6 months with Lane Eliette.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My little Lou (it's just about your only name around here),

You're well into your seventh month by the time I post this, but I still want to celebrate 6-month-old you. On your six month birthday, you decided it was the right time to start crawling. So you did. You'd been pushing up and rocking for weeks, but finally put one chubby hand in front of the other and crawled across Liam's carpet to a lamp cord (of course). And I smiled with tears in the corners of my eyes because a) I was so crazy proud of you and b) you spent so little time being a baby. 

You're the most joyful little girl I've ever met. You wake up in the morning and light up every room with your gorgeous smile and, lots of times, you're smiling even when no one's looking your way. After your first few horribly difficult months, this new Lanie is so surprising and delightful. And now, it's the only way I know you to be.

Some days, I want to tell you to slow down. To let me rock you. To sit still for just three seconds. But that wouldn't be true to who you are. I can already tell you're eager to explore the world around you. To create and learn and experience and be right in the middle of it all. What a privilege to get a front row seat to such a courageous spirit bundled up in one beautiful little girl.

I love you deeply,
Your mom

Free printable: Watercolor peonies.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

During Lanie's morning nap, Liam and I have some rare one-on-one time that I try to spend intentionally. Some days, it's the only time I have to shower before work and Liam ends up playing with his trains. But on other days, we do little projects together. When I tell him, "I have an idea," his face lights up and he asks, "What are mine options?" Recently, we've been watercoloring. It's easy setup and cleanup, and both of us have fun. We share the same tray of nothing-special-paints and brushes, but the time we spend creating side by side is just magic. The other day, Liam painted a dinosaur (can you see it?) and I dabbled with some abstract peonies.
It is so tempting for me to keep meddling with a painting, but this time, I kept it stark and simple and let the unpredictable bleed of the vibrant colors do all the work. The whole painting took less than five minutes, and I think if I would've added more time and thought to it, I wouldn't have liked it as much. I scanned it today in hopes of enlarging it for Lanie's room, and thought a few of you might want a copy, too. If you do, just click on the photo above and it should direct you to a size that's big enough to download and print as an 8"x10" piece to frame. To make it even more realistic, trim a piece of watercolor paper to fit your printer and print on the watercolor paper itself. It'll look like it just came off the drying rack.  
PS - Print or gift as many copies as you'd like. It's here for the taking. Just don't sell it (does that even need to be said?). Thanks friends.

DIY: Toddler tissue paper art.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

This is one of the few toddler art projects I'd be happy doing over and over again. It's low mess, super colorful, and the result is something I'm excited to hang in our playroom. It also helped Liam to learn the difference between a cool color and a warm color. Not that it's super important for a 2-year-old to know, but he liked figuring it out. 
Here's what you need: 
A toddler 
A paint brush 
Water
Tissue paper*
Watercolor paper or a canvas
Scissors or a paper punch in a shape of your choice

*In order for this project to work, you need tissue paper that's water-soluble, that will bleed its colors onto the paper. You can find it at an art store like this one.

1. Cut the tissue paper in an assortment of shapes. We chose squares (and used a paper punch) but you could do long strips of paper, punch out circles, or even tear little pieces in random shapes. We liked using the paper punch so Liam could get involved with this step.
2. Paint a spot of the paper or canvas with water. 
3. Place a piece of tissue paper onto the wet spot.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 again and again.
5. Let it dry completely, then peel off the remaining pieces of tissue paper to reveal the pretty colors underneath.
For this last one, we used a scalloped paper punch with lighter colored paper on canvas. Love the difference it made!

The adventurer.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

"As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen." 
 - Winnie the Pooh

Oh, Liam. The adventurer in you makes my heart beat wild. Sometimes your morning greeting sounds like, "Hi Mommy. I'm a parasaurolophus! Raaaawr!" You're always up for a trip to the nature park, a messy project, a crowd of new people. You're confident and (mostly) fearless. But there's still a sweet, cuddly side - at least with your Mommy - that I hope you never lose. The side that hugs me while we're playing and says, "I just like you." Oh, buddy, I like you too. I like you a whole lot.

A few toddler ideas...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Our recent schedule since I've gone back to work has left very little time for blogging, which makes me sad. It's left little time for showering and sleeping, too, which is another story. But I hope to keep popping in for updates as much as I can. I love this little space and am thankful for you (yes, you!) who takes the time to read it, time gaps and all. 

If you have a toddler in your house, you might be like me... when you come across an idea that actually works for your picky little one, you want to tell the world. Like getting your little guy or gal to eat squash or keeping him occupied for an entire hour. So act like you're getting a text from me with a link to these three little projects, a handful of our recent favorites. 
1. Squash waffles.
Liam's diet consists of three main food groups: waffles, Larabars (which he calls "bar snacks") and fruit (sometimes hummus and eggs make the cut, too). So when I came across this recipe for summer squash pancakes, I knew I needed to try it out to sneak a few veggies in without him realizing it.  The only thing I tweaked about the recipe was to use an all-purpose gluten free flour in lieu of whole wheat flour... and I made them into waffles instead of pancakes. They're Liam-approved, which is saying a lot, and they freeze well. 

2. Dinos in ice.
This idea has made the Pinterest and Facebook rounds, so you may have already seen it. Basically, throw some water, some little plastic toys (in our case, dinosaurs), and a little food coloring into a tupperware container and freeze it overnight. Then let your toddler use a variety of tools to dig and hammer and chop and try to figure out how to rescue the dinosaurs from the ice block. After being slightly confused initially, Liam loved this challenge and loved eventually pouring warm water on the ice block to rescue his beloved dinos. The project lasted much longer than I anticipated (nearly an hour!), which is a win for us.
3. Our little fox.
One of our nieces loves foxes, so when I saw this fox costume tutorial and pattern, Liam insisted we make a fox costume for her. We had Lanie model it, and we fell in love with her all over again. The pattern does seem to run a little small - it just barely fit on Liam's head, but fit 6-month-old Lanie just perfectly.
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