Monday, July 7, 2014

Vacation to NH! Part 2

We woke up Sunday morning planning to spend the entire day at Story Land, so we arrived about 10 minutes after they officially opened.  There was still a huge line to get in, but since we had our passes from the day before we were able to skip the masses and get right into the park.  We went right over to the antique cars ride first, which is one of the few rides I remember from my family’s trips to the park when I was younger.  We had to wait for about 10 minutes but Toby held it together with some distractions from us, like asking which color car he liked best.  It was finally our turn, and the ride attendant told Toby the rules and to jokingly keep both hands on the wheel.  He sat up front with Daddy and was smiling ear to ear the whole ride. 

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Next we went back over to the nursery rhyme and Little Dreamers areas, and of course it was hard to tear him away to explore something new.  We finally got a chance to bring him over to the carousel.  He wasn’t so sure at first, but seemed to like it towards the end.

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We then went on the Buccaneer Pirate Ship, which wasn’t one of his favorites since he had to sit down the entire time.  Luckily this ride only lasts a few minutes before you re-dock.  He loved the play area with the mini pirate ships which we explored after, though.  We stopped for a photo op in the pumpkin and he was being so silly, jumping up and down and poking his head out the front.

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I wasn’t sure if he would be able to sit still on the Ferris wheel, but we tried it and he did pretty well.  Once everyone actually got in their balloons and we started going, he loved going around and around and looking for Daddy on the ground.  I’m hoping Toby doesn’t inherit Daddy’s fear of heights as he gets older or else I’ll be going on these rides by myself in the future!

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I think at this point it was lunch time, which took forever since he was too busy people-watching to eat his PB & J.  We brought sandwiches with us but ended up buying some more snacks to try and get him to just eat something.  After we did a couple other rides and then decided to go back to the condo for a bit to see if Toby would nap there.  Well, as soon as we got loaded into the car and pulled out of the parking lot, he was passed outttt.  So Hubby and I took a right out of Storyland and headed up further into the White Mountains.  It was a beautiful scenic drive – I just didn’t remember how green and vibrant everything was up there!  We had been driving for a little over a half hour when Toby woke himself up, so we decided to go back to Story Land.  After a snack and some water, he was ready to go!

Other rides he loved were the Whirling Whales and the Dutch Shoes.  We also spent a lot of time in the Oceans of Fun splash pad since he’s a fish and would spend all day in the water if we let him. 

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He did really well at the park both days – I don’t remember him throwing a tantrum until we getting ready to leave.  Story Land is perfect for kids his age – he was able to do about 2/3 of the rides.  We’re hoping next year he’ll make the cut-off for 36 inches so we can do the others that have the height restriction, like Bamboo Shoots (log water ride).  The park is very clean, super organized, and it was even shaded well so we never felt too hot or like we were in the sun for too long.  The lines for the rides were fairly short, most averaging 5 minutes at the most.  I’m guessing the lines get longer as the summer goes on but considering we visited on Father’s Day, it didn’t seem crowded.  We can’t wait to come back next year!

We left NH early Monday morning, which was Toby’s actual birthday.  Unfortunately he must have picked up some kind of virus and was hacking up a lung all Sunday night into Monday.  He napped on the way home until we were about 45 minutes away and was coughing so much we decided to stop for lunch at Ninety-Nine.  Well lots of coughing plus too much food = puke at the table and let’s just say we high-tailed it out of there fast.  I felt so bad for him not feeling well on his birthday.  We were at the doctor’s later that afternoon and he ended up having an ear infection, but that really had nothing to do with the cough since they thought it was just a viral thing (which did end up being true since I got it about a week later after his birthday party).  At least he was still too young to realize it was his real birthday!  We had such a great weekend that I think it made up for a not-so-fun actual birthday :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Vacation to NH! Part 1

A few weeks ago we headed up to the White Mountains in New Hampshire for a long weekend.  It happened that we drove back on Toby’s birthday but this trip wasn’t specifically meant to celebrate, it just worked out well timing wise!  We rented a privately owned condo in Intervale through Homeaway.com and were so happy with our accommodations.  3 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms and a big living space gave us lots of room to spread out.  It was a great deal after all the research I had done with finding smaller two bedroom condos that were much more expensive. 

I was nervous about the 3 hour drive up to NH and how Toby would handle it so we stopped in Dover, which was almost the half-way point.  There was a great children’s museum we spent almost two hours in and since we’re members of a local museum close to our house, our admission was free!  We are thinking about heading back up to Dover for a day trip again this summer because Toby had such a great time exploring the exhibits.  He did end up falling asleep for about 45 minutes in the car afterwards so it worked out well. 

The weather was very rainy the Friday we left, and we didn’t end up getting to our condo until 3:30 anyway, so we headed to an early dinner at the Muddy Moose (great family restaurant, definitely recommend) and then stopped by the L.L. Bean outlet after.  Toby thinks it’s hilarious running all around the stores now and playing hide and seek - we’ve become those parents that I was always judging pre-baby with not keeping their kids in line.  So much for trying to get any bargain shopping done.

We started Saturday morning with breakfast at Peaches in North Conway.  Food was decent and the wait was short.  After we headed down the street to the local park and also walked by the adjacent historic train station.  Toby’s new favorite thing at the park is to go over to the top of the slide and instead of sitting down to get ready to slide, he hangs on the bar at the top and says “monkey bar”.  I packed an extra mini first aid kit in my diaper bag just for this trip because of the daredevil stunts he pulls now.

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Even the fire trucks were outside of the fire station next to the park, so of course we had to walk by those, as well.  After we were tired of the park, we headed a little way down the street to the Mount Washington Weather Discovery Center.  It’s free, though they suggest a small donation.  It wasn’t as big as I thought it was going to be and they were having a members breakfast but still allowed the public to come in so it was kind of awkward.  Toby just wanted to run around but we didn’t let him so we left before a meltdown ensued.  We walked through downtown a little more but didn’t stop to shop.  I love all the small local stores in North Conway, though, hopefully I get to explore them next year if we come back! 

We drove back to the condo for an early lunch and then everyone promptly took a two hour nap.  Yep, we all needed it!  We woke up to Toby stirring around 1:40ish and decided to quickly get everything ready so we could head to Story Land.  If you come in 3 hours before closing time, they will give you tickets to come back any day of the season so we wanted to make the most of the rest of the afternoon there. 

I barely remembered any of the rides from our trips to Story Land when I was a kid, so we started out in the nursery rhyme section and worked our way through the other areas.  Toby saw the Grandfather Tree play area and could have stayed there until closing if we let him.  He went up the stairs in the tree all by himself even though I had a small heart attack each time until his little head would poke out at the top and then he would look for us and smile SO big.  He would run over to the slide and then want to climb up all over again. 

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We managed to snag him and go over to the Little Dreamers Play area, which was perfect for his age.  He went up and over the bridge probably thirty times in a row, played the big piano keys, and shut doors to a play house over and over and over again.  This section was definitely made for kids who love repetition!

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We skipped Alice’s Tea Cups as I wasn’t sure how he would like that as his first ride.  He did like playing under the card tunnels, though.  Next we moved onto the Storybook animals.  He was more interested in pressing the button to hear the nursery rhyme and putting his hand on the speaker than looking at the actual animals.  I tried to get his picture with the wolf statue but he was not interested in standing still at this point.

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We walked through some more of the park to get a feel for some of the rides so we knew what to try first thing when we came back the next morning.  There’s a new digger exploration by the roller coaster, so he loved doing that with Daddy. 

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Then we went on the Tractors ride – Toby loved every second of it and didn’t want to get off so we got back in line to do it again.  He unfortunately is still too young to get the concept of waiting in line…so that was interesting as I tried to explain how he couldn’t just cut in front of other people.  I think he was also pretty tired at this point but luckily we only had to wait 5 minutes or so.  He loved being up front by himself while we sat in the back.  He would pretend to drive, look back at us and grin and say “Drive”, then press the buttons to honk the horn, and repeat the process.

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After the second go-around on the tractors, we decided it was time to make our way to the exit as it was almost closing time anyways.  Toby threw a fit once he realized we were leaving, so it must have meant he had a good time.  I think this is when we asked if he had fun and he replied with “too much fun” and then started whining about being carried to the car. 

We went out to eat for dinner again, but Toby just wasn’t in the mood to sit still so it wasn’t enjoyable to say the least.  We knew we should have just eaten back at the condo but the thought of making something ourselves seemed exhausting at that point.  After we went over to Pirate’s Cove for mini golf since Toby’s free and we figured we could try it out.  He was interested in holding his mini putter for about two holes and then got bored of that.  He loved taking our balls and putting them in and out and basically messing up our scores :)  We were about four holes from being finished when he became obsessed with a water pail fountain and kept dunking his hands in it.  I was grossed out by the water inside and didn’t really want him touching it but he kept insisting and of course this ended in the meltdown of all meltdowns so we were forced to leave before finishing.  Hubby was pissed to say the least but I think Toby did better than what I was expecting of him.  Maybe next year he will be interested in learning to putt. 

We ended the night with ice cream at a place called Lick’s which was expensive for what they offered.  Positive side was they had a good-sized playscape for the kids to burn off all the sugar so Toby would play for a few minutes, run over to steal some of our ice cream, and then run back onto the playscape.  All in all, it was a great first full day and we explored a lot of the area!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

TWO!

Yup, little man turned two last week!  I didn’t think it was possible, but I’m pretty sure the second year flew by faster than the first twelve months.  He is a full-on toddler whose personality is emerging more and more each day.  He is testing our patience all the time and throwing tantrums left and right.  Gotta love the terrible two’s.  And my co-workers keep telling me the three’s just get even tougher – joy!  On a positive note, it is really cool seeing Toby understand so many more things and add words to his vocabulary.  He is saying two and three word phrases, although sometimes he talks so fast, the words just get all smushed together.  I have to get a video of him saying “Everybody, clean up” because his voice is hilarious when he says that phrase. 

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Catch up time with the stats:

Weight: He went to the doctor on his birthday not for a regular check-up but for a sick visit…had a bad cough and ended up even having an ear infection we had no idea he had.  Anyways he was 26.4 pounds.

Height: He will be measured at his two-year visit this Friday.  When we measured him at Storyland a couple weeks ago, he was about 33 or 34 inches.

Medical Issues: Seasonal allergies definitely affected him this year, so in April he was coughing a lot, had a runny nose and puffy eyes for a couple weeks.  Children’s Zyrtec seemed to clear it up.  His eczema is coming back a little on his arms but I remember that happening last year in the same spots when the weather got warmer.  He’s had a couple colds/fevers, a tummy bug, and the ear infection since I last updated in December.  Seems like a lot but none of the illnesses lasted for too long.

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Sleep: I would say 5 nights a week he sleeps straight through the night and we don’t hear a peep from him.  There’s usually a couple nights a week when he will wake up randomly screaming, so we assume he has bad dreams now.  And then with his allergies, he was coughing a ton at night so that didn’t help.  Naps are good, he is still taking a 1.5-2.5 hour nap each day usually from 12:30-2:30ish. 

Clothes/Diapers: Skinny-waisted boy is in 18-24 month shorts (so glad I saved them since he never grew into them last summer).  He wears 2T for shirts, 6’s for shoes, and 4’s in day diapers, 5’s in overnight diapers.

Diet: Ugh definitely pickier than he has been.  He has an opinion on what he wants to eat now and we’ll go through days where he eats tiny bits and pieces and then will eat and eat and eat the next day to make up.  We basically go through the same five or six dinners each week on rotation, it’s pretty annoying.  He will eat spaghetti w/turkey meatballs, English muffin or bagel pizzas (no peppers can be on it anymore, though), Firefly’s Mac & Cheese (not Annie’s or any other kind), ground turkey for tacos, black bean quesadillas, and homemade chicken nuggets.  I rarely get to try making anything new unless I have a back-up plan or leftovers ready for him.  Sometimes he will surprise me and eat carrots, but most of the time he refuses veggies.  Is 50/50 with eating PB & J’s and peanut butter in general.  Loves fruit, yogurt, bagels w/cream cheese, pancakes, bacon, and “eggies”.  Eats Goldfish crackers, fruit/veggie pouches, cereal bars and “chips” (dried fruit chips) for snacks.  Refused to eat cake on his birthday but LOVES “fri yo” (frozen yogurt).  We were doing Fro Yo Fridays for a treat for the past month or so.  Still doesn’t like juice so he just drinks whole milk, water and smoothies.

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Likes: Closing and opening any types of doors, taking covers on and off of bowls, cups, etc.  Playing with anything that has wheels.  Hiding toys, taking them out, hiding them again and doing this same process for 20 minutes. Playing outside – loves the park and exploring.  Reading!  Lots of reading.  Oh my god and how did I almost forget the VACCUUM.  He’s obsessed.  This is a phase that’s been going on for four months now and is probably not going to end anytime soon. He has his own play one now because I couldn’t deal with him asking for me to take out the big one every ten seconds.

Dislikes: Being naked – not sure if he’ll be one of those kids who refuses to wear clothes.  He always wants a shirt and shorts on!  And of course he hates being told no, knows when we try to distract him and move him onto another activity, gets frustrated when something doesn’t go his way, etc, etc, etc. 

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Milestones: Huge language explosion a week or two after he turned 18 months and then again once he started daycare in February.  Easily has over 100 words in his vocabulary now that his consistently says.  He can walk up and down the stairs by himself using the railing, though it still scares the crap out of me.  He can almost jump up and down using both feet at the same time.  Uses forks and spoons on a regular basis though sometimes he prefers to still use his hands.

Things I don’t want to forget: this is going to have be a separate post because there’s so much that’s happened in the past few months!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

101 in 1001 Days: an Update

I remember starting this list a few years ago and thinking there would be no problem to get 101 things done in two and a half years.  Well, throw a pregnancy and baby into the mix and let’s just say I think I’m lucky I managed to get over 40 things completed :)  The travel items definitely will not get accomplished anytime soon, especially since we’re up in the air with house/moving stuff.  I am proud of myself for crossing off many items under Health/Appearance as 2011 was the year I lost 30 pounds and started a journey towards a more healthy lifestyle. I’d like to create a new list in the next month or so and start again, but my goal this time would be to get at least 60 things completed by the end! 

Here’s the recap of what I finished a few months ago:

  • Start Date: January 13th, 2011
  • List End Date: October 10th, 2013
  • Items completed so far: 44/101

Key:

  • items not completed
  • items in progress
  • items completed

Fun

  • 1. Read forty new books (5/40).
  • 2. Go to a Celtics game with hubby. (April 2011)
  • 3. Go to a concert.
  • 4. Host 5 dinner parties w/close friends (3/5).
  • 5. Go to a water park for the day.
  • 6. Watch The Hangover finally.
  • 7. Visit the Museum of Science in Boston. (Aug 2012)
  • 8. Visit 5 new breweries (1/5).
  • 9. Go to a zoo. (Sept 2011)
  • 10. Go wine tasting. (Oct 2012)
  • 11. Finish 3 new TV shows on DVD that we never watched before. (2/3)
  • 12. See Cirque du Soleil.
  • 13. Get a new tattoo.
  • 14. Go to my 10 year high school reunion.
  • 15. Plan a Girl’s Spa Weekend.
  • 16. Attend a midnight premiere of a movie.
  • 17. Go pumpkin picking. (Oct 2012)
  • 18. Go snorkeling. (Mexico - May 2011)
  • 19. Make 5 new playlists on iTunes. (2/5)

Crafting/DIY

  • 20. Finish my wedding scrapbook.
  • 21. Finish my Italy & Greece scrapbook.
  • 22. Make a diaper cake for a friend’s baby shower. (July 2011)
  • 23. Go to an estate sale and buy a piece of furniture.
  • 24. Make my own Christmas cards. (Dec 2011)
  • 25. Make homemade vanilla extract. (Nov 2011)
  • 26. Make homemade candles.
  • 27. Buy something on Etsy. (March 2012)
  • 28. Make my own flower-adorned headband.
  • 29. Find an inspiring quote and work it into a piece of art/home d├ęcor. (Jan 2011)
  • 30. Fill empty picture frames.

Personal Growth/ Hobbies

  • 31. Take a Spanish class.
  • 32. Learn how to use a smartphone. (Feb 2012)
  • 33. Talk to my boss about possible promotions/other positions at work.
  • 34. Post in my blog 4 times a week for a month. (April 2011)
  • 35. Visit the local library and get a library card.
  • 36. Write a list of 50 things that make me happy.
  • 37. Learn how to hem a pair of pants.
  • 38. Purchase a better camera. (Sept 2011)
  • 39. Learn basic photography skills.
  • 40. Take pictures of the kitties and enter them in the Cat a Day Calendar contest
  • 41. Attend a cake decorating class. (March 2011)
  • 42. Write a letter to myself to open in 5 years.

Financial

  • 43. Set up a joint checking account. (Jan 2011)
  • 44. Write a will and have hubby write one, as well.
  • 45. Order new checks. (March 2011)
  • 46. Take over the last student loan my parents still pay for.
  • 47. Contribute a percentage of each paycheck to my 401k. (April 2011)
  • 48. Put away an additional $5000 towards a down deposit on a new house. (Nov 2011)
  • 49. Don’t use my debit card/credit cards for one week.

Acts for Others

  • 50. Donate to a charity once a year (2/3).
  • 51. Adopt a family for Christmas.
  • 52. Donate blood.
  • 53. Volunteer at an animal shelter.
  • 54. Buy a toy for Toys for Tots.
  • 55. Make hubby breakfast in bed.
  • 56. Clear out my closet and give away clothes to charity (Nov 2012)

Health/Appearance

  • 57. Lose enough weight to fit comfortably back into my favorite clothes. (June 2011)
  • 58. Walk a mile in less than 17 minutes. (March 2011)
  • 59. Exercise three times a week for two months.
  • 60. Eat 5 fruits and veggies every day for 2 weeks.
  • 61. Drink at least 3 glasses of water or seltzer each day for a month. (Dec 2011)
  • 62. Get a facial.
  • 63. Finish a bottle of multi-vitamins.  (Nov 2011)
  • 64. Go to the dentist and then get a cleaning every 6 months after. (March 2013)
  • 65. Get a full physical. (May 2013)
  • 66. Style my hair every day for one week (no ponytails/messy buns!). (Feb 2011)
  • 67. Get my hair dyed professionally. (Jan 2012)
  • 68. Get my eyes re-examined and purchase new glasses. (March 2011)
  • 69. Buy a pair of nice boots. (Oct 2011)
  • 70. Don’t hit the snooze button for an entire week.

Home

  • 71. Finish decorating the loft so it’s a completed space.
    72. Re-do the kitchen. (March 2013)
  • 73. Re-do the tub in the master bath.
  • 74. Update sink fixtures in all the bathrooms.
  • 75. Add patio stones to our outside space.
  • 76. Re-decorate the bedroom area of the spare room. (March 2011)
  • 77. Re-carpet the bedrooms and main hallway.

Food & Cooking

  • 78. Eat at 10 new, local, non-chain restaurants (7/10).
  • 79. Make lasagna. (April 2011)
  • 80. Make Grandma’s pecan pie with a home-made crust.  
  • 81. Go blueberry picking and make jam. (July 2011)
  • 82. Make tiramisu.
  • 83. Bake a cake from scratch. (Guinness Cake w/Bailey's Frosting for St. Patty's Day - March 2012)
  • 84. Drink an entire Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day. (March 2011)
  • 85. Buy a teapot.
  • 86. Make a gingerbread house. (Dec 2012)
  • 87. Barbecue for dinner each night for one week (0/7).
  • 88. Try out 50 new recipes (30/50).

Travel

  • 89. Travel to Jamaica.
  • 90. Travel to somewhere on the West Coast. (Feb 2012 - San Diego)
  • 91. Swim in the Pacific Ocean. (stuck my feet in, good enough!  Feb 2012 - San Diego)
  • 92. Travel to Washington D.C. (Sept 2011)
  • 93. Go on a cruise.
  • 94. Go camping for a weekend.
  • 95. Take a trip with my sister.
  • 96. Take a trip with my parents. (August 2011)
  • 97. Take a trip with my in-laws. (August 2011)
  • 98. Go away for a weekend with friends.
  • 99. Stay at a new Bed & Breakfast.
  • 100. Watch the sun rise and the sun set in one day. (Feb 2012 - San Diego)
  • 101. Renew passport w/my new last name

Thursday, January 2, 2014

12-18 Month Favorites

Haven’t compiled one of these posts in a long time…not since 7-8 months!  I do like going back to my monthly Toby recaps to see what toys he was playing with and things he enjoyed doing during the different stages, so I’m trying to make an effort to do more “Favorites” lists.  Some of these items are from previous favorite lists but it proves they’re worth the money!

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Little Tikes Gas n’ Go Mower:  Toby used this later in the summer, both inside and outside, and still loves playing with it in our living room currently.  We’ll ask him to fill it up with gas, and he grabs the gas tank and “pours” it into the little opening while we go “glug, glug, glug”.  It sounds like a real mower when the beads start popping!  Great gift for a birthday present.  I like how this is a toy that doesn’t have songs or musical sound effects.

Bumkins SuperBib 3-Pack: I included this bib on an earlier list but these things are awesome – I highly recommend them!  Get the 3-Pack so that way you don’t have to be constantly washing one over and over.  They are lightweight, easy to pack in a bag, and rarely stain.

Leap Frog My Discovery House: Included this on a previous list…he still loves to play with it now.  He’s figured out what all the different functions do and can also switch settings.  It’s another rare toy that keeps him entertained on his own for more than 5 minutes.

Munchkin Snack Catchers: We’ve been using these since before Toby turned 1 and they’re pretty great.  Do some puffs still manage to sneak out sometimes?  Yes.  But they do a good job for the most part.  He hasn’t figured out how to take the entire top off yet, and the top has never come off while he’s stuck his hand in there to grab something.

Big Red Barn and Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom: These are two of his favorite books. probably have been since he received them for his first birthday. I love Big Red Barn because the rhymes are soothing and it’s a great book to read before naptime. I credit Chicka Chicka for his obsession with the alphabet and learning a lot of the letters.

Radio Flyer – The Ultimate Comfort Wagon: This was Toby’s big gift from Santa for Christmas 2012 as we figured we would start using it in the future summer months.  We splurged to get the canopy, padded seats, built-in cup holders, and storage bag, but it was so worth it.  The canopy was awesome when we had our beach vacation in August and gave Toby great sun coverage as we walked back and forth to the beach and downtown all week.  The storage bag was good to stuff in all the wet towels and sandy extras that needed to be hosed down once we got back to the house.  It looks like the price has increased a LOT since last year, though – almost $100!  Not sure if we got it for a good deal last year, but I do feel it’s a solid investment.

Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Smart Screen Laptop:  Another toy that Toby’s enjoyed for a long time since he received it for Christmas 2012. It’s been fun to see how he interacts with the laptop now as he understands which buttons cause songs to play.  He’s been into the alphabet letters song lately, of course.  Since this toy has been used so much, the white numbers on the keys are starting to wear off but I guess that’s to be expected.

Halo Sleep Sack Wearable Blanket: Yup, he’s been using these for over a year now. He moves around a lot in his sleep and I’m still nervous to let him sleep with a blanket so these are a great alternative.  Plus, I’m pretty sure he recognizes it as a sleep cue now, so he knows it’s part of the nap or bedtime routine. 

Infant Boy’s Genuine Baby from OshKosh Axel Casual Shoes: We love these shoes so much that we bought them in size 4 and 5 so he’s been wearing them for several months now.  I think he’s just starting to grow out of the 5’s which means we’ll have to look for something else soon.  They’re great for early walkers (that then transition to fast runners) as the sole is thick enough for support but not too heavy – helps to prevent a lot of tripping.

Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn: Learning Kitchen: Toby received this for his first birthday and I would say he’s played with it at least once a day since we took it out of the box in June.  He’s figured out what buttons to push to make noise, he loves opening and closing the fridge, and there’s a couple songs he will play over and over again. It’s one of the few toys that he will play with independently for more than 5 minutes.  While I would love for him to have a mini play kitchen, we just don’t have the room for it in our townhouse so this toy is a good compromise for now.  It fits perfectly in one of the squares of our Ikea storage system.