Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Visiting Nebraska

We made it to the Cornhusker State! We girls flew in last Saturday, and Julia once again let us know that she does not like flying. See, the good news was there was only one fussy baby on the plane. The bad news was, well, that baby was Julia. At least this flight was shorter than going to Denver, so I only had to contain a fiesty bear cub for two and a half hours.

So far we've been hanging around Bellevue, mostly visiting the grandparents. When both sets live in the same town, it's super simple to see them. Evelyn is old enough now to come up with her own agendas, such as whose house she wants to eat supper at, who she wants to go on an evening walk with, and which house she wants to sleep at.

Evelyn started private swimming lessons last night. One of my goals for Evelyn is to be weaned from her water wings (which, by the way, stayed in Maryland). Tonight's lesson went really well. She swam for about five or six feet on her own, she glided after pushing off from the wall, and she worked on big circle arms while swimming. By the looks of things, she won't even be thinking about water wings when we get back to Maryland in a couple of weeks. Yippee!

Today Evelyn, Grandma Luster and I went to the Omaha Children's Museum. (Julia stayed home with Grandma Linda and Grandpa Phil - not too much for a baby at that crazy, wild, noisy place.) Evelyn had fun exploring her usual haunts like the balls area, grocery shopping and making art. Evelyn and I also participated in a yoga class.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ice Cream Preference

This afternoon we splurged on some Cold Stone Creamery ice cream after visiting the library. Evelyn got chocolate pudding, my friend Kat got sweet cream, and I got cheesecake. I had intended to share my small dish of ice cream with Julia, and I thought the cheesecake flavor would be okay for Julia.

She made her usual "What's this?" face when she took her first bite of cheesecake ice cream. But she swallowed it. After a couple of bites of cheesecake, I gave her a bite of Kat's sweet cream. Julia clapped her hands! Then I gave her a bite of Evelyn's chocolate pudding ice cream, and Julia clapped her hands again! Back to the cheesecake ice cream . . . no reaction. Clearly, Julia preferred sweet cream and chocolate pudding ice cream today.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bye-Bye Bottle

At Julia's 12-month checkup in April, her doctor told me it was time to wean her off the bottle. Julia strongly protested the sippy cup in the beginning of May, so I just dropped it. We've been giving Julia bottles of milk in order to create a calm in the midst of her teething storms.

Last week, I realized my personal goal of not bringing bottles on our Nebraska trip was fast approaching. We gave Julia a sippy cup of water to play with after supper time, just something fun and new to explore and figure out. Then, on Saturday night, for her bedtime milk, I gave her a sippy cup instead of a bottle . . . and she drank it all without complaint. Sunday's milk was served in sippy cups, no problem. Since this is the third day she's taken her milk in sippy cups, I think it's safe to say that we are done with bottles. I'm so glad the bottles will be staying in Maryland as we travel this summer!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


The weather didn't lend itself to swimming today, so we headed out to our favorite hiking spot, Sugarloaf Mountain. We hiked the green trail, which is so familiar to us now the hike up the mountain went by quickly. I carried Julia on my back this time (in a contraption that looks like a backpack meant to hold a baby), and my ankle held up pretty well with the additional 25 pounds of weight.

Once at the top, Julia and I camped out at one of the overlooks while Troy and Evelyn climbed over big rocks and boulders. Julia tried to put her fair share of sticks and rocks into her mouth while hanging out on the ground, but she was having fun playing in the dirt. What kid doesn't?

Just as we were about to leave and head back down the mountain, we heard the song of a bird that we didn't recognize. Lucky for us, the mystery bird was singing in a tree nearby, and he let us get right under his tree. I took a quick video of its song. We were pretty sure we could identify it online by the song and its silhouette. When we got home . . . bingo! Evelyn was able to write about the Eastern Towhee in her bird journal.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pool Rats

We have been to the community pool so many times since Memorial Day that I've lost count. The lifeguards know us by name. Evelyn has tan lines, despite the SPF 50 I slather on her before we make the three-block trek to the pool. Julia is like Pavlov's dogs - when the whistle blows for break time, she starts fussing for her snacks.

Evelyn can't live without her "water wings" when we go swimming. I must admit, as a former lifeguard and swimming instructor, I was against the idea at first. But Evelyn is very comfortable in the water with them, plus she zips around in the water like nobody's business. I'm hoping to wean her from the water wings later this summer . . . if only I can convince her that she has what it takes to swim without them.

Julia has a great toy for the pool - her deluxe floatie, complete with attached toys and a sun shade. The water has been on the cool side lately (well, it is only June), so Julia can only take about ten minutes of play time in the floatie before she gets chilly. Then it's on to Mommy time or playing in the shallow area. Julia quickly learned that crawling on the scratchy concrete, both in and out of the pool, hurts. So she has taken to monkey crawling around the pool area - walking on her hands and feet. Oh, and I mentioned snack time, right? Julia won't pass up a chance to eat!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Graduation Cake and Ice Cream

Give me a reason to make cake, and I'll do it! I baked and decorated a layered chocolate cake with multiple colors of frosting - blue in the middle, pink on top and purple on the outside. We were super lucky to have Kat bring cake batter ice cream from the dairy - one of Evelyn's favorite flavors. Evelyn devoured her piece in no time at all. Julia ate several bites of the ice cream. In the picture below, Julia is awaiting her next nibble.

Evelyn's Preschool Graduation

On Tuesday, Evelyn completed her preschool experience with the graduation ceremony. The kids sang a couple of songs, diplomas were passed out, and then everyone pigged out on yummy refreshments. Since Evelyn loves music and singing so much, she hammed it up during the songs from her spot in the back row. And her snacks during the reception? All sugar, which was to be expected. Now Evelyn can't wait for Kindergarten to start.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Julia is following in her sister's footsteps when it comes to being social. Just recently, she has started saying, "Hi!" and waving to people. In the grocery store, at the pool, going for a walk, at the gym, and so on. Most people return the greeting. If they don't, Julia is perplexed. I mean, come on. How can you resist a smiling 13-month-old baby, enthusiastically saying, "Hi!" while waving and smiling?

Monday, June 15, 2009


After last week's physical therapy session, the light in the gross motor skill part of Julia's head has come on. Everything seems to have clicked for her.

Julia can not only pull herself to standing at the couch and coffee table, but she can also pull to stand at flat surfaces like the sliding glass door or the fridge. Along with the pulling up, Julia is going gang-busters with cruising. For those of you needing a refresher in baby movement lingo, cruising is walking sideways while holding onto something (such as a couch) for support.

Even though it's a lot of work to make sure Julia is safe while exploring, we're very happy that she has all these new abilities.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Product Placement

This evening, Julia snuck into the pantry and grabbed a can of Coke Zero. Not only does she know how to hold the can and try to drink from it, but she also knows how to model a product for the camera. Perfect shot, Jules!

Mommy's Little Helper

Evelyn has been really helpful lately when it comes to caring for Julia. She feeds Julia her baby food, gives her toys to play with, washes her in the bath tub, pushes the stroller, gives her snacks, etc.

Today's helpfulness was very ambitious: cutting up Julia's banana for supper. Evelyn was eager to use her safe-cutter knife, so she quickly volunteered to help with dinner preparations. Evelyn did all the work herself - she peeled the banana, she cut a little less than half off for Julia, and then she cut that part of the banana into small pieces for Julia. Evelyn was so proud of herself for a job well-done.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Evelyn's Words

I suppose it's only fair to write about Evelyn's vocabulary, after yesterday's post. Evelyn has always spoken clearly. However! There are two words that Evelyn does not say correctly, and it just cracks us up.

refrigerator = re-fridge-re-a-tor
breakfast = bref-kast

Even when we say the words incorrectly back to her, she doesn't catch it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Julia's Conversations

Julia has had a lot on her mind lately. She gets particularly talkative when she is in her high chair or on the changing table. At mealtimes, she frequently signs bird and squirrel. There may or may not be a bird or squirrel on the deck when she signs these words, but we chat about those animals nonetheless.

Changing-table conversations are more like her showing off all the baby signs Julia knows. She makes the signs, and then waits for Troy or me to say the words she's signing. As of today, the words she can sign are bird, squirrel, bath, milk, eat, telephone, night-night (go to bed/sleep), diaper, all done, more, sock, lotion, and Cheerio.

Julia does more than baby sign - some of her vocalizations sound a lot like real words. There are some words she doesn't baby-sign since she can say them. "Woof woof" means dog, and she says this whenever she sees a dog. "Kitty" and "Daddy" are pretty clear - strangers even recognize when she says these words. "Thank you" and "book" are pretty recognizable, too.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tooth Number Four!

Everyone knows what all the fussing has been about lately - Julia's fourth tooth was coming in. Julia has especially been a mess at the gym the past week and a half. If I don't get paged while still working out, I would get paged as I headed to the child care room at the end of my workout. Julia cried at swimming lessons last Saturday, too. All this because . . . her top left tooth was coming in. Now that the tooth has finally broke through, Julia is back to her normal, bubbly, happy self.