I had a plan to get a Honda Fit (blue). Which would have been great. If we could fit a stroller in the back. But we couldn't. So, I looked some more and decided on the Yaris (also blue).

Yesterday, Jeff told me a story about his day at work. A co-worker's father came into the gym and asked, "Whose Yaris?". To which Jeff responded, "Mine.". "Nice color.". "Thanks, well, it's my wife's, so I'll let her know.". "Great car. I have to run, so Joe (his son), tell him the story."

So, Joe tells Jeff the story.

About how his family is on their third Yaris. And with good reason. The first Yaris they owned was hit, badly, by a drunk driver. The car was completely totaled. But Joe, who was driving, walked away without a scratch. So, his dad got another Yaris. And the next time, his wife, Joe's mom was in a bad accident. Again, the car took the impact, not the person inside. Joe's dad has written letters to the company, including pictures of how the cars were wrecked and the people inside walked away unharmed. He likes to tell any fellow Yaris owners what a good, safe car they own.

Shortly after I purchased my Yaris, there were many, many Toyota recalls. But not for the Yaris. I had recently considered that when the time came, I might return to Kia for another Rio, but this story made me think. Not just about sticking with the Yaris, ut how fortunate I have been when it came to cars as well.

When I was in college, I was in a bad accident where the Dodge Omni I was driving (which seemed to be possessed) hit the guard rail on the turnpike and spun around twice...on the turnpike. I broke my finger, but besides that, was fine. When I was just 17 weeks pregnant, I was in an accident in the two door Honda Civic, and was fine. And, just a few months ago, over spring break, we were rear ended in the Kia Sportage and were all three fine.

So, Joe's story made me feel lucky to own a Yaris, but also lucky. Just plain lucky.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Heh-woah, Bye

Like the Beatles song, Hello Goodbye, Cece has these two down pat. She has been a proficient waver for quite a while now, though early on she would only wave goodbye. This was a strong indication to most people that she wanted them to go away. I don't think that's true, but she does seem to tell it like it is. A while back, we heard the intonation of a greeting, like hello but without the clear articulation of a word. More recently, we have heard heh-woah. Which is super cute. Especially when she's hiding behind something, peeks out, and yells, "HEH-WOOAAAHHH". You'll just have to trust me on that. So, yesterday to add to the cuteness, out of absolutely nowhere... Cece and I were leaving to go to the pool and were at the bottom of our stairs in the foyer. I told her to say goodbye to daddy, which would usually result in a waving hand...maybe...if he's lucky. But yesterday, it resulted in, "Bye.". Just like that. "Bye.". To which I responded, "Did she just say bye?". She had, and now she wants to say bye to everything and everyone. And it's awesome. Girls at the gym playroom...bye. People at the supermarket...bye. People at the Babies R Us...bye. The potty...bye.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Little Treehouse

Is awesome! I had heard of the Little Treehouse before. I'd even walked by once or twice, but we had never been in before. I like to get my money's worth and I knew you had to pay to go in. I wanted to make sure Cece was old enough to appreciate the experience and was she ever!

We left this morning headed to the High Point Sunday Market outside of the High Point Cafe in Mount Airy. It began at ten and we got there a little early. It was smaller than we expected, it was very nice, but we were pretty much done by 10:18. We had passed the Trolley Car Diner and planned to go to lunch there, but we had time to kill.

We went to Chestnut Hill to walk around, we passed O'Doodle's on the way to park and decided to play there for a bit. I mentioned the Treehouse and thought we might stop in (if I could find it). ThE last time I was in Chestnut Hill, I was a bit disoriented, but this time when we got close to O'Doodle's, I saw The Little Treehouse on our right. We checked the hours, headed to O'Doodle's, where Cece played her heart out, and closer to lunch time went to The Little Treehouse.

The "cover" (like a club, get it?) is $8 for children who can crawl or walk and you can also get food to eat. You accrue a tab and pay the total at the end. This place is awesome! All they toys and play structures are wooden. It's like a mini Please Touch Museum, only organic and local too! It was just the right size for Cece, and it wasn't too crowded. The tumbling area was open downstairs and we checked that out after lunch. Cece played, I placed a food order. By the time the food was ready, she was hungry and had checked everything out. It was perfect.

And the food! Well, it all adds up - let's just say that. But, it was organic, delicious, and just right. Cece had Mac and cheese, her all time favorite food in the world. Jeff and I both had healthy paninis. While we didn't get to it, there were also some pretty amazing dessert choices available and I look forward to giving them a go another time.

And there will be another time!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tea Time

You may remember that back on February 2nd, I blogged about Cece imitating putting contacts into her eyes.

Cece has an awesome Madeline picnic basket tea set that we got for a great deal at the Cozy Tots consignment sale in Bryn Athyn. It happens twice a year, in the spring and the fall, though I hear that this year's "fall" sale is happening in August, so be on the lookout for that! Anyway, it has ceramic cups, plates, a teapot, sugar pot, and creamer, as well as sets of forks, knives, and spoons. It is adorable. What may be even more adorable is Cece's recent use of the set.

Here's a blast from the not too distant (therefore I can actually remember it!) past. On June 8th, Jeff sent me the following text message:

Cecelia was playing with her tea set. She was using the teapot as a neti pot. Then she would blow her nose. (oh! I almost forgot - there is also a picnic blanket and cloth napkins!)

So, in addition to the daily task of putting in my contacts, I try to make it a daily task to use the neti pot. And someone's been noticing!

Update: since June 8th, Cece has broken the teapot that came with the set. But, one of her birthday presents (probably not with this use intended) was a tea set with a talking tea pot that also makes sounds like it's pouring.