Violet At 18 Months

It is hard to believe, but Violet is 18 months old today! She is becoming very independent and very talkative. She is also mischievous enough that even Eddie has started calling her "a menace." Violet has also learned to say "No, Biolet" when she's doing something naughty.

So sweet and innocent... or is she?
I am pleased to report that Violet is finally getting some teeth. She now has 8 teeth, including 3 molars. These have proved very helpful since Violet loves food and wants to try every food she sees. Her newest favorite is the sandwich. She won't eat the ingredients individually, but in sandwich form, she will hork it down as quickly as she can... unless you try to help her. Then she becomes enraged and refuses it until you leave her alone. She also loves all sorts of treats. She recently discovered marshmallows and insisted on eating her own s'more by herself. We have to be really careful about mentioning the word "cookies" in her presence because once the thought enters her head, she won't stop shrieking "COOKIES!" until she has had as many as possible.

Violet talks a lot. Her pronunciation of some words are really funny because instead of just saying the beginning of the word, she will say the end of it. For example, instead of saying that a dog says "woof," Violet just says "fff! fff!"

Soon to come to Violet's list of accomplishments: potty training. I am hopeful that starting this early will result in a more agreeable process than it did with Eddie. Today was the first day I let her hang out with no pants for a couple of hours. The best part is that Eddie and his friend Isaac were sitting on the couch, watching a movie, and didn't even notice this:


A Productive Project

Sometimes being a stay-at-home mom gets a little monotonous. It makes it hard to stay motivated. Recently, I decided to find a way to be more organized and manage our home better. I have always been a messy person, but I have gotten really tired of my house being a constant mess. With a bit of inspiration from Pinterest, I decided to create a Family Binder. The intent of the binder is to have everything in one place so we never again lose our shopping list, forget if we've paid our bills, or lose track of where our money is going.

First, I brainstormed what types of things I wanted to have in the binder. This included things like a weekly menu, a shopping list, a monthly calendar, a bill-pay checklist, an expense spreadsheet, car maintenance logs, babysitting instructions, important phone numbers, etc.

Then, I divided them up into broad categories like Home Management, Food, Money, etc. These categories became the dividers in the binder.

So far, I have just been trying to work the binder into my daily routine. For the Home Management section, I created daily and weekly to-do lists. I also divided up our house into zones for cleaning. I have four zones and try to deep clean one zone per week. Each list is in a page protector and I use a dry erase marker to keep track of what I've accomplished. I already feel so much more productive after checking off things every day. And the theory is that every room in our house should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a month. For some of you, that probably sounds like it's not enough, but for me, it's a huge improvement. The daily list helps me get up in the morning and get things done. Every day, I am reminded to do laundry, to empty the dishwasher, to make the bed, etc. This is the first time in my life that I have regularly made my bed. Shocking, I know.

Another part of this project was to create a chore chart for Eddie. I have felt that he really needs to learn responsibility. Since he doesn't read yet, I used pictures on his chart, which now resides on our fridge. We use magnets to keep track of what he does each day. When he completes all 6 of the "chores" in the top section, he earns a nickel. If he tries a new food, he earns another nickel. And if he does something else that I ask him to do, he earns another nickel. It is nice to have him cleaning up his own toys, not fighting about getting dressed, and reminding me to let him help with the dishes.


Ten Things…

...We'll Remember About Our Bahama Cruise
10. Cruise ship "staterooms" are way too small, especially with Violet's Pack-N-Play monopolizing what limited floor space there was. The four of us were packed in there like sardines.

9. Stateroom showers are also not adequate for getting sand out of every crevice. Just ask Mermaid Riley and Eddie. Oh excuse me, Mer-MAN Eddie. MER-MAN!

8. After hearing the poolside band pull off a reggae mashup of "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" and "I Believe I Can Fly," it is apparent that pretty much any song can be successfully reimagined with an island beat.

7. Violet loved the ocean and wanted to stay in the water the entire time we were at the beach. She even became a daddy's girl for the day because I would take her farther out into the waves than Kristen would.

6. The ship's kids club was heaven-sent. In addition to the themed activities and face painting, a few hours away from his parents each night helped prevent Eddie from getting thrown overboard.

5. Kristen's bleached, windswept hair and mirror-plated sunglasses had me itching to reenact scenes from Top Gun. "You can be my wingman any time."

4. Eddie spend most of the trip demanding we carry him, and Violet wanted to walk everywhere herself. Crazy kids.

3. Hermit crabs can provide hours of entertainment for a boy at the beach.

2. We can now say we've been to the Bahamas, but Kristen and I don't really feel like we've seen the Bahamas. Instead, we saw our ship, some tour buses, a few sections of beach, and more than enough souvenir shops. The one day in Nassau when we would have had a chance to do some exploring outside the tourist circuit, it was pouring rain. Oh well.

1. Cruises provide an endless supply of food that never seems to fill you up. Somehow, we both managed to make it home without gaining any weight.

Bonus Memory! People on vacation will wear anything and everything (or next to nothing). The highlight was when encountered an old man on the elevator wearing a fedora, gray muscle shirt, khaki shorts, crew length dress socks, and black loafers. (Not pictured, unfortunately).