Saturday, July 30, 2011

Stalk Remix Blog (AND Facebook) hop!!

I'm joining a new blog hop this weekend!! Join me!

FB Linky: (note: insert your Facebook page link here, not your blog!)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why I Am A Genius: Part 1 (...of many!)

So I'm not trying to be all brag-a-docious or anything but every now and again I amaze myself. As most of you know, Aurora is newly mobile. This has led to some major babyproofing efforts such as saying goodbye to the coffee table for a bit and ordering some bright and shiny new gates. I've cleared most things out of our living room so she'll have a big open area to crawl around and explore. However, there are some things that just can't be removed, like our entertainment center. So I went on a long hunt and picked through prices and reviews (like I always do) to find some good bumpers until she's a little steadier. Well... after about two hours I decided I didn't want ANY of the products I looked at! Not only were they moderately expensive, considering what they are, but some just didn't make any sense! Example:

$2.12 for a 4 pack of new hard corners to put on top of your old hard corners... really?

Also... Am I supposed to screw those into my furniture?!
I almost considered this option, as it seemed a little more reasonable:

Flimsy not-so-sticky tape and four slightly more substantial corners: $15.99

The issues here are:
A. This was the lowest price I could find for this system. Buying the corners and tape separate costs even more.
B. The reviews are AWFUL. The tape won't stick, the cushion isn't thick enough etc. etc.

Ready for my GENIUS solution? 

Pipe insulation!!!

$1.19 for ALL of this. 

A little creative trimming and a few removable double stick tabs for the top of the subwoofer (everything else is just fitted into the crease) and voila! Super cushy, no sticky tape, and best of all super cheap! After all, it's not like it will be there very long, I have better things to invest time and money on!
So there you have it... genius, no?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Our Weekend: Aurora's first time at the beach!

What bad timing, ha! Oh well, every picture can't be perfect!
First off, this post was supposed to go up last night but it was too hot in the house so I grabbed my new baby monitor (more on that another time) and all my gear and started writing and doing some other computer related things outside. Of course I had tried to be a smarty pants and do everything off the internet on wordpad (to conserve battery life, no less). Well, I never unplug my laptop, so like a dummy I didn't pay attention to the battery and a couple hours later, I lost everything I had been working on. So frustrating! Sorry for the wait, but I lost all motivation to rewrite it last night.
Anyway... without further ado, our beach adventure!
On Saturday my roommate/bestie and I decided to make beach plans for the next day. Normally we'd take a drive down to the ocean but it's a pretty long and involved day and since bestie works all the time that trip seemed a little daunting. Plus there's not much shade at the ocean beaches and I have a tiny pale baby to worry about. We decided to go to a local lake instead but as the night wore on I liked that decision less and less. See, this lake doesn't exactly have the best reputation for cleanliness and I was really hoping to take Aurora in the water with us. Well, I started going through the blog comments to make sure I hadn't missed any when I noticed one of the old photos I had posted of me and my childhood friend R. at the beach. 

That's when it dawned on me... Wallum Lake!
The place we practically lived at every summer when I was growing up.
What a perfect place for Aura's first beach trip! 
I mentioned it to my roommate and she agreed that it sounded like a good plan so early Sunday afternoon we packed up our picnic and baby gear and headed out. The drive was great and I somehow remembered the way exactly (this turned out to be a good thing because the GPS thought we were trying to go to the other side of the lake). I guess I shouldn't have been that surprised since I've made that drive hundreds of times. I was a little worried that maybe it had changed a bit since I'd been there last. It'd been over 10 years and everything else had changed, it only made sense that it would. However, from the minute we drove up it was pretty obvious that nothing had. It was still only $5 to park, the park ranger trucks were the same as I remembered and even parked in the same place (Wallum Lake is in the middle of a state forest). We parked the car and headed down to the beach area which was alive with families and barbecues and it was like I was a little kid again. Even the ice cream truck that I remembered getting countless treats from was parked in it's old familiar spot. Apparently that place is stuck in some strange wrinkle in time and I couldn't be happier about it. 

  Aurora played on the blanket for a bit with a bunch of toys, it was so nice to be able to just let her go a little and let her explore. It was nice and shady and not too hot, perfect beach weather! Our swimming lessons seem to be paying off because she had a blast playing in the water with us... I wish I had pictures but we were having too much fun, I forgot all about the camera!
After a nap for Aura (a swim for me) and some ice cream I strapped the baby on and we for a little hike to one of my favorite places in the world! The park rangers used to run nature programs for kids at the beach where you could go on short guided tours of the woods. I was a bit apprehensive but the very first time I went out there the ranger showed us the Cedar Swamp trail. I was in love immediately. I spent tons of time out there once I was old enough to start taking walks on my own. I used to love how tiny all the huge trees made me feel and how quiet it was.

When I was looking online to see how long the drive would take I came across an article saying that this trail was a pretty rare find because of the tree and swamp combination. That made me even more excited to show it off! Come to find out I was totally wrong about what I thought were the actual cedars. 

These are not cedars. Who knew?? ...Apparently not me.
The real cedars that the trail was named for are pretty unimpressive by comparison, they just look like tiny pine trees. It was a little strange to discover that the amazingly tall, skinny and sometimes sideways trees I loved so much were not what made the place famous, but it doesn't change the way I feel about it.
Amazing, isn't it?
After our little hike, we ate some food and hung out for awhile longer. Then the beach was starting to close up so we decided to head back. On the way home I remembered how much I loved the drive. Sometimes living in the city it's easy to forget how nice it is to drive down a totally tree lined road towards a green horizon with no annoying billboards or ugly buildings. I've been feeling pretty nostalgic these days (post pregnancy side- effect?) and this was the perfect time to take a trip somewhere that holds so many good memories for me.
All in all it was a pretty amazing day and I couldn't have asked for a better first beach memory to make with my little girl...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday Blog Hop!

Tuesday's Blog Hop

Joining in on chicnsavvyreviews Tuesday Blog Hop! 
Had to post the button for this one! How cute is it!?
Come join us!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

First Comes Baby is up to 100 followers!!

Have some cute as a token of my appreciation:


A bazillion toys on that thing... she wants the tag.

Toy feet are Aura's new favorite snack....

See? Maybe she's watching the dog too much!?

After bath peek-a-boo!

We're off to my favorite childhood beach tomorrow! I'm excited that this will be Aurora's first beach experience since I made so many happy memories there. I haven't been there in about ten years, and I can't wait to see it again! Hope everyone has a great Sunday!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Growth = Changes

Aurora is becoming very headstrong these days. This is not a bad thing in my opinion and I'm doing what I can to encourage her exploration and curiosity with the obvious exception of things that will hurt her. In light of this, the somewhat flimsy but adorable bedside table I've had for years has been put away in another room for a bit after Aura hulk-smashed it this morning while trying to climb out of bed and reach the alarm clock. For some reason she loves that clock and if she wakes up from a nap she bee-lines straight for it. Strange but true.
My coffee table will also be residing in the basement until I'm positive she can navigate it without attempting a shaky pull-up and smashing her face, the table was a refurbished trash pick from years ago and spending the $20 to surround it with bumpers really didn't make much sense to me, so adios for now. I can no longer get into my own kitchen cabinets because I keep forgetting the latches I installed and there is no more walking away from the bean, not even for a second. Just looking at her, you'd never guess how fast she is... but it's the NOT looking at her that's the problem. I swear she can tell the instant I'm not paying close attention! Anyway, these things are all very minor inconveniences when you consider the payoff. She's so proud of herself every time she manages to get vertical. She's surprisingly confident about attempting new things, concentrating super hard until she gets it and she's all smiles once she figures out something new.
The evolution from the helpless little sprout who couldn't hold her own head up is phenomenal and it's only been seven and a half months. I can't wait to see what's in store for us. I'm sure more baby gates and doorknob covers and toilet latches are in our very near future. With growth comes changes.

Speaking of which, I think this blog needs an overhaul. The layout was cute when it was mostly for me, but with the addition of my mama networks and the few sponsors I've taken on it's starting to look a little slap-dash. Also, I'm finding that this template is not nearly as flexible as I'd like/need it to be. I'm a little overwhelmed at the prospect right now so it may not happen soon. I also need to decide what direction I'll go with it and I'd like to figure out a similarly minimalist design. Funny, this time last year I wouldn't have pictured all this upheaval. But, like I said with growth comes change. 
Exciting and scary as change may be...

So, any blog-savvy folk that want to give me some advice, I'm all eyes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A few new firsts for Aura!

I've been a little neglectful about updating lately, trying to unplug a bit during the day now that Aurora is becoming more active and wants to explore and learn. Plus we've been out and about during this super hot weekend which made it much harder to leave the little bean in our nice cozy bed and abandon the AC to come play on the internet. But she's sleeping soundly at the moment and there's a cool breeze coming in the living room (finally!!) so here I am with a few new firsts to report! 
First up: Aurora is getting her first tooth... well teeth technically. I saw the first little bud a few days ago and only two days later there was another one right next to it! 
Pardon the blurry photo, she was intent on grabbing the camera!
She hasn't been too cranky, just a little clingier than usual and she's finding it a little tougher to drift off during nap time because her bink rubs against her new little nubs. We only had one rough day when she seemed bummed. Trying to get her to like frozen washcloths since they were my mother's go-to for me and my younger brother and sister when we were teething. She's not sure about the idea but she has a short attention span these days.
Ok, I'm supposed to do what with this now?
Her first solo attempt at her tiny rocking horse.
We also started swimming lessons which have opened up a whole new way to play! I was excited to get her into a pool as soon as we could. I even thought about it while I was pregnant and swimming at a local hotel pool to cool off and get a little low impact exercise. So far, Aurora LOVES the water. She's a little unsure about being on her back but she's only been in a pool three times, so I'm not going to push it. She kicks her feet to try to get to floating toys, she'll even hold onto a noodle and let me hold it away so we aren't touching, which surprised me. She also tries to drink the whole pool. She laps at the water like a kitten almost the whole time, which worried me a little at first, but she's having so much fun I don't want to discourage it and scare her. I doubt she's really getting much in her mouth. There's no pictures yet, it's a little awkward since we're both in the pool together but I'll figure something out soon. Since starting classes we've already hung out at a friends pool and even though it was colder she still liked it!
Hanging out by the pool.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this new development considering how attached I am to beaches and pools and any body of water. I used to beg to go to the beach when I was little and we practically lived there during the summer, going almost every day even if it was just for a few hours when my dad got out of work.
That's me on the left (I get a little tan during the summer haha)
Seems like I found just another way that this little munchkin is taking after mama. 
More swimming? 
Another huge development has happened too! Aurora has definitely figured out crawling though she seems pretty content to only travel short distances at the moment... a squirm and a few pushes with her knees until she gets to the toy she wants is good enough for now. This is not to say she can't go further! She came barreling at me the other day full speed across a whole room! Guess she thought I wasn't paying enough attention.
Aurora is primarily interested in toys, not transportation.
Here's the thing: I think she's saving her effort for bigger and better (and scarier) things. The other day I had her on her playmat and stepped away because I forgot my coffee, in less than two minutes I came back to this:
How is she learning to stand already!!?
I suppose I sort of saw it coming, she's been trying to scale me like a mountain when we wake up every morning for weeks... but she'd never seemed very interested in climbing other things until all of a sudden she was up. Scared the life out of me! It's been a whole different parenting game since then, let me tell you. She's up every chance she gets, childproofing has begun in earnest and our coffee table will be residing in the basement until she starts walking well. She doesn't want to stay still for too long unless we're going somewhere. This means reading books during the day is out (we still read before bed) and her exersaucer is only entertaining for a few minutes before she decides she wants to be on the floor touching and tasting everything while looking for new ways to get upright...
Let the games begin!
Swimming and standing and teeth, oh my! Where did that teensy helpless bean go?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Our Weekend: Happy Birthday America!!

Another holiday 'family outing'! We spent our 4th with great food, a few drinks and awesome friends at LibertyFest in Providence. LibertyFest is an annual small scale music festival with tons of amazing local acts and fun for big and little kids alike! I've been attending for years, but this year was pretty special getting to show off my little bean in her patriotic outfit. It was also MUCH better than last year when I was pregnant and too hot to move! I only went as far as painting my nails for the occasion, but of course Aurora went all out!!!

Star spangled Aurora!!

Just hanging out in her little sparkly top hat!

She got tired of the shoes eventually... don't we all?

Hope everyone else's Independence Day was just as fun!!
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