We have started to plan for a big family beach trip in July. As I walk through my list of must haves I thought I would share. Please leave a comment with products that you LOVE or other MUST HAVES! We are so looking forward to our beach time!
Shade- This is a must have for any family with children and frankly I think every large beach group. We have this kind of shade tent but it doesn't protect really well in windy conditions where the sand it whipping around. You may want to consider one of the "tent" versions with 3 sides.
Cooler- Another must have. A place to keep water and snacks chilled. We have one like the above picture with wheels. They actually operate OK in the sand but if you have a large wheeled cart for regular beach use its probably easier to haul all of the gear.
Cooling towels- We have towels like the one pictured above for sporting events. But, we throw them in the cooler for beach days too. Frankly baby doesn't like them too much since they are so cold but in the event that she is getting too hot it is nice to know we have them. Our teenager is more likely to use them.
Blankets/beach towels/yoga mat - We use some pretty generic cotton blankets as our base layer then everyone has a beach towel. I bring this yoga mat everywhere in my car. I like the added cushion and at the beach it replaces my cheapo changing mat from the diaper bag. The sand just wipes off when you get home so easy clean-up.
Sunblock- We bought this brand at BRU (Babies are Us) and have been happy with it so far. No sunburn yet this year. Be ready to reapply often. Keep as much of the baby covered as possible. Research now says it's the burns we get early in life that cause later cancers and other skin issues.
Hat- I love this iPlay hat because it covers the neck, it's designed to get wet & dries quickly, and you can cinch it to fit a growing baby. We have it in white. It comes in many colors.
Swim Wear- I have two very cute traditional one piece suits for our girl. We use them at the pool or the sprinkler when we won't be out too long. I also own this suit in purple and another like it by Coolibar. Our toddler is very very very fair skinned. This is about as covered as she can get with SPF 50 material. Rash guards are another option over a suit. They all snap or zipper so diaper changes are pretty easy.
Water Shoes- If your toddler is walking you must have shoes to help protect those little toes from the hot sand. The pair above is Stride Rite. We don't have them yet but plan to get some like it.
Water, Water, Water HYDRATE- We just got this green sprout straw sippy cup. Its glass (has a glass insert) and although she has dropped it multiple times so far it hasn't broken. Quickly becoming our go-to water bottle. Be sure to offer water frequently! Keep them hydrated on hot days!
Stroller fan- Clips onto anything. It doesn't have a big blast but it does move the air. We use it all the time in the summer. This one is from BRU.
Baby Powder- I love the beach. I hate the sand. Great beach tip for removing sand from little hands before snacks (and when they just love to put their hands in their mouth) Johnson's baby powder. Generously- don't hold back- sprinkle on hands, feet, legs, and rub off. It really does work well. Caution- be careful using any kind of powder with very young babies. You don't want them to inhale the powder.
Toys- The fun stuff that will keep them busy. Dig. Just dig for hours. Don't eat it. Did you dig a hole? Great now fill it back up. LOL But seriously sand castles, rock collections, wade pool exploration, beach balls, Frisbee - shut off the screen and enjoy the beach!
Cleaning up I noticed something in the chair. Cue the music. What the heck is that? OMG it's KIX. You know the cereal. Yes, it is EVERYWHERE. I cannot explain to you.
That CRUNCH under my foot in the middle of the night. Yep Kix
That powdery mystery stuff on the bathroom floor. Yep Kix.
That small dot hidden in the crack of the chair. Yep Kix.
Really it's no Kix fault. It's living with a toddler and let's be honest both one of the best and worst pieces of toddler snackology improvement equipment every...
It's all about technique. She has this way of holding the top open with her fingers and then the shake shake shake commences. Yep Kix everywhere. I love that the cup makes her more independent. I love that she feels clever sneaking her little fingers in there for a snack and popping it in her mouth all by herself. But come on..... CUE THE MONTAGE MUSIC
All I can say it
I thought I was pretty organized. Basket for easy clean up. Books within reach. Everything contained in one place in the living area.
Then she started to pull all the books off the shelf, emptying the baskets, became overwhelmed with choice and appeared to want to play with everything at once. Enter Montessori-like theory on toy organization and the REORG.
Not a dramatic change but things to note
All toys within her reach - I did have toys on the top shelf but she coun't access them which mean more work for me when she wanted something up there. Now she can get to all of it.
Toy organized by theme- the top left 2 puzzles at a time (previously there were as many as 6 out), middle top board books she loves for independent "reading" (bunny hold them there), right top Tupperware and stacking cups, bottom left musically instruments, middle bottom wooden toys (pull toy, some blocks, stacking tower, and wooden bus), bottom left stuffed animals, one ball, and one electronic music maker. I maintain this system to eventually assist her in putting them back.
The activity cube within reach- it's ready to pull out if she shows interest
Book basket- I went through the books and kept good age appropriate read alouds for the basket. Only about 1/4 of the original books are now out
Child sized chair - it's hard to see but she is sitting in a small chair looking at a book. The chair is positioned next to the toys. It is actually a portable high chair we used for snack but she can get in and out herself and it is one of her favorite imaginary play toys. She puts her stuffies in there all the time.
Swop it out- All of her other toys are in one of 3 places. Under her bed waiting to be swopped out in a few weeks when she seems bored, in toy baskets in the kitchen which remains there for dinner time prep play. Or, her bedroom basket which holds toys for times when I am in there putting away laundry or as quiet play before bed time. See pic below of these baskets.
Most exciting she is playing for longer periods and showing more focus. Also she is trying to put her toys away for the first time!
Toddler Art - How to you paint with a Toddler without making a mess? Zip-it-baby. Cut a cute shape out of thick white paper, place it in a gallon zip-lock, squirt a few blobs of kid friendly washable paint on the paper IN THE BAG (this takes some talent), well-ah. No mess toddler art.
Pros- easy and the babe stayed clean
Cons- too much paint and the butterfly stuck to the plastic bad so as I pulled it out it ripped. Also, set up took longer then her actual engagement BUT I have a flower and a heart ready for round two.
Window gels - My amazing step-daughter bought these window gels for baby girl. We tried them out one afternoon. It was good entertainment.
Pros - kept her engaged for some time. Was interactive with me. Did take any set up.
Cons - BABY TRIED TO EAT THEM. You must stay close if you are doing this with a child who puts things in his/her mouth. They are a CHOKING HAZARD! Do not leave you child unattended - but if you are there to play with them I found it OK to redirect her. She threw them on the run and they got all fuzzy so they lost the stick. We threw them away as soon as we were done playing.
The water table. I LOVE this birthday gift. If you have a yard and a toddler get one. I have not tried the sand & water versions but I'm saying go all in if you are put fists full of sand in the mouth stages!
Pros- occupies her for a long time. Can switch out the toys for new excitement. Easy to clean and once it is set up hardly any time to fill.
Cons- sun. If you have shade use it. If not hat and screen for sure! Be sure to empty is after each use so it doesn't get yucky or become a mosquito haven.
The book bin! My baby LOVES books. We have board books for easy access on our toy shelf and a bin of read aloud books next to it. We have two baskets of books in her bedroom. Books, books, books....again BOOKS
Pros- she will really sit and look through them. She is quiet and has favorites that she pulls out every time. She likes being read to but even more she like just playing with them. I let her. I want her to love books even before she can read them. I read at least one story to her everyday.
Cons- she pulls them all off the shelf often. If I prompt "You need to read one" she will sit and look at one then pull the rest off LOL. Usually it is just the board books from the shelf. She has yet to put them back hahahahaha but I dream of the day. That's really the only con. Books, books, books....again BOOKS
A quick graphic on Growth vs Fixed Mindset. What is it?
Thank you for designing it.
For more information related to Carol Dweck's work on Mindset and the impact on children's success you can also read this article.
TOP 10 WAYS I AM "UNFIXING" MY TODDLERS MINDSET
1. Allowing her to develop tolerance for frustration - this means that I am stopping myself and counting to 10 before I intervene. Often she surprises me and works it out.
2. Praising her persistence - every time I step back and she works on something repeatedly I praise her. She doesn't have to get it right now, the effort alone to stick with it is enough
3. Changing our vocabulary- of course I still tell her she is smart! But we also use phrases like "wow that was good hard work" "keep trying you will get it" "I like how hard you are working" "look what you did when you tried" "look at you grow - it wasn't easy but you are getting it"
4. Model Momma Model - I show her how to do it. Even if I know it's challenging. I make gestures, use words, show examples. Then I let her try. It's not about doing it right it's about the process of trying. Example- today's Tupperware play. She desperately wants to get the lid on one of the smaller pieces. She just isn't there yet. But, I modeled then she persistently tried and tried and tried. She got frustrated. She held the lid out to me. I showed her again and gave her a turn. She didn't get it but I praised her effort. She will try again and one day she will get it.
5. We Taught our family members and caregivers about Mindset- this is an area of continued growth for us. Everyone is at a different place on the spectrum. But, keeping the message similar will only reinforce it.
6. She sees me fail and try again - OK so she is toddler. I don't expect her to really see my failures yet but I point out mistakes and opportunities to do it better. For example, I dropped the silverware when trying to get it in the dishwasher. "Whoops momma didn't do that right. I'm going to try that again. I think I can do better" Start small. As they growth they may even start encouraging you to persist through some of your bigger challenges.
7. I point out other kids showing growth mindset - if I see another child at the playground trying to master a new skill I point out how hard they are working. How they didn't get it right away but they keep going. Maybe they succeed as you watch or maybe they don't but praise the effort.
8. I try to connect & extend learning - we tend to set benchmarks for mastery. We all do it. You've "got it" now move on to something else. This sometimes teaches children that there is an end point for learning that they are trying to get to. But, that is fixed - a stopping point. We want growth. Rather I try to connect the skills to new learning or extend it when I can. "Wow you rolled that ball right to Momma now let's see if you can kick it." "Look at you! You worked so hard and took all of the blocks out of the bin next let's see if you can put them back."
9. Let her be independent- she will gain confidence and problem solve. I am continually surprised and delighted at how I see her growth and the learning. I offer encouragement when she face challenges.
10. Be open to possibilities - I try not to limit my expectations of her or make presumptions about her. Encourage risk taking (This is hard for me when it comes to the physical stuff because I don't want her to get hurt. Papa helps me out here.) Teach that through failure there is growth. Without challenge there is no triumph. Struggle, struggle, struggle....GROW!
I have mentioned before that I am a Pinterest junkie. I did my back yard wedding with Pinterest inspiration and I LOVED my wedding! So of course where else to turn when planning the FIRST birthday? What I did and how I did it BIRTHDAY 101:
Pick a theme- Pink Lemonade
The high chair - bought on Craigslist. Paid more then I wanted to because I let another one slip by and I was a little over a week away from the big day. Paid $35. Its a nice retro wooden high chair. Did have the great turned spindles but all in all I think it came out well. I used a left over low VOC can of paint from her nursery. I cheated it and didn't refinish it. I sanded it down. Washed it down. Painted 2 coats with a fairly dry brush to get a purposeful streaked distressed effect. Didn't coat the tray so I would not recommend placing cake right on it unless you coat it with a food save top coat. But our cake was attached to the cardboard plate beneath.
The props - I bought the pre-painted letters at Micheal's. I used them to make a fun collage pic that was a total Pinterest steal. You can see it in in the very first blog post. The banners were fabulous. I found a woman who does paper crafting on a local FB Exchange site. You can reach her at Pattykatepaperart@gmail.com We did one for the highchair and one for the wall.
I did a small candy bar. BEST advice came after I had acquired a few apothecary jars at Home Goods- Good Will. I was able to pick up 4 more glass containers of various shapes and sized for $1.25 each. The table cloth was princess fabric from Joanne Fabrics. They have amazing Princess materials there.
I ordered all of the candy online from various stores. Rock candy was the biggest hit. NOTE TO SELF if you ever decide to do a future candy bar DO NOT set it up the day before when your 3 and 6 year old cousins are coming over for dinner. It was quite the tease.
The cake - we were so lucky that one of the teacher's at daycare makes fantastic cakes as a side business. If you live in MD email me and I will hook you up. You won't be disappointed. We opted for vanilla and lemon cupcakes with a vanilla smash cake for the baby. And yes before you ask both designs were a Pinterest steal. loved loved loved them.
Custom candle bought on Etsy from TheCraftyPair.
General First Birthday Advice.
The Invites - I used Paperless Post and did pay a small fee for upgraded email evites. I thought it worked well except one of my guests never received the evite so follow-up with those who do not RSVP. She made other plans and was disappointed not to attend. I ordered one copy of the evite in paper form for her baby album. I so glad I did that. I put it out on the cupcake table for display. Was worth the $5.00.
Smash Cake Pictures- I read somewhere to consider doing birthday smash cake pics on a day other than the actual party. We didn't and I think having 30+ people staring at her did impact her smash experience. She was DAINTY and barely ate any cake. But, we got some cute pics and everyone had fun. If you want the SMASH you might want to do it a day before or after. Also, we have not done professional photos. I enjoy taking her pic and they come out pretty well. I tend to over expose a bit. For her smash cake I set the manual setting on my digital and handed it off to a friend. Worked for us.
Presents- I specifically ask people NOT to bring presents. Think about this based on the amount of people you invite. We did her birthday in combo with a big annual BBQ that we always hold so we have over 30 people. I didn't want to be inundated with toys (we have so many already) BUT people still brought them. We were very thankful but I was glad I stated no gifts in the invite or we would have been overwhelmed. Consider picking a charity for people to donate to. We may do this for future parties while she is so young.
Activities - We knew we would have young children and toddlers there. Luckily we have a pool so the older kids had built in entertainment . The Water Table- this was a gift from Auntie although we had actually bought one for baby's gift from Momma and Papa ( we returned ours) It was prefect for the day. We used a Summer baby gate system to make sure that the water table and toys were a "safe place" for our little ones. Also, I went to 5 Below to pick up some inexpensive activities for toddlers. Pool noodles- amazing how just carrying them around can be entertainment. Bubbles- both big wand and small wand. Beach toys - fun to chew on and inexpensive. Rubber bouncing ball any age can play.
She GOT it! After introducing the idea of sucking from a hand held straw it took 4 days start to finish.
I'm so proud of her! And myself of course. This is the video that I watched. GO BETSY! How old to you think she is? It took our girl longer to master and I did model it myself much more than this video. I actually sipped from the straw cups and then made a sucking face (HYSTERICAL!!!) like fishy lips each time I handed her the cup.
Of course the straw is still a curiosity. I let her explore with it BUT I'm being more strict on the "no chewing/not a toy" limits than I was with the sippy cups.
Check out my earlier June Post "Wean Schmean" to find a link related to the benefits of using straws over traditional sippy cups. Now, this is a transition cup for younger babies and I plan to upgrade soon but she finally picked a cup- the winner is ...
We also have one by Munchkin that is BRILLIANT because it has a weighted straw so no matter what angle she holds it, the straw remains in the bottom. She is getting the hang of that one and I plan to look for more like it since she tends to title the cup WAAAAAY back. Share your favorite straw cups in comments below OR tell us your story.
Baby and I are thrilled to be home together for the summer! I have been thinking about these next few months all school year. I have been telling myself how good it will be for both of us and I really do believe that it is the BEST part of being an educator. I have been looking forward to these long days of just she and I. Then I realized these are going to be long days of just she and I. So I aim to find something fun and new to do each day. I admit it I am a Pinterest addict and I'm not 100% sure how to credit all the great ideas I find on there so unless i say HEY I MADE THIS UP MYSELF it's just my variation on someone else's genius.Confessions of a Mommy blogger.
What to do with your 1 year old all summer long.... (future posts with more ideas and Pinterest steals)
OMG its WAAAAAAAAATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes, it's her first experience with a sprinkler. The joy, the excitement, the moment when she realized that she can't actually hold water streams in her hand well you can hear that in your own head, right? I found this at Marshall's of all places but its great and she loved it. Will definitely take up some of our sum sum summer time.
I breastfed my daughter until she was 10 months old. At that time my supply had dropped so much that I was constantly worried that she just wasn't getting enough milk. We already supplemented half of her bottle with formula so over one of my school breaks I transitioned her to formula. It was bitter-sweet. I miss the bonding but I didn't miss the tugging at my clothes, the feeling that I was her soul comfort, the anxiety of being able to feed her enough. I do miss my boobs now that it's over but that's another post. So here we are the first week of summer vacation and her year one well baby appointment is baring down upon us. I decide that I really want to transition to whole milk BEFORE the appointment to make sure it is going well in case I have questions. HOLY COW I have to say I didn't REALLY think about how hard it must be to give up that bottle. How much our babies have come to rely on sucking to calm them, satiate them, put them to sleep. I mean I did what I was told to and introduced a sippy cup at 6 months. I filled it with water. I gave it at meals. She sipped from it, she chewed on it, she mastered the ability to hold it open with her teeth so she soaked herself through her bib (even at daycare where multiple days she was sent home in a new outfit because she was all wet). I didn't really care of think much about it- until THIS week. Now I wish that I had taken it all a little more seriously.
See those cups pictured above. Its a small selection of the cups in our cabinet. Some are new some are old....she hates them all. OK I'm new to blogging so no one gave me any to trial and honestly I think they are all great she just HATES not having her bottle. We are at 50/50 formula/milk. We have done this gradually over the week an ounce at a time. OK maybe 2/3s milk at this time. Well of course this got me to worrying- what am I doing wrong, what if she gets dehydrated, what if she doesn't like milk, what if she doesn't get enough calcium, what if she doesn't get enough calorie. What did I find out. I should have introduced her to straw. I'm already late....
So I have been watching youtube videos. They make it look easy. Yes she will suck from a straw I am holding BUT the second it is placed in the cup---NOPE. She HATES it. At this point we have one cup that is working for her. Its the green NUBY. Sometimes. Wish us luck. Take sippy cups seriously. Its pretty serious business. Now baby girl please pick a cup.
You are joining us as we begin year two of this crazy adventure called MOM or in our house Momma. What will this site be? It will be a place where we share our adventure. It will be a place to share our experiences. It will be MY voice. It will NOT be a place of expert advice. It will NOT be a place that you find all of the answers that we are all desperately looking for (yes I know I know I know just how you feel!). But, please take from our experiences what works for you and your family and your child(ren). BE IN IT. LIVE IT. DON'T LET IT PASS YOU BY.
Our List of Firsts
first breath, first cry, first bath, first kiss, first doctor, first smile, first breast feeding, first NICU, first bottle, first pumping, first giggle, first year without a full nights sleep, first full belly laugh, first surgery, first day of work, first solid foods, first homemade baby food, first hug, first book, first puzzle, first Christmas, first day at daycare, first pneumonia, first nebulizer, first sleep training, first date night, first plane ride, second plane ride, first baby wearing (epic failure), first consignments, first roll, first wrestle with Papa, first sippy cup, first hand print, first hand knit sweater, first slide, first swing, first swim, first water table, first sensory bin, first fireworks, first Easter, first visit with Grandma's , first swaddle, first full nights sleep, first lovie, first 7 hour road trip, first barf, first cold, second cold, third cold, first ear infection, first crawl, first nap with Papa, first balloon, dress, first bow, first dog, first cake, first birthday