Saturday, February 26, 2011

Unlikely Entertainment

What's a 15 month old to do on a terribly rainy day in February? Open a kitchen cabinet and discover something so fun, you just can't put it down.
What is the "it" you are wondering?
An old, crusty, warped cookie sheet :)
Leave it to Finley to take something pretty icky and turn it into something quite wonderful.
It was certainly a loud activity, but Dan and I just watched in awe of how fascinated Finley was with this newfound contraption. He pulled it, pushed it, dragged it, stepped on it, sat in it, banged it on the floor, banged it on the carpet, and made circles around and around the house with it. The following video is from later in the day when Finley took out his beloved cookie sheet again and was back at it. It's a bit loud (and kinda long), but whenever you can catch a glimpse of his face, it is truly priceless.
Note to self: buy a new, cookie sheet.
Note to Finley: you're hysterical, we love you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Photoless Playdates

It's my vacation week from school, so Finley and I have been taking full advantage. Yesterday, we went over to Dave and Mary's house to visit with Henry who is 6 months Finley's senior. What a difference 6 months can make--Henry towered over Finley, was significantly more coordinated, and seemed to have a longer attention span than our little gnat. The boys bounded around from room to room and Finley had a blast exploring a houseful of new-to-him toys. Finley spotted a toddler rocking chair and wanted help getting into it, I obliged, and he surprised me by knowing how to rock back and forth! Where does he learn these things?Henry has the most adorable wooden kitchenette and Finley LOVED checking out all the pots and pans stored in its cabinets. However, his favorite item was a kid-sized push broom he discovered. Finley loved sweeping up all around the kitchen and into the living room. The carpet in the living room posed a challenge, but he persevered to get back to the smooth wood floors. I must use this new interest to my advantage at our house! At one point, Henry squeezed himself behind his train table and played there for a while. He bent over to get something and Finley thought he was playing peek-a-boo, so he looked under the table from the other side. They went up and down a few times just smiling and laughing. So cute! Finley tried to get back to where Henry was since it looked like so much fun there and for a few seconds, the two kiddos were standing next to one another pressed between the fireplace and the train table. Adorable! Where was my camera? The same place it was all afternoon, zipped in its pouch in my zipped bag. Ug.

After making a huge mess of their house, it was time to rush home for dinner, bath and bed. What a great playdate--both boys played happily and both moms were able to chat and relax (well, sort of).

Today, we ventured way outside of our usual routine and drove down to Connecticut. Our friends, Kelvin and Stacy, along with their adorable daughter, Aliza, moved down there in the fall and I'd been waiting for an opportunity to pay them a visit. Leaving after breakfast this morning, we arrived at their new house around 10am. The kids played a little while we got set to visit the JCC for some indoor playing fun. Aliza was an expert at the JCC's "playscape," but Finley wasn't so sure of the awesomely huge, climbing structure. Bummer. He did test out one of the slides and seemed happy enough just running in and out of the playroom. We had "lunch" and I use that term loosely since again Finley was more interested in running around, chatting, and cracking himself up. I couldn't get over how brave and bold he was being in a brand new place, which is probably why I didn't bother trying to force any food into him. Why mess with such joy? We finished up in family room, which was full of trains, blocks, a play kitchen, a fish tank, and lots of other toddler mesmerizing items.

Back at Aliza's house, Finley was suddenly interested in eating so he had some chicken before we attempted to get both kids down for a nap. Finley fell asleep easily but only slept for about an hour and twenty minutes, while Aliza took longer to fall asleep but slept for over two hours! Ah well :) Finley came downstairs to play while Stacy and I had some time to chat and catch up. Finley basically occupied himself while we talked in their playroom. He showed Stacy one of his favorite ways to play these days, which is to make "soup" in a pot or bowl and then offer a spoonful for you to taste. He shared his soup with both of us, but eating most of it himself. So cute to watch! He'll stir and stir, taste, stir and stir, offer you a taste and on and on! This time it was broccoli, cheese, and tomato soup--tasty, right? After all this, he had a real snack of yogurt and fruit before Aliza woke up. Finley was a real chatterbox during his snack and Stacy kept remarking how verbal he was--what music to my ears! Not really words, but it sure seemed like he was explaining some complex thoughts.

Aliza and Finley got to play a little more together before we had to hit the road. Aliza said a very sweet "Bye, bye, Finley" so it was sad that he wasn't in the mood to give her a wave back, sorry chicka! We all hugged and promised not to wait too long until we get together again.

We got home easily in just under two hours and amazingly Finley didn't fall asleep! I just kept passing him new toys or books to occupy him and it worked! Though the "Noisy Trucks" book was a mistake--occasionally hearing a fire engine siren while flying down the highway was a bit unsettling to say the least. Dinner, PJs, and off to snoozeville for Finley as soon as arrived home. What a great day!

But alas, no good photos. I have a few that I may try and upload tomorrow that I took at the tail end of our visit , but I'm pretty sure that none of them capture both kids' smiling faces--which just wouldn't be representative of the fun we had today :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Little Blue Riding Hood

Finley wasn't off to see either of his dear grandmas (unfortunately), but he was all dressed in blue outerwear and found a bucket to take with him on his adventures in the basement.
Whoa there, little buddy, you aren't coordinated enough to go up the stairs without anyone spotting you--let alone dragging a bucket behind you. Thankfully, Finley listened and decided to share his new-found treasure with his dad.
We had to pry the handle out of his little hand so we could leave the house, but now each trip to or through the basement involves at least a short bucket playdate. And just so you don't think Finley is hard up for toys and choosing a bucket out of desperation, here he is enjoying two of his favorite things: his stuffed penguin (Agent P) and his dad.
Though sometimes the best toys really aren't toys at all, here's something he discovered while playing with Dan. My giant, super-warm mittens! He likes to have them on and then claps, which is pretty funny. The footie PJs really complete the look.
This photo was from over the weekend, but just this morning he brought me his own little green mittens to put on and I was thrilled! If he'll wear them inside, perhaps outside won't be such a challenge.

One final 3-day weekend photo (can you tell how frigid it has been outside since all our recent picts are indoors). It's a tad out of focus as he was running towards me, but this smile encompasses his overall mood these days. Happy. Giddy. Pleased with life.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Cat-Sitting We Go!

Our good friends, Mike and Tali, asked us to cat-sit over the long weekend and I was so excited! Not only do I love cats, but Finley has always enjoyed furry felines. Since Dan's allergic, there are no kittens in our future so any opportunity we get to play with one is one that we take. This morning, Finley and I drove over and once we found Muesli in the front closet, I was ready with camera in hand to catch the toddler/cat action.
If you saw this adorable kitten coming towards you, what would you do?
If you were a top chef toddler, then you'd choose the pots over the cat. Arg. Muesli tried to get Fin's attention by being her lovable self all around him...
But to no avail. Nothing that cute kitty could do could tear Finley away from his pot and lid. Eventually, Muesli gave up and both pint-sized adorable beings went their separate ways.
When I had given the Mu plenty of love and attention and it was time to go, I told Finley to say goodbye. He stared at her for a while on the table and then she meowed. He coo-ed back. She meowed. He squealed back. Too bad I didn't have the camera on video mode.
Thanks for hanging out Muesli, we'll see you tomorrow!

Friday, February 18, 2011

A gem

Rarely caught on camera: a boy and his mom.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Checked Up and Out

Dan, Finley, and I went to Dr. P's office today for Finley's 15 month check up. I remember a year ago that it felt like we were going every other week, but now with our visits 3 months apart--it feels like forever since we'd been there.

Quick stats: Finley grew two inches (from 31 to 33 inches) and gained about 1.5 lbs (from 21 lbs 14 oz to 23 lbs 5 oz). This puts him in the minuscule 33rd percentile for weight and the towering 88th for height. Wow! Long and lean (just like his parents, Dr. P remarked).
After a quick physical exam, we talked about what Finley's been up to, what he eats, how he sleeps, etc. Seems like he's doing nearly all the toddler things he's supposed to...except for the talking part. He's babbling up a storm, narrating his activities, getting our attention, trying to express his needs, etc. But apparently 15 month old tykes are supposed to have 4 to 6 words! Oops. He sometimes says things that closely resemble words (see posting below), but nothing that his by-the-book parents are calling words. Dr. P said it wasn't uncommon but hopefully a word explosion is just around the corner :) He did note that Finley seems pretty verbal, just in the short time he was with us, so that's good! We did promise to make an appointment with an audiologist just to make sure Finley's ears are in working order (which we are 99.9% sure they are since he can follow directions and such).

Before leaving the room, Dr. P said what a pleasure it was to have a cheerful, cooperative 15 month old in for a check up. Yeah, Finley! Apparently, many of his same-aged peers can be quite unsettled by the exam and usually end up in tears. Nice to know Finley's sunny disposition can make someone else's day besides ours.

Oh and while checking his ears, Dr. P said it looks as though Finley is at the end of an ear infection. His first. We missed it. But it would explain his terribly rough night's sleep earlier in the week. Our bad, sorry little guy. Thanks for taking it like a man, you made your dad proud.

Friday, February 11, 2011

What's new in Finley's 15 month world

This quick post is mostly for my own reference, but perhaps you'll enjoy it, too.

Tricks and things that Finley can do now as he approaches 15 months:

1. walk backwards (usually into one of our laps)
2. hold a phone to his ear (most often upside down or backwards), usually following one of us saying "Hello? Hello?" to him
3. putting lids and caps on things (cups, containers, etc)
4. loving pretend cooking tools: wooden spoons, cups, new wooden pot set from his VA grandparents), spatulas, pitchers
5. showing more love to his stuffed penguin, Agent P, than ever before--squealing with joy while rolling around on the floor with him or picking him up and then barreling into one of us for a big hug
6. attempting to eat with a fork (stabbing food and then pulling it off with his other hand to stuff it into his mouth)
7. opening the pantry when he's hungry (or just to find something new to play with)
8. carrying around our nice, loud, heavy calphalon pot lids (sometimes two at a time)
9. trying to sit on anything raised up (fireplace, toy bins, my dad's guitar case) and then swinging his legs once he sits
10. trying to pull/carry anything with a handle (tool kit, pitcher, my dad's guitar case)
11. throwing balls for his own enjoyment and laughing when he sees where they go before chasing them down
12. being a total chatterbox: Finley is constantly chit-chatting with those around him. Us, people at the supermarket, his friends at daycare, pretty much anyone who makes eye contact with him. While no official first words have been spoken, progress is evident! When you offer him something (food or beverage) he will sometimes say, "ys." Last week, my dad said that Finley said "up" while raising his arms to get picked up. On Saturday, my cousin swore Finley repeated the word "horse" when they were playing with some barnyard figures. The last couple days, Finley's been echoing me with the words "shoes" and "ball" with his own versions "soos" and "ba". Then, the other night Dan offered his some cheese and Finley responded with "chs". Not really English, but closer than he's ever been!
13. helping put his coat on (putting his arm in the coat sleeve and moving any object he's holding from one hand to the other when it's time for the other arm) and take it off (I unzip and pull one sleeve off and then he pulls the other off and hands it to me to hang up)
14. he's learned to wiggle and loves to wiggle when he's really happy in his new high chair and whenever he turns on of his musical toys, he wiggles to the tune. so funny!
15. laughing, laughing, laughing: Finley has a terrific belly laugh and while he's very good at making himself laugh, there are lots of ways we can get him going. A new game he and I created involves him pulling a pair of socks out of the laundry basket, bringing them to me, and then I toss them at him--seriously, that's the game. I managed to get a little of it on video, see the fun below!
15 things to note just as we hit the 15 month mark. Woo-hoo!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Virginia Visitors

Lucky for Finley, his Grammy and Granddad stepped up to the plate to take care of him while his daycare was on vacation last week. Lucky for him and lucky for us, too! My mom drove up on Monday and my dad arrived Wednesday via Amtrak. Around this time last year they had come for a baby Finley visit and missed a HUGE Virginia blizzard, so it was only fitting that they were here for our one bazillionth blizzard. Aside from the icky weather, it was a wonderful week! Finley enjoyed all the grandparental attention and showed them all his new tricks and favorite toys, books, and foods. My parents went above and beyond the call of duty doing everything around the house from cooking and cleaning to diaper changing and food shopping and even some snow shoveling and ice chipping! It was hard for me to imagine how we had been surviving without them :)

I didn't take nearly enough pictures or blog along the way, so this posting will be my best attempt to recall all the fun we had and will undoubtedly be looooong.

During my millionth snow day on Wednesday, we managed to dig the car out and venture out for lunch. Finley was disappointed that we were basically the only people at the restaurant, but thankfully the hostess kept popping over to chat with him. I was disappointed that the high chair was way too low for him to reach the food on the table, but Finley made it work.
Once his food came, Finley was shoving it in as fast as he could.
He seemed to get bored after a while and so I handed him my fork (I know, pointy metal objects and toddlers don't usually mix...). I showed him how to stab his chicken and get it into his mouth. He was fascinated! My mom and I took turns helping him and by the end, he almost had the hang of it.
The next two days, my parents watched Finley during the day and I came home in the afternoon to hang out. My mom took some great pictures and it always makes me smile to see Finley having fun even when I'm not around!
One afternoon, we went to the Children's Museum so Finley could show off one of his most favorite places. Since he hadn't napped terribly well, he wasn't as perky and outgoing as he usually is, but fun was still had by all!
Friday before bed and Saturday morning, Finley was busy "self-activating" as my dad called it. Just bopping around from room to room, toy to toy, and making himself laugh. It was neat to see him be so independent and cheerful without much effort on our end. He would occasionally bring one of us something or what to sit on a lap for a minute or two, but other than that it was all him!
My boy, the genius! Yes, the name of that book is Big Brain Games.
Finley recently rekindled his love of this phone we've had since July.
And now he'll hold it up to his ear if you say "Hello!"
These next two are a bit fuzzy due to poor lighting and a dirty camera lens...but you can see the cuteness, right?
They are intently "reading" the Pier1 catalog, ha ha ha!
At dinner, Finley tried out his new clip on chair. He seems to like it and wanted to make sure his Grammy knew where he was.
On Saturday, we went to an indoor rummage sale and then to breakfast before my parents had to go. None of us wanted to say goodbye, but that's the way it went and we are eagerly looking forward to the next visit. My parents saved us in our time of daycare need, but it sure felt like much more than that. They got to bond with Finley, they took some pressure of me and Dan in terms of around the house stuff, and made me feel like they don't live so far away :) What more could I ask for??? Another week or two perhaps??