18 Months Old

Exactly one month ago, Alexis turned 18 months old! February was a total bust, so I’m sharing the pictures with you now. Later today we’ll be taking her 19 month photos. Alexis is a strong-willed little girl with a mind of her own, and lately that mind has not been interested in sitting in the white rocker for photos, even when bribed with snacks.

18 Months Old

You seriously want me to sit in that chair? You’re joking, right?

Get me out of here!

Get me out of here!

So we improvise.

18 Months Old

Aside from not sitting in chairs, Alexis sprouted two new teeth and took a trip to Arizona to see grandparents and uncles this month. She did great on all four of her flights, and I think being able to sign about it (“Go, go, airplane!”) helped her to understand what we were doing. While we were there, we visited the Phoenix Zoo and spent time playing with Uncle’s doggies.

Alexis started singing this month, both words from songs she likes and her own made up songs with nonsense words. It is such a delight to hear her sing! She also started using some two word sentences this month, like “fix it!”, “lights on!” and “mommy up!” And finally, she started taking her second sign language class, which she loves.

The First Year

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25 Weeks

Baby #2 - 24 Weeks

Somehow the laws of space and time have been bent, and I am already 25 weeks pregnant. This doesn’t seem possible. Yesterday, I went back and read through a few blog posts from this time in my pregnancy with Alexis, and I’m feeling more behind than ever! By this time last pregnancy, we had already picked out a name and assembled a crib. We’ve got some work to do!

25 Weeks Pregnant

Until the last week or so, I haven’t really felt very pregnant. Alexis keeps me busy and I’ve had few pregnancy symptoms, so it’s been easy to focus on what’s right in front of me instead of what’s coming. But suddenly, baby boy is kicking a lot more throughout the day, my belly is starting to feel like it’s in the way, and Braxton Hicks contractions have made a noticeable appearance.

By now, baby boy weighs about 2 pounds. Daddy got to feel his first baby kick this week. Alexis knows a baby is in mommy’s “belly” and likes to ask to “touch it.” The other day, she gave him a kiss. Baby sat on my sciatic nerve on Tuesday, causing all sorts of pain, but kindly moved overnight. This gave me an opportunity to learn that I’ve selectively forgotten the negative parts of my last pregnancy, because I was sure Alexis never gave me sciatica. Then I discovered that of course she did, at this same time in the pregnancy. I wonder what else I’ve forgotten?

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Citrus Lane Coupon Code

You know how much I love Citrus Lane, the monthly boxes filled with surprise goodies for my daughter and myself. I love them even more when they have a deal, and they have one now! Use the coupon code SPRING20 at checkout to save $20 off your first order. I always feel like I’m getting my money’s worth with Citrus Lane boxes, so this is a great deal. Regular price is $29, and you’ll definitely be getting more than $9 worth of stuff in your box. I’m not sure when this code expires. They also have another active code right now, TAKETEN, to save $10 off your order, so if the first code doesn’t work, try that one.

If you have ordered from Citrus Lane before, the coupon code for you (until March 3, 2014) is HOORAY and it will save you 50% off your next box. I used this coupon code to order the March box for Alexis today!

They also hinted that there would be something from Hape Toys in the March boxes, and at 50% off that seems like it has to be a good deal.

If you aren’t familiar with Citrus Lane, you can check out my posts about a few of their boxes here, herehere, and here.

Consider this my monthly love note to Citrus Lane. 🙂

(Just so you know, the links in this post to Citrus Lane 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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So Much for February

February was a total bust in this house. I’m not exaggerating. As January ended, both Alexis and I got sick. And we didn’t really get better until just recently. She handled it better than I did, and she’s never had more than a cold before! Poor thing had her first ear infection, her first sinus infection, and her first strep infection all in one month. We love antibiotics (when they are appropriately prescribed.) Poor mommy had the flu, despite getting the flu shot, which just seems like a cruel twist of fate. Poor #2 was exposed to a bunch of Tylenol this month, which is awesome, considering the news that Tylenol might be associated with ADHD. Amazingly, Daddy stayed healthy through all of this and had the difficult job of taking care of everyone.

Go away, February. And take your snow with you.

Go away, February. And take your snow with you.

Now that we are on the mend, we are so excited for March and for Spring to arrive. We are sick of winter. And we still have so much to do to prepare for #2! But before any of that happens, I’ll do my best to catch you up on the few things (aside from lying on the couch and watching way too many Baby Signing Time videos) that actually did happen this month. Like Alexis turning 18 months old. That went by a blur!

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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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