Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Swimming with Babybison

Zooey and I started swimming lessons 4 weeks ago and it is SO FUN!!! She had been in the pool a few times before and seemed to enjoy it so we thought it would be fun to take lessons. She thrives on new experiences and social interaction and I thrive on playing with my Zo Zo and since there are swimming lessons on the pool in our basement we thought we would take full advantage. I am in no way a 'tiger mom' and I don't really believe that Zooey will become a stronger swimmer by nature of taking lessons so early (though Adam apparently convinced his colleague that this class with the British Swim School is the beginning of a prep program to get Z ready to swim the English Channel by the age of 17!), but the swim lessons are fully worth the money for the pure fun we have.

She's enjoyed it from day 1, splashing about and eagerly participating in the singing games, the drills and the playtime. She smiles sometimes, but mostly takes it all in looking around, observing.

Last week, Adam was lucky enough to come to class to watch (and take pictures!). I'm so glad he was able to participate in the fun and I thank him for the pictures in this post! That class, Zooey started spitting the water out of her mouth after going under water. We, of course, think she is a swimming genius:)

Today, Zooey was in rare form. It really seems like she has learned what to do and when to do it! Most of the drills start and end on the pool "wall" and we tell the kids to "hold on to the wall". Today, Zooey grabbed the wall and held on (actually tried to pull herself out of the pool!) every single time! She was comfortable putting her entire face under water. She LOVED the songs, as usual, clapping and chatting and even shouting with glee. How I LOVE holding my beautiful daughter while she shouts with glee. Swimming night is the BEST! (And, for my many friends with newborns and infants who are still a lot of work, NOW is when the rewards of having a baby become VERY CLEAR!!).

Zooey had a great time. I had a great time. But the best moment(s) of the night were when the teacher came by to have all the kids "give her 5" and Zooey put her hand up and gave her 5! Two separate times! She clearly knew what she was doing. She put out her hand and gave 5! My wonderful, almost 1 year old, sleeping through the night daughter has learned the social skill of giving 5. Really, really cool.

I'm absurdly equivalently proud that little Z has learned how to be deceitful. At school, Z has full reign of the daycare room which she LOVES. They are obviously not allowed to hit, or bite etc, but the room is theirs to explore. Except for the bins. The under the crib bins. Each kid has one with their extra clothes, coats, socks etc. The kids predictably want to pull out the bins and empty them, so the teachers use it as a chance to teach them "no". Last week, Corey (one of her primary teacher) noticed that Zooey was sitting very close to one of the cribs. She appeared to have her hand stuck between the bin and the cirb. She wasn't upset and she certainly wasn't crying. But whenever Corey looked over at her she would move her body over to hide her hand and wouldn't make eye contact. When Corey snuck a glance, Zooey was working hard to release her hand but just couldn't figure it out. Hilarious! Our sneaky little Z.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

First St Patrick's Day @ 11 months!!

Walking to the party!
We had a wonderful "unofficial" St Patrick's Day with Zooey on Saturday. She was all recovered from yet another ear infection so we spent the whole day out on the town!

We started at a St Patrick's Day brunch at Adam's coworker's house. It was an interesting and fun crew- Adam's colleagues (mostly all younger than us) and Adam's boss's college age sons and their friends (DEFINITELY younger than us).  Zooey was by far the youngest party-goer but she was quite the hit! She took the noise and the constant line up of smiling strangers grabbing her feet, hands and cheeks in stride and even smiled a few times. She went to town on melon and was fascinated by the candles. She really was a trooper. Adam and I decided that we really need to keep taking her to adult parties so she is used to behaving in that environment.

Next up was a quick car nap for Zooey before we moved on to the more child friendly part of the day- open play at Bubbles! Just like last time, Zooey was right at home, moving around and interacting with other kids with no fear. It's really fun to compare her to other kids. Our general sense is that she is a bit more physical and chatty than other kids. While she's not walking (there was an 11 month old there who was!) she constantly rolls/scoots/crawls around fearlessly over obstacles. She uses her feet like hands. She doesn't mind falling or hitting her head. Her teachers at school say she is very independent and talks all day- to herself, to other kids, to the teachers. Chatty, physical, portable, and fearless. That describes Z at 11 months!

Practicing walking.
Bubbles on her head at Bubbles Academy:)


After playgroup, we went to dinner. Z did really well considering this was the last stop in a long day! She ate some chips, some rice, some tortilla. She handled the really loud restaurant well especially considering she was wiped out!

First time in a restaurant high chair!

Zooey is standing quite well, using minimal one handed support. I suspect she will be walking in a month or so. She LOVES to put food in her mouth though spits a lot of it out after gumming it around. What else? I wish I could report that she is sleeping well or through the night, but she's not. In fact, we had a sleep consultant coming to help with this problem this week! (More on that later...)

My next Zooey post may very well be her 1st birthday. Can you believe it? Our 4 lb 10 oz mini will be turning 1!

Enjoy Z talking:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Free time?!?!

Tonight I find myself in a very unusual situation. A situation I haven't encountered in 11 months. It is 7pm and I have nothing I have to be doing!! Sure, there are things I could do- paperwork, reading journals, picking up, journaling, working on Zooey's scrapbook, looking for houses, etc but none of it needs to be done tonight. I already worked out- a great 5 mile pyramid run. I already did the essential dishes, I already put the laundry away. I saw 10 patients in clinic, I attended conference, I looked for the needed paperwork for my licensure and mortgage application. I fed Zooey, played with Zooey and got her to bed.

What to do???

Write a totally non-essential blog post while watching 'The Good Wife'. That's what I'm doing. Productive non-productivity. Awesome!

Let me tell you, stopping nursing has been a life changer in a really good way! The ability to occasionally sleep through the night (when Adam takes Z), and an extra 2-3 hours of available time during the day- it is fabulous!!

So here is my themeless blog, just some cute Zooey photos and antics that I thought would be fun to share:
Z's first bison! At the Peggy Nodebaert Nature Museum.

Z always has smiles for Grandpa!

And she loves baths with Grandma!

Zo has mad ball dropping skills.

Just cute

Even cuter

It is increasingly hard to take any still photos of this girl. Here we are trying to take the 9 month photo of Z next to her developmental milestones book but she is exhibiting that she is right on track with her mobility milestones by trying desperately to roll or scoot away to play!

Add caption
 Z was able to be part of her great-grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary celebration. My Grandma's wedding dress and honeymoon dress are behind them. It was great to hear their memories of getting ready for the wedding, the day of and the honeymoon.

Happy Anniversary Grandpa and Grandma!

See my "toofers"? (teeth)

Zooey always uses her feet to manipulate objects. She's a little monkey. Our little, favorite, adorable monkey:)

That's all for now. Gosh, and I still have 1/2 hour until bed!!! Best day EVER!! ;)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Bubbles Academy

Yesterday, Adam, Zooey and I went on a play adventure to Bubbles Academy. Bubbles is a place in Lincoln Park that offers baby and kid music, movement and swim lessons as well as open play groups. We went to the open playgroup that is offered every Saturday (as well as M-F) from 1-5pm. The play is for babies and toddlers and takes place in a big, fun, colorful carpeted room called the Meadow Room. There are all kinds of toys, tunnels and foam blocks to climb on and through, sit atop toys, sleds, grocery carts to push, tents to play in, scarves and clothes to try on and, of course, bubbles!

Meadow Room

As soon as we got there we placed Zooey on the floor and she was off to the races. She showed not an ounce of apprehension or shyness as she scooted around the room from toy to toy. She immediately got involved with some bubbles and spent the first 1/2 hour with a bubble on her head. This is the view we had of her most of the day as she scooted in front of us in her attempt to get to the next great thing:

Constant movement= blurry pics. But see the bubble on her head??

Sometimes the authorities forced toys on her that she wasn't necessarily interested in. But she resourcefully found an escape route!

Watching the big(ger) kids
Zooey really enjoyed watching some of the bigger kids. We spent a good 5 minutes watching an 18 month old having her snack and not listening (or not understanding?) her mom's request for her to "sit over here". Hopefully Zooey wasn't learning lessons in not listening to your mom! All of the parents we ran into were super conscientious about enforcing sharing and making sure the bigger kids didn't get too close to Zooey. So I felt kinda bad when Zooey would scoot right up to bigger "walkers" and try to take their toys. I guess she's learned from being in a daycare room with a bunch of older, bigger boys that you have to take what you want from them! I think she's too young to understand "sharing" but I'll admit, other kids were disproportionately "sharing" with her and she didn't give much back in return!

"I know what to do with this!!"

Her favorites were the tunnels (no surprise there, she loves tunnels), the play ketchup bottle, the foam balls and the sled. She zoomed around the room on the sled two separate times, holding on for dear life. She didn't even seem to notice when other kids hopped on for a ride as well.

More, Daddy, More!
Doesn't she look like a frog?

Totally non-plussed when this guy joined the ride!

We weren't able to capture a whole lot of smiles- when Zooey is in the zone trying new things or exploring she is stingy with the smiles, but she certainly was entertained. She probably could have gone another 1/2 hour but her parents were ready for a change of scenery!

Play time well spent!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

1st Valentine's Day!

Two of three looking at the camera aint' bad!
Before Zooey was born, Adam and I joked that she wouldn't cramp our style all that much because we already eat and go to bed pretty darn early. So for Valentine's Day, we didn't see how having a 10 month old would prevent us from celebrating this wonderful "Hallmark" holiday with our new Valentine with a nice 5pm dinner out!

The day started out on a good note when Zooey's teachers presented me with Zooey's Valentine's Day gift- a picture of her painting a picture with the actual painting on the reverse side. So neat! This reminded me once again how lucky we are to have excellent child care. Zooey clearly has so much FUN at school. Every morning when I drop her off she is so eager to get to the floor to start exploring!

It was a regular day at work, but as silly as it sounds, all day I was really looking forward to dinner with Adam and Z. I was able to sneak out a little early so I had time to change Zooey into her Valentine's Day dress (one of her shower gifts from my co-workers). Then Z and I walked just a few blocks over to Flour & Stone, a newish pizza place in Streeterville. I'm definitely going to miss being able to walk to so many restaurants and activities when we move, but I know having more space- both in our home and green space in the form of parks- will more than make up for it!

Zooey and I ordered salad, pizza and adult beverages while we waited for Adam. Zooey was super well behaved (as usual) and spent a good 10 minutes ripping up napkins (don't worry, I picked up the pieces that fell to the floor, we are not THOSE people with kids at restaurants!). Z was very excited to see her daddy when he arrived. It is becoming increasingly hard to get good pictures of this girl and almost impossible to get good ones of her smiling because she is ALWAYS MOVING. But I keep trying!

Hi Daddy, can I have your glasses??
Zooey also opened the Valentine's Day present from her Grandma Lilly- a cute spring dress- can't wait for it to warm up so she can wear it!

Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa Lilly!
We were able to get through salad and most of the pizza uneventfully while Zooey enjoyed peas. We then let Z have her first few bites of pizza (crust)! We figured surely she'd love it as much as her mom does! As we marvelled at how well she was handling the seemingly huge bites she was taking, she started coughing. Cough....cough...cough.... BLECH!!! And just like some alien horror movie, out came a of peas....all down the front of her dress.

Eating peas.
Eating crust.

She may be our first, but we've got this parenting in public thing nailed and within a few minutes we had her outfit changed, got our food boxed and were out the door. :)

She was fine and in fact fell asleep in the car on the way home which was her Valentine's Day present to us, I think.

Some of you may recall that last year Adam got quite ill at Valentine's Day dinner and wasn't able to get through the really long, lovingly worded card I gave him without a trip to the bathroom with a bucket. Suffice it to say, I'm a little nervous about next year because it must be my turn.....

Hope you all had a great V day!

Due to the great vomitus of 2014, Z opened her gift
from Grandma and Grandpa Nelson today instead:)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Adventures at 10 months!

Zooey turns 10 months old on Monday. She has had a very busy month learning lots of new skills. She has started feeding herself solids much to the absolute excitement of her school teachers, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents! The first food she sought out to feed herself was a bagel. She was at school when her teachers looked over and to their absolute surprise she had a huge bite of bagel in her clutches (and mouth!) that she found on the floor! They immediately took that piece away and put her at the table with a fresh bagel piece which she continued to eat. They promptly videotaped the event and sent it to me a few minutes later. I love the excitement of Zo's teachers - they are as (if not more) excited about Zooey's development as we are!

She also learned how to get herself into a sitting position in the past couple weeks. She does it in an odd way. She basically gets herself into the splits from laying on her belly then pulls her legs around. What a goof! 

Just this week she has started to pull herself to standing. We bought a foam block just in time for her to practice this skill over and over at home. 

Other adventures include playing in (and eating) snow:

Continuing to teethe. (She has two adorable "toofers", I think she's working on more on the right side.):

Brushing the two teeth she has. She loves this and opens her mouth in anticipation as soon as she sees the toothbrush.

Yoga poses....cobra anyone?

She crawls through everything. She loves to conquer obstacles- like crawling through her elephant rocker- even if there is a much easier alternate route to traverse!

That's all for now! Stay tuned for a Valentine's Day post!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Zooey having fun @ 9 months

Z on a beautiful quilt handmade by her great-great aunt and uncle!
Clearly I've been woefully neglectful of this blog of late! The job search process has taken me all over the mid-west and that combined with my job, Adam's job, Z's crazy sleep schedule (that has finally improved!), and just life in general, there was no way to fit in blogging! But I miss taking the time to document Z's shenanigans so I will try to be more consistent over the next few months.

Our job search travels actually took us all the way to Washington State where we had the added perk of getting to visit with my brother and his family. Garrett, Jill and Gwyn were kind enough to drive all the way over the mountain to meet us in Leavenworth for a day of German food and touristy shopping. It was chilly, but fun! You can see how enthralled Zooey is with Cousin!

Zooey still enjoys almost everything she does. She likes baths, traveling, walks and the occasional run (though this has been curtailed of late due to the crazy weather).

Post bath giggles!

We're off for our annual Turkey Trot!

Z is now 9 months old and is becoming more and more fun by the day. She is very interactive and loves to smile, roll around, scoot, crawl over obstacles, read books, and go on adventures of pretty much any kind. Every morning as we take 3 different elevators to school, Z stares down the people on the elevator with us until they look at her then she gives them huge grins. She really sets a great tone to the day for me and the random strangers we encounter!

Smiling with Cousin Maya

Naked baby at Xmas!

I make funny faces when I'm teething!

Post art project.

Z loves school. She rolls and scoots all over the room, reading books to herself, playing with the other kids, doing art projects. We are extremely lucky- her teachers adore her and know WAY more about child development than I do! She is a great eater (finally!) though doesn't show much interest in putting solid food in her own mouth yet. Though she can feed herself a bottle if she's in the mood.

Hmm....what are you going to give me next?

Zo is very open to new experiences and is generally fearless. She isn't bothered by falling, or hitting herself in the face with toys. This weekend we went swimming. She kick, kick, kicked and splashed and had a great time.

Finally, I'll leave you with a really cool pic from Xmas. The bottom photo is me at 11 months at my first Christmas. The top is our baby Z, 8 months old, in the same dress that my mom saved from my first Christmas. I sure had fat cheeks!! I think we are both pretty cute:)