Thursday, January 26, 2012

I've got a thumb sucker. Help!

It's true. I have a thumb-sucker. This sensitive, little soul girl just LOVES her thumb. And I'm not really sure what to do about it.

I had it in my head when I was pregnant that I would much rather have a paci baby than a thumbsucker because it's easier to wean kids off pacifiers. Well...Adoration wasn't going to have any of that. From day one she aggressively refused a pacifier, showing preference for her hands (or me). At about two and a half months, she found her thumb, and it was an immediate infatuation.  It was great when she was a baby. I didn't have to worry about her losing a pacifier in the middle of the night, she was an excellent self soother, mostly content, and I really think that her thumb-sucking helped her to be a good sleeper too.

But now she is 19 months and she sucks her thumb more than ever. For awhile she only really sucked it when she was starting to get tired or sleeping, so I wasn't too worried about it. But now she sucks it a lot more than that. I am at a loss of what to do! I mean...eventually she is gonna have to be weaned from her thumb and I don't have the slightest idea how. If she had a paci right now, I would just take it away from her and only give it to her for sleeping to start to wean her. But..ummm....can't take away her thumb.

So any advice out there?

When is a good time/age to wean a thumb sucker off of their thumbs??
And how in the world do you even begin to do it??

Anyone? All advice welcomed.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Learning at Home: Cars & Trucks Art Activity

     Cars and Trucks Art Activity
     Ages: 18 +

    Art activities are some of my favorite early childhood learning activities, but you may be wondering how art is conducive to learning. Here is an informative article that explores the concept. Art activities are great learning tool and they keep children interested and involved in their environment. We mostly do them because they are fun! 
   The basics of this activity is using the wheels of cars or trucks to paint. This is a great activity for kids who love all things cars and trucks, which would be about every two to four year old boy I know. ;) My daughter, Adoration, is not so interested in cars, she could care less (takes after her Mama.) So I didn't think she would be too into this activity (I was right.) But we did it anyways, just so I could demonstrate it for you! I used to do this in my two year old preschool class and those little's just loved this activity.  

butcher paper, or a big piece of cardboard
painter's tape
trucks and cars (that you don't mind getting dirty.)
washable paint
paper plate

1. Spread some butcher paper out on a flat surface, such as a table, kiddie table, or floor. Tape it down with the painter's tape.Using the marker, draw a "road."  

2. Squirt some paint out onto a paper plate. Roll the tires of a truck through the paint, and "drive" the truck along the road. Demonstrate this for your child and then let them go to town! Little car and truck fanatics will love "driving" their cars and seeings the markings they are leaving behind.

The different wheel textures will make fun markings with the paint!. 

and just for fun: my little who is not so interested in cars, but is
very interested in covering her entire body in paint!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy News is the Best News.

     Meet one of my BFF's, Erika and her hubby Matt. I loooovvveee them! I can add a couple of more "o's" into that "love" if you aren't sure of my affection. I've known Erika since high school, we were room mates in college, worked together after college for two years, and are sister's for life. One thing I've always known about Erika is that she wanted to be a mother one day. So pretty devastating when her and husband started trying for kids and were slapped in the face with a diagnosis for infertility. You can read about their infertility journey here. So three long, heart wrenching years later, there is HAPPY news. And I am so excited for them I could pee in my pants. Because they were made to be parents and they are going to be the best parents ever and I love them.

They have recently decided to adopt. The circumstances of Erika realizing her heart wanted the wheels being put in motion for an adoption almost immediately after are so incredible. They are "there is no way this could be a coincidence" kind of circumstances. So what I like to call "God is real" for realz, circumstances.

You can read about her story in:
Part One and Part Two.

Also you should probably follow her blog because it's awesome. Her blog is probably my most favorite blog to read (even more than all those big blogs everybody reads.) Because she is refreshingly candid and hilarious at the same time, plus the girl can write, like REALLY write. I have yet to find such a combination of candor and wit in a blog. Her blog is Something Beautiful. Go check it out. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Toddler Room Tour

    I love my daughter's room. It is my favorite room. It is colorful, fun, eclectic and calming all at the same time. The other day it occurred to me that I wanted our whole house to feel like my daughter's room, so I've been making small tweaks bringing in the "colorful" and the "fun" cause my house was feeling a little too old lady/southern living. But I digress...
   Adoration's room is pretty much the same from when I first put it together, which you can see here. But now we live in a different place. Her room is bigger now and so are her needs! So I've made some little changes to make it more toddler friendly. 

This twin spindle bed doubles as our reading station before bed and naps/
guest bed for out-of-towners. We keep a trundle bed underneath. We often
squeeze our whole little family on the bed for night time story time. Love it.
new addition: an ikea picture ledge to hold current bedtime books. 

bedside table. 

New addition: this reading nook
There was space at the end of the bed to make a little nook, so I stacked
some crates (from a craft store at the end) and added a big, comfy pillow. 
The crates store books and some toys. I will often find Adoration in her 
little nook with a huge pile of open books at her feet. Love my lil' 

new addition: colorful rug
This is actually a blanket my husband brought back from Mexico.
Since I took these pics (awhile ago) I've nabbed the blanket for
our couch in our living room. I plan on replacing it with a real, colorful
rug.....probably from Urban, cause they have those. :) I want to find her
a little table and chairs to put in here too. 

changes: switched up the shelves a little. 

new additions: cute little vintage romper hanging on the wall. 
white metal tub for dirty clothes. 

mobile: it's the same, but I added yarn around the ring to make it prettier.

Adoration's crib is the same, except it has a white bumper from
Ikea and I always use white sheets in her bed now. The crib
isn't exactly my style, but it was free and is solid construction so I'm
not gonna pass that up! 
new additions: Instead of having the bird houses over her crib, I hung 
these framed vintage book pages side by side. 

The inspiration for her room: Charley Harper and this bed covering
(which is actually a Anthro tablecloth I got on clearance.) 

Well, that's the tour! I have some more posts planned for this week, including a new Learning at Home post.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Learning at Home: The Easiest Toddler Activity Ever.

     Are you ready for it....the Easiest Toddler Activity Ever?

Age: 15 mo +
Learning: Fine motor skills. Beginning counting. 
Supplies: plastic water bottle. 
                dry pasta (small enough to fit through the water bottle opening.)
                small bowl/container (to hold the pasta...or you could just lay it out on the ground or a tray.) 

    This activity consisted of me giving Adoration some pasta to put into a water bottle. Yep...that's it. And ya'll, for being so free and easy, it sure did engross my very busy toddler's concentration. Every time she would drop a pasta through the opening in the bottle she would say, "Yay!" She sure was proud of herself.
    This activity is so great for fine motor skills. It's not easy for little hands to get little things into little openings! You may be wondering why fine motor skills are so important. Well think about it:  feeding ourselves, buttoning clothes, using zippers, tying shoes writing, drawing, typing, dialing a phone, texting etc, etc. There are a thousand things we do every day that utilize our fine motor skills. It's a big skill for little people to learn! 
    We practiced counting while Adoration did this activity as well. She can count to three now. So we just counted each time she dropped a pasta in until she got to three, "One..two...three! yay!" repeat. 

 Note the intense concentration: 

 You got it, girl! 

And when she was all done, I put the cap on the bottle and she had herself a shaker. Dance party!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

a letter from daddy.

    This beautiful little girl is eighteen months now. This young toddler stage has been constant growing, learning, and moving. I feel like I'm always running after her trying to keep up! She constantly surprises me with the things she can do. She can talk in short sentences and even knows a lot of her letters! She is one smart cookie. Beauty and out world! One of the cutest things she does right now:  I will ask her ,"Adoration, who is my little?" (We call her "little.") She answers, by putting her hands on her tiny shoulders and happily exclaiming "lulu!" Which is her way of saying "little." can' 
    I haven't been writing as many letters, because I feel like I keep just trying to say the same thing over and over again....that she is perfect just the way she is, that I love her with my whole being, and that God loves her even more than that. I still plan on writing her letters, just not monthly. I will write them when I have something I especially want to tell her (that I haven't said before) and get down in writing. So I don't have a letter for her this month, but James, my husband wrote her a letter for Christmas. He plans on writing her and all our future children a letter every Christmas. I, so sweet. His letter is after the pictures in this post. 
    Though I won't plan on writing her letters every month, I do plan on taking monthly pictures (with my real camera, not just my phone.) I didn't do this for month seventeen and I am kicking myself for it! Here is Adoration's eighteen month pictures, just out in the backyard. Hubs showed up at the end and we got some Daddy kisses in there too! 


    I love you. I'm so proud of you every day. You are my primary topic of conversation without a doubt.  I see so much in you. You really are living out your name.  You are affectionate and sensitive.  You love to give hugs and kisses to anyone and anything in sight....including lizards on the patio! The Lord has marked you for worship. You sing and dance and love to praise Jesus by raising your hands.  It's the cutest thing ever. You are a word for our family and we can't wait to see your impact as you grow!
   Just in this past year you've grown so much! You love the simple things in life like being outside, going on a scavenger hunt, and looking at the moon (which you always call a "ball")!  And you are so observational! I'm excited to see how God molds your sweet personality as you grow.
    Know that you are loved. Just the way you are. That won't change.
I'm gonna try to be the best daddy I can be, but know that when I come up short, your true Daddy will never leave you or forsake you.

                                                                                                    I love you,

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Holiday Recap

      Both James' family and my family live in Georgia so we made the long trek up there for Christmas. Before that, we had our own mini-Christmas here in south Florida. The weather was pretty amazing so we started a new Christmas tradition that included: waffles, presents, then a trip to the beach. It was simple and lazy and perfect. I love my little family so much!

Trying to save money + be personal + Pinterest = a very crafty Christmas! I really loved making gifts this year. Here is a peek at some of my creations:

an stocking for Adoration made
out of an old sweater. 

a glimpse of a painting for my mom. 

and my favorite creation: I made this for James' 
92 year old Grandma. Each map heart represents
all the places her children, grandchildren, and 
great grand children live. She cried when she
opened it! 

The rest of the pics are pretty random. I did a horrible job documenting via photographs this year. ah well. And just blogging all my instagrams is probably the laziest way to blog ever. By the way, if you want to follow me on instagram, my name is : altogetherbeautiful. 

checking out some new books at the grandparents.

cutie face 

 eee!!! I love tights with shorts and peter pan collars.

 don't need to wear these in Florida...wearing them
while I can!

driving through the night. not a fan 10 hour drives, not 
a fan at all. 

Merry Christmas to me! My mom let me take
some dishes out of her collection. Probably my favorite
gift. oh...and you can't go wrong with Amazon gift
vintage Pyrex dishes. <3 <3 <3

a serving dish and the
 prettiest little plates I ever did see!

James' 92 year old grandma. She is pretty amazing. She
was one of the first female flight stewardesses. She said that
the uniforms on the show Pan Am were based on their "Spring" 
uniforms. She still has her "Winter" uniform and her travel
luggage. drool. I would love to see it! While she was 
a stewardess, she met her husband: in an elevator, in NYC!
 how romantic!

my hubby in a Christmas photo as a kiddo. hehe. 

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Learning at Home: Sensory Paint Bags

  Hey ya'll! Sorry I've been MIA. (eek! I feel like I say that a lot.) The nature of my hubby's work has him working fast paced, long hours. It balances out though by giving him really, nice long breaks off of work (he works with the school system so holidays and summer.) So I kinda check out and just tend to focus on my family during those times! I hope everyone had a happy, sparkly Christmas and New Years, I know we did! is a Learning at Home activity: 

   Paint bags are such a wonderful, non messy way to keep a little one occupied. It's a great sensory experience for both wee little babies and preschoolers alike. I used to use these all the time in my classroom. My two-year old's loved it! It's a great activity to pull out whenever they have to wait for something, like right before a meal. Adoration gets really impatient for food once she sees me pull it out to prepare it, so I'll sit her in her highchair, and give her a sensory bag. It gives me that extra five minutes to cut up her food and put  it on a plate without her pulling on my leg and whining! 

plastic ziploc bag
tape (I used packing tape but duct tape would work a lot better)

    Squirt some paint in the bag (for lots of squish add more paint, for drawing purposes, add just a little.) For extra security, tape the top (you don't want paint squishing out!) I also like to tape the bag down around the edges onto a tray or table so it doesn't slide all around.  

Little babies will have fun just squishing the paint around. Give q-tips to older children to let them "draw" in the paint. They can practice writing their letters, numbers, drawing shapes, whatever. 

Adoration at 5 months. eeee! She was so little! *tear*

This bag has too much paint in it for drawing purposes, but it's the perfect amount for a baby to squish! 

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