Monday, August 27, 2012

Oliver's Labels

Just a quick FYI. I really liked Oliver's Labels when I got them for Colin for his first year in preschool. After two years of use on his sippy cups and clothes they have never worn off or peeled at all. Now that he is starting Catholic school he will be wearing a uniform so I definitely needed to get some more labels since his clothes will be the same as all the other children. Colin wanted something different in terms of the design so I went looking at other companies, but ultimately decided that Oliver's Labels was the best deal and I was very confident in the product so I ordered from then again. In doing so I noticed that I could become an Oliver's Labels Agent and get a 15% commission from any orders placed on my recommendation. So if you need labels for your child this back to school season, place an order though this link and I'll get a commission. They have free shipping on orders over $30 and I even found a coupon code "swankymoms" for an additional 10% off.

Olivers Labels Agent, Rebecca Berry

You can also just enter my name in the "how did you hear about us" box at checkout.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Meghan is 1 year old!

Little Nutmeg is 1 year old! I can't believe it. What a wonderful year it has been! Sean finished his Ph.D, we both walked in our graduation ceremonies, Colin turned 4 and we went on a couple well deserved family vacations. Meghan has been such a wonderful baby, I can only imagine she will also be a delightful toddler. She is learning and growing so quickly, I wish I could just stop the clock on her sometimes.
Happy Birthday Meg!

We went to the doctor so I have her stats this month.
Height: 31 inches (95%ile)
Weight: 21lbs 10 oz (60%ile)
For reference, she is smaller than her brother at this age he was 32inches and 23lbs 12oz.
She is currently wearing 12-18 month clothes and size 4/4.5 shoes

Sleeping: THROUGH THE NIGHT!!! We finally finished sleep training and she is now a pro. For a while this month she was waking up at 5 and needing a reminder that in our house 5am is not the morning, but for the last week or so she has been sleeping until 5:57ish so we get her up. She goes to bed around 7:30pm. I would really like to get another hour out of her and have her sleep until 7 but I think that will come once she is weaned. She is napping twice a day around 9 and 1:30 for about an hour each time. Occasionally she will sleep 90 minutes but lately that is pretty illusive.


  • Go go going! This girl does not like to hang out in the house, which is just fine with us. She likes to signal her request to leave by bringing me her shoes, climbing into the stroller or banging on the front door. I feel badly if it isn't time to go and have to explain that to her, she often isn't happy.. but I love the look on her face when I ask her if she wants to put on her shoes and go. She gets very excited.
  • Music/Dancing. She does a pretty cute one foot stomp dance that we just got on video the other night.   This is in addition to the normal toddler bounce dance. 
  • Brushing her teeth. More specifically she likes sucking the water of the toothbrush at the end and then returning the brush to the water stream for another sip. Some nights it is difficult to pry the brush out of her hand.
  • Feeding herself. This is just messy, but she really wants to use utensils to feed herself like the rest of us do. I can't let her try every time because frankly I don't always have enough patience and will power to clean up the huge mess that she makes while she eats. So far we have tried to give her the sticky foods like apple sauce and cottage cheese, things that stick to the spoon a little bit even if she doesn't hold it level but it still gets flung all over the kitchen.
  • Stuffed Animals. She likes stuffed animals a lot now and doesn't have the same fears about them she did last month. The hobby horse is still in the closet because she loves it but is terrified of it but all other animals are good now.
  • Books. She still really loves to look through her books. I fight a daily battle against the book shelf as she pulls all the books out and I have to put them back. 
  • The bottom drawer of the kitchen buffet. This drawer has all the kids utensils and sippy cups in it. It is the only one she can really reach so she loves opening it, taking things out, putting them in her mouth and then throwing them on the floor.. another messy activity.


  • Taking medicine. This has been going on for awhile I just never mentioned it. She really hates being force fed meds. I have gotten infant motrin in my eyes more often then not as she raspberries it back into my face. 
  • Having toys taken away from her by Colin. This one is causing problems, it usually goes like this: Colin takes a toy away, Meghan throws a fit, I intervene and give the toy back. The problem is that she has become very quick to throw a tantrum because they have been reinforced so frequently.

New and Notable:

  • Meghan is a very good walker. People are constantly surprised by how well she is walking at this age. 
  • Teeth. Meghan has 7 teeth now, the only one of the first series missing is her lower right lateral incisor, it is on the move but not yet poking through.
  • Meghan is now signing "more", "dog", "eat" and as of the other night "sleep".
  • Her only "word" is da da but that is not exclusively used in context, she does use it correctly but she also uses it when she is just babbling too. 
  • Meghan does the same motion Colin did at this age, we thought he was signing dirty and labeled that behavior for him as a sign for dirty but it never actually meant anything more than performing the sign. She puts her hand or wrist over her mouth and bounces it on and off her mouth while making noise.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Puerto Rico!

We recently went on an awesome family vacation to Puerto Rico! We spent a week on the island along with my parents and just had a great time. We spent tons of time on the beach and in the pool and also went hiking in the rainforest, kyacking in the dark to see the bio bays (just Sean and I went), and trasping through someones backyard to hit up an "off the tourist trail" location. It was a great trip and with both my mother and I manning the cameras there are a TON of photos. I had a really hard time narrowing it down, so there are more here than normal. Enjoy!
Wouldn't be a beach vacation unless I write it in the sand.
Meghan dragging Grandpa into the surf. She loved the water!

Look who else got in on the ocean action. I'm not sure what flipped the switch but Colin had no reservations about playing in the waves this time. May be due to his increased confidence in the water from taking swimming lessons this summer.
The balcony of our condo, we were right on the beach! It was a great location as far as the beach goes. We stayed in Luquillo which is a rather poor area but it was close to all the things we wanted to do (rainforest, biobay, beach). It worked out very well.
Colin swimming (on a kickboard) in the ocean with Grandpa. This was at the public beach down the road where the water was very calm. The sand at this beaches was very very fine, I was not a fan. It didn't come off even when you were in the water.

My mom took this one on our first morning. Colin went for a walk with Grandma and Grandpa while Meghan napped and Sean and I got organized. He came back soaking wet and covered in sand, once I saw the photos that made a little more sense!
Three of four walking on the beach.
Colin does not share my aversion to sand...
Grandpa and Meghan just hanging out at waters edge.
I have to say, vacationing with a 1 year old is pretty exhausting. This 1 yr old in particular seems to have a radar for dangerous item/situations, it was very helpful to have the extra help to make sure no one wandered too far.
Some locals cast out a fishing net while we happend to be on the beach and Dad got right in on the action. It was so cool to watch.
Watching the fisherman!
Sean is carrying about 65lbs of children in this picture. Not to mention another 10 or so for the pack. Colin walked through half of the rain forest but had to be carried out (not like this, see below).
Sean taking a dip in the rainforest pool under the waterfall. He loves this kind of thing. I had a napping Meghan strapped to my chest at this point in time and was more than happy to sit out the icy waters and unforgiving rocks. Meghan, had she been awake, would have tried to dive right in there with her father, Colin was a willing but unenthusiastic participant.
Colin says it was just too cold for him!

This is how we walked out of the rainforest, .9 miles pretty much all uphill. We were totally mislead by the books saying this was the easy trail and the one we had come in on was the hard trail, this was much harder and on top of which I had Meghan in the backpack, which we decided was probably not the lighter load.
My dad went back the way we had come in to get the car, and my mom came with us. We were all, The adults were all pretty exhausted by the time we reunited with my father who seemed no worse for the wear taking the "difficult" hike. I really had to dig deep on this one, and I paid for it the next day because I had nothing left in the tank and we walked all over Old San Juan.

Now this is what I call an active grandparent! Way to step up to the plate dad! Meghan loved the view from the top!

Visiting the Fort in Old San Juan, Sean and Colin are on the grass coming up the hill and my Dad and I are on the paved walkway, Mom took the photo.

She had to be carried out kicking and screaming (although you can probably tell she got over it by the time the photo was taken and enjoyed the ride). She really liked walking up and down all the ramps and climbing on the stairs. I really didn't like chasing her around in what felt like 95 degree heat but was likely closer to 85 with 1000% humidity. It was hot, I was still wiped out from the day before, and I was ready for lunch. Crabby Mommy.
Family time in the pool. The pool was Colin's favorite part. Although I would say he likely was a little too confident in his own ability. We had to really scold him for jumping in without permission (we were in the water but not ready for him, e.g. in 6 feet of water).

I'm not sure what Meghan's favorite part was, she loved all of it!

This was really cool, and totally off the map. We literally paid a native, fifty cents each to cross his property and go down to the natural rock slides, there were tons of locals BBQing, playing dominos or just hanging out by the stream. We had read that there were two slides, this one (the big one) and a smaller version, we couldn't find the smaller version and the one local I asked (in spanish!) didn't know because it was her first time there too. Sean and I were both pretty wary of doing this one at first but after watching a young girl do it about 15 times I said we had to do it. I made Sean go first.
I came out with a bruised up right arm because I was trying to keep from loosing my shoe which slipped off my heal as soon as I sat in the running water. Sean was fine off the slide but hyper extended his thumb getting back into the stream to get the kids. Mentally accomplishing this was a highlight for me. I didn't want to do it but just had a "when in rome" moment and we went for it. Another thing we could not have accomplished without my parents with us.. One thing not pictured was a bio bay tour that Sean and I did another evening while my parents put the kids to bed. Hopefully I will get the pic they took of us soon and I'll write about that separately.

A nice photo of my mom and I on our last evening in town. We mostly ate dinner in but had run out of dinner food by this night so we went into Luquillo for ribs and fish tacos and were not disappointed.

My parents in the setting Puerto Rican sun. Thanks guys for braving a vacation with us!! We had a wonderful trip, full of family, fun and adventures and it would not have been as amazing without you. Hope to do it again soon!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Colin takes swimming Lessons

During that crazy week in Syracuse, Colin was supposed to take swimming lessons. However, because of strep throat we missed the first two classes. I was really unsure of how Colin would do, coming into the class totally in the middle without any previous experience with this class or set up. I have to say, he was AWESOME. He missed so much of the intro stuff (like "this is a kickboard") but he rolled with it as best he could, and he did every single thing they asked him to do. His biggest acomplishements : jumping into the deep end and swimming to the bottom of the shallow end of the pool and picking up a diving stick. He is not "swimming" yet but the building blocks are all there, if we get some more pool time I'm guessing he will put it together soon. Here are a few pictures from the lessons.

Life jacket practice
Swimming with one of the instuctors
Jumping into the deep end!
Colin was awesome at being "still as a statue" during the backfloat.
I have some videos of him and Lukas (who also took lessons but was in a different class) jumping into the pool but that is for another time.

Sleeping Through the Night

I eluded to this in Meghan's 11 month post. As of July 26th Meghan is sleeping through the night from about 7:30pm until 6:00ish (although admittedly she does wake sometime between 4 and 6 and needs a quick reminder from Daddy that it isn't time to wake up yet). This process was a bit slower than when we did it with Colin since he was weaned by the time we did sleep training, however she probably cried less than he did throughout the process. Which I will fully admit I swore up and down wouldn't happen, I really thought she was going to be trouble. Her first bout of training occurred around June 22nd when we trained her to go to sleep by herself. The first night she cried for 8 minutes, the second night for 30 seconds and was fine by the third night. Then about 5 days later I did sleep training at nap time, which was a non event, she just went into the crib awake and went to sleep, no crying. We usually read her three books two in the chair and one in the crib but to be honest she totally ignores the crib book and snuggles her face into rosy and starts to go to sleep so we usually just pick a super short book or I skip pages with wild abandon.

A picture just for fun.
About a week after that when she was still waking 3-4 times a night to eat, I stopped holding her after she finished eating, and made her put herself back to sleep. That required about 30 seconds of crying and then she got the idea. When a month went by and her overnights weren't improving we decided it was time to end it. So after arriving home for a hellish week of sickness in Syracuse with many many overnight wake ups we decided to sleep train overnight. This was the step I was most worried about because I have always felt like she ate more overnight than during the day, and I was nervous she would wake Colin up. In preparation for this I spent the entire day packing her with as much food as she would tolerate, pulling out all her favorites (pastina, tomato soup and noodles, cream cheese on crackers, etc) and nursing her often. That night she woke up at 12:19am, Sean went in and told her it wasn't time to wake up, gave her back the pacifier, patted her on the back and left. She cried on and off for the next 26 minutes but never crying for more than 45 seconds in a stretch followed by 3 or so minutes of silence. Colin never woke up, and she never woke up again until 6am. Sean and I were in shock! I should mention that this was not the first time we did something like this. At least one other time during the training process she woke up at 9 and I told Sean it was way to early to feed her so he went in and broke the bad news to her and left, she cried for maybe 5 minutes and then woke again at 12 to eat. From that experience I figured she would wake up again at all her usual times and we would have to let her cry again. Nope. She just got it, and that has been the extent of it ever since.
I am recovering faster this time than I did with Colin, and in the last two nights I haven't woken up in the middle of the night with a start trying to figure out why I was still sleeping.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Meghan is 11 months old.

Meghan's turn! Yikes I better move quickly and get this posted before her first birthday!! She is really... addicting (for lack of a better word) right now. All squishy and snuggley, squirmy and sweet. She knows her mind and more often than not communicates it pretty well without a single word.

 She says: "Check out my big feet!" (likely her secret to success as far as walking ability)
Sleeping: By her 11 monthiversary Meghan was sleep trained for bedtime and nap time, but not yet overnight. So she put herself to sleep but was still waking up 3-4 times a night wanting to eat (since I'm writing this late I can tell you she is now overnight trained too, look for the post soon hopefully). Meghan mostly naps 2x a day but occasionally if her naps aren't sufficient she adds a short third.


  • Water. Sprinklers, pools, lakes, ponds, faucets, the cats water name it, if she can get her hands and feet wet she will. She loves it!! There is no hesitation whatsoever.
  • Daddy. I am tearing up just thinking about the relationship she has with her father, these two crazy cats are totally in love with each other and it makes me love them both even more. I am really enjoying watching them together. The other day I took Meghan with me to the store while Colin got some one on one time with Daddy here at the house. Once she realized we were getting in the elevator without Daddy she nearly jumped out of my arms reaching back for the door as if to tell me we forgot him, and then proceeded to throw a fit from there until we got in the car.. I almost walked back to leave her with him but figured that wasn't fair to Colin.
  • Go go going! Much like her brother the girl likes to leave the house and her way of communicating this is to go get her (or my) shoes and bring them to me. The first few times she did this I didn't "get it" and  simply replaced her shoes to their typical spot by the door, she got them again and loudly insisted I put them on her. She is funny.
  • Books. She loves going to the book shelf, pulling out a book and bringing it to me (or Sean) to read. Also, if you ask her if she wants to read a book she will usually squeal and go to the shelf to get one.
  • The cats. She loves to bury her face in the cats fur. Mostly they allow this, although I sometimes will hold Sadie to keep her still for long enough. Oddly, Sadie is the more tolerant of Meghan, Griffin was endlessly patient with Colin, but doesn't seem to care for Meghan's shenanigans. As Colin likes to say,  "boys go with boys and girls go with girls"
  • Brushing her teeth. She often "reminds" me to brush her teeth after her bath. 

Silly face

  • The vacuum. Apparently I have the scariest vacuum ever, both kids hate it.
  • Sitting in the tub. This has been a struggle for a while but she is getting better.
I guess that is it! 

I think the cheeks are fading, that baby face is giving way to toddler. 
 New and Notable

  • Teeth. As of her 11 monthiversay she had 5 teeth. Her right upper central incisor and the top left lateral incisor. Mostly teething is no big deal. She occasionally gets fussy but it is pretty mild compared to her brother!
  • Meghan still intermittently signs "all done" and will get very excited if you understand and ask her if she is all done. This has been hard to reinforce though since she will often sign it before we are ready for her to be all done and therefore try to tell her that she isn't all done but then she clearly gets confused. 
  • She points and "grunts" (although I guess it is more of a "mmm" sound or sometimes "ooo") when she wants something. I honestly don't remember Colin doing this, or at least doing it as often and as emphatically.. Could just be my bad memory though.
  • She isn't a huge TV drone. If I turned on the tv for colin at this age he would watch it and do nothing else until it was off. She watches for a few minute here and there and then moves on to do something else. It is nice when I want to watch the Olympics and not have her be a vegetable, however it is not great when I want to have her occupied while I make dinner or take a shower.
  • She has a strange approach avoidance behavior with stuffed animals, some more than others. She wants them and "begs" for them but when she has them she acts afraid of it. This is especially true with Colin's hobby horse. If she knows it is around she will not let up in wanting to have it, but once she gets it she freaks out. 
  • She really likes to have you look her in the eye when she is "talking" to you. She will move her face dramatically to get right in front of mine and waits until I look her in the eye before looking away or trying to communicate something, this is even more dramatic if I have been away from her for a few hours. 

This is a dress that I not only wore, but I also dressed my own baby dolls in it when I was younger. Rather indecent on Meghan! And people complain about skirts being shorter now than they used to be! HA!

Ugh, this first year (11 months) has gone TOO FAST.