Did you see that picture?!?! Not only is my child eating SPAGHETTI, she is also feeding it to herself!!!!! If you have read this blog for any length of time or if you know my child at all, I'm sure you can understand what a HUGE enormous milestone this is for us! Words simply cannot express how excited Derek & I were at dinner last night! It was such a big night for all three of us! Now here's the back story....

We had just driven back home from Pensacola earlier that afternoon, and all three of us were tired after a fun but busy weekend at the beach. Derek & I often wait until Shelby has already gone to bed to eat our dinner b/c it's just a lot easier that, but Derek was really hungry yesterday evening so he requested that we go ahead and eat with Shelby. Since we were tired and didn't feel like cooking, we just decided to eat some leftover spaghetti that we had in the fridge. The three of us sat down to dinner, and I decided to let Shelby do some food with play with the noodles and meat sauce (we had cooked some ground beef and mixed it with a jar of Ragu). Shelby's OT always encourages us to do food play b/c she says that if Shelby won't/doesn't like to touch the food with her fingers, she certainly won't want to put it in her mouth. After about 5 minutes of playing with the noodles and meat sauce, Shelby was getting frustrated--she despises the texture/feeling of the noodles and they kept getting stuck to her hands, and she was getting pretty hungry by this point. For whatever reason, I grabbed her soon and just put a little of the meat sauce on it, and tried to give her a bite. I knew she wouldn't try it, but I just thought why not? Of course, she shook her head violently when I tried to give her a bite. So I just handed the spoon to her, and low and behold she put it straight in her mouth and swallowed! We could NOT believe our eyes! She proceeded to eat about 20 or 30 more bites of the meat sauce! It was seriously unbelievable! And yes, I said 20 or 30 bites of the meat sauce. If Shelby so much as saw a speck of a noodle on her spoon, she wouldn't eat it! High maintenance, much?! Ha! But we were seriously just SO incredibly proud of her! This was the PERFECT way to end our weekend! Enjoy a few more pictures of our big girl feeding herself and eating meat sauce spaghetti for the very first time! We are so proud of you, Shelby-girl!!!


19 months

Happy 19 Months, Shelby-girl!
I think I learned my lesson this month and from now on we will have to put your monthly sticker on your onesie before we put the onesie on you. All you wanted to do during our photo shoot was mess with the sticker, so at least half of the pictures we took ended up looking like this:

Oh, well! ;)  But we did manage to get a few where she wasn't touching and/or looking at the sticker! Here are a few more of Miss Shelby's 19 month pictures....

This picture was taken as Shelby was making animal sounds :)

Here is what Miss Shelby is up to these days....
 --The biggest development this month is that you are TALKING! You went from zero words, zilch, nothing, nada to about 20 words in literally two weeks! It was truly unbelievable! Your Early Intervention therapists/teachers told us time and time again that late walkers are almost always late talkers and that as soon as you got the walking down pat, the talking would soon follow. And boy were they right!!!
--Here are a few of the words you were saying as of your 19 month birthday: hi, bye, ball, eye, cat, bubble, Dada (you pronounce it "Gaga"), Mommy (pronounced "Mummy"), baby, apple, carrot, animal sounds (dog, cow, horse, duck, cat, monkey, & sheep), hat, book, beads, oval
--You have been able to identify a few letters in the alphabet for a while now, but you are now starting to be able to say some of the letter names which is really exciting! You can say the following letter names: A, B, C, D, E, G, H, I, O, P, T, Y, and Z. It's so cute to hear your little voice say the letters in the alphabet! :)
--You will give us a hug and a kiss now when we ask for it, and you are starting to give hugs/kisses voluntarily/spontaneiously too, which just melts our hearts!
--You are still loving to throw things, but thankfully you are mostly throwing balls these days! Most of your food is staying on your tray instead of being thrown on the floor, and you are starting to realize that it's not such a good idea to throw everything out of your crib when you wake up.
--You stayed at Grammy & Grampy's house without Mommy & Daddy with you for the first time. You had so much fun!
--Whenever we go grocery shopping or to run an errand, you say "hi" or "bye" or sometimes both to everyone we pass in the store! Most people think you're cute as pie and will wave back to you or talk to you for a minute, but there are a few people who just ignore you and you can't seem to understand why..ha! When people ignore you, sometimes you start waving more vigorously to try to get their attention..it's so funny!
--You have figured out that you can walk up the stairs in our house if you use one of your hands to balance yourself on the wall. (You can't quite reach the hand rail yet.) But if you want to get up the stairs quickly, you will still crawl.
--Since you can walk up the stairs in our house, you can now also get up the stairs on the playground behind our house to go down the slide BY YOURSELF! This is such a huge source of pride & independence for you, and it makes playing on the playground more fun for you...and for Mommy & Daddy too b/c we don't have to help you up to the slide every time. Yay!
--The last month or so, it has been a little difficult to leave you at Kid Swap b/c you would cry for the first couple of minutes after I left you. But I am pleased to say you are getting MUCH better with this!
--You stayed in the church nursery for the first time this month. The first time was hard, but now you are an old pro at it! When I picked you up from the nursery last week, there was a bit of a line so I had to wait to get you. I watched you from the window (you couldn't see me), and as soon as parents started picking up their kids you walked straight over to the door and starting saying "bye" and waving to every kid as they left....it was the sweetest thing! When it was finally my turn to get you, the ladies working the nursery told me that you were happy the whole time and just talking their ears off! I was so proud of you!!
--You are really starting to notice animals and want to get up close to them to touch them whenever you see them...but so far, all of the kitties & dogs we have run into always run away from you! ;)
--You are still a GREAT sleeper! You usually go to bed every night around 7:30 or 8, and wake up anywhere from 8-9am. You usually nap from 1-4ish. When you wake up in the mornings and from your nap, you will play and talk to yourself for quite a while.
--You love identifying your body parts. You know: eye, ear, nose, cheek, teeth, tongue, head, hair, fingers, toes, and belly.
--Mealtime continues to be our biggest struggle with you.
--You are still wearing size 5 diapers and you were mostly 2T or 3T clothes...although you do have a few 18 or 24 month shirts that still fit, and you have a couple of 4T hand-me-down outfits that we can already put you in. 

And a few more pictures just for good measure :)


Tuesday Tidbits!

--We recently booked our airline tickets for Punta Cana, and I am getting SO excited about our trip! Two of our friends are having a destination wedding there in December, and we can't wait to help them celebrate their big day!
--On our date night this weekend, we had a little bit of time to kill in between dinner and when our movie started...so we stopped in Old Navy for a minute. {THIS} dress was on clearance for $17 down from $45. I thought it would be perfect to throw in my suitcase for Punta Cana!
--Speaking of trips, we are taking a quick trip to Pensacola this weekend for Derek's work. They are having a "resident retreat" there this weekend and families get to tag along. Shelby and I tagged along last year and had a lot of fun, so hopefully we will this year, too! The only thing I am worried about is there is a big group dinner on Friday night at the hotel's restaurant. And a big group means a long wait. We pretty much never go to a restaurant with a wait if we have Shelby with us b/c getting through a meal with a toddler is a big enough feat without having to entertain her through a wait beforehand. The dinner took forever last year, but Shelby did okay b/c we were able to hold her when she got fussy. This year will be completely different b/c Shelby no longer enjoys sitting with us...she wants to be running around everywhere. Keep your fingers crossed that we don't make a scene! ;)
--I've had Shelby's 19 month post written for a little while now, but we kept forgetting to take her picture! We finally did her little monthly photo shoot this afternoon, but of course Shelby wasn't really cooperating. I'm about to look through the pictures now...hopefully we got a couple good ones, so I can get that post finished up!
--I am looking forward to a fun day with sweet friends today! We are celebrating a friend's daughter's first birthday later this morning, and then I am taking a meal to a friend with a new baby this evening.

Happy Tuesday to you! :)


A Pictureless Perfect Day

So I have zero pictures to show of our day yesterday, but it was such a wonderful day! Derek had the day off, and all three of us managed to sleep in until 9:15..it was the perfect way to start our day! We quickly threw on some clothes and headed out the door to get some use out of a couple gift cards that we've had since Christmas. We went to Chick-fil-a for breakfast and to let Shelby play for a bit. Usually whenever we go to Chick-fil-a, the play area is so busy, but it must be less crowded in the mornings b/c she was the only kiddo in there. :)  From there, we headed over to Home Deopt to get a few things for our yard. We came home and let Shelby play outside while we worked in the yard a bit before it was time for her lunch & nap. Derek & I showered and then just rested for the entirety of Shelby's naptime, which is always a nice treat for me. Shelby's naptime is always chore time for me, so it was nice to have a change of pace. Once Shelby woke up from nap and had her snack, her babysitter arrived so Derek & I could have a little date night! I have been dying to go see The Hunger Games, so I have been looking forward to our date night for quite some time! I loved the books, and it was really exciting to see the story come to life. We even ran into two of our friends at the movie and got to sit with them, so that was fun!

Derek is back on call today, and Shelby & I are enjoying a quiet, relaxing day at home. Hope you've had a great weekend, too!


Our Little Artist!

This past Monday, Shelby went to Kid Swap {you can read a description HERE on what that entails} at my friend Lacy's house. Lacy was brave and attempted finger painting with three toddlers...not to mention, she had her own little baby to look after as well! But I am SO thankful she did b/c Shelby seriously had a blast with her friends!! And we now have her two masterpieces proudly hanging on our fridge. :)

{I love how Shelby is grinning from ear to ear in the photo below as she looks at her hands covered in paint!}

{Notice the red streak of paint in Shelby's hair!}

{I love this next pic of the three of them b/c they all look like they're hard at work on their paintings.}

{And this last picture is my absolute fave...pure joy!}


DIY: Interactive Books for your Toddler

So I totally stole this idea from one of Shelby's Early Intervention teachers, but it's just too wonderful not to share! And I want to remember this activity b/c we spend A LOT of time on it as it is currently one of Shelby's faves. If you have a baby/toddler of your own or work with small children, this post is for you! If you don't fall into one of those two categories, this post will probably not interest you in the slightest...so I will apSo here we go...I'm sure all of you are familiar with Eric Carle's book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See. That book is the inspiration for both of these activities. To make the first activity, all I used was a package of velcro, the board book version of the book, and cards I had leftover from a board game I purchased for my classroom a few years back. {HERE is a link to the board game if you're interested, but you can make cards on your own--which is what I did for the second activity, and they'll work just fine, too.} Below is a picture of our board book & cards. You can see how I adhered velcro to the backs of the cards.

I stuck another piece of velcro to each page in the book, so Shelby can match the cards to the animals in the book as they appear. She LOVES it!

The next book/activity is very similar, but it's all DIY. I had most of the items on hand, so it was nearly free! I used the following items to make this next book: a bradded folder, plastic page protectors, cardstock, packing tape, & velcro. Using Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See as the inspiration, here is our interactive book Yellow Star Yellow Star What Do You See.

In the picture above you see the book on the left, and the plastic baggy to the right contains all of the shapes that Shelby uses to match up to the book. In the picture below, you can see what the inside of our book looks like. You can also the pieces of velcro where Shelby matches up the corresponding shapes.

Below are pictures of the end of our book. At the end of the Brown Bear book, there is a teacher & children. So at the end of our book, we used Mommy & Daddy to replace the teacher and we used Shelby to replace the kids. She loves seeing our pictures in the book! :)

When we first started doing these interactive books with Shelby, there was a lot of guiding. The first couple of times, we had to show her how to do it. Then we graduated to giving her the correct animal or shape to match to the page in the book. Then we were able to show her two or three animals/shapes, and she could pick the right one. But this has been such a fun & effective way to teach Shelby her animals, shapes, & colors...I highly recommend it! If you are interested in creating the shape book, feel free to leave a comment on this post and I would be happy to send you the Word document so you don't have to waste time recreating something!

And this is totally not an interactive book by any means, but it's another book that Shelby l-o-v-e-s. Using a free photo book coupon, I made Shelby a family book on Shutterfly and it's been great in helping her learn people's names in our family.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Shelby is genuinely loving learning these days, and the teacher part of my heart & the mommy part of my heart just can't get enough of it. Seeing kids learn something new is always an amazing thing, but I never knew how wonderful it would be to see my child learning!