Thursday, March 29, 2012

March Self Portrait

One of the big things that I was looking forward to in March was our annual trip to Florida to see my grandparents.  They have a condo right on the beach in Cape Canaveral, and my Mom, sister, and I (and now Addy) have gone every winter to visit for about a week.  It's so relaxing and fun to be with family at the beach :)


I have a few pics of myself down by the ocean, but the wind was intense that day, meaning bad news for my hair in those pics.  So, I chose the boardwalk pic instead.  This is not the boardwalk that we typically take to the beach from their condo, but Tina and I saw a snake by that one earlier in the day, so we opted for this higher, safer (?) boardwalk for some pictures.

We were so lucky to have excellent weather in Florida again this year.  In the past we've been known to bring the cold weather with us.  I think Addy is our good luck charm ;)  Happy March!!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

14 Months!

Dear Miss Marie,

You are 14 Months old today, little lady!  You are such a toddler now and are getting less baby like and more childlike every day.  Except for your hair...which is still taking it's good old time growing in.  It is growing, but very slowly.  You have one little curl in the back that we call your rat tail.  I keep thinking that maybe I should cut it, but I can't bring myself to do it yet, and Daddy doesn't think I should either, so we'll let you go with a rat tail for a little bit longer.  I'm sure we'll hear it from you when you are older!



 
You love to mimic us and try to say what we say and do motions that we do.  And you love to dance!  Whenever music comes on, you stop playing for a minute to do a little shimmy shake.  It's hilarious!  You also can mimic the sounds of a few animals.  Dog, cow, and bird.  And boy do you love birds!  Don't know where you got that, since I am deathly afraid of them.  Great-Grandpa D said that I should take you to an aviary, but Mommy would have to conquer some big time fears before going to one of those!  Ever since our trip to Florida, every time you see a bird your eyes get wide, and you point and say "Oooooh!"  Just last night when we were out for pizza you saw a bird out the window and for awhile Daddy and I didn't know what you were pointing at because it was so far away!  You have eagle eyes, little miss, and one thing that has been true since the day you were born is that you don't miss a beat.  Sharp as a tack :)

For the most part, you speak your own language that Daddy and I don't understand, but yesterday we really think you were saying "More More!" when we were feeding you frozen yogurt!

You are a walking fool and there is no more crawling for you.  You can even balance well enough to walk in soft sand, which is amazing to me.  But, like everything else, you didn't start walking until you were sure that you knew what you were doing ;)

For the most part you are a really good listener, but you are getting to the age where you test the boundaries.  Daddy and I are very consistent with the rules, and what you can and can't touch.  Usually you are OK with it, but you have been known to throw some tantrums here and there too.  You can be very dramatic when you want to be.  You sink to the floor and put your head down and cry like you just can't take it anymore.  Sometimes I catch myself starting to laugh when you do this because it's so theatrical!

You are still a pretty good eater, and mostly eat whatever we give you, but I need to start varying your diet a little bit more so that you don't get picky.  I just find that I am feeding you the same fruits and veggies all of the time.  You don't love meats, especially chicken, but we'll work on it.  And I don't remember if you were done with bottles by this time last month, but you are officially done now.  No more bedtime bottle.  And just like with nursing, you took it like a champ.  No crying or whining, just done.  It's still a struggle getting you to drink enough fluids, and most days I'm pretty sure that you don't, but we try our best.  What I should do is let you drink out of adult bottles, because you are fascinated with them, even though the water usually ends up all over you ;)




 You love to play with Daisy, and you love all dogs really.

You were all smiles when my friend Carolyn brought her dog over to play.  Trying to kiss him the whole time :)


 Ever since you were born, you've loved to be outdoors.  One of your favorite things to do is play on the deck outside.  You are such a fun little girl and Daddy and I get a kick out of you every day.  You are ticklish on your neck, and that little giggle is the sweetest sound in the world.  You recently became like Linus, and you enjoy dragging a blanket around the house.  Doesn't matter to you which blanket, sometimes it's even a towel ;) 



You are a little explorer and love to open every cabinet and door to see what's behind them. 

Playing in the coat closet


It looks like you were just caught red handed!




One of your new favorite toys: the egg strainer


You are so smart, and you know lots of your toys by name.  You will retrieve them and sometimes even put them away when asked!  It's so fun hanging out with you every day, and I kiss your little cheeks more times than I can count :)





Happy 14 Months Miss Marie!  We love you millions!

Love,

Mommy

Monday, March 26, 2012

Up in the Clouds

Flying with a toddler.  Sigh.  Talk about anxiety inducing.  Especially going at it alone, which is how it always is.  Poor Mike can never have off of work when Addy and I are jet setting around, so it's me, myself, and I with a toddler in tow.  It's a whole different experience from flying with a baby, because not only do you have to keep them entertained, but you have to keep them still.  Not an easy task.  So I made sure that I was as prepared as I could possibly be.  I read blogs about flying with toddlers, I got together Addy's favorite toys/distractions, and I made sure to have plenty of snacks.

The week before we left I ordered her a pair of child headphones so that she could watch her favorite shows/music videos on the I Pad without being horribly annoying to the other passengers.  Needless to say, she was not thrilled with the headphones at first.  In fact, she wouldn't even let them near her head, much less on her head.  But, based on the recommendation from one of the blogs I read, I practiced with her every day for that week leading up to the flight, and eventually it worked!  She realized that she couldn't hear her shows without the headphones and she began to wear them.


It was amazing!  I was so excited, so I downloaded four episodes of Addy's favorite show, The Fresh Beat Band.  I also downloaded the only Giggle Bellies music video that was available on I Tunes, which was The Wheels on the Bus.  Between those two and Peek-A-Boo Barn, I figured it should be enough to entertain her for part of the trip.

The number one most important thing to keep a toddler happy on a plane is snacks, hands down. 
Number two would have to be the I Pad with headphones.

Addy also liked to look out the window when taking off and landing, but I made the mistake of showing her the shade that you can pull down on the window.  And then she was obsessed with putting it up and down, and when I made her stop she started crying.  Ooops!  On our next flight (which is coming up in 3 days!!!), I will NOT draw attention to that shade.

Another thing that worked well at keeping Addy occupied was books, and the safety pamphlet in the seat pocket.  Ha ha!  She loved that thing and loved to point to the pictures of planes crashing into the ocean and the people in their life vests sliding down the slide.  It was comical, but it kept her happy for awhile.

I brought a sippy cup of her milk and then some extra in a bottle so that I could refill her sippy cup if needed.  I just kept these two things out during the security check and there was no problem.  And I tried to encourage her to drink during takeoff and landing (and anytime that my own ears were popping), but she wasn't always so cooperative with drinking on command.  That is where snacks came in handy.  As long as she was swallowing something, I figured that was good enough.  And it never appeared as though her ears bothered her at all, so that was a relief.  I've also read that lolly pops work well for older children, but I tested that one out at home, and she is NOT ready for lolly pops yet.  She became a sticky disaster in a matter of seconds.

So, we had snacks like Mum Mums, Motts for Tots fruit snacks, gold fish crackers, puffs, and string cheese.  We had her milk.  We had the plane to look around in.  We had books.  And we had the I Pad.  All of that combined pretty much kept her occupied for the 1hr 40min flight.

For good measure I threw in Addy's blanket and her bunny that she sleeps with.  And MUCH to my surprise here is what happened on the way to Florida....

Addy Marie fell asleep!!!  Never in a million years did I think that would happen!

Notice that her panda headphones are right there in case she decides that she needs them back ;)

She probably slept for a total of 20 minutes, but it was 20 minutes of peace and relaxation.  I got to play a few games of Angry Birds and I was a happy camper :)

On the way home from Florida there was no sleeping involved.  But there was a lot of this.....

And notice that both seats next to us were empty on the way home! 

Yup, I had my fair share of the Fresh Beat Band and Giggle Bellies.  Look at how intent she is :)

And the last thing that I think helped make our plane ride smoother was that I let Addy run around in the terminal before we got on the plane.  So she was pretty content (for the most part) to just sit and relax on the plane.



And you can see that Mom was there in the terminal while we waited to board the plane home.  Tina was also there because they were flying Southwest too, and their flight was about an hour later than ours.  So it didn't have to be me chasing little Addy around the terminal.  I had plenty of willing helpers, which was nice.

I had Addy's diaper bag and a beach bag filled with my stuff as my two carry-ons.  And I pushed Addy in her umbrella stroller right up to the plane and then checked it at the gate.  In her diaper bag I had all of the things mentioned above, along with about 5 diapers and an extra outfit for her just in case.  Luckily we didn't need all 5 diapers or the extra outfit, but you never know if your plane will be delayed, so you have to be prepared.  Like I said, I was ready for anything.  And it seems as though the more prepared you are, the less likely it is that things will go wrong.

I'd have to say that all in all, the flights to and from Florida were very smooth for Addy and I.  No major meltdowns, which was all that I could hope for.   Here's hoping the next one is just as smooth!  Fingers crossed!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Birds and the Beach

Those were two of Addy's favorite things on our trip to Florida last week.  Especially the birds.  Pelicans, seagulls.... she loved them all.  That girl can spot a bird a mile away and she stops everything to point and "oooooh" at the birds.  It's so cute.

Addy definitely loved the beach too....but not so much the ocean.  She enjoys pointing at the ocean when you ask her where it is, but she prefers to hang safely in the sand to dig with her shovels or collect shells and put them in her buckets.  Poor thing gets very nervous when she senses that you are about to take her down to the water.  She gets stiff and clings onto you for dear life.  And she will not relax again until she is back on dry land.




Here are some photos from the day that we arrived.  It was already pretty late in the day, so we didn't bother with bathing suits.

First beach photo this year.  Addy loved it!



That is my grandparent's condo in the background.


Hard to see, but Addy's shirt says, "Full of Shenanigans.  That's Me!"  Appropriate since it was St. Patrick's Day.  We were all decked out in our green :)


Grandma and Addy, on a mission to find some shells.


"Ummm, did I Mention that I hate the ocean???"
(Notice that she still has a firm grasp on her shells.)


Happy Girl!


View from Grandma and Grandpa's porch :)


When Addy and I arrived, we kind of crashed into the condo and took over.  We stole Grandma and Grandpa's bedroom and everyone's lives revolved around Addy's nap times and bedtime.  In the following pic, Tina needed headphones but forgot that hers were in the bedroom, and since Addy was napping, no one could enter.  So she borrowed Addy's headphones...



When Addy woke up, she decided that she needed them back....


This was one of my tricks to keeping Addy content on the plane.  I ordered these cute panda headphones for her about a week before the trip so that she could watch some of her music videos and TV shows that we downloaded on the IPad.  Well, of course, she wanted nothing to do with the headphones.  But I practiced with her everyday, and eventually she realized that she couldn't hear anything without them, so she left them on.  I really couldn't believe it!  I thought she was probably too young, but thankfully those panda headphones served me well on the airplane.


First full beach day :)
Another thing that I thought we would struggle with was keeping a hat on Addy's head, but she left it on without a problem.  Only this hat though.  Others she would rip off the second we put them on.


Addy found a bird!


Beach baby :)


 
Love those sandy toes :)


She loved sitting in the big chair.


Just hanging out, reading books.


Then Grandpa came to play.  Love how Addy is handing him a shell here :)


New bathing suit, new beach day.

 


My little shell collector :)


video
A video of Addy working hard :)



 Another quick video :)



Last day

We were all amazed at how well Addy did walking in the soft sand.  That little nugget has some pretty awesome balance.


This was Addy's typical attire after the beach day was done.  Bathing suit was wet, but there was only an hour or so left until bedtime, so no sense getting another outfit dirty, right?


Ha ha check out her giant brush!  Much needed for her full, thick locks, right?

 
We had a great time in Florida as always!  It was so nice to be with family relaxing at the beach.   And we had some awesome weather this year.  Sunny and 80 degrees every day!  The ocean was even warm enough to swim in!!

Our days consisted of:

-waking up around 7AM
-having breakfast
-playing for awhile
-Addy napped from about 10-11 
-We would then lather on the sunscreen and head to the beach for 1-1.5 hours. 
-Then come back for lunch
-Addy napped again from about 2-3:30 (Grandma and Grandpa would stay with her so that Mom, Tina and I could get some relaxing beach time without a toddler to look after.)
-When Addy woke up I would go back to the condo and bring her back to the beach for the second time of the day
-stay at the beach for another 1-1.5 hours
-back to the condo for dinner
-6:30 bath time for Addy
-7:00 bedtime for Addy
-Us adults would then relax and read or watch TV until about 10PM
-10PM bedtime for the big kids :)

 
Like I said, nice and relaxing.  Luckily Grandma's friend had a pack and play, a high chair, and some sand toys for us to borrow.  Good thing, since there is only so much you can cart with you on an airplane. 

Next post: Air travel with a toddler :)

 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March Pics and Videos

Not much new to report here at the Hetrick house, but I thought I'd share some random pics and videos from the past few weeks.


A day at the park:



Addy loves going to the park and now that she can walk and the weather is getting warmer, I have a feeling the park will be seeing a lot more of us in the coming weeks.


Spring has sprung!
This picture was taken on March 1st and our daffodils were in full bloom.  Not much of a winter this year, and that's how I like it!

A few days later I decided to see what would happen if I let Addy "feed herself" her cereal.  Ummm, not sure how much actually got in her mouth, but she gets the concept, she tried hard, and most importantly, she loved it!



Here is a little video of the self feeding attempt:


Then a few days ago we were headed to Brigs for breakfast and I had to snap a "quick" photo of Addy in her adorable hat.  "Quick" is in quotes because this process took a solid five minutes since she refused to keep her hat on her head for any longer than 0.25 seconds at a time.  But eventually, with Daddy's help we got one!

And then two more random videos that I took within the past few weeks:






So there are some of the random pics and videos from our house the past few weeks.  Addy and I are heading to Florida on Saturday and we are sooooo excited.  The only thing I am not super excited about is flying with Addy now that she is mobile.  I have a feeling that keeping her in my lap will not be as easy as it once was.  I am trying to make sure that I bring plenty of snacks and distractions.  And if all of that fails, at least the flight is short and I'll never see those people again!  There will be plenty of pics and videos coming from that trip I'm sure.  Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Luck of the Irish!

Yes, this post is long overdue, but here is a recap of our awesome trip overseas!

Our quote of the trip was, "We just keep coming up green!" because we had such amazing luck in Ireland.  No matter what we were doing, it all seemed to work out perfectly.  Loved, loved, loved that trip!!

A few months ago Tina, Mike, and our friend Bryce found this awesome flight to Ireland and decided to jump on it.  $380 round trip per person!  They actually booked the flights while I was at work and then called to tell me we were going to Ireland! 

Fast forward a few months and the time was here.  There were six of us that went, and it was the perfect size group, and the perfect people to go with.  Everyone was laid back and pretty "go with the flow", which made this whirlwind trip a little bit more relaxing.

The six of us (me, Mike, Tina, Jay, Bryce, and his girlfriend Bridget, whom I'd never met until this trip) flew out of the Newark airport on a Thursday night around 7:15 PM.  It was a really long day because Mike and I drove from Raleigh to Philly, then from Philly to Newark with Tina and Jay, and then got on a 7 hour flight to Ireland.  Plus we lost 5 hours with the time change, so we arrived in Ireland Friday morning around 7AM their time and got our day started with zero sleep since Wednesday night.  Phew!

We flew into Dublin and were spending our first night there at a place called the Clontarf Castle.  It was gorgeous, and they let us check in when we arrived at 9AM, which was an added bonus.  I ended up taking about a 2 hour nap, which helped tremendously.  Then around noon we headed out to check out Dublin.

 Here are some pics of the Castle:



We made it out of the Castle walls and now we're trying to figure out where we need to go.  By "we" I mean Tina, Mike, and Bryce.  Jay, Bridget and I kinda took a backseat with the planning of this trip.  We were along for the ride :)

Next stop was the Hop On Hop Off bus tour of Dublin:



There were a lot of old churches that I took pics of but don't remember any of their names.  Should've written them down as we went.  Ooops!

The most important stop on this tour was the Guiness Brewery.  Old churches are cool, but let's face it, this crew was far more interested in getting to the brewery!



At the top floor of the brewery was a huge circular room with floor to ceiling windows overlooking Dublin!  We picked the perfect day to go there too, because it was an unusually gorgeous day in Ireland! 









After we left the Brewery we explored the city a little bit more and decided to have the traditional fish and chips for dinner.  Hmmmm, it tasted good at the time, but boy was it fried!  And greasy!

And we ate it on the side of the road off of a concrete wall.  And yes, our packaging left grease marks on that concrete wall.


On our way back to the Castle later that evening two of the three boys crashed....




But Mike was raring to go, and he wasn't about to let them go to bed at 8PM, so he got us all to rally and hit up the Castle bar when we got there.  Leave it to my husband to enforce the strict drinking rules ;)

The next morning we were off to Dingle, which was about a 4.5 hour car ride to the southwest corner of Ireland.  We saw some gorgeous Irish countryside on the way...







 And we saw some sheep in the road...



We stopped at this place along the way that we knew nothing about, but it looked pretty so we pulled over.   This is where my February self portrait was taken.



Then Mike decided to start climbing these rocks....so naturally we all followed ;)


About halfway up we found this!  A gorgeous lake that was apparently called Peddlers Lake.


Teeny tiny Jess and Mike


The King of the World!


Around 4:45 PM we finally made it to our Bed and Breakfast in Dingle.  Here it is...the Lighthouse.


And here is the view from the porch!  So beautiful!!



And the view from our bedroom window...

It was so peaceful and quiet there :)

The crew.  And yes, Mike is wearing the random pair of glasses that he found in our rental van.  He can't see at all with them on, but thought he looked cool.  Gotta love him ;)


Lucky, the Lighthouse Watch Dog...


At the recommendation of the B+B owner, we decided to take a drive around the Dingle peninsula.  We didn't have much time though because the sun was setting fast.






When we got back, we headed out for dinner and drinks in Dingle, then got up early the next morning to head north to Galway.  See what I mean about whirlwind trip???



We stopped along the way at the Cliffs of Moher...



It was a little bit misty that day.  Kind of what you would expect the weather to be in Ireland.




Bryce and Jay ventured out on this little trail.  The rest of us hung back in safety.

But Mike climbed over right as they were coming back to hop in this pic and make it look like he was there the whole time.  Notice his head in the back?  Very sneaky ;)



We continued on to Galway and were stopped by this.....  Yup, cows in the road.


And that guy was herding them with his Jeep-like vehicle.  Crazy.  He was a friendly guy and gave us a huge grin and a wave when we finally made it through.



Eventually (around 6PM, I think) we made it to Galway.  Here is where we stayed that night.  It was small quarters, but nice enough.



We ate dinner at this awesome place called Nimmos, and our waitress, Amelia, was amazing.  She gave us recommendations on what bar to hit up afterwards and where to go in Dublin the next day.  She was so friendly and helpful. 

After dinner we headed to the bar that Amelia recommended.  She told us it was where the locals go, and there aren't many tourists that know about it.  Well, she was right.  We stuck out like sore thumbs!  It was so funny, because when we walked in everyone stared at us.  But the people in Ireland were nothing  but nice to us the whole trip, so it was fine.  We listened to some live traditional Irish music there, which was really fun!  Then a drunk guy got escorted out by a HUGE bouncer (reminded us of Hagrid from Harry Potter), and they padlocked the door after they kicked him out!  That's right.  He was locked out....but we were also locked in!  It was weird, and something that you'd never see in the U.S.  When we left a little bit later we had to go out the back door.

That night poor Bridget got violently ill and Bryce knocked on Mike's and my door at 4:30 AM asking what he should do.  She was throwing up every ten minutes for 3 hours!  I think she had some kind of GI bug.  It wasn't from drinking, because we didn't drink very much that night.  And it couldn't have been food either because we all shared food.  Bryce thought maybe he should take her to the hospital, but Mike and I nixed that idea.  A hospital in a foreign country?  No thanks, not unless she's on her death bed.  I told him she probably had a similar thing that I had a few weeks ago and it would stop on its own in a few hours.  Try to keep her hydrated, and wait it out.

So around 7:30AM, she finally stopped throwing up and she and Bryce tried to get some rest while the rest of us checked out Galway.

Look what we found!....

It was a women's clothing store, ha ha!

We were on a mission to find some nice woolen clothing to take home as souvenirs of our trip.   Everyone succeeded on this mission except me.  Mike bought a sweater and hat, Tina bought two hats, and Jay bought a sweater.  I wanted a scarf, but couldn't find what I was looking for.  Oh well.

Then I had to get a few pics of our trusty (or not) van, Molly.
There she is...missing hub cap and all.

Around lunchtime we headed out of Galway and back to Dublin.  Our trip was coming to a close already!  :(  Luckily for Bridget, the road back to Dublin was straight, and not the hilly, narrow, windy roads we had been navigating thus far.


Here we all are in our van.  Normally Bridget sat in the back where Tina was, but since she was feeling sick we "allowed" her to sit in the "Death Seat".  Nice of us huh?  We named the passenger seat the "Death Seat" because the roads were so narrow and we hit a fair amount of curbs on that side.  Normally Jay got the privilege of sitting there :)  Mike and Bryce were our drivers and they both did a fantastic job.  Especially considering they had to drive on the opposite side of the road, in a country they didn't know, down VERY narrow, VERY windy roads.  Great job boys!

Once we got back to Dublin Bridget headed to the room since she still felt like dirt and the rest of us headed out in Dublin in search of my woolen scarf and something woolen for Bryce and Bridget (since they missed the exploring in Galway).  Unfortunately, once again we failed miserably.  By the time we got to the stores they were closed for the day.

On the bright side, we did get this cute cup of hot chocolate and delicious dessert:



We were all wiped out from our trip in general, so after dinner we headed back to our hotel in Temple Bar.



View from our hotel

Some neat chairs in our swanky hotel...


We got one drink in the hotel bar and then called it a night.  We all had to get up at 5AM to be on the road to the airport by 6AM.

Tuesday was another very long day.  Especially for Mike and I.  A 7.5 hour plane ride, followed by 1.5 hour drive to Philly, and then a 9 hour drive back to Raleigh.  Yeah, we were wiped out by the time we got home. 

I LOVED Ireland!!!  We had such a fantastic time, and I only wish we had a little bit more time.  We had a great group and we all got along perfectly, which was awesome!  Can't wait for our next trip with this crew.  Costa Rica anyone???