It’s Labor Day, Seriously.

I’m kind of freaking out right now.  Minor panic attack.  You see, I got a message from the Y’s group fitness coordinator asking me to come in on Tuesday to interview and audition for an instructor position.  I had put this on the back burner because all of the hoops I’ve been jumping through having been leading me to believe that it would be a long journey before I got a chance to work at the Y.  We had BBQ plans on Sunday which kept us out having fun til late, and then there was this thing called a sh’ton of reading I still had left to finish for my graduate class.  Add to that a sweet little toddler who wants me to pick her up so that she can bang on the keyboard, and I’m feeling a little like there’s not enough time in the world to do everything I need to accomplish.  My solution?  Use up even more of my invaluable time writing a silly blog post about a dessert I made yesterday.  Yeah.  Good call.  But if it takes my mind off my stress for just a little while, then we’ll call it worth it.

Basically, I’m writing a post about a recipe because it doesn’t exist on the web, and I want to be able to pin it for future use.  I guess you can say it was that good.  But also, I was all domestic and didn’t bring a store-bought dessert to a party, for which I am proud!

Fruit Pizza Mashup

Fruit Pizza Mashup

*This recipe is a combination of several recipes and readers’ noted alterations.


2 packages sugar cookie dough

8 oz cream cheese (softened)

1/2 C confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 container Cool Whip (thawed)

fruit toppings

1 C pineapple juice (unsweetened)

1/2 sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 T lemon juice

2 T corn starch

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray to prevent sticking.

Prepare the cookie crust by rolling out and flattening one and a half packages of cookie dough.  You can choose to form it in the circular shape of a pizza, or just a rectangle like I did.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Let cool, then carefully lift cookie crust off pan, and flip it upside down onto a serving platter.  I cut the edges off to make it look prettier and fit my serving tray.

Wash and cut your fruit.*  Let sit in a colander, or lay on paper towels to drain.  This prevents a soggy crust.  *I used blueberries and strawberries to go with the “patriotic” labor day theme, but you can use whatever fruits you prefer.

For the “sauce.”

Combine cream cheese, cool whip, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla.  Whip until smooth consistency.  Spread evenly on top of cookie crust.  (I had leftover cream.)

Add your fruit.

For the glaze.

Combine pineapple juice, sugar, salt,  lemon juice and cornstarch in a pan. Heat to boiling, boil and stir 1 minute. Let cool to room temperature, then drizzle over your fruit pizza.  (Next time I am going to try less cornstarch.  I’m not sure how necessary it was.)


IMG_3570 IMG_3579

Checking In

Lots of things happening around the Erickson household.  Sorry.  Hold on.  I’m laughing at that statement.  Okay, slightly more than the usual nothing is happening around here, so I thought I’d share what we’re up to.

Grad classes are starting back up.IMG_2512

I started grad school back in the winter of 2012.  It was fast and furious at first, but then I went back to work AND got pregnant at the same time, so my roll slowed to a stop this past winter.  Somehow I didn’t plan correctly, and FSU threw a wrench, because my last two courses (well, a course and an internship) are both only offered in the fall, and cannot be completed at the same time.  You see what I’m saying?  I had anticipated taking my last class in the fall and internship in the spring and FINALLY being done.  So now I’m considering whether I should just get my MLIS in general library and worry about completing my media certification at a later time, or what one more year to graduate.  Decisions, decisions.  The exciting thing is that this should be my most fun class as I am basically reading and writing about young adult literature.  Classes start the 25th, and I’m just hoping that I still have some of my intelligence left from before I became a mom.  These days I talk. very. simple.

Side note: Our poor dog hasn’t been to the groomer since May. That miserable look on his face is the real deal. For the past week, he’s had a pink stain on his back from a raspberry Ellis dropped on him. He has an appointment on Monday. The groomer can take care of it then.

With lots of reading, writing, and class work on the way, I needed to reclaim my office.IMG_2532

But I can’t actually reclaim MY office because it’s right next to Ellis’s bedroom, and so I can never use it when she’s sleeping, which is the only time I can use it.  Huh?  We decided to turn my “purple oasis” into a toy dumping ground playroom for Ellis, and we moved my unloved and unused vanity out to the front room and transformed it into a desk by removing the mirror and adding one of the dining room chairs.  It’s like I have brand new furniture in a brand new house!  For the longest time I had been using the dining room table, but it looked cluttered and messy, and we even had the table pushed up against the wall for a while, so Ellis had more room to play and wouldn’t be tripping or playing with cords.  Now I have a permanent place to do my Facebook trolling work.  We are looking for a couple of bookcases for her new playroom, but oddly it’s been tough to find a couple of simple, white, 5-shelf bookcases that aren’t entirely made of plywood and veneer.

Also, I’m hitting the gym a lot more frequently.

About a month ago, I got a Facebook message from a friend inviting me to register for a local Sh’bam instructor training.  Prior to this, I had been very lackadaisical about working out.  It happened once in a while, when the conditions were just right.  Mostly, I felt like I could care less about my fitness; I’m a mom now, who am I trying to impress?  But I had one day to decide whether or not to go through the training and was told that training rarely makes its way to Jacksonville, so if I decided to do it in the future I would most likely have to travel.  I hadn’t taken a Sh’bam class in practically a year, so I had to get up to speed before training weekend.  I thought it was also a perfect opportunity for Travase to experience what it’s like hanging out with a baby all day, as that’s what he’d be doing while I was in training.  It was the first Saturday and Sunday in August, and it was a ton of fun.  I passed!  Now I have to submit a video teaching the entire release to a class of at least five people in order to receive my certification.  Great!  Except my local Y doesn’t allow non-employees to teach or shadow.  So I’m stalled for the time being.  I have to complete three courses in order for the Y to hire me, so a couple more things have been added to my to-do list.  I am signed up for two in September, making it a pretty busy month ahead!

Ellis is a full-on walking, talking toddler.IMG_2849

She is learning new words every day (night-night, bird, uh oh) and is finding new ways to “manipulate” her mommy into getting her way.  She points at everything and asks, “Dat?”  I’m not always sure what she’s looking at, so I hope I’m not confusing her by calling the sun “bird” or a picture of us “ceiling fan.”  Florida summer is like everyone else’s winter.  We are cooped up inside most of the day to avoid the heat and the very near, very strong sun.  I canceled our My Gym membership because her naps always seemed to overlap with class times, or her classes were cancelled for one camp or another.  We may go back when she’s down to one nap that works with their schedule.  Until then, we visit the library, hang out at Barnes and Noble, BuyBuyBaby or ToysRUs (although they know Ellis now at BBB as the girl whose mom lets her run loose in the store.  I don’t think they are a fan of the “Try before you buy” mentality), or just hang out at home a lot.  I’ve been taking her out to lunch more frequently because sometimes it’s easier than feeding her at home.  I feel like I’m spending a lot of money to feed such a tiny girl, too.  I have to buy a vegetable, fruit, and a grain/protein.  The good news is the leftovers can come home and be used for several meals, but a lot also ends up on the floor.  She can’t seem to grasp the concept that she can just shake her head ‘no’ if she doesn’t want any more of something instead of sweeping it to the floor and out of her sight.

I thought she was ready to go to one nap a day because she started refusing either her morning or afternoon nap.  That went on for a couple of weeks of just pure nap hell, and then she decided to take both naps again.  I’m still not sure what’s going on because yesterday was another no-nap day.

Travase and I went on a date for the first time in months.

It was our anniversary on the 19th, so we got a sitter for the previous Saturday.  Nothing crazy.  Dinner, frozen yogurt, and home before 10.  Our relationship has been a little rocky for a while, but we finally sat down and had a long conversation last week and just opened up about everything that was bugging us.  I think it has totally helped.  We’re not 100%, but we are both working on it and are trying to do a better job of communicating with each other, and giving each other what we need from the other person.

So that’s our life in a nutshell, right there.

This is Not a Pro-Breastfeeding Post

Except that it kind of is…

(This post is about boobs.  Fair warning.)

August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week, so I thought it would be a good time to check in on how nursing has been going with Ellis and me.  I’m sure those of you who were around a year ago were probably completely turned off to the idea of breastfeeding after I shared the hellishness that were those first few weeks.  I mean, it was awful.  To be completely honest, maybe the one thing that really got me motivated to succeed was that my MIL was coming to town to stay with us for a couple of weeks and nursing was the one thing that only I could do for my baby.  I was worried that she would come in, take over, and I’d never see my baby again.  Again, hormones and being a new mom made me overprotective.  I wanted to be in full control of caring for Ellis’s feedings and naps.  I felt that was MY duty and responsibility as a mom, and I didn’t want to share it.  I had flipped out when my own mom gave Ellis a bottle while I took a nap the first week we brought her home, and I was worried my MIL do the same.  So, I decided no bottles, no pumping, all boob.  And because I forced myself to not offer bottles, Ellis and I had to figure out the nursing thing.  The first weekend was hard because she would cry but not latch on.  It was entirely frustrating, but we soon got the hang of it.

Here we are a year later, and we are still going strong!  Ellis is a bit of a picky eater, in the sense that all she really wants to eat is fruit and cheese, so I love that I don’t have to worry whether she is getting enough nutrition from her food.  I can offer her a variety of foods, and if she throws it, no biggie.  If 2/3 of her meal ends up on the floor or in her lap, I’m not stressing.  Well, I am a little, but that’s because I have to clean it up!  I’ve always nursed on demand, so if she asks for it, I give it up.  She learned the sign for milk real quick!  Her main nursing sessions, though, are first thing in the morning, and right before her naps and bedtime.  But there are other times she asks for it, often in public, at a restaurant, when I’ve just ordered a glass of wine.

Which leads me to nursing in public.  I’ve done it everywhere: in the car, in a fitting room, restrooms, at the airport, on airplanes, in a support group circle, a bench at the zoo.  I am not, however, a “lactivist.”  I don’t particularly feel comfortable pulling out my boob in front of strangers, and so I don’t do it at the table in a restaurant, for instance.  Not out of consideration for others, but out of consideration for myself.  I am not nursing to make a point; I’m doing it to feed my child.  I am lucky that I haven’t really heard or been given any grief about nursing.  Everyone seems to be pro-nursing.  But sometimes it doesn’t work, or it’s not someone’s choice, and that’s okay, too.  I’m not telling anyone that what works for my child is what’s best for everyone.

Last weekend there was a big kick-off to World Breastfeeding Week with an event called The Big Latch On.  Here in Jacksonville, it was held at a popular baby-play center.  They had an incredible turn out; I think 30 something latched babies, but the first time I heard about it, I just wasn’t interested.  First off, my daughter would not be in the least bit interested in nursing when she is surrounded by the awesomeness that is Bay & Bee.  I’ve been there enough to know that hunger and tiredness do not exist once she’s walked through those doors.  Second, she is always distracted if there is anything remotely interesting going on around her, including other people.  I could never nurse her in the group circle at our mom meetings, because she would always pull off and look around, leaving me exposed.  Lastly, I only nurse for my daughter.  I don’t want to put her in a situation where I’m like, “Here, honey, you HAVE to eat right at this exact moment.  We’re changing the world!”  Force feeding is never a good idea.  I just don’t care about making a statement.  I feel like if someone wants to nurse badly enough, there is support for them.  Maybe I’d feel differently if I had ever experienced any negativity from breastfeeding, but I guess I’ve just been lucky.

Oh, and a couple more things:

  • You lose weight like crazy.  For a while I was eating donuts and cookie dough every other day and was still losing.  Of course, that didn’t last, especially after Ms. Ellis started sleeping through the night, and her feedings dropped off.  But the trade off was worth it.
  • When baby is born and for the first three or four months at least, it feels like all you do is nurse.  That’s normal.  It won’t last.
  • For most women, your period doesn’t come back until nursing sessions are significantly reduced.  For me, it was when Ellis started sleeping through the night and didn’t need night feedings any more.  Again, trade off worth it.
  • Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t hurt to nurse a baby with teeth.  Teeth are not involved in the sucking action.  What hurts is a baby biting you.  Which has only happened less than a handful of times.  I have worse memories of her biting my fingers, shoulder, neck, leg.  Yeah, those were painful.  Also, babies are pretty smart, and they know not to bite the boob that feeds them.
  • This one’s controversial, but you can drink if you’re nursing.  You just have to plan wisely.  Like, don’t drink around her meal times, but once she’s fed, you can go for a drink.  (Admittedly, this is harder in the first few months when they are constantly nursing.  My suggestion then is to pump milk ahead of time, if your baby will take a bottle.)
  • Pumping is the worst.  Spilling or wasting any pumped milk is even worse.  It doesn’t hurt, but the stress involved to make sure you produce enough does.  Babies nurse more effectively and efficiently than a pump, so you might take twice as long to pump and get only half as much milk as a baby can provide for herself.
  • Nursing is convenient.  You can never forget to bring food or supplies to feed while out and about.  Just pull out your boob, and it’s all good.
  • Downside:  All of my shirts have to be easy access.  I hate pulling my shirt up and exposing my soft belly.  Ellis wasn’t use to seeing my belly one of the times I had to do it.  She started slapping my stomach and laughing.  Thanks, daughter!  Lots of v-necks and button downs for me.
  • You won’t need nursing pads after your supply and demand has evened out.  Engorgement goes away.  The only time I really feel full and NEED to pump or nurse to relieve them is in the morning.

If you are considering breastfeeding, if you are not considering it, if you started and had difficulties, there is information and help out there for you.  You were made to do this.  If you’re pediatrician ever recommends formula over breast milk for any reason: baby not gaining enough weight, intolerance to certain foods, etc., you don’t necessarily need to find a new pediatrician, just know that they are not all as well-informed as you’d think they should be.  Just get a second opinion, and stand up for yourself.  “That’s great, doc, but I’d rather continue nursing.  How else can we help Little Suzy gain weight?”  Don’t compare your baby to formula babies, which many pediatricians are likely doing.  I was lucky, and my pediatrician supported me, but I also didn’t really encounter any serious issues with nursing.  Again, some women have difficulties that, if I had encountered them, I would have probably stopped altogether and said, “Eff this sh*t!”  The information and knowledge about nursing/pumping was overwhelming for me at first, but it soon became second nature and a breeze.  I’ll say it again, I’ve been very lucky.

So when am I going to stop?  That I don’t know.  I’m hoping Ellis will be done before I am, because I think it would be easier if it’s her decision.  I really can’t see myself going past two years.  I’m hoping once all her teeth have come, and she’s less finicky about food, she won’t care to nurse as much, and we can start to phase it out.

Helpful resources:

KellyMom –

La Leche League –


Carseat Shopping and Weekend Shenanigans

We had one thing on our agenda this weekend, and that was to purchase a new car seat for our apparently “tall” baby.  I’m short; my husband’s not tall, so I’m not sure where she gets it from.  Anyway, she has surpassed the max height for her infant seat, and so it was imperative that we get this done.  We started at Babies R Us because I had already checked out BuyBuyBaby’s selection the week before.  I wasn’t impressed by the selection BRU had, but we decided to make the most out of our trip and let Ellis play around in the toy section for a while.  Of course, she had to go down almost every aisle and try out everything that moved.  By the time she was done, we only had time to eat lunch before heading back home for her nap.

We tried again on Sunday and went straight to BuyBuyBaby.  I was being incredibly indecisive and going back and forth between the MaxiCosi and the Peg Perego, when the sales guys came over for a third time and schooled me on why Britax was my only choice.  Something about safety, yadda yadda ya.  After I got over the fact that it didn’t come in cuter colors, I agreed that it was the responsible choice.  Ellis ran around the store some more and right when we were about to leave, found all the riding toys, so I had to take her for a spin in EACH of them before we could go.  We did lunch at Latitude 30 before grumpy cat needed to get home for a nap.  (I’m talking about Ellis, but I could have been referring to myself as well.)


Wish we had gotten the wagon with the seats.


This is one sweet ride!



Being just a touch dramatic.

Ellis refused to sit in her seat so that we could adjust the straps to fit her.  We have a doctor’s appointment in the morning, so hopefully she cooperates and lets me put her in the seat then.  She has learned to shake her head no and can throw a decent tantrum, so wish me luck!

What happens when you let a baby loose in a toy store:

First Library Books

I was a teacher for a few years before I left to pursue my Masters in Library Science.  I’m kind of a geek when it comes to libraries.  So, it might surprise you that today when I took my daughter to the library, I had a $3.60 fine and my library card was expired.  Also, it had been so long since we last visited that I wasn’t aware of the new summer children’s program schedule which does not offer baby story time, so I was surprised when we showed up 5 minutes before opening time and found the parking lot nearly deserted.  Normally, there’s a line of moms with babies waiting to get their names on the list as story time fills up fast.

No biggie.  You had the whole children’s department to herself.  You played with the toys while I browsed bedtime stories.  After a while, you got braver and started exploring new sections, and I was no longer free to browse because I had to keep chasing you down.  I didn’t want people to think I was a neglectful mom who just let her 12 month old daughter run around unobstructed.  And you were running.  Every time I looked up, you were up on your feet, teetering back and forth with your arms bobbing in front for balance, a big grin on your face.  You were just so happy to have all this room to move.  I think it was better that story time didn’t occur because I never would have realized how much fun you could have just on your own exploring.

I did happen to grab a few books while you were running wild and free.  I kind of stuck with the theme of dogs and cats.  I wanted books with pictures of dogs for you to look at because you are always pointing them out everywhere we go.  You see them on TV, outside, in pictures, everywhere.  The other day I was shopping for a vacuum, and you pointed at a box and said “dog.”  I started to correct you, that no, there’s no dog, but then I looked where you were pointing, and there was in fact a picture of a dog on one of the boxes.  It was small, but you found it.

You’ve never actually seen a cat in person, but I feel like it’s important for you to know what one is, and pictures of them are always cute, so I grabbed a couple of those, too.


These are great because they are photographs, not pictures or diagrams, and there is very little text.  The Scheunemann books also rhyme, so that makes them fun to read.


For Ellis, I’m looking for simple, sing-songy text or repetition, and engaging images.  The first book on this list, Little Dogs Say “Rough,” was a miss.  We haven’t even gotten to the page with dogs yet.  But Cat the Cat is a huge hit.  She stops what she’s doing to look and laugh.  The last one by Bill Martin, Jr. (Brown Bear Brown Bear) is sweet and lulling, so it’s enjoyable for both parents and baby.

12 Months


That’s all folks! I’m off to be a toddler now.

We did it!  We kept you alive for an entire year.  Let’s give ourselves a pat on the back.  Pat. Pat. Pat.

Okay.  Let’s talk about your accomplishments now, shall we.

I made this Birthday Board for your party.  First Birthday Board captureI had to guess at some of your stats because your 1 year checkup wasn’t until after your party.     First Birthday Board

You did an amazing job at your doctor’s appointment, and Dr. Thornton made us feel like rock star parents.   They pricked your finger to test the iron levels in your hemoglobin.  You didn’t flinch, but were more annoyed that they were holding your finger and then wrapped a band-aid on it.  It didn’t take you long to pull it off.  Also, your iron levels are above amazing, again, according to the doctor.  Love that man!

You are actually 30 1/2 inches tall and weigh 18 lbs 14 oz.  Your doctor calls you “long and lean.”  You are the height of an average 15 month old, he says.  But you just had a growth spurt, so you might still be the same height at 15 months.  You have a “perfectly normal” sized head at exactly 18 inches.

Your 6th tooth hasn’t quite come in; it’s still on the cusp of breaking through, and your 5th tooth is only halfway out.

Also, the doctor informed us that because you take unassisted steps of any amount, you are walking.  So you CAN walk, just not well yet.  But you’re more comfortable trying to get from Point A to Point B by walking, especially if Point B is Mommy.

You point at Alex and say “dog.”  You point at a picture of a dog and say “dog.”  Basically, you’re a genius.  But you also point at the couch sometimes and say “dog.”

You are a really happy, easy going, social baby, but you are also a Momma’s girl.  If you can see me, you don’t want anyone else.

You sleep with a stuffed bear, and it’s the most adorable thing watching you hug tight to it.

You nod and shake your head.  We encourage the nodding more.

You say “Ahhh!” after taking a drink of water.

You are constantly on the go and into everything.  I just chase you around all day from one disaster to the next.  As much as we’ve babyproofed the house, you still find  things to get into.

There is a game you like to play when I try to put you down to bed.  You’ll be talking and playing, so I’ll say, “Good night! Love you!” and start to put you in your crib.  You’ll immediately bear hug me around the neck and lay your head down on my shoulder, as if to say, “Just a little bit longer, Mom!”  It works.  Until the 10th time, then I just wrestle out of your grasp, kiss you, and say night-night.


I could have made a really awesomely amazing infographic, but ain’t nobody got time for that.  So here’s a quick rundown of your first year in numbers.  These are estimates because I wasn’t 100% diligent about recording everything, but according to my BabyConnect app:

3123 is the number of diapers changed

9.6 gallons is the amount of breastmilk you’ve taken from the bottle.

I stopped recording pumping a while ago, but the last recorded amount is 9.7 gallons of pumped milk over 53 hours and 25 minutes.  (I hate pumping!)

You have spent at least 371 hours and 54 minutes nursing.

You’ve visited Miami, Kansas City, Des Moines, Wichita, and Story City.

You’ve been to four states: Florida, Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa.

You’ve been on two plane trips and are a great flyer.

You’ve been sick once.

And finally, I’ve taken at least one gazillion photos of you in your first year, and shared about 20% of those photos with the internets.

Not sure when my obsession with you will end.  Most likely never.

Love you.





First Birthday

I can’t believe it.  I’m still getting used to being a mommy and raising a baby and all the responsibility involved.  You can’t be one already!  According to the world, being one makes you a toddler, but you’re still a baby in my eyes.  You have grown so much since we first brought you home from the hospital, and I have learned so much along the way, too.  I was emotional the night before your actual birthday because it reminded me of what I was feeling laying in that hospital room, waiting for your appearance.  I want the world for you, and so I might be a crazy, irrational, overprotective mama bear, but it’s because I love you beyond any love I’ve ever felt before.  So when it came time to celebrate your first birthday, I knew I didn’t want to do it alone here away from all our family.  I wanted you to be surrounded by people who love you on your special day.  So we paid $1500 for plane tickets to your daddy’s hometown.  Ouch.  That might be your last birthday surrounded by family who love you!

We flew in on a Tuesday and stayed at Cousin Teresa and Dan’s.  Grandma and Grandpa Erickson and all the Grabers came over for dinner.  It was a beautiful evening and made me miss home even more.  On Wednesday, we packed up, stopped at a party store, and then headed the rest of the way to your grandparents’ house, an hour away.  Daddy and I had a meeting with Pastor Anenson that afternoon, so you got to play with Grandma and Grandpa one on one.

Thursday was your birthday, so I documented just about every move you made.  The weather was not cooperating, but we did get to take you on the antique carousel and let you play on the swings at the park.  We sang Happy Birthday to you with a yummy strawberry shortcake.

Friday was more prepping for your birthday party.  Your daddy was concerned I was overdoing it, but I had been planning for months and wasn’t about to back down!  I’m glad I didn’t because I think it turned out well.  It’s difficult to plan and throw a party at someone else’s home, but it came together.  Also, we initially planned to have your party at the park, but it had been raining since the day we got there, and there was no way the playground would be dry, as well as we couldn’t count on the weather to cooperate.  We decided it was safest to have the party at Grandma and Grandpa’s.

On Saturday, we got you up and ready for your baptism.  It was very special and even though it was two hours past your nap time, you cooperated and let us take a ton of photos.  Afterward, you napped while we scrambled to finish setting up for the party.  You slept through the guests arriving, but woke up the moment I had a plate of food in my hand.  (You have a sixth sense about this!)  You played with your cousins and smiled at your guests.  By the time you finished your lunch, and it was time for cake, I think you were feeling a little overwhelmed.  You kind of smeared your cake around but weren’t much into eating it.  After a quick bath, you opened some gifts, played with balloons, and once we said goodbye to last of the guests, you went up for a nap.  There was a party at the Graber’s that evening, but we arrived late after you got up from your nap.

On Sunday, you napped through a humongous breakfast of pancakes, biscuits and gravy, bacon, and eggs made to order.  Uncle Eric, Aunt Amy, and half of the Graber clan joined us. Later, we took a walk with your cousins, and you rode on the carousel again.  Monday there were tornado sirens and severe storms, so we spent some time in Grandma and Grandpa’s basement and eating lunch in the dark. We played cards, and your daddy suggested the girls take part in a cake eating contest – something we may have to do every year!  Then Tuesday it was time to head home!

Father’s Day

Trav’s first Father’s Day was a huge success, if I’m allowed to have an opinion about  He wanted a low-key day of just hanging out and grilling.  We let him sleep in until Alex puked in the living room, then I made him a cup of coffee and handed Ellis off to him so I could clean it up.  Ellis gave him a couple of gifts, a nice backpack to use as a diaper bag so when he takes her out by himself he doesn’t look like he’s carrying around a purse, and then a picture frame with photos of Ellis spelling out “DAD.”  That was  a tough photo shoot for this amateur photographer, but luckily I got three decent enough shots to make the project work.

I put together a very hearty breakfast of toast, eggs, sausage, and hash browns, and while Ellis took her first nap, we climbed back in bed for a lazy morning.  (I can’t even remember the last time we did that!)  Afterward, we decided to take Ellis to the pool, but discovered that it’s closed for maintenance, (Really?  This isn’t something they could have done before the pool opened for the season?) so we headed back home, packed a few more items, and headed out to the beach.  Sand, babies, and lunch time do not go well together, but we managed to get Ellis fed and hydrated while there, and she had a ton of fun playing in the water and watching a nearby group playing Frisbee.

After the beach, Ellis and I hopped into the bath to rinse the sand off, and then I quickly put her down as it was way past her nap time.  When I was done with that, Trav was passed out on the couch.  He decided on a nap over grilling, so we ended up having Outback for dinner instead.  All in all, a fun, lazy Sunday, and hopefully a memorable first Father’s Day for Trav, too!

First Birthday Gift Ideas

A while ago, a mom acquaintance at one of the baby groups I go to whose daughter is only a week older than Ellis asked me what I was thinking of as birthday gifts.  At the time, I hadn’t really thought much about it.  A couple of fun toys and done!  But now that we’re only a couple weeks away from the big day, I’ve had to get my act together.

Shh!  Don’t tell Ellis, but I’m about to share with you what we’re getting her for her first birthday.  I blame My Gym because she was exposed to the majority of these items there and LOVES them.  The problem with My Gym is they keep one station out for five minutes, and you have to fight 20 other moms and dads to give your little one a two-second turn doing whatever.  Giving her unlimited access to fun at home makes us both happy.

1-Recently Updated171.  Little Tikes 2-in-1 Snug N Secure Swing – Ellis loves to swing.  Although she loves going to the park, some days it’s just tough to get our act together and get out the door. It’ll be nice to have one at home so we don’t have to trek all the way to the park (a 10-minute car ride).

2.  See Me 6′ Tunnel – I think this is the same one they have at My Gym. photo It’s got a couple of “windows”, but it’s not completely see-through.  Crawling through tunnels and tight places is her newest obsession.  See how much she loves it?

3.  Little Tikes Rocking Horse – This is perfect for her size and ability to climb on and off.  Trav (and I) originally wanted to get her this adorable rocker from Pottery Barn.  It’s so whimsical and sweet… and really impractical as well as expensive.  She wouldn’t be able to get on and off of it herself, nor play alone (and isn’t that sometimes the goal?).  This plastic one sits low to the ground, and is safe and durable.  Trav gave me a high-five for my genius.

4.  Little Tikes Push & Ride Racer/Doll Walker – I haven’t ordered this one yet, and I am a bit irked by the sexism of the two COMPLETELY identical ride-ons (save for the colors).  The blue, red, and yellow model is called a “racer” while the pastel-y blue, pink, and white one is called a “doll walker.”  I see this so often in toys and clothes and everything for girls and boys.  I’m okay with pink, but I’m also okay with my daughter liking dinosaurs and trains.  However, it’s almost impossible to find girl clothes or toys that have dinosaurs, trains, planes, or anything other than princesses and flowers on them.  It’s like we’re teaching girls to be dainty, helpless, and image-conscious from the start.  Anyway, it doesn’t really matter which color I get in this toy, but I have held off on purchasing it because I can’t find anywhere that offers free shipping on this item, so I have to see if I can pick it up somewhere locally.

As you can see, we have an active girl on our hands, so I picked things out that will help her burn energy at home.  We bought her a pair of Stride Rite shoes, too, for when she’s really walking.  I didn’t realize the ones I chose were actually water shoes, but we live in Florida, it’s summer time, so they seem appropriate enough.  I just hope she doesn’t outgrow them before she can really use them.   We are going to have to invest in a convertible car seat soon, which will be a pricey purchase, so I guess we can tack that on as a birthday gift, too!

11 Months


You may or may not know this about me, but eleven is my favorite number.  So I have a feeling this is going to be a really good month.  It’s also the last time we can say you’re “zewo” years old!  In just one more month you will be a year old.  But let’s enjoy you for who you are right now.  You have grown leaps and bounds just this last month, and you’re far too smart for my liking.  No, actually, I LOVE how smart you are and how much you’ve grown.  Let’s discuss, shall we?photo 1(4)

  • You cut your first four teeth all at once.  The first one, top right, poked through first on Mother’s Day, and the other three, top and bottom front teeth came soon after.  You are a champion teether, because with four teeth, one would think you’d be cranky and in a lot of pain, but it hasn’t seemed to bother you a bit.
  • You got sick for the first time ever.  It just so happened on the morning of your first airplane ride to my hometown of Kansas City.  I was so sad for you, but you are a sweet, amazing baby even when you have a 103 degree temperature.

    This is as good as it's going to get on a chair that rocks.  Ellis thinks it's a ride.

    This is as good as it’s going to get on a chair that rocks. Ellis thinks it’s a ride.

  • You took your first airplane ride.  I was worried about your ears, especially with you teething, but you happen to be an amazing flyer, too.  Seriously, how lucky did we get with you?
  • You open and close your hands.  You are either saying “hi,” “bye,” or “milk.”  And it can be very confusing figuring out which one you mean.  The other night when I was putting you down, you started fussing, and I asked, “How do you say ‘milk’?”  You started making the sign, and I got so excited.  Everyone says her baby is smart, but it’s because we are so surprised at how much you understand and grasp.  I have to be very careful what I say and do in front of you, because you are more aware than I have given you credit for.
  • When we ask you, “How big is Ellis?,” you lift your arms above your head.
  • When we ask you to show us your tongue, you stick it out.
  • You give cheesy grins when we take your picture.  Love it.
  • You have enough hair that I can put barrettes in it, but you are more likely to pull them out, as well as pull off your headbands.  When you were younger, I don’t think you even realized they were on your head.
  • Not a whole lot of progress with walking.  You’ve made a couple of attempts to stand on your own, but you sit on your butt almost immediately.  I’m worried about your left foot because it’s almost always flexed.  I’m worried that your tendon is tight because you never relax your foot.  We try tomassage your ankle and do little exercises, but I need to talk with your pediatrician about it.

    What's up?

    What’s up?

  • You loved crawling up Oma’s stairs.  She has a lot of them, and they didn’t deter you.  But it also meant I couldn’t turn my back for one second.  Where’s Ellis?  Oh, she’s already up the first two stairs.
  • You have a very hard time being away from me, and by away, I mean anything more than a foot.
  • You are in size 3 diapers, and at your urgent care visit in KC, you weighed 17 lbs 14 oz.


Ready to melt your hearts?