Happy 3rd Birthday Molly!

Molly is 3 resized

Photo courtesy of Grin & Share It Photography.

Routines {Our Favorite Friday Hangouts}

Every Friday my son gets dropped off at his great aunt’s house and my daughter and I have a little one on one time. It’s a great day to catch up on the weeks house cleaning or work that I hadn’t yet had the time to finish. But we also get to go out and enjoy ourselves for a bit in the mornings after we do drop off. 

One thing I love about Fridays is our standing play date. Without fail, just about every other week, we end up heading to story time at The Yellow Book Road after dropping off Brother. Then we head over to Con Pane with friends to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee and something to nibble on.

The Yellow Book Road features a new theme every week and they always include a few books geared to children under two as well as some fun music they play and dance to that go along with the theme. My daughter loves getting her groove on with the other kids.

Last week the theme was kittens. And they sang Soft Kitty. For any Big Bang Theory lovers out there I’m sure you’re now singing it to yourself.

After the quick 30 minute story time we make our way across the street to indulge a bit in pastry (my one major weakness). I so look forward to this every week. It’s like a little treat to myself.

Sure, some mamas love going out and getting pampered or head out to happy hour for a margarita on the rocks or watermelon martini. I wait all week for a brioche twist, a piece of delicious buttery bread with nuts and chocolate folded inside. And oh my is it amazing.

Paired with a cup of coffee and it’s my breakfast and lunch all in one.

There are also delicious cookies, scones, and breads to choose from. And their sandwiches are filling and unique. One of my favorite sandwiches is their Turkey Cobb. Turkey breast, avocado, bacon, and gorgonzola cheese (that I usually omit and sub brie for) with crisp lettuce and tomatoes atop a fresh rosemary & olive oil bread. I order a 1/2 sandwich and it’s still enough food to feed two!

Once we let our food settle we head over to the park to get some more energy out of the kids before heading back home for nap time. Watching my daughter socialize without her big brother is quite fun. She definitely has a big personality and it shows when she plays with her friends.

The best part about our Friday morning playdate is the fact that it’s so casual. If we wake up too late or my son doesn’t get dropped off at his great aunt’s house in time we can just skip the storytime and go straight to brunch. And if we skip brunch… well then I just pop in and grab my order to go and than take a little stroll to the NTC park for some fun in the sun.

And even if a friend or two cannot make it, no big deal! There are plenty of other kids and mamas at all locations for my daughter to socialize with. Plus we like to get all of our shopping done after playtime since it’s right next to a Trader Joe’s and Vons.

So if your local and free Fridays and have a little one come on out to The Yellow Book Road for story time. It’s a fun, relaxing morning that’s perfect for moms and kids alike.

Do you have any weekly routines? A standing play date somewhere?


Percentages… on the opposite end

With my son I never worried about weight and percentages when we went to the doctor for well baby check ups. He was always above the 50th percentile and usually was above the 75th percentile until he reached 2 years old. He was a fat, chubby, happy little baby and I loved it. I received comments quite frequently about how “healthy” he was. It made me feel like a good mama.

My son never had any food issues.

He also took a bottle quite well from the beginning and ate purees without a problem. Nowadays his eating is sporadic, as is any toddler’s, and I’m lucky to get in a full meal with him but he’s healthy and he snacks.

Then my daughter came. And since the beginning she’s been making me worry.

First came her refusal of the bottle. That lead to me quitting my job to nurse her full time… er… care for her and feed her. Then came her refusal of purees. She would only take one or two bites and then push the food away until I gave it to her in small pieces or chunks. That wasn’t much help since she didn’t get her first tooth until she was over 11 months old. Feeding was a very big chore.

But we kept at it and I thought she was getting enough food. Especially since she wasn’t yet one and she was still nursing.

However at each well-baby visit she seemed to be dropping in percentiles. And not by a little. She went from 50th to 40th. Then she hovered around 25th for a while before dropping down the 10th at her 9 month appointment. By her 1 year appointment she was down to the 3rd percentile however her height and head circumference seemed to be staying on their own curve so the doctor wasn’t worried.

But at her last check up, at 15 months, she fell off the chart for weight and is now below 0 percentile. And I’m kinda scared.

We have a weight check in 5 weeks.

I’m going to be doing everything I can to see if I can get her back up into the positive. The doctor reassured me that this is just a caloric thing. It has nothing to do with lack of nutrition. So I’m increasing the calories in this house.

I just purchased full fat milk… cream top milk to be exact. And I have full fat cream cheese, peanut butter, avocados, heavy cream, etc. She loves the green monster smoothies I make for myself so I’m going to start making her full fat versions to hope the extra calories do their thing.

And then we’ll go in for the weight check. And hope for the best!

Molly’s 15 Month Stats
18 pounds – below 0 percentile
30 inches – 45th percentile
47 centimeters – 75th percentile

Do you have any great pound-packing recipes for me to try with her? I’d love the suggestions! 

Top 10 Gifts for a One Year Old

As it nears closer and closer to my daughter’s first birthday (how did that happen!?) I’ve began to think about what top ten items she would love to receive from us as well as suggestions for friends and family members who want to give her something.

Some of the items I’ve thought of are items we’ve already used and love with our son and others are new items we’ve played with or used at friends houses and play places. Do you have any other suggestions to entertain a 1 year old? You know, besides cardboard boxes and pots (and the given money for her college education)? I’d love to hear them!

I’ve included pinks and purples in with the blues and greens because honestly, my kids don’t care about the colors yet, just about the toy and playing with it. My son plays with dolls and my daughter plays with trucks. And I’m cool with that.

1. Little Tikes Push and Ride Doll Walker
We played with this push toy at our last visit to Kidding Around and Miss M just loved it! She sat on it and let me push her around. And the whole time she was on it she was grinning from ear to ear. When I stopped pushing her long enough to take a picture she started crying. That was immediately resolved by pushing her around again. And after we were done with riding on it she used it to “walk” around a bit. Win-win because it serves two purposes.

2. Music Instruments
My daughter is already in love with drums. She constantly steals her brother’s drum and drum stick and beats just about everything she can find on in (including poor Sophie the Giraffe). So when I saw this music set from one of my favorite toy brands, B. Toys,  I knew that it would be a perfect fit for our home. And while we haven’t used it yet I’ve heard rave reviews from many friends about the instruments included and the durability of the product.

3. Pull-Along Toys
Now this is a toy that my son received for his first birthday by our dear friend Alanna. And he still plays with it. He’s almost three! He was able to play with this toy as he crawled around on the ground, when he started to toddle and now he runs through the house with the snail behind him. I’ve never seen a snail run so fast!

This snail has taken quite a few beatings over the years but still looks as new as the day we took it out of the box. Miss M is having quite a fun time chasing after the snail, and her brother. And I love Plan Toys. They are an awesome toy company that use green materials and green manufacturing. They not only make quality toys, they are a quality company I love to support.

4. Fisher-Price Little People: Animal Sounds Farm
Every little kid needs a Little People farm. Seriously. They’re awesome. I find myself gravitating to our farm every time I go into my son’s bedroom to play. And Miss M loves playing with her brother’s animals and farm. She even puts the animals in and out of the barn. There’s also a tractor that goes greatly with this farm. The farmer gets to ride around in the tractor and a little piggy pops out of the hay bale in the back. M laughs every time she sees it!

5. Baby Stella Doll
My son asked for his first doll at about 18 months so we purchased one at the mall we were at and didn’t really put much thought into what doll we bought. We have three baby dolls now but whenever my daughter tries to play with them (or gnaw on them) her brother quickly takes them away. So I know I need to get a doll just for her. This Baby Stella doll is perfect. Soft, small and cute, just like her! And I’m considering getting a boy doll for my son so he can play with her.

6. Activity Cube
We got this awesome Activity Cube for my son’s first birthday. He and his friends still play with it to this day. This cube is a great investment. It is a great toy from kids ages 6 months to 3+ years. And even though I can’t find our exact cube for sale anymore I still have seen great reviews for it. And there are plenty of activity cubes out there to choose from.

7. Bath Accessories
While this isn’t technically a toy we really love our faucet covers. When our kids started getting more mobile in the bath tub we knew we needed to protect their little noggins from hitting the bath faucet. And we wanted to make bathtime fun. So we got a super cool Crayola octopus bath faucet cover and were gifted an equally cool Boon Flo cover.

And toys to go in the bath as well as something to scoop up the toys (like this awesome Boon frog) are also great gifts for a 1 year old. I know my son loves playing with his Discovery Toys stacking cups and his Fisher Price Amazing Animals™ Tubtime Tugboat™ the most. Baths stop being about getting clean and start being about having fun in the water!

8. Sensory Balls
My kids love balls. They love to throw them, attempt to eat them and bounce them. We have them all over the house. But the best ones I’ve found for one year olds are the ones they can get a grip on. We found a large pack of sensory balls at Costco last Christmas and they have held up very well. Half are in the house and half are in the front yard. What kid doesn’t like to play with balls?

9. Blocks
We have many different sets of blocks for the kids to play with. From soft, cloth blocks to squishy, squeaky blocks to wooden blocks. Each different set helps teach the kids to stack, line up and make fun structures. Every kid needs a good set of blocks to play with. And the best part about these sets is that they don’t just last for a small period of time, most of the block sets we own will be used for a few years. Especially the wooden one. That’s a favorite of my son’s right now (thanks Aunt Miranda for buying them!).

10. Anywhere Chair
Every kid needs their own sized chair. Whether it be the Anywhere Chair or one similar, smaller, child-size chairs always seem to attract kids of all ages. My son loves to grab a book and pretend to read in his chair. He also likes to watch movies while sitting in it. When he was 18 months old I remember that he grabbed his chair, dragged it into the living room and pushed it into place between mine and my husbands chairs. It was so adorable! He wanted to be just like us. So we know we’ll have to get our daughter one of her own for Christmas this year. It just makes sense!

This is not a sponsored post. I either own and have used the toys with my own children, or have heard great reviews from reliable friends and family. I was not compensated by any of the companies listed above. The opinions stated are my own. 

Baby-Led Weaning {Ditching the Purees}

Miss M has been interested in our food since she was about 4 1/2 months old. I knew she was ready for solids when she started lurching for our spoons and plates and trying to snag what we were eating. So I started her on purees and she seemed to be into it. But she never seemed to be interested after taking about a tablespoon of food. She was much more into gnawing on the spoon. So I started researching and asking around and found the answer I was looking for. Baby-led weaning.

I put away the purees I made and wiped off the food processor. M’s first real experience with baby-led weaning  was with a food she was used to… apples. I just sauteed them up so they were soft and diced them up. I don’t think I made the pieces big enough so I stopped after a few tastes. Here are a few pictures from her experience 🙂

She did really well picking up the pieces with her fingers so I gave her a few puffs to practice with. Then I started thinking of what I was going to serve for dinner. And I figured carrots would be good to practice with as well. I made sure to keep them in stick form so she could grab onto them and gnaw little pieces off. They were a hit! She loved it and the mess she left proved that she had a great time as well.

Since that first day we’ve offered her a little of whatever we’re having at each meal. Sometimes she just plays with the food and other times she eats a bit. She’s really good at chewing with her gums! Definitely surprised me with how well her gums work to chew.

And she’s doing great with her sippy too. She still uses it mostly as a teether but she does get water out of it every once in a while. Friday night we had pizza so I made her a deconstructed pizza plate of sorts. She got to taste olives, a bit of mozzarella, some steamed broccoli and pizza crust. She looked like she thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the family meal. I wasn’t too sure about the cheese since she seems a bit young to have it but we’ve had no problems so far.

I really think this is not going to be easier for us in general but it’s less stressful, in my opinion. I never worried about how much E was eating when he was on purees but I did start to worry when he started eating table food since I didn’t think he was getting enough. Now I know it’s all just practice at this point. Her main nutrition still comes from my breastmilk and she’s getting really good at playing with her food 🙂

Miss M’s Baptism

My beautiful baby girl was baptized this Saturday. With family surrounding us we welcomed her into our church. She was quite pleasant even though we didn’t get a chance to feed her before we left for the church and as soon as we got there we had no time to nurse. She smiled, she cooed, she made everyone love her even more 🙂 But come on… how could you not love her?

I was going to have her wear my baptism outfit but it just didn’t look right and I didn’t get a chance to bleach it in the sun. So we used our back up outfit. I found this dress at Nordstrom’s Rack. It was an amazing find. The gown has what looks like a cross and a heart embroidered right on the front of the dress but the tags said nothing about it being a baptismal dress. It was long sleeved and came with matching white bloomers and it fit Molly perfectly.

Molly received a bracelet from her Godmother, Aunt Louise. and wore it with her dress. It was a beautiful addition to her outfit. She received this beautiful cloth box from her Great Grammy filled with two cute outfits. And it was too beautiful not to reuse for Molly. So I am going to store her baptism dress, bracelet and candle. I also hid away two pictures for Molly of her special day. I’ll post those when we get the pictures from the photographer.

Molly was all smiles in Daddy’s arms before the ceremony

And she gnawed on Sophie while she waited for her turn to get dunked

Cousin Aaron made silly faces while Father Michael spoke

And then we got on with the show…

Molly and her godparents, Uncle Jeremy and Aunt Louise

And the parents

Aunt Louise made cookies just like she did for E’s baptism. Everyone gobbled them up!

I made some monkey bread, two different types of egg cups and crock pot oatmeal. I also served some fruit and coffee, tea & juice. Everything was super yummy.

Grandma Ann kept the two boy cousins entertained with a great book. This one’s one of E’s favorites (Dinosaurs Love Underpants).

Nursery Ideas {Alice in Wonderland}

One of my favorite stories is Alice in Wonderland. The imagination, the journey, and the creativity behind the story has always intrigued me and I’ve always loved the Disney interpretation as well. So when I found out I was having a girl I knew I wanted to create a simple and classic Alice in Wonderland nursery.

The nursery is NOT finished but here’s what we have so far:

Simple Decor
Our theme is Alice in Wonderland so there are 3 silhouettes of the rabbit, a tea cup and Alice herself. We wanted to keep the colors simple so most of the room is red, black and white with bits of blue and pink thrown in.

This wall is complete but we’ll have the changing pad and a lamp on the dresser and the bow holder will be hung behind the door (bow holder tutorial to come!). 

Repurposing Furniture
My husband stained the crib we had for my son in a darker color (black/brown) to match the dresser we got at Ikea. I think he did an AWESOME job and I’m glad I went with the darker colors as opposed to my original idea of white furniture.

Now re-painting furniture can be a tedious task but when done correctly can turn out beautifully! We used a paint sprayer to spray the crib since there were so many nooks and crannies. And even though it used up a lot more paint than the traditional route, we ended up having a cleaner finish. 

Change It Up With Paint
My husband also painstakingly measured out the dimensions and taped off the diamonds so my son and I could paint them light blue (like Alice’s dress). We made sure to use a great painters tape and used a credit card to smooth the edges down to assure that we got clean lines when we removed the paint.

I found a red curtain panel w/ black embroidery at Home Goods on clearance for $5! It fits the window perfectly when open. I’m going to buy a tie back for it soon. We got the curtain rod at Big Lots for $10. Simple and black is hard to find when you want to buy a curtain rod!

Personalized Touches
I received these adorable stuffed animals at my baby shower this weekend (sorry… I forgot my camera so no photos). The Alice doll is from my mother-in-law and is actually a story doll. The cheshire cat and rabbit are attached with velcro. You can also flip Alice’s dress over her head and another character appears.

Since this room was originally our office and we have no place to put our computer, the nursery will also house our desk. I love this simple desk (only $50 at the Salvation Army) because compared to the huge desk/bed structure we had below it’s so small and makes the room so much more open.

Although I have to say if we had the room for it we would have kept the bed/desk combo we used to have since he and his father built it together and he’s had it forever. Luckily the desk will stay in the family as my brother-in-law has taken it in for our nephew to use.

I am going to be putting up some candle sconces above the desk as well as a print from Disneyland that we’ll pick up on Friday when we go up for the last time as a family of 3.

What do you think? What did you use for nursery inspiration?

Nursery Ideas: How to Paint Diamonds on a Wall

 We’re sharing one of our nursery ideas with this tutorial on how to paint diamonds on a wall. It’s the perfect backdrop for our daughter’s crib and really completes the new nursery.

My husband asked me as we were moving out the large desk/bunk bed what I wanted to do with the wall in our future daughter’s nursery… how I wanted to paint it. I said I just wanted to paint it blue like I told him before. 

He then asked if there was any certain design or style I wanted to do like in my son’s nursery (he has yellow and green stripes on one wall). Then he suggested diamonds.

He quickly realized how much work it would be to paint on diamonds and decided he was going to look for wallpaper instead. We really didn’t have time to special order anything so we took a trip to Lowes, Ikea & Home Depot to see if they had anything in stock. 

Lowes had about 5-6 styles in stock but nothing that screamed our theme so we moved on to Home Depot. Home Depot carries no wallpaper whatsoever. I even called Ace Hardware and they don’t carry any either. But we did find a dresser at Ikea for the nursery so it wasn’t a complete failure of an outing.


I told Joseph that I just wanted something done this weekend and I really, really, liked the diamond idea. So we bought some blue masking tape and were out of Home Depot. And I have to tell you… diamonds were definitely the best choice! I LOVE how the wall turned out. It’s the perfect backdrop for our daughter’s crib. 

How to Paint Diamonds on a Wall

What you’ll need: 

  • painter’s tape
  • box cutter or razor
  • pencil
  • drop cloth
  • paint
  • 12″ roller brush
  • 6″ roller brush
  • paint brush
  • 2 paint colors – 1 neutral, 1 accent

What you do: 

1. Prep your workspace by covering any furniture and wall fittings. Remove faceplates for outlet plugs and light switches and use tape to cover outlets and switches. Tape off the baseboard and put drop cloth down to protect the floor. 

2. Using the 12″ roller brush, paint the wall with your base color. We used a neutral ecru shade. Let dry for 24 hours. 

3. Measure the wall and find the very center. Mark with a pencil.  Measure out the size of the wall from the middle point and find out how many diamonds will fit. This may take a little finagling but is important in making sure the diamonds all look uniform and fit nicely. 

4. Once you’ve measured out the wall, use those measurements to start marking where the tips of each diamond will go. Then use the tape to connect the marks. Make sure that the wall is clean and first coat is completely dry before taping. Use a credit card to make sure there are no bubbles or gaps in the tape on the edges. 

5. Using a pencil, mark where you should paint the accent color so there’s no confusion with what diamond needs to be painted and what stays the neutral color. 

6. Using a 6″ roller brush, brush on the accent color on all of the marked diamonds. Let dry for 2-4 hours, until paint is dry to the touch, then remove tape from the walls. 

7. Let dry completely before adding any artwork to the walls.  

What is your nursery’s theme? Have you had to paint diamonds on a wall? 

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