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Friday, August 30, 2013

Five on Friday

{one} I joined Instagram. (Finally. Only five years behind the curve.) I Love it and have shamefully neglected my camera since then. Follow me at witheagerhandsblog

{two} We did some shopping this week. We haven't done much of any shopping overseas in the last four years so it is time for a major wardrobe reboot. We hit up a Banana Republic outlet that was having a mega sale and got a ton of new, long lasting clothes. Yay! Though Ian was positively green when we were checking out. Oh well. 

{three} Doing the above mentioned shopping has unlocked some sort of hidden inner shopping addict in me. It is just ridiculous. I could shop all day if it weren't for the normal financial restraints! And shoes! My friends overseas will be happy to know I have rapidly expanded my shoe wardrobe and have plans for a fee more purchases in the months to come. 

{four} We have the best weekend ahead of us and I am just so excited about all that we have in store! 

{five} Ian taught Grace the Macarena this week. She is awesome at it. And my contribution to her learning? When she started copying me after I said "oh, crap!"  we quickly pulled out the claw hands and made her think I had said "oh, crabs!" Now she thinks its some sort of game. Awesome. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Grace's First Day

Grace started preschool two weeks ago, on August 15th, 2013!


As soon as we arrived in Nashville we got in contact with our local church to see if there was any room for Grace to join in their weekday preschool program. Unfortunately, the class was full and they wouldn't know if anyone wasn't coming until the first day of school was done.

So her Tuesday and Thursday class began on August 13th, but she was not there. We got the phone call that there was room for her and she started on that Thursday!

I had been hoping that she would get in for several reasons:

1. I knew she would love it- she is incredibly social and loves to be busy around other people.
2. She would be bored out of her mind if she stayed home with us, since we have about three toys here and no real (safe) outdoor space.
3. And if she was bored out of my mind, I would be losing my mind on a daily basis.
4. I also wanted her to have as many normal American experiences as possible. I don't know if we will ever be able to afford preschool overseas but at least she will have gotten to go to preschool for the six weeks that we are in Nashville!

Sure enough, Grace LOVES going. There has never been any trouble dropping her off. Most of the time she doesn't even say "Bye!" She just runs off into the classroom and settles in! She looks forward to us packing her lunchbox (hello, kitty, duh,) and is usually hopping around the classroom when we pick her up.

Today, on day 5 of class, she finally fell asleep and took a nap while her class napped. The teachers were all proud and all I could think was "But now she won't take a three hour nap when we get home!"

I'll have to have a little chat with Grace about that one.

I am so grateful for this opportunity for Grace!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Zoo Time!

It's been a crazy month for us but if I can look back into the archives of things I've missed since we arrived in the States, one of the biggest things was a day trip out to the Nashville Zoo!

My parents took us to the zoo one Sunday afternoon. Though we have a little zoo in Abu Dhabi, this was Grace's first trip to an official zoo- you know, one that follows rules and regulations.

The Nashville Zoo is the most beautiful zoo I have ever been in. It has this gorgeous park like environment and there are flowers and trees every where!


While the grounds were impressive and the exhibits really well kept, there weren't a ton of animals. I imagine that another 10 to 15 animal exhibits would make it a little more of a half day adventure than just a 2 hour one.

My mom took Grace on the little train there and she was just overjoyed to take a ride!

My dad, Ian, Sophia, and I hung out on a bench for awhile.
And then we were rewarded with this ecstatic 2 year old!




Saturday, August 24, 2013

Happy Ten Months, Sophia!

Happy Ten Months, Sophia!


Stats-  Sophia is in size 9 - 12 month clothing but will be moving in to 12 months stuff soon. She does not wear shoes yet but would be size 2 if she did. 

Sleep- Poor Sophia has been all messed up, sleep wise since getting to the States. Rampant diaper rash, jet lag, reflux flare up, and switching to room sharing with Grace has proven to disrupt her sleep habits. She currently gets up at 6 :30, naps from 8 to 930 and 2 to 4 and goes Down between 7 and 8. At night she's been waking between 1 and 2 needing a bottle. Hopefully we can work that out again

Food- Sophia takes a six ounce bottle, five times a day and eats whatever solids we happen to give to her. She eats about 50 percent baby food and 50 percent table foods. 

Activity- this month was a big one for Sophia! She travelled to the States and met her grandparents, and got settled into US life. She has been pretty easy going as she has been passed around and visited several church nurseries. She has gotten really fast at crawling and she still sticks one leg straight out behind her. She has let go while standing and stood by herself for several seconds but no steps have been taken yet.

We love this age so much! Sweet cuddles, happy smiles, and an excited baby when she sees her Momma and Dadda!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Five on Friday

{one} we are in Florida for my grandpa's funeral. Just Sophia and I. It's the longest I have ever been away from Gracie. I was okay the first day but now I miss her like crazy!

{two} I have reached week five on couch to 5k! I was so excited when I completed three five minute runs! I also got new (bright pink) shoes for the first time in four years. Problem is, some toes go numb when I run. Anyone know why?


{three} We went to the county fair with my parents last weekend. We had some corn dogs, funnel cake, and tried a deep fried Oreo. We took Grace on a fair ride and let her play in a bubble pit. 


{four} we had some good friends of ours come into town to visit. We went to a Greek restaurant that was featured on Divers, Drive Ins, and Dives, then to a really neat coffee shop. Only problem was that it was a total hipster paradise. And Ian and I are not hipster in any form or fashion. Nor do we get much pleasure from sour coffee or figuring out the butterscotch or plum undertones. 

{five} We are loving the chance to hike and explore outside! We took Sophia out one day and just snoozed away in the Boba! That's not something we can do in the Middle East! On another day we saw nearly two dozen deer! 


Saturday, August 17, 2013

House Tour

We've been in our new (temporary) house for a month now and really are loving it! Going from our gigantic house to a more normal and reasonably sized house has been a blessing. I just couldn't keep up with a huge house and six (yes, SIX!) bathrooms by myself.

The house we are living in is provided by a church we partner with and is clean and comfy. The girls feel right at home and Grace screams with joy every time we pull into "Gracie's house!"

When you come in the back door you have the family room which acts as a play room and office as well.

The kitchen is directly off of the family room, just one step up. I love the layout of the kitchen because I can see what is going on in the family room, living room, and dining room while I'm cooking.
There is also a little breakfast table off of the kitchen.


We don't really use the living room much but it has great views from the window and I love all of the natural light.


In theory, this little desk is where I have all of my stuff and where my computer is. Right now, It is just a dumping spot for the diaper bag and all of Grace's home learning stuff.


On the other side of the kitchen is the dining room, which was surprisingly hard to get a picture of. I blame that on the fact that my kit lens needs to be cleaned, and can't unzoom at the moment. (does anyone know how to get Canon lenses cleaned/repaired?)



Off of the living room is a long hallway (this shot is looking back at the living room,)


And off of that hallways is the (unused) front door and the (overused) laundry closet,

 the one and only bathroom, (I love bathrooms with counters! Oh, how I have missed you!)

 
The master bedroom,

and the  girls bedroom. Currently Grace is sleeping in her big girl bed with a pillow wall to keep her from falling off. Sophia sleeps in our Travel Pack N Play, which is nice, because I can wheel it into our room or the dining room if they are keeping each other up.

There is a basement, too. But let's be honest, I haven't even step foot in there. I'm a Florida girl. We don't do basements.

And that's it! Like I said, it's a temporary house that we are in until October but we already feel like it's a "home" for us!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chores for Two Year Olds

Grace is two years old (2 years and 4 months old, to be exact.) Without realizing it, we've started giving her normal tasks to do around the house. She loves to be our helper girl and she gets such a sense of pride and accomplishment when she does a task and can contribute to our family.

You can search on pinterest for all sorts of ideas for chores for your kids at any and  all ages, but I thought I would share what is working for us?

Some traits to look for in your two year old are:

Physical ability- can they maneuver themselves safely while doing a task? Grace is confident walking, running, climbing, and carrying things.

Mental ability- can they problem solve? I'm obviously not talking about genius level stuff here, but if they spill a cup of water do they know not to walk through it? Do they know to grab a towel?

Verbal ability- can they communicate if they need help, are frustrated, or are hurt? Grace never stops talking so we knew we would hear "Uh-Oh!" or "HELP!" if something went wrong.

Motivation- Without getting into the educational psychology side of things, how is your two year old motivated? Extrinsically- where they need a verbal praise, sticker chart, or pom poms in a jar? or Intrinsically- where the sheer satisfaction of finishing a job is reward enough? Either one is fine, it will just be helpful to know what motivates your preschooler!

How We Started:

I didn't want to make chore time as something that is separate or special from our every day life. To me, it is what it is. Part of our daily responsibilities. It ebbs and flows and is flexible with what is happening that day. 

So, as I did a chore, I talked it through with Grace if she was tagging along. 

"Look Grace, I'm unloading the silverware. First, I am taking out all of the spoons. Can you hand me that spoon? Great job! Now I'm going to put them in the spoon spot in this drawer. Do you want to go get your stool so you can see into the drawer and help?"

The next time I might open the dishwasher and ask her if she remembers what to do. Maybe I'll prompt her to grab her stool.

Then the time after that I'd just ask "Grace, can you put the silverware in the drawer?"

And just like that a chore is learned

What She Can Do:
(note, Grace is not "young for her age." She doesn't act baby like (though sometimes I miss my baby so much!) and is often thought she is an older 3 because of her height and how she handles herself. This may affect her ability on this list.)

-Unload the silverware (after I have removed the knives)
-Take things to the trash
-Bring small trash bags to me from bathrooms in the house
-Takes dirty clothes to the appropriate hamper
-Lines up shoes (still hasn't mastered the straight line concept, but she tries.)
-Put the pillows on the beds as they are made (though not straight, but it works!)
-Helps move clothes from washer to dryer, or from the dryer to a basket
-Gather hangers from low closet rack
-"Dust" the coffee and end tables with a feather duster.
-Wipes down door knobs with a clorox wipe
-Tries to use a small dust broom and dust pan to clean up crumbs

Most of these chores are done with constant and direct supervision and are usually part of a chore I am doing- but it helps her to feel like she is participating in chore time and, honestly, she is! I can move onto something and she does the final touches on a chore (silverware in the drawer or pillows on the bed!)

They don't happen every day and her attention span is usually less than 10 minutes
It really is amazing how much they can do at such a young age. It's such a wonderful experience to see her accomplish a task that she has set out to do!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Five Things That Have Surprised Me

Well, here it is. My first ever Vlog. And for those of you who don't know what is a vlog is (hi Mom, Grandma, and other relatives!) it is just a video blog!

I really thought I had done one before but apparently, I hadn't. Actually, I went back and found out that the day I was planning on putting one together was the very day that we announced that we were expecting...Grace! Almost three years ago.

Apparently it got put on the back burner.

But here we are, four years later and I thought I would give it a whirl.

Please disregard the hair pushing or my constant looking out the window (there were literally hummingbirds flitting around.)

Also, I've had a cold for the last couple of days and seeing as I usually hate hearing my voice on recordings and how I love this one, I'm guessing I don't actually sound like myself.



And, since the tv repairman called right at the end, I will finish by saying that I have adjusted and make Ian give me a kiss all the time in public :) Men, besides my dad, wanting to give side hugs still weirds me out a bit but I'm working on it!

And that's it! What did you think? Did I sound like what you thought I did? Is there any other topic you'd like to hear? 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Five on Friday

First of all, it's August. In case you didn't know.

That one is just a freebie.

1.) I tried two new Pinterest recipes yesterday and they were both amazing. The Easy One-Pot Pasta was just as it sounds...easy (oh my, so simple!) and delicious. It is a new staple in our house. So many veggies and so many taste possibilities. And it's relatively "healthy." You know, besides the pasta part, ha!

The Pina Colada Cake was super simple and very tasty. Moist and cold it's perfect for a summer barbecue or for a Labor Day picnic at the end of this month!

2.) Also, as a side note, a pet peeve of mine that has surfaced in the last couple of months is when people call a recipe healthy when really they should just be saying "It's not as bad as it could be." I get a laugh when someone puts some dessert recipe up on pinterest and it might have all sorts of sugar and flour in it but because it has no oil or butter in it they'll say something like, "And it's healthy!"

I'm not really sure if that counts as a pet peeve or not, maybe just an annoyance. 

3.) Grace is changing so much! Her vocabulary grows every day and she is constantly surprising me with new phrases and things you can do. A big milestone for her this week is that she will finally sit still for short books! We've been keeping a pile of library books on the coffee table and reading them before and after naps and sleeping!

4.) We're getting settled into the house here. It feels like home....as much as a home that is not yours and furnishings that is not yours can.


5.) I'm in a crafty mood but I really don't know what I want to make. I'm thinking I should make some small, light weight projects for our next house that I can take back with us in suitcases. Things like decor or preschool supplies. Any ideas? My mom has a cricut that I can use and I want to take advantage of all of the craft stores nearby!