Citrus Lane December 2013 Box Review

The theme of January seems to be “catching up on December!” It’s been awhile, but I’d still like to share what we got in our December box from Citrus Lane and how it went over with the little one. Although I don’t get the Citrus Lane boxes every month, I enjoy getting them from time to time and specifically ordered the December box because last year’s box was so great.

Citrus Lane December 2013 Box Contents

This year, Citrus Lane included the Melissa and Doug Rainbow Stacker ($8.27 at Amazon), a Handprint Art Kit from Pearhead (~$14.95 at Pearhead), Snuggly Lotion from Episencial ($8.50 at Amazon), and the book “I Took the Moon for a Walk” from Barefoot Books ($7.19 at Amazon).

The stacker was perfect! I love wooden toys, and had been thinking Alexis might like a stacker, but hadn’t gotten around to getting one for her. (I can’t buy her all the toys, can I?) I used it as a stocking stuffer and Alexis loves it.

The book, “I Took the Moon for a Walk,” also became a Christmas present. It’s a lovely book with adorable illustrations, and quickly entered Alexis’ regular rotation. She calls it “Moon,” and loves looking through it. Two for two, Citrus Lane.

The lotion came in a smaller size than pictured, although it still felt like a large tube of lotion. I just can’t find the size I received for sale online. It smells great and will definitely be useful around here, where the winter cold is drying out everyone’s skin.

The handprint kit from Pearhead is cute, and definitely something we will do, but haven’t gotten around to yet. It’s impossible to find this specific kit for sale online, though. All the available kits force you to choose between pink and blue, and I’m glad the one in the box does not. That said, two handprints on a plain white canvas seems a little boring, and I think we’re going to have to think outside the box to make this art kit more… arty.

All in all, I was happy with this box. While it only had 4 items, each one was quite nice and will be put to use, which is what is really important.

Just so you know, the links in this post to Citrus Lane and the specific items are affiliate links. If you decide you want to try a box, clicking on my affiliate link will save you $10 off your box, and it will save me $10, too. Everybody wins!

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17 Months Old

17 Months Old

Alexis turned 17 months old at the beginning of January! Every month, it gets a little harder to take her monthly photo. She is never content to sit still, and starts trying to escape her chair prison immediately.

17 Months Old

This month, Alexis learned a ton of new words. By the end of the month, she was using more than 200 words. She also learned new signs in Sign and Play class. Sweetest new sign: “I love you.” Most fun new sign: “Go go!” We sign “Go go!” as we run to the bath each night. Alexis also learned one accidental sign while we were joking around at dinner one night: “robot.” Awesomely, the sign for robot is exactly what you think it would be.

Christmas also happened this month, which meant that Alexis met Santa (serious business) and learned all about presents (so much fun!). Every box that arrives at the house is now a “present,” and obviously, all presents are for Alexis and should be opened by her. After Christmas, Alexis finished the month by taking a road trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin to visit family. She saw her aunt, uncle and cousin, whom she adores, and two of her great grandmas. While traveling, she said her own name clearly for the first time and (maybe) counted to two. She also got another tooth this month. December was a busy month!

The First Year

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A Language Explosion

Over the last several months, Alexis’ verbal skills have just, well, exploded. She went from a baby who could say “kitty!” to a toddler who could name all sorts of things and repeat almost anything she heard. Watching a little one learn her language is so much fun. I love seeing which words are important enough to her to be said, and hearing how she pronounces each one. “Belbows” is one of my favorites right now.

At the same time her spoken language started developing so rapidly, Alexis also began learning sign language. I know she looked forward to each weekly sign language class, because starting on Monday, she would begin asking, “Bubbles? Froggie?” in anticipation of Thursday’s class. Her favorite parts of class are when the teacher blows bubbles for everyone to pop, and the end, when she gets a froggie stamp on her hand. She gives her froggie stamp a kiss, gets green ink on her mouth, and shows her hand to anyone who will look.

For nerdy purposes, I made a chart after her last sign language class in December showing the number of words and the number of signs she had mastered each month. Sign language started the last day of October, and you can see that both her spoken and signed words increased a lot at that point.

Language Acquisition

I don’t know if exposure to sign language had any effect on her spoken language development, since correlation does not imply causation. But it does appear clear that sign language did not slow her acquisition of spoken words, which is something I’ve heard people worry about before. Anecdotally, I can say that every time Alexis learned a new sign, she learned to say the corresponding word, too. So in that sense, I saw sign language helping her to learn new spoken words, too.

We just started the Sign and Play Level 2 class today, and Alexis was so happy to be back after several weeks. This picture is blurry, because my phone has a crummy camera, but look how happy my girl is! Travel has made her extra clingy recently, but she had no qualms about leaving me to go dance by her teacher.

I really can’t say enough good things about sign language class. I love watching how much Alexis enjoys it, and we both enjoy learning a new way to communicate. Class has given us ways to communicate about things like potty learning and travel, both of which have made life a little easier. Alexis gets less frustrated when she is able to express her needs in sign and be understood, and when I’m able to explain things to her in another way. Sometimes, when she has trouble listening to what I’m saying, she is able to focus on signing instead. And really, it’s just a lovely way to stay connected. We recently took a long trip away from daddy to visit grandparents. On our last night away from home, Alexis and I talked and signed about how tomorrow we would take an “airplane” to “go home” to see “daddy.” As she nursed to sleep, she signed “home, home” over and over. How sweet is that?

{Alexis takes Sign and Play classes from Communication Junction. If you’re local, I can’t recommend them highly enough.}

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Cutest Sister Ever

Cutest Sister Ever

Alexis is making an announcement! She’s the cutest sister ever!

Wait, what? Yes, Alexis is becoming a big sister!

The first time turned out so nicely, we figured we’d try our luck again. Here’s to months of complaining about being pregnant while chasing a wild toddler and the eventual sweet result. As Alexis says, “cheers!”

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Modern Nurseries

Modern Nursery

This week, Alexis’ nursery was featured in a Parents.com slideshow for modern nursery ideas. How cool is that? Be sure to check it out to see some other lovely modern nurseries and get some great design ideas.

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16 Months Old

16 Months Old

This month, Alexis is 16 months old and it is awesome. Who needs to sit in the chair when you can stand and make your mother nervous? Alexis has grown so much in one short month. Her vocabulary exploded, and she started adding multiple new words on a daily basis, for a total of 98 new words this month (yes, I keep track.) One of those new words is “cheers!” because of course we taught her to say cheers and clink glasses when you take a drink. She loves it and does it very often. We may have created a tiny, celebratory monster. She also used her first sort-of sentence this month. After she woke up from a nap, I watched on the monitor as she found a small scratch on her hand. “Uh oh! Boo boo!” she said. “Here you go,” and she kissed her boo boo. Awww.

16 Months Old

We attend Sign and Play class weekly, and Alexis loves it. She’s started using a bunch of new signs, including: banana, thank you, wet, dirty, clean, baby, time, cousin, boy, girl, eat, and a few others. I think she may be learning the signs just as a means to get to bubble time and get her hand stamped at the end of class, because she thinks those things are the best.

She has two new molars this month, completing her first set. Next up, incisors! I think we will all be very happy when teething is over.

16 Months Old

One of my favorite parts of this month? The discovery of our new game, Freight Train. Alexis and I run at each other like two freight trains until she crashes into me with delighted screams and giggles. I guess you could say we play chicken. It’s a marvelous game to play with a happy toddler.

The First Year

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15 Months Old

15 Months Old

So, Alexis turned 15 months old in November. She just keeps growing, whether I blog in a timely manner or not. By the time she turned 15 months old, she sprouted a new tooth, learned some new words, became a much more proficient walker, and started taking a sign language class. She also started dancing. She’d bounce along to music before, but this month she decided she wanted to stomp her happy feet and get crazy. Oh, and she dressed up as a monkey for Halloween, which was perfect for our little banana-lover (“Nana!” Nana!”)

15 Months Old

At 15 months old, Alexis just can’t sit still (and she knows how to get herself out of that chair!) She loves playing with her kitties, sharing her toys, and feeding mommy and daddy her snacks. She can follow simple instructions, and loves to find specific books and toys for us when we ask. Every month, this kid gets more fun.

The First Year

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Dear Citrus Lane, I Love You

I’ve mentioned my love for Citrus Lane before. Recently, though, Alexis got the October box and a bonus box (thanks to an awesome coupon) and I wanted to share some of the great things she received.

Crocodile Creek Ball

Getting a package full of surprises in the mail is always fun, and it’s even better when those surprises always turn out to be something everyone loves. Citrus Lane never lets us down. In her bonus box, Alexis got a great little 5″ ball from Crocodile Creek ($6.99 on Diapers.com). It’s just the right size for little hands. And since “ball! ball!” is the phrase du jour around here, Alexis was thrilled. I also love that it’s a rubber ball, with no BPA, vinyl, latex, or PVC.

Ouchies Jr. Paddington Bear Adhesive Bandages

As she’s getting more independent and active, she’s also getting a lot more bumps and bruises. Perfecting timing to use the adorable Paddington Bear bandaids from Ouchies Jr. ($5.20 in Diapers.com). Seriously, these are so cute. On a related cute note, Alexis has a scratch on her fingers. I watched her on the baby monitor yesterday as she looked at her hand and said, “Uh oh! Boo boo! Here you go,” and then gave her hand a kiss. Ah, babies! So cute.

Octopus Opposites

Also in her bonus box was a full-size board book, Octopus Opposites ($7.19 at Barnes and Noble). We love the vibrant illustrations, and Alexis likes to point out the animals she recognizes, like the monkey and the kitty (snow leopard.)

Boon Water Bugs

Green Tones Castanet

The October box was awesome, too. Alexis loved both the toys, the Green Tones Triangle Castanet ($12.49 at Amazon) and the Boon Water Bugs bath toy ($6.79 at Amazon). They are both in the daily play rotation right now. The October box also included a 3.4 oz tube of tangerine scented Playful Wash from Episencial ($8.99 for 8oz at Drugstore.com) and a full size container of Orange Vanilla scented Alcohol Free wipes from Clean Well ($4.99 at Drugstore.com). Finally, there was a printed copy of Baby Bug magazine from Cricket, and a code for a 3 month digital subscription. It was filled with sweet illustrations and little stories.

I know I sound like I’m gushing and it’s a little ridiculous. But honestly, everything that Citrus Lane sends us is so nice. I love how many of their items are environmentally friendly and of such good quality, and I love that Alexis thinks they’re great toys. I really do feel like these boxes are a great value. The links in this post to Citrus Lane are affiliate links, although I’d tell you that I love the box regardless. If you decide you want to try a box (and December is coming… last year’s December box was especially awesome, so it’s a good month to give it a try), clicking on my affiliate link will save you $10 off your box, and it will save me $10, too.

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A Rainbow Pixel Quilt

I made this quilt for Alexis’ first birthday, and I’m just now getting around to sharing the pictures. Three months late is better than a whole year late, right?

Rainbow Pixel Quilt

I had rainbows on the brain for Alexis’ first birthday, and I carried that into the quilt I made for her, too. I didn’t follow a pattern for this quilt. I sketched out a simple design on a grid to get an idea of how many squares I would need in each color and how to lay them out. Then I just cut out a bunch of squares from scraps I fabric I already had. After cutting out my squares, I laid them out on the floor and re-arranged them until they looked just right. Many of the squares have small prints on them, and Alexis enjoys finding pictures for words she knows. She especially loves to show me the owl on her quilt. I think this quilt would look awesome in all solids, too.

Quilt Back with Embroidered Name

For the back, I improvised. I didn’t have quite enough for the yellow fabric, so I broke it up with some pretty Denyse Schmidt Flea Market Fancy and strips of solid white. I embroidered Alexis’ name on the back using directions from this tutorial at Mary Corbet’s Needle n’ Thread. The results are beautiful, and it was easier to do than I would have imagined.

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9 Great Board Books for a One Year Old

Books Alexis loves reading. She loves to sit quietly and flip through her books. She loves to point at pictures and name them: “baby!” “kitty!” “fish!” She’s amassed quite the little library. At one year old, here are some of her favorite books:

Happy Baby Colors - If you have a baby who loves babies, this is the best book. Full of pictures of happy babies featuring different colors, as well as other items in specific colors.

Who Says Quack?
 - Real pictures of animals and the sounds they make. Right now, we’re calling this book, “Baa.” Can you guess which page is Alexis’ favorite?

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Slide and Find

Disney Baby Einstein Amazing Animals Play-a-sound - It took Alexis some time to be able to press the sound buttons herself, but now that she can, she’s so pleased with herself.

I am a Bunny
 - Such a wonderful, classic book. Beautifully illustrated. It talks about Nathan the bunny and his favorite seasonal activities. I was thrilled to see another blogger loves this book as much as we do, and dressed her little one up as the bunny for Halloween!

Pudgy Bunny Book - This book is just sweet. But be warned, the end of the story involves telling your kid they can have a bunny.

A Book of Sleep - The illustrations in this book are beautiful. A wonderful little book to set the stage for bedtime. Right now, Alexis’ favorite part of this book is finding and pointing to the owl on every page.

Tubby – A great book about bathtime. This is where Alexis learned the word “splash!” All of Leslie Patricelli’s books are fun to read with great pictures and riveting text, like “I’m naked! Wheeee!”

Octopus Opposites – Alexis got this book in a Citrus Lane box and immediately loved it. Any book with pictures of monkeys and kitties (snow leopards) is bound to be a hit. The illustrations are vibrant and pretty, and the book gets bonus points for including cephalopods and sea urchins.

(P.S., Have I mentioned how much I love Citrus Lane boxes? Use this Citrus Lane link to sign up for your own subscription and you’ll get $10 off your order, and so will I.)

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