Saturday, May 28, 2011

The After Party at the Park

After a wonderful, cake-filled birthday party for Finley's buddy, Henry (hooray for being 2!), we walked to one of our favorite parks which Henry is lucky enough to live just a block from. With Finley's grandparents in tow, we showed them the great park and playground. Finley was surprisingly independent and basically left us in the dirt. He was all over the place and it was hard to get a photo, but thankfully he kept coming back to the wooden car so Grandpa hopped in.
It was hot in the sun, so the grown ups retired to a shaded bench while Finley trekked around on his own. Very cool stuff to watch. I later convinced him (picked him up) to show his grandparents how much he LOVES the rolly slide and it certainly did not disappoint.
He was soon spotted by his buddy, Aliza, who also came over to the park post-party. They both sat in the wooden car and both moms rushed to get cameras out, but Finley was only there for about five seconds (funny, we couldn't pull him away earlier). Not a great photo, but both kiddos were stomping their feet and smiling away.
They parted ways and Finley took off to climb one of the structures for a while before coming back to his beloved sandbox. Much to my surprise, he pointed to the swings and requested to be plopped in. Odd, since it's been a while for such a request. He lasted quite a while and even let his grandparents push this a new leaf we are witnessing being turned over??
(oh and that's Aliza's dad and her new(ish) baby brother Levi behind the swing!) Finley seemed to like the little guy and identified him correctly as "baby."
He was having a ball, but got even gigglier when his GG started tickling him while he was swinging.

Sadly, we had to go home for dinner and a bath so we said Bye Bye to Aliza, Levi and their parents who were headed back to Connecticut. All of us were pretty wiped after a fun party and then some time in the sun at the playground, well, almost all of us--Finley was chatting and laughing all the way home with his Grandpa in the backseat. Gotta love that Energizer bunny aspect of toddlerhood! He inhaled his dinner, did some good splashing in the tub, and then passed out by 7pm. Life is good.

Free Fun

With Dan away this weekend, Finley and I have to get creative in how we spend our time so we don't go nuts :) But despite all my ingenious ideas, the best things seem to be unplanned and totally awesome that I could never pull off on my own.

Case in point: We popped into Toys R Us for a small gift for a friend and on the way out, Finley spotted something he couldn't pass up. A little plastic cottage!

He opened the door, went in, closed the door, and waved bye bye to me. He played in there for quite a while and eventually I clued in and took out the camera to shoot a video of this fun.

Whenever someone would come out the Toys r Us sliding door, Finley would come over to that side of the house and say either "Hi" or "Bye-Bye" with a smile.

He really had a ball and was only lured back towards the car when a big pick up truck drove by and he wanted to chase it. As we walked through the parking lot, he turned and waved and said bye-bye to the little house. How adorable!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

18 month stats

After turning 1.5 on May 16th, we visited the doctor for a once over this Friday. Finley enjoys going to the doctor's office, in general, and this visit was no different. After playing around in the waiting area (checking in on the fish in the tank, swatting at the window shades, smiling at the secretaries, and trying to sit in the grown up chairs), we got called in. Finley wasn't thrilled to be laid out on the table for a height measurement, but he was surprisingly cooperative sitting on the scale to be weighed. I suspect this was due to the fact that he actually got to keep his diaper on for the first time, I guess we're not so worried about a few ounces here or there these days.

He came in at 25 lbs 10 ounces and 34 inches tall. This puts him in the 91st percentile for height and the 47th in weight. NBA here we come!

I filled out some questionnaires about Finley's social and play habits while we waited for the doctor and Finley asked to open the door (door is a recent addition to his vocabulary). I obliged and then he pointed out to the hallway and asked, "that way?" I said we had to stay in our room, but he was tiptoeing out and turned just in time to see Dr. Pangburn. He looked right up at the towering figure, waved, and said, "Hi." Then, he ran back onto my lap and the doctor followed him in and said how he appreciated the warm welcome. We went through all the usual stuff (sleep habits, eating habits, daycare, milestones) and finally got to language skills. At 12 months and 15 months, I wasn't looking forward to this part, but at 18 months I finally had things to talk about! The doc asked how many words Finley had and I asked if he wanted to know about words said spontaneously uttered or those he mimics after we say them. Just spontaneous (darn!) so I had to do a quick count of things that Finley just blurts out on his own. He asked either 10-15 or 15-30 and I went with with 10-15 that he uses fairly consistently and totally on his own. The doc was pleased with these developments and thrilled that he seems to be a sponge for language now. We're really getting there! Since our appointment, I have been trying to figure out if my 10-15 choice was the right one....let's see, without prompting he can say:
1 dada
2 hi
3 bye-bye
4 ball
5 car
6 bus
7 truck
8 more
9 no (I'm not thrilled with this one, though)
10 stroller
11 up
12 that way
13 door
14 shoe
15 dog
16. kyle (pronounced aisle, a friend at daycare)
17 baby
18 nana (banana)
I suspect there may be a few he can answer, "What does a cow say?" "What does a duck say?" "What does a lion say?" and "What does a sheep say?" (that's four more!) and he will fill in words during "Wheels on the Bus" such as, "The horn on the bus goes ___ ___ ___" with "beep beep beep"!!

So perhaps my quick estimate was a bit off, but in a great way! We don't go back for a physical until he's 2. Gulp. Perhaps by then, Finley will be able to tell the doctor himself how he's feeling and what he's been up to :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

We Heart Virgina

Finley and I flew down to VA to visit my parents as well as my brother's family who welcomed a new baby girl just two weeks ago. My parents are always well equipped for our visits: plenty of Finley friendly foods, lots of toys, plus they have two cats who can be surprisingly tolerant of toddlers.

Just like at home, Finley likes to toss a pillow or two on the floor, curl up on it and say, "Night Night."

My dad played his guitar for the music-loving Finley and Finley even accompanied him on theukulele (sort of).
We're pretty sure that having to have lots of blocks and trains around for Finley and his cousins is not a hardship for my dad.
Finley was quite fond of the cats and did a fair amount of chasing them, but also learned to pet them gently. The best was each time he spotted one, he would let out a happy little squeal and he even tried to hug them and snuggle up if they were resting. He also tried to play ball with one of them, but as he tossed the dodgeball sized ball onto the cat--the cat decided she had had enough!
Yes--there's a cat hiding back there and Finley was saying "bye bye" to her.
There was also plenty to do at my parents' house and Finley took advantage of just about everything. Here he is showing how he feels about visiting his Grammy and Granddad!

We Heart Virginia Cousins

After a lovely, lengthy nap on Saturday afternoon, we drove over to visit Finley's new cousin, Natalie Helen Mixter. Now Finley has two cousins! Owen (who is just a month younger than Finley) is a big brother! Natalie was pretty chill and the older boys were able to do their thing, but Finley did point to her a few times and say, "baby." Cuteness.

Finley and Owen saw each other last in December, so they've both grown up quite a lot and had fun playing together. Seems like all boys like to build and destroy things, roll trucks around, and bounce from one toy to the next and the next and the next! It was really neat to see them together and seem to more or less enjoy each other's company.
And they shared their Grammy's attention just wonderfully!
Soon it was time for a snack and Finley impressed everyone when I asked him, "Can you say Owen?" and he promptly responded with "Owee." I think his Uncle Chris' jaw dropped :)
Both little guys like to be outside, so I took Finley outside and my mom and Owen soon followed for a little walk in the condo complex. When Owen caught up with us, Finley gave him a hug (it was adorable) and soon the two were off. They took turns leading the way and we tried our best to continually steer them towards the sidewalk and away from people's porches and cars.
Staring longingly at the gated pool...summer will be here soon enough, boys! Though they did try to get in through the locker rooms. Such determination!
After a long walk, we swayed them to walk back towards Owen's house by reminding them that we would pass by the motorcycle. Finley walked right over to it and asked, "Up? Up?" Sorry buddy, but your GG in New York wouldn't be pleased if I let you on one of those!
Back at Chez Owen, we headed straight to the back patio where the fun continued.
Soon it was dinner time and both boys enjoyed some grilled hot dogs before it was time to say goodbye. It was a wonderful visit and next time we get all three cousins together, who knows what they'll be up to!

We Heart Virginia 2

My parents not only have a lovely house, but a lovely outdoor space and neighborhood. Finley just LOVES being outside these days and as soon as we exited the garage, he spotted some shovels and dirt (mulch). He flipped over an extra plastic planter and used it as a bucket. He soon uncovered a stick and thought that was pretty neat, too. Cheap thrills!
Luckily, Finley enjoys cleaning up as much as he likes making a mess.
Soon the birds were calling and Finley couldn't resist a bird hunt. We crossed several yards and almost caught up to this silly birds. It's amazing to me how far Finley will distance himself from me when we are outside, but if we're inside there's basically a 6 foot maximum!
After bird chasing, we continued on the sidewalk towards the main road in hopes of spotting a truck or two. We were almost to end of the sidewalk when I turned to my mom and said, "Too bad, school's not letting out now, I bet lots of buses would pass by." No sooner had a finished that sentence, when Finley yelled and pointed, "BUS!" and as if by magic, a school bus drove by and stopped to drop off some kids across the street. And then he took off running, downhill towards the big yellow bus. So I took off, too!
I caught up to him and had to convince him that he bus was leaving soon so we couldn't catch up to it, but that darn bus shut off its engine. What are the odds of that?

Luckily, three more buses came by and Finley was happy to watch those go by from a safer distance. Did I mention I love cheap toddler thrills?
Later in our visit, we also took a little trip to Borders to check out some books and other kiddos. As soon as we came into the story reading area, Finley grabbed a book and sat down next to some fellow readers.
For some reason, he selected a chapter book to dive into. It was hysterical to watch him so intently "reading" such a big boy book. He later dabbled in some more age appropriate books and followed some other kids around checking out what they were reading and playing with, but he always came back to that same chapter book (even though I had re-shelved it a couple of times).
Thankfully, this dump truck book FINALLY caught his eye and we chose to buy it and take it home. He held onto it all the way through the parking lots, on the car ride home, and we probably read it four hundred times on the plane ride home. I'd say it was a good purchase, though that chapter book probably had more of a plot...

We Heart Airplanes, Too

Our flight down was uneventful, but tiring. We had a whole row to ourselves and while that appeared to be awesome, Finley was totally uninterested in sitting on my lap or anywhere else for that matter. He wanted to crawl on the seats, crawl under the seats, walk up and down the aisle, be carried up and down the aisle, etc. Arg. At least he didn't complain about his ears popping!

However, our flight back home was much more fun. My worst nightmare of being seated by the window with two people next to me AND Finley on my lap came true, but that ended up being a gift. Since we were trapped by the window, he never showed an inclination to want to get up and move around. Phew! Looking out the window at take off was thrilling and all consuming.
He called out "car!" "truck!" "a-pane!" (airplane) and just loved seeing so much on the move. We even saw the rarest of the rare: a yellow airport fire truck! The actual flight was pretty fun, too. Finley sat nicely, snacked on and off, chatted with me, held tightly onto his new toy bus from Grammy, and we read his new dump truck book a dozen times. The funniest entertainment, though, was the safety card. On both flights, Finley couldn't get enough of the trifold comic book. He pointed at the emergency inflatable slide and said, "Wheee!" I hadn't looked at one of these things in years and now feel much more prepared for an inflight disaster.

We landed, got our bag, and met Dan at the car. While Finley played a little hard to get with his beloved Dada at first, by bedtime, it was a tickle fest! Finley loves being tickled, but now knows how to tickle us right back!
Traveling is fun, but nothing's better than home :)