Saturday, August 25, 2012

Potty and big-girl bed update

Two updates:

1. Potty. Layla is not self-potty training as we had hoped. Instead, she tells us regularly how much she wants to go potty, and sometimes even insists on wearing underpants, but then she misses the potty whenever she actually needs it. Based on the daycare's recommendation, we've been continuing to encourage the diapers and waiting for some sign that she is really ready.

2. Big-girl bed. The transition to the big-girl bed went pretty well. On the first night, she slept all the way through. On the second night, she woke up for a while in the middle of the night and tried to escape a bunch of times, but we eventually got her to go back to sleep. Over the next week, we had a bunch of other problems related to a bad cold in the house and some general anxiety about sleeping - once the cold went away and we figured out a trick to deal with the anxiety we were ok again. The naps have been going well, surprisingly. As you can see below, Layla LOVES it now, and this morning put her daddy to sleep in her big-girl bed.

Wading pools

A lot of the neighborhood parks in Seattle have wading pools for tots that are heavily used when they are open (they only open when it's above 70F which isn't every day).

Layla LOVES going, as you can tell.

The lifeguard always plays music, and sometimes Layla sings along and dances too.

When she gets tired of splashing around the pool then we go to the playground and burn off any remaining energy we might have. This is especially important if we go get ice cream just before the whole adventure.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Big Girl Bed

Layla was recently upgraded to a toddler bed. This was because she crawled out of her crib on Tuesday night, while her daddy was out for a run and I was downstairs and couldn't immediately respond to her insistent yelling. When she crawled out for the first time over a year ago, we promised ourselves we'd convert her bed as soon as she did it again (no sooner, because she has a terrible time napping and we didn't want to encourage problems). Fortunately she held out for a long time. Now, I hope the bed conversion will be an easier transition for her and we don't create any new problems (fingers crossed!).

She adores the new bed, and so far it is not a big problem. Thanks to the daycare, which has her sleep on an open cot during nap time, she was familiar with the idea of staying in bed when we instructed her to do so. She also didn't seem too shaken up by the big change (a year ago she would have been - she would get very upset when we rotated her crib or took out the throw rug for a washing!).

After about two hours of sleeping on the first night, she rolled out of bed (you can see where the guard rail ends there's lots of room to roll out). Fortunately the Studly Hubby predicted this might happen and had lined the floor with pillows. We heard a soft thud, a brief cry, and then nothing - but when I went to check on her she was asleep on top of the pillows on the floor instead of in her bed. I assume she either didn't wake up at all or woke up only briefly. She didn't acknowledge that she remembered it in the morning. She hasn't fallen out again, and normally she doesn't roll around that much so hopefully this will be an infrequent event.

We haven't truly tested it with a nap yet - she's usually pretty good at night but the naps are where we really get challenged - like her mommy, she's a very light sleeper and has a tough time settling down in the middle of the day for a nap. Hopefully by the time the weekend rolls around the new bed will be old news.

The beach!

Last weekend we went out to the saltwater beach at Golden Gardens (pictured below). The saltwater is the Puget Sound, which is super deep and SUPER COLD (55F).

We like to get our feet wet while we're there, then warm them up in the sand and go play on the amazing new playground or go look at the tidepools if the tide is out (something I have only realized since moving to Seattle - not many tidepools in Iowa!). The nice thing about this beach is that it's not so big that you can't find your friends (and we often do, even when we didn't plan to), but it's still big enough to find lots to do and see. You can have bonfires, buy ice cream, set sail on a boat, play in a stream, watch trains go by, grill out or have a party, play frisbee or volleyball, or watch people doing any of the above (which is what we usually do).

We also had a 2.5-yr birthday party for the kids at a public pool - we rented it out for the 'party' but really we just wanted to have the pool to ourselves since it's normally really really crowded (see below).

The pool has a giant waterslide that we went down about 800 times. It also has a really warm kid's pool with a smaller water slide. It's a little hazardous swimming with a bunch of 2.5-yr olds - they're adventurous enough to try to get away from you but not smart enough to know what's really dangerous. Many of us parents had a few moments of terror when our kids (briefly) got away from us at various points in the swim. Fortunately Layla was pretty good. She didn't want to do the waterslide by herself and listened when we told her not to run. She LOVES the water and has no fear of putting her face in or getting splashed. She also really had a lot of fun playing with all her friends.


Our little girl has a strong affinity for lavender. She also likes rosemary, mint, thyme, chives, and pretty much any herb that is growing outside. Lavender is her favorite though. Every time we pass by our front garden, which has several robust lavender bushes, she grabs at least two sprigs and carries them around with her until it's been eaten. That means that every morning on the way to daycare she grabs some lavender - and takes it with her to daycare (she actually keeps track of it too). The staff joke that she smells like lavender all day long (or maybe they aren't joking...).

We try not to let her eat strange lavender around the neighborhood, but she always looks for it and points it out when she sees it. She also asks about her lavender when we're out and about - we got asked about 100 times where her lavender was while we were at Lake Chelan.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Farmer's Market!!

Our neighborhood has a Farmer's Market in the summers, in a park about 8 blocks from our house. We go every week. It has a playground in the park, and a large grassy area where you could theoretically picnic (but who would, with the playground right there?). Mostly, we buy berries.

Lately, we've also started buying hamburgers and ice cream. Both are almost as good as what you can get in Iowa. What we really like about the ice cream is that they have bars in a million flavors. Our favorites are root beer, and vanilla lavender.

There's also live music at the Farmer's Market (although more at the bigger Ballard Market we go to in the off-season). Layla likes to stop and listen and dance a little bit, and then throw a couple dollars in their instrument case. One night, she found her daddy's mandolin, opened it up, played some music for me, then demanded I put some money in the case. What a quick learner!

'Baby Layla'

Layla has adopted one of her babies as her 'baby brother' (even though it is pink and very clearly meant to be a girl). She calls it 'Baby Layla,' probably to divert the label from herself ('I'm 'Big-Girl Layla!' she tells us).

Baby Layla goes a lot of places with us and gets mentioned a lot at the daycare and around town. When asked if she has a baby brother or sister, she insists she does, and his name is 'Baby Layla.' If you try to argue with her about her story, she will defend it REALLY well (mostly by yelling 'No! That's my BROTHER!!!'). One of her teachers made the mistake of telling her that Baby Layla isn't really her brother and immediately regretted it. And Layla laid down the law with a slightly older boy that tried to tell her the baby is clearly not a boy - she told him (loudly) (several times) that Baby Layla is her BROTHER and she DOESN'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT. 

We play the role of the worn-out parents that will agree with whatever story we're told. We say 'ok, that's your brother' and go get him/her milk and cookies as needed. Sometimes, Baby Layla needs to eat, and can be a little picky about what he likes. He cries and needs soothing, and sometimes Baby Layla falls down and needs a bandaid. Mostly, Baby Layla cuddles with Layla in bed, in the stroller, and everywhere else.

Lake Chelan pictures

For those of you who are wondering, Lake Chelan is the vacation-destination for Northwest families (compare to the Dells). It is about 4.5 hrs east of Seattle, and just on the other side of the mountains so the climate is TOTALLY different - they have real winters and summers. While we were there, it was actually HOT. It's also very dry there - there were apple and blueberry and grape farms but they were all irrigated.

Here are a few pictures from our trip.

On Saturday, we went to breakfast at one of the irrigated blueberry farms. They really did the tourist thing well and the place was packed. We shared a table with another family and Layla and their 3-yr-old boy got along well.
An irrigated blueberry farm.

Layla was actually a really good blueberry picker!

I enjoyed it too!

Back at the beach, Layla was REALLY interested in the boats. She wanted to ride them so badly. We finally rented a paddle boat and took her out in it. She was really good! We picked up a stick floating in the lake and she went 'fishing' while we were out.

Layla at the beach.

 Our hotel room overlooked the beach and was 20 feet away from a heated outdoor pool. People were in the pool all day and night. We were out on our deck until 10 pm then passed out.

The view from our room

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Summer mini-vacation - Lake Chelan

After a successful two weekends away earlier this summer we thought we'd try again - this time for a little further and longer trip, by ourselves (another family we knew happened to be at the same place the same weekend, which was really nice, but mostly we were on our own). Layla's really into swimming right now, we haven't had much summer in Seattle yet and the Studly Hubby and I really needed something easy and relaxing - so we rented a fancy place in a resort by a beach (Lake Chelan, we stayed at Wapato Point), a good 4 hr drive East where it's actually sunny and warm (it got up to 100F today!). This place had it all: two bathrooms (!), a pool right outside our door, a beach a little walk away, a deck overlooking the lake, and lots and lots and lots of things for kids to do - playground equipment, boats, mini-golf, wading pools, fresh clean grassy lawns to run around barefoot, and a fairly unrestricted attitude about screaming and nakedness (especially good for us, erm I mean Layla).

I have to admit, the whole hotel-by-the-beach thing is not a regular thing for us. I was a little worried after spending all that money that the drive, the toddler, and the heat might get to us - but we really really enjoyed it and would do it again in a heartbeat (the drive and the toddler did get to us but it was still worth it). Our biggest challenge was that our fiesty girl decided she didn't need to nap at all while we were there, which doesn't suit her well, so the afternoons got very long and wearing (especially Saturday). Fortunately the place offered many good distractions to help us get through it.

My favorite activity: the waterpark, which had FIVE slides we could take Layla on and a Lazy River (which she also liked, surprisingly). Derek's favorite: the hotel pool and throwing Layla up into the air so she could splash in the water on her way down (the first time, she sucked down a bunch of water and spluttered around a bunch and then screamed with glee, "DO IT AGAIN!!!"). Layla's favorite: the paddle boat, which gave her much fodder for imaginary play once we got home (now when we pretend to go somewhere we can do it in a boat, which is much less complicated than a car because there are no parking or traffic problems).