Saturday, July 30, 2011

Backpack Puppets

A few weeks back, I'd mentioned that at Burke Lake Park, there are children's concerts every Saturday at 10 am.  LB and I headed back today, but this time we saw The Fabulous Five Senses with puppeteer Joe Pipik.  It was pretty cool!  Basically, he had a big camping backpack that he wore, and around front was a fabric "stage" he used to his himself.  The puppets perfomed out of the top.  Chloe actually paid attention most of the time, as she enjoyed the bright colored puppets and silly voices.  I couldn't grab a great picture of her watching, but here are a few tries...


So attentive!

Backpack Puppets

Well hello there Little Bears!

Of course, no visit to BLP is complete without a ride of the train, so we did that and headed home for lunch and a nap.  Our afternoon was rounded out with a trip out to Gainesville with some friends for Lucy and Paulo's Peruvian Independence celebration!  Chloe enjoyed her Peruvian dinner, climbing the big staircase at Lucy's with Mommy and Kelley, and had a great time being entertained by Meghan, Greg, and Steve in the car!  Thanks for a fun day everyone!


Puddin' Pie

Ew.  Chloe and I are officially sick of the heat.  We are ready to wear sweatshirts and pick apples and drink hot cocoa.  Hehe, well, that might be an overstatement, but while I love me some summer, it's been hard to get out and enjoy the things our area has to offer when there are high heat advisories each day. 

On Friday, we had another 100 degree day, and I was planning to do another visit to the sprayground, but it was just too sweltering.  While Chloe was taking her nap, I was seaching the cupboards for dinner items and pulled out something interesting...some vanilla Jello pudding!  Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had been planning to do some pudding finger painting with LB.  Well, I figured it was a good time to give it a try.  I whipped up the pudding, pulled out an old table cloth, and when LB woke up, we got to work! 




In the end, not much "painting" happened, but we did have a yummy pudding snack!  And we were very sticky, but by then, it was later aftenoon so we threw caution to the wind and rinsed off in the pool!  Pudding painting was a good distraction until then!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Introducing "LE Phant"

LE---our best buddy

It seems Chloe has found her "lovey."  At some point, I had put this cute little pachyderm in her crib to keep her entertained when she woke up, among some other little fellows, but she has certainly picked LE as her favorite buddy.  We often have to bring LE with us when we come out of the crib too, and he often can be seen sharing in our adventures (you may have noticed him in some of the recent zoo pics), so I figured he may as well have his own blog posting!  He is a very important member of the family. 

To explain his name:  Elepant is called "LE Phant" for two reasons.  One being that LE and LB sound cute together.  Also, my Grandpa Tony, who had a great sense of humor, would often make up silly names such as "Al E Gator" for the gator air freshener in his car, so this is another way we pay tribute to him! 

LB and LE have some favorite activites, including nosediving and dancing in the crib after naps, snuggling before bedtime, playing peek-a-boo behind the ottoman, and doing flips in the air with Daddy. 

So now you'll know who the pink guy is in our pics!

LB and LE

A Little Change to the Blog

Okay, so, in an ironic twist of events, it seems Chloe may be allergic to one of her namesakes, "the peanut."  We are still in the very early stages of figuring things out and I will update as we do, but there have been some mild reactions to this and a couple other "nut-related" foods.  Dang it.  We were totally hoping to avoid anything like that, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not really a big deal.  We'll head to the doctor soon and see what's up, but there's definitely something not quite right about her reaction to those foods.

Anyways, Chloe has a ton of nicknames we love and that fit her so well, so I think we'll be phasing out the use of "peanut."  It makes me a little sad, and it may seem silly, but I feel weird calling her something that she might not be able to have at all and that might be dangerous for her. 

Thus, we will now be calling the blog, "Adventures With Little Bear."  Little Bear is another nickname we've used since she was born, and it really does suit her quite well...especially with all of her fuzzy hair!  You'll see Chloe referred to as "LB" now. 

Just a little change, and, like the possible peanut sensivity, this won't change anything about our exciting adventures and our lives together!  We are a flexible bunch! 

Happy Nut-Free-Ness!  :) 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Adventures in Eating: Yum #2

Lesson #1: LP loves straws.  But do not give her a Starbucks straw and cup of water when she's in her carseat.  She'll gag herself with it.  I'll leave the rest to your imagination. 

Lesson #2:  LP loves straws!  And she can drink out of them rather successfully.  So I made a fun breakfast for her with this in mind:

Chloe's Breakfast Banana Peach Smoothie

1 container peach baby food (the puree made the smoothie extra smooth, but you could make this with one chopped peach too)
1 banana
Handful of ice
3/4 cup (ish) of yogurt

Blend in the blender until smooth.  Load into a straw cup (preferably a Mickey Mouse one with a top) and enjoy! 

Best enjoyed with a handful of Cheerios


This was really tasty, I had my share too.  Even was good with the baby food!  Next time I'll add more ice. 

Happy blending!

Another Zoo! We Love 'Em!

On Monday we met a few more of our "old" yoga buddies at the National Zoo!  I was pretty sure Chloe would have a good time, especially with her new love of all things animal.  We were meeting at 10:00 am, and eventhough this would be well after rush hour in most cities, you never can tell with DC.  So, we decided to take Mike into work so we could take the HOV-3 lane into the city (yay for babies counting as people, haha)!  After a quick stop at Panera for a little breakfast, we were on our way! 

It was a little hairy, of course, getting from DOL to the zoo, but once we were there, parking was very easy.  Setback: parking costs $20.  Boo zoo!  I guess that's what you get when the zoo has free admissions.  Although, I did find out that if you become a member through the FONZ program, parking is free, among other things like invitations to special events, a magazine subscription, animal cookies each time you visit, and a cute little stuffed panda.  Might be worth it? 

LP had a fun time...her favorites were the zebras, the giant tortoise, and the swimming turtles.  She also loved the waterfall in the middle of the zoo.  And I don't know how she did it, but she slept through the giant rainstorm we had during the visit (good timing)!

Babies?  Nope, zebras!

The heat even tired out Ms. Panda

Don't miss the dude upper right-hand corner.

Chloe loves waterfalls...I think we need to make a trip to Niagara!



We are so lucky to live in such an interesting place and to be able to take fun field trips with friends!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fish-n-Fro-Yo

Haha, weird title, I know, but I swear, we didn't enjoy fish and frozen yogurt together today.  Blech. 

Well, today when we woke up, the temperature on our weather station was registering in the 90s instead of just saying "error," so we figured this might be a sign that things were cooling off in the boiling inferno that was outside the past few days!  LP, Mike, and I headed out for a little ride in the wagon and a swing, but by the time we were finished it was hot enough again that we all needed showers and naps.  This is when we realized that the wagon ride would be the conclusion of our outdoor activities for the day.  So....

I really can't take credit for this idea...I have to give it up to our friends The Mallons for this one!  We took Chloe to our local Petco to check out some of the animals there!  What a fun, cheap, and easy trip.  There were a few dogs around shopping with their owners, and, although she loved seeing those big furry guys, much to our surprise, her favorite thing to look at was the fish!  She even pointed at a tank full of them and said, quite clearly, "fish, fish!"  Thanks to the Ali for the fun idea!  I also think there may be a purchase of a little swimming pet in our future...

"Fish, fish, fish!"

Where we're from, hot temps = cool treats, and we'd just gotten wind of a new frozen yogurt place just around the corner from us, so we decided to try it out.  You MUST go to Josie's Self Serve Frozen Yogurt!  I loved the way this place works...you choose a dish size and then fill it with as many flavors of yogurt and toppings that you like, and then weigh to pay!  No more shame, all of you who like to mix and match!  You can do it in relative secret here, haha.  And, in case you want to get just a little for your kiddo, you can choose the amount too.  Despite my initial shock of accidentally mixing milk chocolate yogurt with a dark cherry sorbet (didn't know how the creamy and fruity would compliment--I'm weird like that), I really enjoyed mine (topped with white chocolate chips and strawberries).  LP enjoyed it too!  And so did her face, armpit (?? yeah, how did that happen??) and clothes.  Mike really liked his chocolate and peanut butter yogurts with heath bar topping too. 

Hope you all were able to stay cool and have some fun adventures of your own this weekend!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Happy Birthday to Taylor...and a fun playground!

You know I'm a sucker for a birthday party and good playground/park...

Today we headed out to Ashburn to celebrate our friend Taylor's 2nd birthday (she and Chloe are exactly 11 months apart)!  Jessie and Joe had the party at Trailside Park.  While it was very hot today, we were still able to enjoy the playground for a little while and of course a yummy cupcake to honor Miss Taylor.  If you're ever out in Ashburn (maybe, I don't know, enjoying some delicious food at Clyde's at Willow Creek Farm?), this is a really nice little park...a big playground for kids 6-12 years of age and then a little playground for the tiny folks...swings included!  

Chloe and Taylor.  Taylor is no doubt excited about this "kah" here at the playground!

Riding shotty


"Wow mom, this mulch is almost as fun as sand!"

A "mulch through the fence" assembly line with Daddy

video
A little clip of Chloe riding the motorcycle with Taylor pushing.  Sorry about the rotation at the beginning.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Adventures in Eating...Yum #1

I love introducing new things to LP.  Sometimes milestones make me feel like she's growing up too fast, but really, I relish in the excitement and even the funny little confused or determined look her face when she's trying something new.  One of my favorite things so far has been introducing her to new foods!  From the first taste of sweet potatoes to her watching her figure out how to daintily pick up Cheerios, even to her first time eating little pieces of my favorite Cheeseburger meatloaf and peas, it has been so fun to watch her enjoy sampling different tastes.  In fact, if you didn't know, her favorite food of all?  Brussels sprouts.  Don't ask, because I didn't do anything special to get her to love them.  I suppose I ate them a lot when I was nursing?  I don't know, but anyways, LP loves to try new foods and I love to get a little creative with her, because I don't want her to grow up a picky eater.  I hope that she maintains her love of fresh foods and I hope that we can teach her healthy and fun eating habits. 

I thought I'd share one of our favorite recipes here...Spinach Nuggets.  Sounds weird, I guess, but they are a really healthy and tasty alternative to chicken nuggets (which don't get me wrong, we have those sometimes too) and can be frozen in larger batches for easy reheating on nights when you need a quick meal for the little ones!  I got the recipe from this site featuring wholesome toddler foods but I'll also write it out here for you: 

Spinach Nuggets
1-16 oz package of frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (I've seasoned them myself with basil, oregano, parsley, etc.)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 large eggs (or two if you're using jumbo)
Heat oven to 375 degress

Mix ingredients much like you'd mix up the ingredients for meatballs.  Roll spoonfulls in your palms and flatten each on a cookie sheet (sprayed with cooking spray).  They should look like the shape of chicken nuggets.  Bake for 25 minutes, turning each nugget over after the first 10 minutes.  Easy! 


The finished product!

LP really loves these.  I still cut them into small pieces for her but they are bite-sized in nature.  Mike complains that I don't make enough for all of us at a meal...he also claims he'd like to serve them for appetizers at a party.  Stay tuned for that entry! 

And so, as I continue my adventures of cooking for my toddler (eek, I can't believe she's a toddler) I will try to share any fun recipes that I come across, and please share yours with me too!   I'm looking for lunch ideas because Chloe mainly eats what we eat for dinner...anybody?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hot Hotter Hottest...

I'm sure wherever you are, reader of my little blog, that you're sweating it out just like we are in Virginia.  It is unbearably hot!  And it's going to be for the next few days.  Ugh.  Of course, in January, I'll be complaining about the cold.  As Aunt Marissa would say, "Whattya-want-me-a-do?"  That's just how it goes. 

So our adventures this week have been planned mainly with the heat in mind.  We held of on going to Gymboree until tomorrow and Friday, because we're supposed to get temperatures into the low 100's, so I don't even think swimming is going to be a possibility!  Luckily, there is still some fun to be had, even in the sweltering summa-time.  Here's what we did today! 

We met our friends Jamie and Anna (who we met at Itsy Bitsy Yoga---I'll have to do a "retro-post" on that sometime) at Lebanese Tavera in Arlington for a kid's concert.  We have been to concerts before, but this place was a little different.  We saw Oh Susannah! perform some fun and interactive songs with her guitar and shakers and scarves for the kiddos.  She's great!  As it turns out, Lebanese Tavera opens their doors on every Wednesday for the concert-goers at 10:00 am.  You can order a plate from a smaller menu (you just mark down what you'd like and then take a number) and with the purchase of one adult plate you get a free kid's meal!  The actual concert is free, though.  Whew, those workers have their hands full, the place was packed and they were able to get everyone's food out pretty much by the time the concert was over!  A few lessons learned, though...

1.) Get there early, the floor and chairs filled up super fast.

2.) Bring a high chair (if you have one that folds and can attach to a chair) because the hairchairs tended to be in the way and I'm not sure if they run out sometimes.

3.) Don't order the rice for your baby, unless you want to spend the time apologizing for the gigantic mess made by said baby.  (Ahem, Anna and Chloe, I mean you).  We offered to have Anna and Chloe vacuum up their own mess, but they just weren't tall enough the pick up the vacuum.  (ha ha ha) 

Here's some pictures and a little clip from the concert!

Shake shake shake...shake shake shake....
Shake your shaker!


video
Check out LP's sweet new dance moves...it's some spirited dancin', I tell ya!

After a nap and some relaxing, we headed out to Fairfax Corner to meet our buddy Lucy for some yummy Pinkberry frozen yogurt.  As I mentioned before, I knew LP would love playing in the fountain, so I brought her suit and let her go to town.  She is so funny---I swear she has no fear and was playing right along with all of the big kids right in the fountain streams shooting 10 feet in the air.  What a nut!!! 

There she is---in her little yellow suit!

Playing with the big guys!

On her way out of the spray, only to turn around and crawl right back in.  She was cracking us up!

video
My brave girl. Gotta keep an eye on her!

Beating the Heat 2011 Day 1---a success!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Playtime for Everyone

On Friday, our buddy Leo called up (yeah, he has some great phone skills for an 8 month old) and invited us to go to a playtime with him and his Mommy, Holly.  I'd never heard of this place before, but it was called Small Talkers and was in Centreville, near where I used to teach.  It was a pretty neat little place!  From what I gather, they have classes for babies and toddlers, groups for moms, pre-natal and baby yoga, as well as some open playtime.  Differing from Gymboree (where we go a few times a week, remember this post?), Small Talkers was a big open space full of tons of fun baby toys.  Moms and dads, I'm sure you'll agree with this one---sometimes you have a house full of toys that your little one loves, but you bring them to someone else's house, and it's a whole new magic world of amazing toys they've never seen.  Small Talkers was like this times 10.  Very cool, thanks to Holly and Leo and Leo's cell phone for inviting us. 

Chloe and Leo playing in a tent


Hi Mr. Leo!

Stop, Hammer time? 
And...since everyone needs time away without their peanuts sometimes:


We went out in DC for dinner and a going away party on Friday night...best of luck to Joe and Chris on their new adventure in San Diego.  I smell an adventure for our family out west too!
 
***Unfortunately, I saved these pics from other accounts on FB...sorry they are so blurry!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weekend Endeavors!

This past weekend, Mike was away camping and LP had a little cold.  Luckily, she was getting over it and seeming to feel a bit better, so we were still able to have some fun little adventures. 

First up, on Saturday morning, we went to the free concert at Burke Lake Park (definitely a favorite place) featuring the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra.  Each Saturday (and other days of the week too at different locations) there is a entertainment series for kids...again, free!  So, now that Chloe is napping once a day in the afternoon, we were able to head over in the morning to check it out.  It was pretty fun!  LP enjoyed the music for sure.  She wasn't really into the presenter and his witty jokes, but then again, it didn't seem like anyone was.  Here's a video of Chloe enjoying some tunes...

video

After the concert, I was starving (oops, forgot the eat breakfast) so we went to Wendy's for lunch.  I didn't have any lunch-type items for LP and I knew she wouldn't stand to watch me eat (hehe) so she also had her first kid's meal (a hamburger and apple slices).  It was a nice morning! 

Saturday evening and Sunday, we had two big events to attend...Chloe's best friends---Cate and Ike's birthday parties!  We had so much fun!

All the friends playing at the water table

Cate and her cake, yum!

Chloe had to get in on the cupcake action too.

Cate and Chloe at Ike's party

The birthday dude!




It was a nice weekend, but we are definitely looking forward to daddy coming home (and a full night's sleep, thank you very much LP's stuffy nose and teething molars)!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happy 4th (from one year to the next)!

Last 4th of July, I vaguely remember feeling like I had been hit by a bus...that is, a bus carrying a week-and-a-half old baby, hehe.  Little sleep, sore body, etc, and I spent the evening laying on my bed while my wonderful husband, in-laws, and Aunt Marissa and Uncle Kevin occupied LP, who was having a very fussy evening.  We could hear fireworks booming in the distance and the smoke hanging in the air.  We did, however, eat a very yummy flag cake prepared by Aunt Marissa, and took this cute family photo...

I have never been so tired...hehe...

So this year, we were ready for some 4th of July fun.  We've had (*a little*) more sleep and, well, a year as parents under our belt, so we were feeling adventurous, and when Mike receieved tickets to see the National Fireworks from the top of the DOL, we jumped at the chance.  A bit risky, because they didn't start until after 9 pm, and LP is usually in bed by 7:30 pm at the latest.  But we figured with enough distractions, she'd be okay!  And she was, despite a little fussiness toward the end, she seemed to enjoy the display (and the people watching).  She pointed at the fireworks, so she definitely noticed something cool was happening!  Here's the 4th of July family photo, one year later...

With the US Capital in the background, waiting for the fireworks to begin!


Best seat in the house!
Happy Birthday America!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sprayground

I am so excited about this post...this was EXACLTLY what I was looking for this summer! 

Lee District Spraypark!  This place was awesome...one of the few that I can definitely say is perfect for kids of any age.  It's basically a zero depth giant version of the coolest water table ever, with a Chesapeake Bay theme.  And this special education teacher (well, someone who was once a special education teacher and will someday do it again) was so happy to see how accessible this place was to kids of all abilities.  Love that they had waterproof wheelchairs available that can be brought right into the water,  WOW.   And it was  F-R-E-E.  No kidding! 

As an added bonus, I think this place really sparked LP's interest in getting her walking legs moving.  She loved "walking" through the little fountains.  Here's a video of her playing in one of the little spurts...please excuse the shakiness at the end.  This video marks the exact moment my video function on the camera broke.  Blasted thing...will get a new one soon...anyways, enjoy the clip!

video

Love the ladybug swimsuit, courtesy of, of course, Uncle John* and Baby Gap!  Here's some more pictures from the day.  We will be back, Spraypark!

Splash!

Splish splash!

Having fun in the little "pool"

Enjoying the waterfall

Pointing out one of the "babies," or birdies...

*Many of Chloe's adorable outfits have been provided by Uncle John.  His garage alone is an amazing clothes treasure trove, I love it...  He also has an awesome Ebay site where he sells vintage-y and other types of clothes.  Check it out here