Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Letters to Tory: 20 Months

Tory Bean,

You're 20 months old!

This month was full of ups and downs as you learn your independence in this world. When you're in a silly mood, you bring me to my knees in laughter. My heart melts with your cuteness. When you're mad or throwing a royal tantrum, whoo boy! You can kick and carry on with the best of them. It seemed like there were more tantrums than usual this month - definitely not my favorite.

There were several milestones in your development this month. For one, you dropped your beloved baby bottle like it was no big deal. One day in early April, you refused a bottle of milk at nap time, then at bed time, and bottles were no more for you just like that. I worried you'd never give bottles up and fretted over ways I'd eventually have to take them away from you, so I was shocked when that chapter of your life ended with such finality. Since dropping the bottle, settling down to sleep has been a challenge for you as nothing seems to comfort you like a bottle used to. We're slowly making progress toward you falling asleep on your own again. In the meantime, I spend lots of time standing over your crib with my hand on your belly until you fall asleep.

One thing that has helped you sleep better is altering your routine to one nap a day. I could tell you were probably ready to cut down to one nap just after you turned 19 months old. You'd fall asleep easily in the morning from 9:30am - 11:00am, but a difficult time resting in the afternoon. It was too hard on you to stay awake from 11:00am - 7:00pm, so I've gradually moved your one nap to mid-day. This week, you've been sleeping from 11:00am - 1:30pm and going to bed by 6:30pm or 7:00pm.

You're very into "high fiving" and instinctively hold up your hand when you've done something right. If you correctly identify an object like "ball" or the color blue, you hold up your hand like "put it here, mom!" Random things are comical to you this month, like when I say "crap!" when something doesn't go my way. It's probably not the best word for me to say, but I'm trying to avoid curse words around you and for some reason, "crap" is the word that comes out of my mouth. Whenever I say it you laugh uncontrollably, like it's the funniest thing you've ever heard in your life.

My favorite moments are when you stop what you're doing, put your arms around me and give me a great big hug. I love these unsolicited moments where I know you were thinking about me and give me a physical sign of your love and affection. If we ask you for a kiss, you'll turn your cheek and wait for us to kiss you on the cheek.

This month, you visited three new states - Georgia, South Carolina and Iowa. We took a last-minute trip to Savannah, GA and stopped for a day in Hilton Head, South Carolina to escape the unseasonably cold spring weather Minnesota was experiencing. You loved every minute of our travels and were such a good little girl on the plane ride, while sightseeing and sleeping in your own toddler bed at night. We also took a trip to Des Moines, Iowa this month to visit friends of mine and while it wasn't your first time setting foot in Iowa (we've driven through a handful of times on our way to Nebraska), it was your first official trip to the state and therefore a new state for your bucket list.

When the weather did finally warm up toward the end of the month, you had a blast playing outside. I'm amazed at how developed your playground skills have become over the winter. You're a little monkey at the park by our house, often times following the older kids down the bigger slides and tunnels. You have absolutely no fear, for better or for worse.

You received your first haircut this month and - poof! - changed from baby to a little girl. It's for the best now that your bangs don't hang in your eyes all the time, but I can't help do a double-take every time I catch a glimpse at the big girl you're becoming.

In the last few days, you've begun to insist on walking alongside me while out and about town. I hate to brake it to you, little girl, but one-year-old's can't very well walk in parking lots by themselves. This is a prime example of your budding independence bursting through. While I do appreciate your willingness to do things yourself, I also must protect you in the safest manner possible. Now that spring is here and it no longer physically hurts to be outside, we'll continue to practice the rules for how to behave outdoors. Oh, toddlers. It's always something ....

Now that the weather is warming up, I do look forward to watching you discover the outside world around you. I foresee many happy days at the park and memories in our backyard blowing bubbles. Never a dull moment with you, Tory Bean, and I wouldn't have it any other way.


Monday, April 29, 2013

First Haircut

I took Tory to get her very first haircut on Friday. To say I was anxious about it would be an understatement. I was nervous to lose her precious baby curls in the back of her head and worried she'd have a giant meltdown while positioned in the stylist's chair. If last week's attempt at getting her passport photo taken at Wal-greens would be any indication, I had a one in a million chance of her actually sitting nicely.

If it were up to me, I would've let Tory's hair continue to grow and never cut her darling baby hairs. After spending some QT with Tory during our trip to Savannah last week, Andi thought Tory needed a haircut and heavily hinted that I should take her in for an appointment. Her hair was getting a bit unruly and her bangs especially were constantly hanging in her eyes despite my every attempt to clip them back or pull them up in pigtails. So, Andi was probably right; a haircut was necessary.

First, I did a little online research for haircutting places in my area. I thought about taking her to my hair stylist, but honestly I don't love my lady. I keep going back to her because she does a nice job on my hair but her personality is super awkward and I can't imagine her being all that comforting to Tory. I found a kid's haircut place called Snip Its in the next suburb over and decided to give it a try. If anything, I thought the atmosphere might make Tory feel at ease with toys to play with and other kids waiting in the lobby area.

I timed our haircut trip to be directly after nap time so Tory would be in good spirits. Initially, I wasn't impressed with the salon as the receptionist was practically falling asleep at the check-in desk and had the personality of a Kleenex box. The salon had suckers for the kids and Tory was perfectly happy having that as a special treat and playing with the toys. I, on the other hand, was a ball of nerves as we waited our turn.

Finally, one of the stylists called us back to her station. The lady was super friendly and asked if this was Tory's first haircut. She placed a Bumbo chair within the stylist's chair so she'd be nice and secure. As soon as I sat Tory down, she began to pucker her bottom lip and tears filled her eyes, so the stylist handed me a container of bubbles and encouraged me to blow bubbles at Tory for a distraction. This worked perfectly and soon enough Tory's haircut was almost complete. No tears! No drama! Tory ate her sucker and watched the bubbles while the stylist trimmed up the uneven parts of Tory's hair in the back and trimmed her bangs. The lady saved a few of Tory's baby curls for me and even gave me a certificate for her first haircut which I thought was a very cute gesture.

Tory's first haircut

All done! What a brave little cutie.

Suddenly my little baby isn't such a baby any longer. I'll admit, Tory's hair does look a lot better now that her hair isn't hanging in her eyelashes and the back of her head is trimmed in style. I don't know what it is lately but Tory looks the part of a toddler to me now. A few months ago, I couldn't imagine her turning two years old and now I see the transition happening before my very eyes. She is growing up!

Miss Attitude

Fortunately, Tory's curls remained in tact after her haircut, and if anything they're more prominent now that they've had a fresh trim. I'm curious to see how her hair changes in the next year as summer approaches and the sun lightens it, or as her hair grows and her face changes from baby to toddler to preschooler. Right now, Tory's hair is light brown with warm auburn / red accents depending how the light hits it. Will it become darker as she ages like mine or turn more reddish-brown like her Auntie Lindsay? Only time will tell ....

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Savannah, GA - Days 3 & 4

Savannah, Georgia - Monday, April 22
Day 3 

Tory woke up early at 5:50am, let herself out of her walk-in closet bedroom and helped herself to a box of crackers left out on the kitchen table. I drug myself out of bed and followed her so she didn't completely destroy our Savannah condo by her lonesome. We purchased a few containers of yogurt for Tory to have on our mornings in Savannah. Tory Bean is usually starving when she wakes up and has a full-on meltdown if she's not fed within minutes of being up and moving. I settled down on the living room sofa with Tory and assisted in her self-feeding of yogurt while we watched an episode of Dinosaur Train on PBS. My lucky husband was still asleep in bed.

Eventually, I called for Andi and encouraged him to get up. Tory had already eaten two yogurts and had a look in her eyes like she might soon eat my arm off too, except, I didn't really have any more food for her to eat in the condo. We quickly dressed and head out the door to The Sentient Bean coffee shop, just on the North end of Forsyth Park and within walking distance from our condo.

Walking toward breakfast

When we arrived at the cafe, we placed our orders for an egg and cheese croissant (for me), quiche (for Andi) and coffee and grabbed an open spot in the seating area. Tory wasn't acting naughty by any means, but she did have some toddler energy to burn and climbed onto a coffee table and a couch where we're seated. I caught sight of about twelve dirty looks from grungy hippies sitting in the cafe area (Oh gawd, a baby in a coffee shop. How rude!).

Just sitting on a coffee table, mouthing the dirty trophy that was our order identifier - no biggie.
(Parenting award of the year right here)

When Andi returned with our coffees, I told him to change our order to-go because we were disturbing the other customers. (We truly weren't, but people were just being snotty around us). Soon enough, we grabbed our breakfast and walked back to our condo to eat. PS: Sentient Bean Coffee Shop - your coffee tasted like chewed up coffee beans. Blegh!

After breakfast, Andi cranked out some work emails for 20 minutes or so, while Tory and I watched an episode of Sesame Street on TV. There's only so much I could do to entertain her within the space we were allotted, so we probably poisoned her brain with way too much TV this trip. Oh well ...

The weather was pretty crummy Monday morning, so my original plan to play in the park while Andi conducted a few work conference calls wasn't really in the cards. The Savannah Children's Museum is outdoors so that was out as well and a cool kid's art museum called Art-Zeum didn't open until Noon. We decided to drive to Savannah's Olgethorpe Mall to play at the play land while Andi worked in the car. Tory is always up for indoor play parks, so she had a fun time interacting with the other kids there.

Tory playing at the mall's indoor play park

Andi finished his calls around 11:15am, then we hopped in the car and headed to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina for the day. Tory was due for a nap and fell asleep within minutes of hitting the road.

Exhibiting her excitement about visiting a new state

Andi and I hadn't even considered visiting Hilton Head when we booked our Savannah trip, but when we realized it was so close (only 45 minutes away) we jumped at the opportunity. I've always wanted to visit Hilton Head because I'd heard it was just beautiful and it'd also earn Tory another state in her Places book. In fact, neither Andi or I had ever been to South Carolina before, so it was a new adventure for all of us.

Our first stop on Hilton Head Island was for lunch. We decided to eat at Market Street Cafe. The restaurant was jammed packed with elderly people (as we soon realize most of Hilton Head is) and none of the restaurant patrons could get enough of Tory - a very opposite experience from our morning run-in at the hippie coffee shop in Savannah. All the grandpas and grandmas in the restaurant visited our table to pat Tory on the head and tell us what a doll she was. Tory was also very hungry, so she was particularly well behaved in the restaurant and shoveled her peanut butter and jelly sandwich into her mouth just as fast as she could muster. Of course, she was covered elbow to fist in peanut butter by the end, but I didn't mind the clean-up so long as she was pleasant during our meal.

After lunch, we walked around area shops and made our way to the beach. The sun came out and warmed things up to be a particularly beautiful day. We walked along the beach for what seemed like forever and let Tory out of her stroller so she could run in the sand. I showed Tory what seashells were and she was fascinated with collecting them in her hands and shoving the extras in Andi's pocket.

Hilton Head's beach was practically desolate (maybe because it was a Monday or because it had been cooler temperatures in the morning?) but in any case, we enjoyed the peacefulness of our surroundings.

After a while, we walked back to the shops across the street for ice cream at Rita's. Andi returned a few work calls while Tory and I wandered around the water fountains and shopping area.

Next, we decided to hop in the car and visit Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island. This is another shopping area with restaurants and bars, a lighthouse and marina. We walked around this area a bit, admiring the big boats and beautiful scenery.

Harbour Town Marina area

Tory was getting pretty tired by this point in the day, so we decided to pack up and head back to Savannah. During our 45-minute drive back, Tory was particularly fussy and not in the mood for any of my usual car seat entertainment tactics, so I finally asked Andi to stop at a McDonald's on the way to get her some dinner. There was no way she was going to wait until we arrived at the condo and secured food in Savannah. I felt like a horrible mama for feeding my toddler McDonald's on Earth Day no less (what happened to me? I used to be so green!) but when toddler hunger calls, it needs to be satisfied. Andi and I had a good laugh as we watched Tory devour French fries in the back seat. Somehow by the time we arrived at our Savannah condo, she was covered head to toe in ketchup.

Back at the condo, I bathed Tory, dressed her in pajamas and read her a few books. She was asleep on her inflatable toddler bed the minute her head hit the pillow. Meanwhile, Andi ordered Mellow Mushroom pizza for us and we sat in the living room watching Mad Men on the computer while eating our dinner together. (I do realize Mellow Mushroom is a chain, but Andi was nice enough to cave on his "no chains" rule when I was craving white sauce pizza).

Our day in Hilton Head was one of my favorite memories of our weekend trip to the Savannah area. I loved the beach and the glamour of Hilton Head Island.


Savannah, Georgia - Tuesday, April 23
Day 4

Our last day in Savannah was the least eventful. Our flight home was at 8:00pm and I encouraged Andi to call and bump us up to an earlier flight if possible. I knew Tory wouldn't sleep on the plane and she'd be a complete mess by bedtime. Three hours on a plane with a screaming child is not my idea of a good time. Luckily, there was an earlier flight at 2:00pm and we were able to make the  change in schedule. That still gave us time to see a few sights between Savannah and Jacksonville, FL (where we were flying out). 

Our first stop of the day was Goose Feathers Bakery in Savannah. The cafe was empty when we arrived (perfect for our rambunctious toddler) and we ordered freshly baked croissants to share, a waffle (for me) and yogurt (for Tory). The food was delicious at Goose Feathers. Andi bought a few treats for later including a Heath bar cookie, croissant and muffin which proved to be very helpful in entertaining Tory on the plane ride home.

Breakfast at Goose Feathers Cafe

Next our plan was to hit up some of the beach towns along the way to Jacksonville, including Jekyll Island and to get Tory a passport. We've been trying to find time to get her a passport for months now and can never get a date on the calendar when we're all together during the work day (read also: find a time in Andi's work day; Tory and I aren't so busy). I brought all of our documentation along and Andi and I planned to knock out that task as well. Except, as it turns out, getting a passport in Georgia or Florida isn't the easiest thing. Andi probably called 20 post offices / courthouses and every single one required an appointment. All appointments were at least 30 days out. We finally found a place that accepted passport walk-ins, but they didn't take photographs so we had to stop in another town along the way to get a photograph. This task was becoming a major pain in the butt and we were running out of time to sight see before it was time to go to the airport. The icing on the cake was Tory's full-on meltdown when we tried to get her passport picture taken at Wal-greens. You would've thought we were torturing her! 

Thanks to Andi for capturing this lovely moment on film
Finally, we decided to scrap the passport idea and head to the airport. Following Tory's scream-fest in Wal-greens, I buckled her into the car seat and we headed to the airport. Except, I couldn't get her to calm down for anything. She bawled the entire 45 minute drive to Jacksonville and never did take a nap. By the time we arrived at the airport, she was beyond exhausted and desperately needed a nap. I hoped she's sleep on the airplane, but knew she probably wouldn't and I'd be fighting an extremely tired toddler the entire way. Luckily, she wasn't too terrible and only cried a few times. There was another little boy who was louder and naughtier so he stole most of the plane's spotlight (phew!).

Overall, our family trip to Savannah was a great one. Tory was at a great age to travel with, and was overjoyed by all the things she experienced - the beach, the park, walking to various sights in the stroller. The only catch was her early bedtime of 7:00pm by which time she was pretty much spent for the day. It was ok though, because Andi and I were tired and looking for downtime by that time of day anyway. 

Savannah was a great city to visit - lots of history, shops, restaurants and things to see and do, with plenty of close-by side trips to take along the way.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Day In The Life: Spring 2013

Day In The Life - Spring 2013 Edition
Wednesday, April 24

**Tory is 19 months old**

Wednesday, April 24th was kind of a wack-a-do day since we returned from vacation the evening before. All day, I kept thinking it was Monday and felt like I was playing catch-up with a suitcase of dirty laundry and piles of mail and other crap hanging out on my counter tops.

Tory refused to nap during our travels back to Minneapolis on Tuesday, so I was nervous how the overnight would go having her so overly tired and off her normal schedule. Exhausted and cranky kiddo almost always equals crappy sleeper.


I hear Tory fussing from her crib, but give her a minute to see if she settles back down to sleep. Luckily Andi doesn't seem to hear her wake up or it's the guilt from keeping him awake that usually prompts me to get up with her. After a minute or two, Tory's quiet again. Score. Back to sleep for me.

Andi wakes up for work and hops into the shower. I cringe when he gets up in the morning because despite his quietest attempt at tiptoeing past Tory's bedroom door, she almost always hears him and wakes up for the day.

Andi kisses me good-bye as he leaves for work. Simultaneously, Tory cries out from her crib. My day begins now....

I retrieve Tory from her crib and bring her back to my bedroom to watch some TV (aka: allow her to wake up slowly while I check Instagram and blogs on my iPhone). Tory Bean is not a morning person so it's always best if she has a little time to adjust to being awake. I can't help but think if she slept in a little later than 5:45am, she might like morning a little better. I'm also desperately trying to break her from her obsession with Bubble Guppies so I put on Dinosaur Train and she seems content to watch it. Some mornings are a scream-fest until her preferred television show is played for her Majesty.

Girlfriend does not appreciate having her picture taken in the morning

Tory and I get out of bed and head to the kitchen for breakfast. I have zero groceries in the house since we were traveling the last few days so I pull together peanut butter toast and applesauce for Tory and an English muffin with butter and jelly for me. I'm fairly sure my English muffin is on the verge of being old (the top layer is quite soggy) but toasting always makes things better, right?

Just when I sit down to eat my breakfast, Tory fusses to have her hands wiped clean of peanut butter. She's entering into a stage where she does not like her hands to be dirty and has to have them wiped off once or twice before her meal is finished. When I do sit down, I quickly shovel one half of English muffin into my mouth before Tory feverishly signs "all done" letting me know she'd like out of her high chair. I stop eating, clean her up and finish my applesauce while also washing dishes.

Andi told me the other day, one of his favorite parts about me not working anymore is that he doesn't have to clean up the kitchen after dinner. I had to have it cleaned up when I was working because there wasn't time to clean up in the mornings before work and I would likely have died instantly if our nanny would have arrived to a messy house. Now, I'd still like it to be cleaned up before we relax for the night, but sometimes I'm feeling lazy and I agree to clean the kitchen in the morning. This is Andi's favorite answer, apparently.

When we got home from the airport last night, I was feeling nauseous from the cab ride (this pregnancy has me feeling car sick almost every time I ride anywhere), so I laid down and read books to Tory while Andi ate dinner. I can tell by the way the kitchen looks this morning that he actually tried to clean up after his cooking, but his clean-up definition and my clean-up definition are not the same. Therefore, I'm feeling a little stabby this morning as I clean up dirty pans left on the stove last night and a sporadic mess of cups, silverware and plates left out on the counter top. It's hard for me to do anything else in the morning until all dishes are put away, counters wiped down and the floor is swept clean.

Dirty kitchen - dun dun dun

Usually Tory helps me clean up after breakfast by unloading the dishwasher (she's actually very good at putting her cups and plates away in her cupboard). Today's no different. She's feeding her baby breakfast while hanging out on the dishwasher door.

Next, she moves to the refrigerator to play magnets. The best thing about being away from home for a few days is all toys are like shiny new pennies again. She hasn't played with these magnets for weeks, but suddenly they're very interesting.

Just as I wrap up kitchen clean-up, Tory throws a tantrum on the floor. I'm not sure what the matter is, other than she's still very tired from traveling and having no nap yesterday. I stop what I'm doing and suggest we go read some books together.

Tory is transitioning to one nap a day, but today she definitely needs two to catch back up on sleep. I lay her down for a nap and at first she's not pleased with my decision but falls asleep in 15 minutes time.

I take the nap time opportunity to get myself dressed and pack our bag for Tory's swimming class. I also make my bed and pick up toys that seem to inevitably gravitate to my bedroom floor.

What I'm wearing today. Since I'm swimming with Tory later, it's yoga pants and a t-shirt
Also note: my teeny tiny preggo belly :)
I sit down to blog about our Savannah vacation and to complete a weekly status update on my baby blog. I'm a day late in writing it which makes me feel twitchy but it is what it is because we were traveling and I didn't have the time to write yesterday. Also, I seriously debated for quite some time in my head if I was going to take my weekly pregnancy photo while in Savannah (on Tuesday, the actual day I turned 12 weeks pregnant) or if I'd wait and snap the photo at home in the same mirror I've been using every week (but at 12 Weeks, 1 Day). I opted to wait. That is one of those internal conversations I usually keep to myself because if I would've told Andi he would have said, "that was your biggest problem today?" (He's just jealous because my stay-at-home-mom life is less stressful than his running a successful ad agency life).

Tory's up from her nap and I dress her for the day and finish packing her swimming bag. She's still a little grumpy so I plop her in the high chair and feed her some yogurt melts while she watches Bubble Guppies on TV.

Andi's dad, Jim, arrives with Chloe our dog. He was doggie-sitting for us over the weekend while we were in Savannah. I invited him to attend Tory's swimming class with us if he'd bring Chloe back over this morning. While Jim is entertaining Tory in the kitchen, I take the opportunity to throw in a load of laundry and pack the car for swimming.

Tory's swimming class. As always, I'm scrambling to get us both dressed in our suits and out to the pool in time for class to start. No matter what time we leave the house, we're always running behind for swimming it seems. Tory does a great job at class today and even holds her breath while "zooming" under the water. Her back floats are really improving, too. I try my best not to get too wet during class because I have Baby #2's first ultrasound appointment this afternoon and I won't have time to shower in between swimming class and the appointment.

I shower Tory in the locker room, get us both dressed and meet Jim in the lobby. I decide to stop at Panera Bread across the hallway to grab lunch because I'm running short on time in between swimming class and the ultrasound appointment today. I order our usual - Caesar salad and broccoli cheese soup for me and mac and cheese for Tory. I also get two asiago bagels for breakfasts later this week. I can't seem to get enough bagels and cream cheese this pregnancy. Back at home, we eat our lunches.

Lunch for Mom

Lunch for Tory
Grandpa Jim leaves and our babysitter, Taylor, arrives. Taylor is Andi's cousin and she's been watching Tory once a week while I run errands or have some kid-free time. This week, I scheduled her so I could go to my ultrasound appointment without Tory. Tory really likes Taylor and today especially, seems so happy she's here. Tory tries to feed Taylor some of her macaroni and after lunch, they grab their coats and boots and head outside in the backyard to play for a bit before Tory's afternoon nap.

Andi meets me at the ultrasound clinic for Baby #2's appointment. I'm surprised when the ultrasound tech remembers us from my pregnancy with Tory (she must have referred back to past history or my chart?) and is very sweet asking us questions about Tory and how I'm feeling this time around. Today's ultrasound is to verify the baby's size and to test for chromosomal abnormalities. It takes about 20 minutes for the tech to finally get Baby #2 in the right position to measure its nose and neck. In the meantime, Andi and I watch in amazement as Baby #2 squirms and moves all over the screen. He/she has it's hands up near its nose most of the time and we see its heart beating on the monitor. Baby #2's heart rate is 154/bpm and both the tech and the doctor said everything looked great. We'll get our chromosomal test results back in about a week. 

Baby #2 - two hands near its face
After the ultrasound, the tech sends me down to the Lab to draw blood work. Andi and I share a passionate kiss and hug good-bye in the elevator as he's leaving for Montana this afternoon for a work trip. He's basically traveling in various places most of May and June as its photo shoot / catalogue season. Sigh.

Laboratory waiting

I meet up with an old co-worker / friend at Starbucks, just down the street from the ultrasound clinic. She and I have yummy Starbucks beverages as I catch up on all the latest work drama and chat about life / kids / etc.

**My phone dies at this point and my car charger is in Andi's work backpack, so I can no longer capture my day in photos. It's such a paralyzing feeling to be without a phone, especially when I'm away from Tory. I decide to return home after my coffee date because I hate the idea of being out and about without a way for Taylor the babysitter to contact me if I'm needed.**

Traffic. Traffic, traffic, traffic. This I do not miss about driving from my old workplace to home. Although, I will say it's nice to listen to whatever radio station I please instead of Tory's Music Together CD on repeat as she so often demands.

Back at home, I relieve Taylor of her babysitting duties. While I was gone, Tory and Taylor played together and Tory took a 45 minute nap. Tory seems in much better spirits than earlier this morning so I'm hoping she'll be up for a trip to Target.

Target run for groceries. I don't really feel like going (and I really hate shopping for groceries with Tory as she refuses to sit in the cart) but we are literally out of all food at our house so the Target trip is necessary. As we're walking into the store, I whisper into Tory's ear that I will buy her a prize if she sits like a nice girl in the cart. She seems to listen and actually lets me buckle her into the seat, so that's a step in the right direction. 

I'm shocked! Tory actually sat in the cart the entire Target trip! Granted, I busted my bum and grabbed groceries as fast I as could, but still - she sat in the cart! I let her pick out a ball from the toy section and she chooses a giant purple one. 

Back at home, I put Tory in the high chair and whip up some dinner for her while I unload groceries. Because my phone was dead and I didn't write it down, I can't for the life of me remember what she ate for dinner.

Pajamas and books before bed for Tory. No bath needed tonight since I showered her in the locker room after swimming class. Tonight we read Baby Woof Woof and Brown Bear, Brown Bear about a gazillion times. Tory's favorite thing to do is to be quizzed on the colors on the front inside page of Brown Bear. She can say "blue" and "black" and non-verbally identifies all the rest.  

Bedtime for Tory. She fusses and fights against sleeping for about 35 minutes until she's finally down. Boy, do I miss the days of the bottle when she'd go right to sleep.

I make myself a bowl of Raisin Bran and retire to my bedroom to blog. I write up a recap of one of our days in Savannah and a blog post announcing the upcoming arrival of Baby #2, then hit the pillow. I fall asleep reading The Namesake, a book my mother-in-law loaned me a few months ago. Reading this book has been such a thorn in my side with its annoying page-turning and nightlight-needing ... this is the very last time I'm ever committing to reading a paperback book again. Kindles are where it's at. I think I'm asleep by 9:30pm.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tory's Big Secret

Tory has something to tell the world ...

I'm going to be a big sister!

She's going to be a big sister on November 5, 2013!

Quit telling me how to hold this stinkin' picture, Mom!

Like this you say?

I'll always be your Tory Girl.

Andi and I are very excited to welcome a new little baby to our family this winter. I'm 12 weeks along this week and had my first ultrasound yesterday. Baby #2 looks healthy and very, very active ... just like his/her sister.

It's definitely different being pregnant the second time around -- much less time to sit around and ponder every moment of this pregnancy, less sleep and a baby pooch that's determined to make an early appearance. I'm writing in more detail about my pregnancy at Baby In The Bubble, so follow along for updates as we journey to meet Baby #2.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Savannah, GA - Day 2

Savannah, Georgia - Sunday, April 21
Day 2

Our little Tory Bean promptly awoke at 5:45am (not my preferred vacation wake-up time). Still groggy from a night of crappy sleep, I convinced her to watch an episode of Bubble Guppies on the iPad while laying in bed with us so Andi and I could steal a few more winks of sleep. This tactic bought about 20 minutes of quiet time in bed before Tory grew bored and drug me out of bed in search of breakfast. Being the nice wife I am, I let Andi sleep while I found Tory a yogurt and an orange in the kitchen. She sat at the condo's kitchen table in a big girl chair (no high chair or booster seat) and said "schooch" when she wanted me to push her chair into the table. I have no idea where she picked up that word, but it's adorable.

Since we were up and causing toddler ruckus throughout our condo, Andi and I decided to get a move on the day. The only downside to the condo we were staying in was its thin walls and squeaky floorboards. It wouldn't have been such a big deal if it were just Andi and I, but I doubt the neighbors above and below us appreciated toddler whining so early in the morning.

For today's adventure, we decided to trek out to Tybee Beach, about 20 minutes outside of Savannah. The weather was a bit chilly - about 65 degrees - so we weren't planning to swim and play at the beach, but hoped for a nice stroll along the water and to check out the shops on Tybee Island. When we arrived at Tybee, the coastal temperature was about 5 degrees cooler and super, super windy on the beach. Despite the weather, Andi and Tory had a blast running around in the sand while being the cold baby I am, shivered sat in a swing along the boardwalk with the stroller.

Andi said Tory was completely in heaven running around in the open air. She giggled and smiled and ran without a care in the world. Except for the parts when the wind would whip around her, practically knocking her over, when she'd say "whoa."

After time on the beach, we decided find a place for breakfast in Tybee. There weren't many restaurants open and one of the breakfast places had a line around the block, so we opted for Fannie's Beachside Cafe. Our breakfast was decent (Tory and I shared french toast; Andi had crab cakes). We were in and out of there in 20 minutes because Tory was quite restless and full of sand.

On our drive back to Savannah, we stopped at Oatland Island Wildlife Center. Andi and I laughed as we pulled into the nature preserve because traveling with Tory definitely changes the way we vacation. We would never have stopped at this place if it were just the two of us traveling, but thought Tory might enjoy seeing the animals and it'd be a good family activity outdoors. The Wildlife Center admittance was $5 for each Andi and I and free for Tory.

Collecting leaves and sticks during our nature walk

The Wildlife Center turned out to be really fun -- there were dense, wooded hiking trails groomed for our stroller to easily pass through and wild animals like owls, bobcats, cougars, deer, wolves and foxes to see. It wasn't like a typical zoo where the animals were in cages in exhibits. Most of the animals were out in the habitat and not always in view. There was also a barnyard animals section with a cow, goats, sheep, a donkey and chickens. Tory liked this part the best because she's much more familiar with these animals and they were easy for her to see up close.

Toward the end of our trek, Tory fell asleep in the stroller so Andi and I stopped in the wolves sanctuary and let her sleep for a bit while we relaxed on a wooden bench. Unfortunately, she's not the type of kiddo who is easily transferable from stroller to car seat, so letting her get a few zzz's seemed to make the most sense.

After Tory woke up, we drove back into downtown Savannah for the remainder of our day. We attempted to stop at a restaurant or cafe to grab lunch to-go and have a picnic in Forsyth Park, but many restaurants are closed on Sundays in Savannah. Finally, we stopped at Parker's Urban Market and grabbed a smorgasbord of picnic foods like cold salads, chicken tenders, hummus and pretzels, string cheese, chips and yogurt. 

A picnic seemed like a good idea, but I forgot what a mess Tory is when eating outdoors. She can't sit nicely on the blanket and eat so by the time she was finished, both her and I were covered in food. Sigh. The adventures of life with a toddler. As I cleaned up lunch, Andi took Tory to the park's play area.

Happiest playing at the park

We walked around the park and played in the grassy areas near the iconic Forsyth Park fountain.

Forsyth Park
After a while, we wandered to downtown Savannah's Ellis Square -- a big open area where people were gathered to bask in the sunshine, play chess, read and hang out. Tory had fun running around some more as Andi and I took turns chasing her around. By this point, the weather had warmed up to about 70 degrees and with the sun shining, it felt wonderful. 

We signed up to take a horse-drawn carriage tour of downtown Savannah and met up with Madison Tour Company in Ellis Square. Our tour guide's name was Kay and our horse's name was Miss. Betsy. I thought Tory would be more excited about going on a horse ride, but by this point in the day she was getting pretty tired. Andi and I bribed her with bits of muffin and Oreo's while we rode along in a 60 minute private tour of downtown. I found the ride particularly interesting as we learned about the history of Savannah, the architecture of the buildings and the old-time hangings that took place in the town squares.

Our driver, Kay, dropped us off at Forsyth Park so we didn't have far to walk back to our condo. I bathed Tory and put her to bed while Andi ran out and brought back take-out from Bonefish Grill. I think Andi was a bit disappointed upon his return when he realized the restaurant was a chain. (He has a *thing* about eating at chains, you know). Our meals were fine, and we ate our dinner on the living room sofa while we watched the movie Jango Unchained. Tory was so exhausted from our day's adventures that she fell asleep the minute her head hit the pillow. She slept all night long on her inflatable toddler bed. There was even one point during the night when Andi got up and checked on her because she was sleeping that soundly. It gives me high hopes for the summertime when we'll run her ragged outside and she'll hopefully collapse from exhaustion at night.


Next up: Day 3 in Savannah, GA - our adventure to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina