Monday, April 30, 2012

Toddler bedtime routine

Is it 7:30 yet?

Some days I find myself asking this as early as six o'clock, yet other days 7:30 sneaks up on us.


Leila's bedtime has been early since she was four months old. I remember rushing through dinner to be home from my parents' rental by 6:15 so Leila could be in bed by 6:30. Those days she was not sleeping through the night, so I was practically going to bed with her!

When she was seven months old Leila was taking two regular naps and also started sleeping through the night. We implemented a 7pm-7am sleep rule in our house after seeing it work successfully for other families we knew.

It's pretty simple.  Basically Leila would be in her crib from 7pm to 7am each night. Personally we have found many benefits to our sleep rule...the most valuable being Leila's ability to self-soothe herself (back) to sleep.

Now as a toddler, Leila has pretty amazing sleep habits. (I hate saying this aloud in fear of jinxing myself, but we all know that can't really happen, right?) This girl loves her crib!

Her bedtime routine begins between 7:00 and 7:30 by saying "night-night" to Mommy and her toys upstairs.

Jeff brings her down to her room and gets her ready for bed (pajamas, overnight diaper, sleep-sack, and teeth brushed). Then he carries Leila around her room to say goodnight to her things, something that we started from the beginning.  Jeff reads her a few books, puts her in her crib with her stuffed animals and pacifiers, says "I love you", and closes the door.

That's it...short, sweet, and simple.

Since we implemented the 7pm-7am sleep rule we haven't had to go check on her at all. Not once.

Until last night.

Either teething or nap skipping was the culprit. I blame them both.


At 9:00 Leila was still awake in her crib playing, whining, crying, and finally sobbing. Jeff went in to check on her and although she didn't want to see him leave, she eventually feel asleep peacefully.

And guess what? She slept in today to make up for the hours she missed last night.

I love it when life works out like that!

The 7pm- 7am sleep rule has worked for us.  Share your success story! 
What has worked for you and your family?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

This is for real.

The Elmo Gang (est. 2012) has three members. Leila would like you to believe that she is in charge.

She's probably right.

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My dad (aka Grandpa) and my uncle Pat are the other two members, and yes, they also wear Elmo tattoos.

Don't worry. You can tell by their age that they are not dangerous, a menace to society, or taking over your town.

You may spot them near a bus stop,
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or near the marina
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trying to recruit new members.
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They spend their days picking flowers,
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walking the streets,
and rocking the good life
in a neighborhood near you.
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Yes, Leila is clearly in charge and loving every minute of it.

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You can be sure that "the Elmo gang rides again". -Grandpa

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

19 months

It sounds sort of strange to still refer to Leila's age in terms of months. It ages her much faster than I can believe.  Imagine having a "new" age every month!

When I tell people Leila is nineteen months old, before they ever have the chance to do the math, I usually continue to say that she's a year and a half.

One time a mother told me her son was 30 months old. To this day I still have no idea how old her kid is! I do not want to figure out the math, and I won't make you either. (I can do the math. I simply don't want to.)

For the record: Leila will be one and a half for quite awhile (five months to be exact).

I think I may have found a way to freeze time.

At one and a half years old...

Leila said, oh shit, clear as day, in a situation that I would have said it myself. (Whoops!)

She points out circles and hearts everywhere we go.

Leila has her third illness and a new friend. Toddler friends share everything!

Her eating habits are getting worse, but only for me. She throws her food on the floor at home, but eats just fine at Grandma and Grandpa's or at a restaurant.

Leila loves milk, blueberries, crackers, peanut butter, yogurt, cheese, quesadillas, applesauce, but pizza is by far her favorite. I cannot remember the last vegetable she actually ate, but she almost always tries what is on her plate.

Picnic lunches are becoming more common.

Leila is learning some new signs from our new friends. Although I mentioned she started saying a lot of words last month , the signs help because she often wants something unrelated to what we are doing at the moment.

Today at the park she signed hungry when getting off the slide. Had I not noticed her sign, I may have though she was babbling about playing and climbing!

The blocks, books, and Little People play-set are her favorite toys when we play inside.

Her hair is growing, slowly. I am still hoping for mini-pigtails by her second birthday.

400 vertical

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What's in your bag?

This is by far my newest favorite diaper bag!

I have a lot of bags and have possibly been mistaken for a bag lady, but when I saw this on Babysteals I just couldn't resist.

I have justified this by calling it a Mothers' Day gift from Leila. She likes her Momma happy!


JJ Cole Swag Bag

I keep all of my diaper bags semi-packed with the ultimate kid essentials:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Wet Ones
  • Onesie or a clean outfit
  • Bib

When I'm packing our bag for the day I just grab my phone, water, snacks, and my wallet (which also includes a pen, lip gloss, ponytail holder, and bobby-pins) and toss it into one of the already semi-packed diaper bags.

This way I can choose my bag based on what we are doing and what I am wearing!

After reading the other Toddle Along Tuesday posts from this week I want more bags!

I may have a problem.
Am I alone here?

Check out what I mean...

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Looking forward to the weekend

It doesn't matter if you work outside the home, from home, or not at all. The weekends (Friday included!) are always worth the wait.

Today I am kicking off my Friday right...alone.

It has suddenly hit me that my parents (and aunt and uncle) will be leaving May 1st after their two month visit to San Diego.

No longer will I be able to enjoy a "day-off" from Leila, have my laundry washed and folded, or have dinner prepared and cleaned up by someone other than myself.

No more shopping trips with my mom, afternoon beers, or chances to go to the grocery store by myself.

I am going to soak up my freedom and make sure that Leila can spend as much time with Grandma and Grandpa before they head home.

It's a win-win situation for everyone involved!

Wishing you a relaxing weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Toddler activities {Water play}

All you really need is a bucket, a cup, and some water.
It is that easy to keep my child entertained.


Of course it doesn't hurt that there is a bay just across the boardwalk from our local park. (Remember...the one that we practically call our backyard.)

It took me a while to warm up to the idea of impulsive water play at the park. But compared to all the bags needed for an "official" day at the pool (or beach), it seems worth it to be impulsive. It's not like I ever leave the house totally empty handed and unprepared.

...Except for the one time Leila's diaper leaked onto her pants and she hung out at the restaurant in her diaper.

We both survived today's impromptu water fun at the bay. Leila did run around in her sandy diaper for a while, but only a six year old boy noticed enough to say anything about it.

She ran into the water, filled a cup or two, and ran out to dump it on the dry sand. Over and over, and then again.

I plopped myself down in the dry sand with no towel and just watched.

Sometimes she would go a little to far out into the water.
She wants to be just like the big kids!

It was cute to watch her pick up globs of wet sand like they did and throw them into the water. She thought she was doing it just like them.

When it was time to go, I wrapped her up in a receiving blanket I found in the stroller. On the ride home she was quiet, tired, and completely worn-out. Another successful "adventure time"!


I'm hoping for a long nap this afternoon. Leila is not the only one worn-out from water play!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Our {toddler} days

After a lot of trial and error, I have found a daily routine that works for us. I also happen to LOVE it.

I realize it won't last forever, so here's a peek into what goes on around here!

Lazy wake up
Some days Leila wakes up at seven, other days it's eight. I love the mornings that I wake up before Leila does. Although it rarely happens, those few minutes with my coffee and computer really make me happy. I wonder if I will ever purposely wake up before her?! I'll never say never.

Jeff is up and out the door by 7:30, but is lucky to have a flexible work start time. His mornings are not quite as lazy as he'd like.

Milk and cuddles
Just like it sounds, most days. Other days it's straight in the highchair for breakfast so we can get out the door earlier.

I cook, we eat. She makes messes, I clean up. Rinse and repeat.

Get dressed
Some days I get ready before Leila wakes up, other days she hangs out and watches. We always wait to get dressed until after breakfast. You just never know.
Bloggy readdy

Out the door for "adventure time"
We've expanded our short list of favorite activities. I still love lazy days at the park, and make it a priority to go every Friday. On Tuesdays we play and learn with Teacher Lee, and the local library has toddler programs on most Thursdays. That leaves Mondays and Wednesdays open for whatever we feel like doing. I try to keep this time all about Leila but some days we just have to run an errand or two.


Some days we eat at home, other days we pack a picnic lunch. Can you guess which one I prefer? Picnic all the way. More prep, less clean up.

12:30 Nap time
Notice that this is one of the few things I mentioned the time? That's because no day is the same, or that predictable. But, the one thing that I watch the clock for is sleep! Leila is a great sleeper and I credit the sleep schedule she has been on for over a year. Don't mess with nap time!

Lazy nap wake up
Some days Leila naps for two and half hours, other days it's over three hours long. Either way...I love, need, cherish, and look forward to this break. It allows me to exercise, shower, do some daily chores, blog, email, bake, prep dinner, etc. Not ALL of these things everyday! More like three, maybe four things get done, hopefully.

Milk and cuddles


Afternoon play
Since the weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer I'm trying to get us out more in the afternoons (yes, this time errands count!).

Leila likes playing at home too. We listen to music, play with her toys, build with blocks, read, take a bath, watch a show, dance, or even do some arts and crafts.

Eventually I have to start dinner. This is what Leila does...
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Everything ends up everywhere.

After Jeff comes home and settles in, he plays with Leila and I cook dinner. I aim to get the food on the table by 6:30. Some days we go out for dinner (Friday night pizza, anyone?). Most days I make Leila-friendly meals and she eats them, other days she gets pb & j.

7:30 Bed time routine
Jeff puts Leila to bed on most nights. They read, say good-night to things around the room, and then into the crib she goes with her pacifiers and stuffed animals. Leila loves her crib (which means I love it too)!

Once dinner is cleaned up, coffee is ready for the morning, and I've marked enough things off my list for the day...

I grab a second glass of wine (some days it's the third) and relax.

Cheers to another day!

Wondering how our days have changed over the last few months? Check out a similar post I wrote when Leila was sixteen months old.

I'm linking up again this week with Mama G over at Growing up Geeky. This weeks's topic is A Day in the Life. Link up here...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dear Leila

It's only fair to show you a different, more flattering picture, of you as a newborn in the hospital.

After all, I did embarrassed you a bit last week with the photo bloopers post.


You are beautiful! (and smart, and funny, and lovable, and creative!)

I promise to embarrass you more in the future.

Momma xoxo

Friday, April 13, 2012

You should know...

I talk about not having Mommy friends and how hard it is to meet other moms, but in reality my long-time BFF has a girl just seven months younger than Leila.

I don't think of Amy as a mom-friend though. We've been friends for twenty years, so we were friends long before any of this baby talk. We are friends that happen to have daughters. (It really is pretty nice!)

Kennady will be turning one at the end of this month!

It seems that every time Amy and I try to get our girls together one of them ends up napping. A couple of weekends ago when Amy and Kennady came to hang out, Leila and Kennady got a chance to play together.

This is how it went down...

Starts off pretty cool.

Someone was not a real fan of sharing her toys. Notice the chicken leg? Yikes! Kennady could care less, she was willing to put anything in her mouth.

Looking forward to Kennady's party at the end of the month!
Any suggestions for a cool gift?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Teacher Lee

That's what everybody calls her.

She is generous, kind, funny, and has a huge heart.

Leila loves going to Teacher Lee's Free Play-To-Learn™ Preschool every week.

***This is NOT a sponsored post. Teacher Lee is just really this great!***

I found this Mommy-and-Me preschool through a meet-up group I joined (thanks to all of your suggestions!) and have been going weekly ever since!

Each week Teacher Lee sets up a developmental preschool at three different locations in San Diego. We attend one just fifteen minutes from our home.

Parents are encouraged to learn and play with their children as they visit each learning center.

I also like to sit back and watch Leila interact with another child, or even watch her learn and play alone. She constantly buzzes around the room checking everything out.

There is no pressure, no feeling like you are playing "wrong", no set rules needed. Just a community of parents enjoying the moment with their child.

These pictures explain it all!

I am so happy to have found Teacher Lee!

TL 400

Block play

Easel painting

Puppet tent

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Listening center
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Arts and Crafts
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Did I mention this is free?!? (Donations of $5 are recommended.)

Leila's current favorite thing to do at Teacher Lee is sit on the chairs. I swear she spends half the time we are there climbing up and getting down.

My current favorite part of Teacher Lee is circle time. I love that I am not the teacher up there. It's fun to be on the other side of things.

Teacher Lee leads the group though a variety of songs and finger-plays. It is so cool to watch these young children interact with her. She's very animated and silly too!

Leila sits for most of circle time, only occasionally trying to steal a closer look or running to my bag for a snack. We've been going to Teacher Lee for two months and I'm amazed how Leila can anticipate what comes next during the finger-plays. She sang aloud today and it made me laugh. Definitely the best way to end the class!

Circle time

I've invited two friends from the park to join us and their children loved Teacher Lee too! Hopefully they will be back for more.

Click to learn with Teacher Lee


Or visit Teacher Lee's Facebook page for more information.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Faves

Easter 500 h

Be-dazzled bunny

Blog 500 h

Grandma and Leila


Hunting for eggs

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I swear my kid is cute

Not that you can tell from these pictures, but Leila is actually a cute kid.

I went to the hospital at noon on September 21, 2010 (my due date!) to be induced due to high blood pressure. Twelve hours and twenty-six minutes later I had a a baby.

She looked like this...

baby Lblog TAT

I loved her anyways. People told me she was beautiful and I believed them.


You can decide for yourself.


I'm linking up again this week with Mama G over at Growing up Geeky. This Tuesday's topic is Photo Bloopers. Link up here...
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