Thursday, March 29, 2012

Monica's Seven Month Update

Happy Seven Month Birthday, Monica!!!

Monica continues to amaze us with her intelligence, strength, and coordination. I keep asking her to slow down and stop growing up so fast, but she is off and running - almost literally. I think she is convinced that she is an adult stuck in a baby's body. Or, we could go with Aunt Kim's theory that she is not a baby at all - she's a midget masquerading as a baby.

Either way, the past couple of weeks she has decided she wants to take everything to the next level.

JK and I can't eat a meal or a snack without Monica staring at us and begging to eat off of our plates. She's worse than the dog! And during her own meals, she's been SUPER aggressive - demanding I spoon feed her more quickly, and getting frustrated when I pause to feed myself a bite of food.

However, the grunting and groaning magically stops as soon as we offer her some finger foods for her to eat off of her own tray. All we need to do is give her some puffs or small pieces of fruit and she will quietly feed herself. I'm pretty sure she's trying to tell us that she's ready to start moving on from  purees, so I've started reading up on the transition to finger foods. I'm excited because it will be a LOT more convenient once she can eat what we are eating!

Interacting with the world: Monica's unique personality is developing more and more every day!

As we are gearing up for summer, the first order of business was to get Monica a sun hat. She made an awful face at the first hat that I tried on her, but when I switched to this one, she was all smiles. If she could talk I'm pretty sure she would have said, "Come on, Mama, the white one goes with everything; the pattern and colors of the first hat really limited our ability to coordinate with my wardrobe." I'm so proud that she is sensible and practical about fashion!

But, don't let her silliness fool you, this little girl also has a very serious side.

I can't remember if they were discussing Ron Paul's standing in the polls, or if they were debating gas versus diesel engines for our next car. Either way, JK is prepping her in the fine art of the debate.

Stroller rides: I try to take Monica for a walk on most days when there is nice weather. But lately, we will get halfway around the block and she starts to fidget and whine and try to jump out of the stroller entirely.  We are still using the infant car seat attached to the stroller base, but she has seemed annoyed that she can't see our surroundings. Or, maybe she is just annoyed by being forced to stare at me for the duration of the walk. 

Planning on a longer walk up to the mailbox last week, JK and I decided to try her out in the actual stroller. She looks so tiny and so silly, but she loved it! No grunting, no whining. She was absolutely delighted at the sights and sounds of our neighborhood.

I'm still going to use the car seat when we're running errands since it is convenient, but she seems to greatly prefer to be able to see where we are going and take in her surroundings - even though she can barely see over the top of the tray.

Finally, we can't leave out all the standing!  The pictures tell the story better than I can:

We just love our little snuggle bug!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Evil Laundry

This past week, Monica and I have been held hostage by the evil force known as laundry. Unfortunately, the Grub Files post that was promised was a necessary casualty during this difficult time.  Luckily, I did manage to snag a few moments here and there to put together a great update.  I will publish it tomorrow in honor of Monica's seven month birthday.  For now, see below, where Monica helps me battle the never ending horrors:

Monica:  Umm, Mom, why do I have to be the one to fold Dad's underwear?

Me:  I don't know, sweetheart, those are just the rules.  Your grandmother made Aunt Kimmy and I fold our dad's underwear, and now you must fold your father's underwear.  Those are just the rules of family laundry.  Good luck, and godspeed. 

Are we STILL doing this SAME chore?  Ugh!  Boring!
For real, Mom, this has been going on for days...literally, DAYS!
That's it, I'm taking charge and breaking us out of this laundry rut!
Hahaha, I declare, this laundry WILL be conquered!
We barely escaped unscathed.  Luckily, I think the worst is behind us, and all that remains is the final challenge:  Getting JK to put his laundry away instead of throwing it all over the floor.  Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers that the entire project comes to a quick resolution, so we can return to your normally scheduled Grub Files.  Thank you for your patience!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mommy Blogger Guilt

To all four of my readers...

I have been a remiss blogger.  Yes, I know that I normally only post one to two times a week...but behind the scenes, I'm usually working 3-5 blog posts at a time.  Normally, I jump on and off blogger a couple times each day to work on posts, upload pics and create funny captions, and fine-tune my whimsical witticisms about Grub Life and Mommy Life.  

But...I haven't touched this blog in a week!  Truth be told, I am having such a ball with Monica right now.  She is doing so many fun things all at once, there is no way that I can even attempt to capture them in separate blog posts.  I'm almost feeling stressed, like SO MANY great things are going on, I can not possibly do them justice in my normal mommy blogger fashion.  This, combined with the beautiful weather and Monica's new-found love of the outdoors, have been keeping me from the computer.  On the bright side, I tell myself that I am doing a good job as a mom by devoting tons of quality time to my little munchkin.   

So: I'm going to come clean and let you know up front that this week's product will be a cheat post.  In order to keep up, I'm going to have to do a quick and dirty picture montage of recent grub fun.  More focus on pics and captions, less commentary from me.  I have some work to do to gather up the pics, so expect something later tomorrow evening.  

Love, Miss

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Monica's new most favorite thing in the whole wide world is going outside.  

We wake up every morning and come downstairs to check the weather out the front window in the living room.  I've been explaining seasons and weather to her since she was just a tiny little grub, and promising all winter long that, come springtime, we'll be able to go outside all the time and do all sorts of fun and exciting new activities.

Luckily, the short, almost nonexistent winter is over, and we're having an early spring.  Knock on wood, I know it's still early March, but I'm hoping the warm weather is here to stay!  Monica is loving it....all we have to do is approach the front door and she gets excited, kicking and laughing in anticipation. 

This week, JK and I took advantage of this wonderful early spring, and we took Monica on
her very first trip to see the Linvilla Orchards farm animals.  I have countless childhood memories of Linvilla, my mom was always taking us there in the summer for picnic lunches and to feed the animals.  Then in the fall they have Pumpkinland and celebrate fall harvest and Halloween.  It's such a great place for kids, I've been so excited to take Monica there!

As soon as we got out of the car she was kicking her little legs in excitement.

First stop:  The Goats! 

She was a little wary at first, but I think that she was also taking a moment to get her bearings in a new place.  

She warmed up to them after a few minutes....she probably thought they were some kind of dog friend :)   It was a hard task to keep her from trying to grab them on the nose.  

But the goats absolutely had nothing on...

Chickens!  And ducks and roosters and all kinds of silly little birds. Monica made fast friends with these guys.

If she could talk, she'd be saying, "Mommy, I LIKE these little guys!  They're fun and funny and just my size!"

The birds were definitely her favorite part, most likely because they are fun and frenzied and they never stop moving - just like Monica!


We then took a little stroll over to the duck pond area.  Well, JK and I took a stroll.  Monica chose her preferred mode of parental transport - an airplane ride.

Monica and JK hung out with the ducks and I went crazy taking tons of pictures.  The duck pond area is new - well, new since the last time I've visited the animals - and it has a cool little dock that extends over the pond so you can walk out and see the animals in action.

Relaxing in the shade on the dock overlooking the pond.

Walking around the outside of the pond with Daddy.

Our final stop after we looped around was to check out a cow and a pig. There was a little girl with her grandparents who was trying to feed a carrot to the cow, but every time he got close she would shriek and drop the carrot.  Monica, of course, thought that was hilarious, and laughed every time the little girl yelped at the cow.

The pig didn't make it in the picture, he ran off with a "no pictures, please" grunt.  But you can see a carrot on the ground, the kid must have dropped a half dozen before the poor cow actually got to eat one.  Monica loved every second of it.    

It was the most fun day we've had as a family of three.  We're calling it "Monica's Most Favorite Day EVER" because it was obvious how much she enjoyed the outdoor activities.  Makes me SO excited for all the great new things to come!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Where's Monica?

Just checked the video camera to see if Monica was moving around in her room...and laughed out loud because I couldn't see her for a split second!

The pattern on her bed sheet and the pattern on her receiving blanket are so  similar, she just blends right in! Totally appropriate since JK and I were just talking about how much we loved the Where's Waldo books when we were kids :)

Anyway, on a serious note...when I posted about Monica Standard Time yesterday, it didn't even occur to me that actual Daylight Savings Time this weekend is probably going to have a considerable impact on our current routine.  Yes, I am that mentally slow right now.  I was too focused on the fact that the past couple days she has been waking up earlier than normal and keeping me awake with her to play, which I dislike greatly. 

BUT..I am not going to let any of this bother me!  I am planning on an early bedtime for myself tonight, on the off chance that we have a crazy early start to the day tomorrow.  And we'll just see how things go over the next couple of days and adjust as needed.  I'm going to do my best to be relaxed and try not to get frustrated with the change.  My mom swears that I will come to love the adjusted schedule with the earlier start to the day, earlier afternoon nap, and earlier bedtime.  She says that in the end, it will actually give us more flexibility and more time in the day to do things.  I can see her point since we sort of waste the first half of the day right now, as it's not like we ever go out of the house before her first nap anyway.  And JK's mom pointed out that this will allow for us to put Monica to bed and then go out for the evening without having to worry about rushing home to get her settled for bed.  So, I am going to trust these two wise moms who both know better than me, and hope for the best.  Wish us luck over the next few days!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Monica Standard Time (MST)

Monica loves to remind us that the Stasul Household does not run on Eastern Standard Time (EST).  Nope, here we have our own special time zone, Monica Standard Time (MST).

The child can go for weeks on end, waking up for the day at 9am and taking naps at 11am and 4pm, finishing up the day with a 9pm bedtime.  This is Monica Standard Time.  Give or take a half hour, I can practically set a watch to her body's clock.  

Here's the catch with MST.  Any day, at will, she can choose to impose her own version of daylight savings, and throw off the entire routine.  I guess that's her right, having her very own time zone.  Inevitably, this is on the odd day that we decide to do something after her second nap.  If there is anything that involves any sort of timing or planning, she decides to to do something totally crazy, like start the day off with either a 7am or 10am wake-up.

Today is the perfect example. We're leaving at 6:30 to see Carly in the high school play.  Yesterday, I assured my mother-in-law that Monica would be taking her second nap around 4pm.  Perfect timing for me to shower and get ready while she was asleep, planning for her to wake at 6 so we could get her situated before we left for the evening. We are hoping to be home around 9:30 just in time for her to get to bed...blah blah everything would be perfect.

Yeah, right.  She woke up at 6:45am, played for an hour and a half in our bed, went back to sleep until 9:45, and her morning nap didn't even start until early afternoon, just before 1:00.  She's still asleep, which means she should be just about ready for another nap..yeah, at dinnertime or so.  Sheesh!
It's not necessarily any more or less work for JK and I when she has an off day, this is not my complaint.  I could really care less what time she decides she is ready to nap, as long as she is getting enough rest during the day so that she is not cranky and difficult.  The part that gets tough is when other people are involved in our plans.  Going to dinner at someone else's house, having someone come here to babysit; all of these things revolve around timing and it's frustrating for me when I cannot predict or commit to other people what we can expect.  

So here I am, trying to decide whether or not to wake her up.  Because let's not forget that I never have any idea how long she might sleep.  She could sleep for another five minutes or another hour, I have no idea.  When I bug JK to help me figure out timing, this is our conversation:

Me:  It's 2:00 and she is sleeping,  blah blah, worrying about parents babysitting, blah blah, what should we do?
JK:  Let her sleep.
Me:  Blah blah blah, then she'll be awake till dinnertime when we're leaving, blah blah, cranky for your parents, blah blah blah.
JK:  So go wake her up.
Me:  Blah blah blah, arguing pros and cons of every tiny detail and factor of every minute of the rest of the day.
JK:  I have to go to the bathroom.
Me: Blah blah blah, now I'm just arguing in my head with myself, and getting wonder JK left the room...

So, it's now 2:30 and I am just going to go wake her up.  Who knows what the rest of the day will bring...I just know that we are leaving this house at 6:30 and I will pray to God that she isn't a little terror for his parents while we are gone for three whole hours.  Yes, a mere three hour excursion out of the house involves this amount thinking and over-analyzing.  No wonder I think I'm going crazy!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Monica's Six Month Update

Monica's six month wellness visit went pretty much like this:

     SceneMonica is sitting on the table, waiting patiently.  Doctor walks in.
     Doctor:  Oh!  You're sitting on your own!
     Me & JK:  She's also crawling all over the place and and standing.
     Doctor: (slight pause, consults chart)...This, this is the six month visit? 
    Yeaahhh...that's what you'd normally be seeing from a nine month old...

So, it's been confirmed by a medical expert, we DO have a super baby.

Weight: 16lbs, 8.9oz, 57th percentile based on weight-for-age.
Height: 2'3" tall, 86th percentile based on length-for-age.

The past month has been one of rapid development.  She is doing something new almost every day, from acrobatics and noises, to discovering new ways to use her toys.

Milestone updates: Monica is sitting, kneeling, crawling, climbing, and everything in between!

We really still can't believe that she is already standing up on her own.  Hopefully she will take it easy on us and hold up on actual walking, at least for a little while. 

For now, she is sticking to crawling as her main mode of conveyance.  JK calls her the Grub Tank.  She doesn't just crawl, she charges full force, complete with a head butt for whoever or whatever might be her destination. I'm lucky enough to have caught the snapshot to the right, before she attacked me and my phone.

The Grub Tank's favorite game is hoping that we leave her bedroom door open, so she can escape out into the hallway.  Good thing she is still not quite as quick as the Daddy Tank, who can overtake her in hot pursuit!

Daily Grub Life: Monica now has several baby safe zones in the house where she spends her play time.  She has most recently discovered that banging toys together produces sounds, so she has been experimenting with various combinations. I loved catching the confused look on her face earlier this week when there was no noise coming from two stuffed animals she was manhandling.

 Mealtime Fun:

Monica now eats three meals a day.  To date, she has tried rice, oatmeal, bananas, pears, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, and applesauce.

Last week we had our first family meal at home where we pulled her right up to the dining room table to eat with us.  It's still tough to eat all together, as Monica is a bit impatient and doesn't like waiting for us to eat in between her bites.  We're sure this will get easier once she is eating finger foods and feeding herself :)

The Sleeping Grub: Monica has transformed into a great sleeper, and now loves getting ready to go into her crib for naps and bedtime alike.
  • Daytime sleeping: two naps a day around 11am and 4pm, each lasting anywhere from 1 to 3 hours.
  • Nighttime sleeping: 9:00 bedtime. One "nighttime" feeding around 6am, then back to sleep until 8am or 9am.
That being said, her favorite part of sleeping is waking up - when Mommy or Daddy comes to rescue her for playtime:

Finally, since she is so advanced, I've decided that Monica needs to start earning her keep and doing some chores.  I'm putting her in charge of laundry, since she creates so much of it.  

Super baby feats of strength aside, Monica continues to be the sweetest, happiest baby.  She has also turned into the best snuggler.  When she is done having fun playing, she will crawl right up into your lap and curl up in a little snuggly ball to let you know she is ready for a rest.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Big Girl Bath Time

Monica has been trying to climb out of her bath seat/sling for well over a month now.  I was researching and planning on ordering a bath seat for her, until I realized that the suction cups were not going to stick to the textured surface of my bathtub.  Sooo....our only other option was to go the old fashioned route and for me to climb in the tub with her.  She absolutely LOVED it, we're already excited about teaching her to swim :)

Scroll down for pictures....Don't be afraid, I'm not in any of the shots!! Wish that they were a little less blurry, but she was having so much fun there was no chance of keeping her still for pictures. 
She reached for the duck...and hit the water!  She was so surprised by the splashing, she couldn't get enough!

The rest of the time consisted of her crawling after the duck and splashing and me chasing her in attempt to get her clean.

JK strategically positioned the duck to hide any grub private parts :)