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Mo - Twenty months

Mo is amazing right now. Isn't that true of every stage? Probably, but right now I get so much joy out of just having her around. She's so full of innocent happiness and cheer! She loves people, loves when people come to visit her. She shrieks and dances and spins in circles when someone comes over or when Mike or I get home from work. 

Mo picked out her outfit

She picked out her own outfit.

When I dropped her off at daycare recently, she followed me to the door as I was leaving. The door has a full-length window and she stood there watching me, waving good bye. But not longingly, not crying. She was laughing and smiling and waving, and eventually turned away to go play with her friends. It made me so happy.

She still loves to climb on everything. Everything! Enough said.

Mo climbing into pool

A few weeks ago at swim class, Mo slipped and split her chin. It was kind of chaotic because there incident reports to fill out and we were both dripping wet and she was crying and bleeding. The staff kept asking if she should go to the ER, but I didn't think it was necessary. It stopped bleeding quickly and was easily contained with a band aid. But several weeks later it's still not fully healed, and I wonder if I made the wrong decision. It doesn't bother her anymore, and hasn't bothered her outside of that first 20 minutes, but still. It sucks to wonder if my mom instincts were off.

Mo bandaid chin swim class

She also fell out of her crib for the first time recently. She was home with her grandma, down for a nap, and she climbed right over the edge and crashed to the floor. She wasn't hurt, just startled, but we moved her mattress down as far as it would go. When do most people transition to a toddler bed? Mo is so all over the place at night. Even with a side rail, she would for sure fall out! When does that change? Or when does it stop mattering?

Mo in crib

Mo loves to climb the stairs and insists on using the railing. She can crawl up and down herself or easily climb up or down holding one hand. But she prefers to hold the railing, which actually makes things a bit more difficult. She likes to get kisses to make things better. If she falls, she'll shove her hands in my face and make a kiss sound. Kiss it better mama.


She's obsessed with watermelon (wyo) and asks for it all the time. She loves to eat in general. Daycare told me that she makes the sign for eating all day long. Girl loves to snack!


Mo corn on the cob

She still loves to read. And we've been doing some songs together. She doesn't really sing along, but she likes the motions. Itsy Bitsy Spider, Patty Cake, Skidamarinky Dinky Dink, Head and Shoulders, and one we learned at swim class where you do ducky wings. She LOVES that one! If she's upset and I start singing it, she immediately smiles and makes ducky wings.

Mo's hair after pig tails

Crazy hair after pig tails.

Mo's vocabulary is slowly growing. She is still not as verbal as many other kids her age, but she's a great communicator. For instance, she hasn't learned to say "more" but she knows the word "two" and knows t'hat it means more than one. If she wants more of something or wants to do something again, she says "two." She is also really good at showing us what she wants. She will grab our hands and put something in them to let us know she wants to do that activity, for instance. Someone told me that their child's vocabulary exploded between 20 and 24 months, so maybe Mo's will too, but for now I actually kind of love that she's not growing up too fast!

Mo looking up

Poor baby has been waking up with nightmares lately. She wakes up in the middle of the night crying or screaming out of nowhere. I pull her out of her crib and often she doesn't recognize me right away. I hold her and tell her she's safe, but she remains agitated for a bit before she relaxes into my arms. Eventually I suggest going back to bed and she immediately cries again, I guess because she's scared of what happened in there. After enough time she does let me lay her down, but it's sad. I can't imagine what she's dreaming about to make her so scared.


Mo on swing at cottage

She should always be full of smiles. No more nightmares!

Around Labor Day I took two days off work and enjoyed an extra long weekend. I tried to get in as many fun summer activities as I could before summer is gone. Despite our best efforts, there are just not enough weekends available, so I'm glad to have plenty of PTO at work so I could spend some extra time with Mo. We went to breakfast one day, followed by story time. Another day we went to a wild animal park.

Mo with giraffe

And over the weekend, we we all (Mike included) went to Chicago for a night. We visited the Lincoln Park Zoo and Millenium Park, and walked around the city a bit. 

family photo in chicago

Mo at the bean

Lincoln Park Zoo

The day after Labor Day, I took Mo to a nature center.

Blandford 2014

The next weekend we finally went to the beach on Lake Michigan. It was a cool, windy day, but we were determined to hang at the beach. Mo even went in the water! And we spent the afternoon at the park.

Mo at the park

Grand Haven beach 2014

It has been a fun summer. Now that it's over, I feel like we're going full speed ahead into her second birthday. Wasn't it just yesterday we were celebrating her first? I mean we've already started researching preschool options. How is this happening?

Mo being so adorable!


Mo - 19 Months

At 19 months, Mo is 23 pounds and 32.5 inches. She's long and lean, in a higher percentile for height than weight. We visited the doctor twice in a week recently. When we got home from camping, she had a diaper rash we just could not get rid of. Eventually I figured it was a yeast rash, so I called and I needed to go in for a diagnosis, so we went. That was a week before her 18(.75) month appointment, of course. Luckily, other than the rash, everything was ship shape! That's a blessing every time.

We started swim classes a couple weeks ago. Her obsession with water and insistance she knows how to swim needed some structure. The funny thing is that she doesn't love swim class. She just wants to swim and splash around, she doesn't want to do all the things they're trying to teach us. She believes she can swim already, and doesn't understand the value of learning how to float or reach for the wall or safely climb in and out. It's fun though!

Mo swim class

Mo knows her name and calls herself Muh. I can't tell you how overwhelmingly adorable it is. She plays itsy bitsy spider and patty cake. She can count to two. She's obsessed with shoes. Every time we walk into an echoey room (garage, public bathroom) she say "woo woo woo!" to hear her voice bounce around.

We may have a writer on our hands, or an artist. Mo loves nothing more than to have a pen and a paper and to scribble away. The other day at the doctor's office I was given a clipboard with a pen and a form to fill out. She was sure that was meant for her, and when I wouldn't let her express herself all over it, she was mighty upset. Sometimes when she's having a tough time, she'll grab whatever paper and writing utensil she can find and just scribble. We call it art therapy or say "write out your feelings honey." Unfortunately, her expressions aren't quite limited to paper. She's learning, but we still find little drawings on furniture, clothing, skin. So far no real damage though, and I love that she likes to draw.

Mo drawing

I love how trippy she is. She's always falling. She loves to spin and twirl until she's dizzy and tumbles over. Recently she tripped at the top of a small hill and barrel rolled down. I couldn't stop laughing and every time I picture it I giggle. Same thing when I imagine the time she ran full speed into the laundry basket and flipped inside head first. It's one of my favorite visuals of her.

Mo playing with her garden

It has gotten easier to bring her to daycare. When we first brought her back after the unemployment hiatus, she struggled a bit. She cried when I dropped her off and I hated it. But now, as soon as we walk in she makes the sign for eat because she knows breakfast is first on the agenda. She lets me put her down or hand her to someone without a tear or a struggle. It makes me happy to see her happy there.

Mo piano

In July we went camping. I was nervous about how that would work with a toddler, but it was amazingly painless. Mo slept like an angel for naps and night time. She only once put up a (weak) fight, and she hardly stirred when we came to bed after her. The hardest part was creating boundaries. A campground doesn't have walls and Mo likes to explore, so we found three things worked: 1) Just suck it up and follow her around every step. We'd take turns doing this when we weren't trying to accomplish other things. 2) Hang out in the tent or camper for awhile. Between our whole family there were three tents and two campers, so we'd mix it up to give her a change of scenery within closed walls. Sometimes we'd just hang out in one of the cars. 3) Craft-finement. That's what we called the play yard we set up with a little table and chairs inside. We gave them (Mo and her cousin Will) chalk and paper and crayons and some toys. I wasn't sure that would actually work, but they spent a surprisingly amount of time playing quietly in there. It was a tiring weekend, but overall, I was pleased with how it went.


At her check up, Mo was 23 pounds and 32.5 inches. They measured her on the "big kid" scale - theone you stand on - rather than the baby scale for the first time. They measured her height while standing, rather than her length while laying, for the first time, too. My baby is a kid!

Mo watermelon



Mo - 18 months (holy crap, a year and a half!)

A year and a half ago yesterday, my baby girl was born. I knew it would go fast, but damn, it goes FAST! It wasn't long ago I was cuddling a tiny, helpless infant, and now I'm trying to get an active, rambunctious toddler to slow down long enough to give me a kiss. 

Actually, the last few weeks, Mo has been pretty clingy. In June, I went on a work trip and left her for four nights, the longest I've ever been away from her. The very next week Mike started a new job and Mo went back to daycare. I think those things must have happened at an important stage for developing trust because now I think she never quite trusts that I'm not leaving her. She wants to be carried a lot, and if I put her down even for a few seconds, she cries. Not just whines or whimpers, but cries real tears. If I walk out of the room without her, she panics. I do love that she loves me so much, and much of the time I'm happy to just hold her and hang out with her, but sometimes I need to be productive and that's hard to do with 25 pounds of toddler in my arms.

Mama and Mo snuggles

Overall she's doing well at daycare though. After a series of ups and downs and changing circumstances, we ended up at the same place we left when Mike lost his job. I thought, even after three months, that she might remember it, but if she did, she didn't show it. That first day, she acted like I was leaving her with complete strangers. She has gotten better with each drop off, but it definitely goes smoother when Mike does it. I don't think she fully trusts me to come back when I drop her off. However, as you'd expect, they tell me she is fine moments after I leave and does well all day long. Plus, Mike's mom retired at the beginning of the month, and we are very blessed that she wants to watch Mo two days a week. It saves us a little money and gives Mo some one-on-one attention during the week.

Mo pretty eyes

Mo has also become obsessed with her stuffed animals. She has always loved her loveys, two in particular, but lately she has really attached herself to them. Puppy and Kitty. They are a pair, we call them PuppyKitty, one word, and they go everywhere with her. She sleeps with PuppyKitty and carries them down with her in the morning. We've drawn the line at taking them to daycare, and we try not to let them out of the house lest they get lost, but otherwise she tries to go about her life with two stuffed animals in her arms. And often, she brings along some of their friends. She'll try to climb the stairs (which she still needs her hands for) with an armful of animals, or drink her water or get a book off the shelf. I love that about her.

Mo and all her stuffed animals

We are still nursing. When I think back to how hard it was when we first tried breastfeeding, I never would have imagined I'd still be doing it 18 months later. But it works for us and there hasn't been a reason to stop, so we haven't. Typically, she nurses when we wake up and again when I get home from work. Twice a day. And only if she asks for it. Sometimes she'll be busy or distracted and not ask for "milk" (using the sign) and we don't do it. If she asks outside of our usual routine, I tell her no. I explain it's not milk time, and that if she's hungry she can have a snack, and if she's thirsty she can have water. I will say, though, that because we're still breastfeeding, she has no interest in cow's milk. Like, at all. She gets lots of nutrients from breastfeeding though, and plenty of healthy fats in her food, so it's not a concern. Speaking of her diet, she is not the great eater she once was. She's not terrible by any means, but she used to LOVE all kinds of fruits and veggies, and now she's mostly interested in crackers, cereal, yogurt and cheese. And bananas. Oh the bananas. The other day I actually had to google "is my toddler eating too many bananas" because she will easily eat 3 or 4 a day. I got mixed results from google, but I decided it's just a phase so let her have the damn bananas. She drinks a lot of water and gets fiber in her grains, so constipation has not been a problem. And as long as that's not all she's eating, it's not worth worrying about.


Mo eating banana

We've started introducing Mo to the toilet. We're by no means potty training, but we have introduced some of the language. Where do you go potty? Toilet! Where is the toilet? And she can show you. We let her sit on it sometimes and talk about why she's there. There have been no...results yet. But that's not the goal right now. I think what will work for us is a progressive potty training rather than quick and dirty, so this is phase one I guess: start talking about it.

Mo is so long and lean. We talk about how she's gone through two major transformations in her short life. She started as a small newborn with dark hair and eyes, and transformed into a round baby with fuzzy blond hair and huge blue eyes. And recently she's transformed into a long and lean toddler with blond curls. Because Mike is tall and (somewhat) slender, we sort of assumed Mo would get some of that height. She didn't show it for the first year, but now she's starting to resemble her dad more. Her torso is so long that some of her 18 month shirts are too short, yet her hips are so narrow that some of her 12 month pants are still too large around the waist. It's an interesting phase.

Mo climbing on couch

We've been doing some fun things this summer. We took Mo to her first baseball game. She only made it through a few innings, but she enjoyed the crowd and ate an ice cream cone before Mike took her home. (I stayed at the game with the friend who had gotten us free tickets.)

Mo's first Whitecaps game

We've gone to my grandparent's cottage on a lake a few times where she gets to play in the sand and go for boat rides. On those days, we usually skip a nap or push it waaay back, and she is still always happy and well-behaved. 

Mo on a boat

This past weekend we spent the weekend at my mom's "cabbage." It's on a small lake, and even though the weather wasn't gorgeous, we had a great time. Mo is obsessed with my mom, so I got a break from carrying her around every second (though I'm sure my mom's arms are tired!). She got to fish with Gamma, chase her dogs, explore their property, splash around in mud puddles. It was such a fun weekend for a kid.


This summer, even though we didn't open our pool, Mo has had a few opportunities to swim. Turns out, she is fearless! Girl legitimately has no idea that she doesn't know how to swim on her own. She fights to get free of us, not because she wants to get out but because she wants to be untethered. The other day we were at our neighbor's pool, and Mike handed her out of the water to me. I put her down and reached for a towel, and in that microsecond, she tried to climb over the ledge to jump back in the pool. When I pulled her back, she screeched with frustration. We've tried dunking her and letting her go so she can see what happens, but she just smiles and tries to escape again. I think we need to get her in swim lessons so she can learn how to respect water, and maybe learn some survival skills just in case she ever manages to break away and actually jump in, god forbid.

Mama and Momo swimming

So that's it. We made it to a year and a half. I still think every day about how lucky I am to have her. I reflect on the rocky path it took to get to the moment I held her in my arms, and how blessedly smooth our path has been since she was born. I don't care that she's a thousand inches tall and weighs nearly four times as much as she did at birth, she's still my baby.

Mo's big goose egg - bump on the head!

(Oh yeah, did I mention she falls alot? This is her latest goose egg.)


Mo - 17 Months

Mo is grow grow growing. She's still in 12 month clothes because she's so slender. She used to be so round with beautiful big thighs, but I think she's getting ready for a growth spurt. She has thinned out and is starting to look more like her dad - long and lean. I've pulled out a few 18 month clothes, but the pants fall right off her tiny hips.

Mo white hat cheese face

She has been learning a lot. I'm losing track of when she learns things or how long she's known something because it's so rapid lately. She knows lots of animal sounds and can identify many animals in her books. She can point to her hair, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, belly and toes. Her language is starting to develop more quickly. She knows mama, dada, nana (banana), cheese, yoyo (yogurt), shoe-shoes, hi, down, wawa (water) and a few others. 

She is pretty good at feeding herself with a spoon or fork, and she likes to drink out of a "big girl" cup (though she still mostly uses a sippy cup).

Mo drinking from big girl cup

She loves to read. Like, crazy about books. The other day I was so sick of reading the same books a thousand times that I pulled out my phone and showed her some Lion King videos. See why I'd be a poor stay-at-home mom? I need breaks from the repetitive kid stuff too often! But really, I love that she loves books. When she was a baby she hated when we'd try to read to her, so it's a relief that she find so much joy in it now.

Mo reading

Mo has been running a lot, or as much as a toddler can run. She's definitely getting more confident in her body. She is speedy when climbing yup stairs and wants so badly to be able to walk down them. She still has to scoot down on her butt or climb down backward, but she prefers for us to hold her hands so she can walk down facing forward. She also loves to climb on everything.

Mo standing on a table

Her grandma got her a water table recently, and we got her some sand toys, so she can finally enjoy playing outside. Poor girl used to just sit on our stoop because she's not quite old enough to run around, and we didn't have anything fun for her to do. 

Mo strawberry bathing suit

For awhile there she was testing us a little, pushing limits. We got a little chair from my grandparents, and we put it in a corner of our living room, and when she did something we didn't approve of, we'd ask her to stop. If she didn't, we sat her in the chair and knelt by her and explained why she needed to be removed from whatever activity. A toddler version of time-out I guess. After awhile I think she got bored of testing us so we haven't needed the chair lately.

Mo in her little chair!

She is still in love with her stuffed animals, and now makes us kiss each of them several times before we leave the room at bedtime. She also makes Oberon (our cat) and everyone who visits kiss them too.

I don't think I've written about my most commonly used nickname for her lately. I call her Peach, which I've mentioned before, but that morphed into Peach Pie, which morphed into Pie. I find myself calling her that all the time, and several variations of it - Pie, Pie Pie, Pizel, Pie Crust, etc. She's my favorite girl in the world.

Mo in hammock chair


How does one camp with a toddler?

We're going camping for a week in July. I'm scared.

Two years ago we did this same camping trip with my family. I was a few months pregnant, and other than sleeping terribly for numerous reasons, it was a great trip.

Week 15

Last year we had a seven month and I had to travel work work at the same time, so we only stayed for a weekend. It was fine, but two nights was enough. Mo is a rock star sleeper when she's in her element, but a pack 'n play in a tent meant several middle-of-the-night awakenings which meant pretty much no sleep for me. Other than that, it was good.



This year, though, we'll have an 18 month old. Someone told me recently that this will be the worst year for camping, and I fear they're right. Last year Mo couldn't get herself around so she was content to just sit where we put her. Next year she will likely be old enough to follow directions a little better and will probably be able to hang with the older kids. But this year she is ALL OVER THE PLACE and at a campsite there are NO BOUNDARIES! And she isn't exactly great yet at understanding what we mean by "Do not go into the road where you could be hit by a car" or "Do not go into the water where you could drown" or  "Do not go into the woods where you could fall and impale your face on a stick."

We had a little taste of this recently on a visit to my grandparents cottage. Mike, as a chef, was put in charge of getting lunch together, and, as a man because that's just how it is I suppose, was asked to help with the boat and general cottage maintenance. That meant I was on my own for Mo duty. Which, of course, meant I was chasing her everywhere. We weren't safe outside where there was water and driveways and other people's cottages that she should probably stay out of. I was so exhausted by the end of our four hour visit, I didn't even remember what happened.

Imagine that for six days.

In a row.

With no good sleep at night during which to recover.

I need ideas! Have you ever camped with a toddler? What's the trick (or the tricks)?

My sister is renting a camper, so if we really need to contain the toddlers (she has one too) for awhile, we can hang in there. But who wants to be in a camper all day? 

We also thought about buying or renting a play yard, setting it up somewhere on the campsight, putting our chairs inside it, putting the kids inside it, and hanging out that way.

We'll also go on day trips once in awhile to have an excuse to strap them into car seats. And we can go on lots of walks (strapped into strollers!). 

But what else? How do we keep them entertained? How do we keep them contained? What about sleeping? What are the best sleeping arrangements in a tent or a camper for a one and a half year old?

I've never done this before. I need your tips and tricks even if they seem obvious!


Mo cutest face ever!

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