Sunday, June 22, 2008

And The Winner Is...

Tanya (the4moyers) who said:

I love the Flowerland Personalized Floor Pillow! Great site! Great giveaway-thanks for offering!~Tanya

Congratulations Tanya, I've sent you an email with the information I need to get your prize out to you.

Lilypad Likes: Great Gift Ideas & a Giveaway

This post will remain at the top until Sunday, scroll now for new posts until then.

Summer is finally here which means an even busier calendar for the Lilypad family. Between trips to the beach, visits to friends and family, upcoming birthdays, summer cookouts and milestone events happening this fall, I don't have a lot of time to shop for gifts, so I'm planning ahead to ensure I don't end up just buying anything I can get my hands on at the last minute.

Olive Kids personalized products make great gifts for kids of all ages. The name tags are the perfect gift for a child going off to school for the first time this fall or as a special bon voyage gift for a big vacation this summer. Lilypad Princess has two of the princess name tags and was very excited to put one on her carry-on backback for our Disney trip.

With summer cookouts coming up, hostest gifts are another thing I like to plan ahead for. Instead of another bottle of wine, how about bringing something for the kids in the family? Olive Kids Fourth of July personalized placemats are a special way to set a patriotic place at the table for all of the little ones. LP loves to choose her placemat for the table at night, and reads out the letters in her name each time she sits down. She also tells me stories about some of the placemats (the princess one is her favorite) while I finish getting dinner ready

Olive Kids is also introducing personalized bookmarks to their offerings. Especially great for older kids who are reading chapter books, this would be a great going back to school gift, a way to make that summer reading assignment a little more fun, or a special addition to a great book gift.

To celebrate the start of summer, Olive Kids is giving away a prize pack to one Lilypad reader. The winner of this great giveaway will receive:

A Fourth of July Placemat of your choice
A bookmark of your choice
A nametag of your choice

All together this is over a $30 value with shipping and would be a great gift for your own child or as a gift for a special event. To enter this giveaway, take a look around Olive Kids then come back and leave a comment on this post with your favorite Olive Kids design and favorite product. Please be sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you don't have a profile in case you are the winner. I will choose a winner at random on Sunday, June 22nd.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Trip to the Zoo

Last week before Nana headed home we decided to take a special trip down to the large zoo in the city. We got there early and were some of the first people in the zoo. We spent almost the entire day there, not leaving until after 5, all 4 of us completely exhausted. We saw almost everything we wanted too, although we missed the elephants again.

Lilypad Princess and her dad on the skytram
Bronx Zoo Skytram

We decided to give the Children's Zoo a try this time. Last year LP was too little, this year there were some things she enjoyed, but there were a bunch of older kids there on field trips and after being pushed out of the way a couple of times she pretty much decided she'd had enough. She did enjoy the fox ears though, I remember these from when I was little. (Note to Nana, can you scan in the picture of Brian D. and I with the same ears?)

Bronx Zoo Fox Ears

Lilypad Princess liked the tigers and alligators, she also enjoyed listening to all the peacocks. We found out that Lilypad Dad can stretch as high as a tiger.
Bronx Zoo Tiger Stretch

During a little break for some water and a pretzel.
Bronx Zoo

The two biggest hits of the day were the Bug Carousel and the Butterfly Garden. Lilypad Princess got to take 4 rides on the carousel, once each with Nana, Lilypad Dad, and me, and one more trip when a nice woman on the shuttle gave us her ticket because she liked LP's knock knock jokes.

Nana and LP
Bronx Zoo Bug Carousel

Bronx Zoo Bug Carousel

Lilypad Princess loved the Butterfly House almost as much this year as last year. It was a little more crowded and a little hotter this year though, so we didn't spend as much time. She was also disappointed that none of the butterflies would land on her finger.

Bronx Zoo Butterfly house

Bronx Zoo Butterfly House

She enjoyed the rest of the garden more this year though. She loved being the butterflies and honeybees.

Bronx Zoo Nana Mom Dad 2008166

Bronx Zoo Bumblebee

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dinner with Bobu

Yesterday afternoon Bobu came up for a visit and to have dinner with us. Lilypad Princess was very excited to wake up and find Bobu out in the backyard, and immediately set out to fill him in on everything that she has been up to (although I'm not sure he could understand, she was talking so fast at points I didn't get half of it). She also took the opportunity to show off some of her favorite toys, and take advantage of having someone else chase her around the backyard.

I used the opportunity to try out a couple of new recipies, both of which I was told were keepers. Unfortunately we don't have any pictures though, something went wrong with the camera and it kept trying to reformat the card. I'm hoping I can figure out what is wrong with it or it looks like we will have to use the leftover Circuit City gift card on a new camera.

Speaking of which, if you ever make a purchase on electronics from Circuit City, I highly recommend their protection plan. We have purchased it for all of our XM radios and have gotten the value from them. They have replaced Lilypad Dad's radio multiple times at this point. When they could no longer replace it with a new one, they gave him back a credit for his entire original purchase price, so he was able to purchase a new model. My XM radio stopped working correctly after 3 years (and quite a few drops as it was a portable unit) and I brought it back to be fixed. It turns out there was a misunderstanding when I bought my radio, we had purchased 3 at the same time and all four should have had the 4 year protection plan, but mine was only put under a 2 year plan. The store itself was unable to assist me because it was out of warranty for over a year, but a phone call to their corporate office to try to sort out the problem resulted in a gift card for more than my original purchase price for the misunderstanding. So I now have a brand new radio, a new 4 year protection plan, a home kit for the radio also under a 4 year plan and money left on a gift card for anything else I might need. Circuit City really went above and beyond to make my experience as a customer a good one.

Lilypad Likes: My First Look and Find Books

Lilypad Princess loves books. She loves to read herself, read to you, and be read to. She has recently discovered the fun of I Spy, and the My First Look and Find books are a great way for her to play by herself. Because she's still rearfacing, it isn't easy to play the game with her in the car since we can't see the same things. But she loves to find all the objects in the books, then tell me stories about what is happening on each page. We have had the Princess one for a while, and just bought the Best Friends one earlier this week.

Knock Knock

Who's there?
Banana who?
Banana you glad I didn't say orange?

Lilypad Princess has discovered children's favorite humor, knock knock jokes. She just hasn't gotten them quite right yet.

Knock Knock.
Who's there.
Car who?
House I didn't say car? (Subsitute whatever two objects she can see at the time of the joke.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!


Today is my mom's birthday. Although we couldn't be there to celebrate with her today, I know she's having a good day. A neighbor stopped by with chocolates that they ate by the pool, and PopPop is taking her out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner tonight. Wish we could be there.

My mom is my rock. She has always been behind me, encouraging me to take chances and try something new, supporting me when I've stumbled, celebrating my successes, comforting me when I'm hurt. She encouraged my love of reading (except when I was supposed to be cleaning my room), travel, and education,

She has gone above and beyond to support Lilypad Dad and me. She stayed with me for 3 weeks before Lilypad Princess was born, taking care of me, Lilypad Dad, and the house while I was too big to even drive the car. She held my hand through my labor. She stayed with us for a week after LP's birth, taking care of the house and guests so that Lilypad Dad could focus on our new baby. She has driven down or flown back to babysit for LP so I could take my carseat course or LP Dad and I could enjoy a night out.

As wonderful a mom as she is, she is an even more amazing grandmother. She has endless patience with Lilypad Princess, reading the same book, listening to the same knock knock jokes and playing the same games as many times as LP wants. Whenever LP accomplishes something new she wants to tell Nana.

I only hope that I can be half as good a mom to Lilypad Princess as my mom is to me.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pink Potty Success!

Lilypad Princess was serious last night when she told me that she would use the pink potty if we got it. After our miss last night, she was ready to try again this morning. She spent a good portion of the morning diaperless, on and off the potty. Lilypad Dad read her some of her new books while she sat there, she sang songs and told stories, and suddenly, success! Pee in the potty! She was so excited to show me and wave goodbye to it as we flushed it down the big toilet.

If only I had known months ago that all it would take was a $17 pink potty chair. (Am I getting a little ahead of myself here? I guess I need to wait until it's been more than once.)

Happy Birthday Auntie Diane!

Auntie Diane, Lee and Christy
Auntie Diane and her girls, Crossman Christmas 2007

The Lilypad family wishes a very happy birthday to Auntie Diane, my aunt and my godmother. She's also the best tag sale shopper you will ever meet. She has a knack of finding the perfect sales, and coming away with some really fun things you would never have bought in a store, like the huge blow-up tunnels that have made birthday parties and cookouts so much fun. You never know what she'll show up with next, but you know that it will be great.

We hope you have a wonderful day!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Potty #3

A Pink Potty for a Princess

Lilypad Princess and I ran out tonight after the storms were over to get her some new pajamas. I thought we had enough summer pajamas left from last year, but it turns out that alot of those were from the summer before and they are all too small now. As we were walking down the aisle of potties, she shocked me by actually noticing one. Of course I shouldn't be too shocked, it is pink after all.

And then she told me she wanted to use the potty. Not just any potty, the pink potty. It's for princesses you know. After 20 minutes of looking at all the potties, a store employee talking to LP about being a big girl using the potty, and a little debate (after all we have 2 never used potties at home already) we headed off to pay for the 4 sets of pajamas and the pink, princess potty.

We got home, opened the box, and LP sat. And sat, and sat some more. She apparently really likes the squishy seat. She ate dinner on the potty, watched tv on the potty, and read books on the potty. All together I think she sat on the pink potty for 2 hours. That's longer than all the time on both of the other potties put together. Then she got tired of sitting, stood up, and pooped on the floor.

Eka's Birthday

Ok, I'm definitely behind in my posting. I still have 4 days left of Disney to post as well as our trip to the Bronx Zoo. But I'm going to start with Eka's birthday weekend.

Lilypad Princess and I headed to Eka's house for a sleepover with Nana and Eka. LP was so excited to see Nana who had flown in the night before. She discovered Eka's Magic Garden, that randomly fills itself with little presents like a bottle of bubbles or a hat for her babies. We went to an old friend's house for a bbq that night and LP made new friends with Jack and Sarah.

Lilypad Princess, Nana, and Eka started off the next morning with a walk down to the beach and breakfast. LP tried to help Eka by moving her flowers for the planter around until they were in just the right place.
Planting flowers
Auntie Diane came and we all sat out by the lake for a while before taking a few pictures, checking Eka's magic garden one last time, then heading off to lunch.
Auntie Diane and Eka
Nana and Eka
The restaurant was empty since it was still early on a weekday, so we had lots of singing, kisses, silly faces and hugs in between our bread and food.

birthday kisses for Eka
Birthday Kisses

silly faces with Auntie Diane
Auntie Diane

lots of love for Nana

singing her little heart out
Be our guest...

you be beast, I be belle
Beauty and the Beast

helping Eka with her candle
Blowing out the candles

5/8th of the Crossman girls (LP just wanted other bread, not a picture)
The Crossman Girls

Little Moments To Remember

Last night Lilypad Princess and I had a routine night; a little playing in the backyard, a walk with her bike, dinner, and then a popsicle out on the front steps. It wasn't a special night but as we were sitting there and she was telling me a story about the moon and the bats. As the conversation went on, it suddenly hit me, this was my little baby telling me a story in full sentences, remembering facts that she has learned before like the bats eating mosquitos, and she suddenly seemed so grown up. After the story was done, she used the steps as a stage to sing to me, a new song that she made up about the moon to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. That normal moment has now become one imprinted on my mind that I will remember forever.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day Daddy!

New Daddy

Why my daddy is the best, by Lilypad Princess

He shares his cereal with me.
He lets me ride on his shoulders when I'm tired of walking.
He chases me like a monster.
He lets me help fix things with my tools.
He takes me swimming.
He lets me wake him up by jumping on his tummy.
He gives me piggy back and horsey rides.
He pushes me really high in the swing.
He plays the Beast so well.
He gives me big hugs and kisses.

Happy father's day Daddy, I love you!

Happy Father's Day!

A very happy father's day to my dad, LP's Grandpa,
Grandpa and Snow White

LP's PopPop,
On the ferry

lunch with bobu

and to all of our dad friends! We wish you a wonderful day with your families.

Friday, June 13, 2008

First Summer Treat

First trip to the ice cream truck

Last week while I was taking the CPST course, Nana would bring Lilypad Princess out on the front step to wait for me to get home. They would play a game with her Disney World jewels, talk, and sing. I would join them for a while after getting home. It was so nice to see them waiting for me and have LP run to give me a great big hug.

Popsicle from the Ice Cream Truck

One night while we were still out there, the ice cream truck drove by. Nana taught LP how to wave and call to the driver to get him to stop, and took her for her first treat of the summer from the ice cream truck. LP chose a multicolored popsicle and actually ate most of it!

Popsicle from the Ice Cream Truck

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

2 Years, 9 Months Rearfacing

One of the biggest hurdles to keeping kids rearfacing is the parent's belief that their legs will be cramped as they get taller and that they are uncomfortable. During my CPST class last week, some of the other people in the class were questioning how a child would fit. So I took some photos of Lilypad Princess in her seat to show exactly how she fits.

LP is 2 years, 9 months old, 27 pounds, and between 36-38 inches tall (I know that she fit on the rides that required she be 35 inches tall but was too short for the 40 inch rides at Disney). She has consistently been between the 95th and 100th percentile for height.

Toddler extended rearfacing in carseat

Toddler extended rearfacing in carseat

Toddler extended rearfacing in carseat

How she normally keeps her legs
Toddler extended rearfacing in carseat

How she stretches her legs
Extended Rearfacing in the carseat

She never complains about being in her seat, and usually falls asleep if we're in the car more than 15 minutes, so she is obviously quite comfortable. We have done 4 hour trips without any complaint. When she has been forward facing (in her travel seat) she has actually complained because she didn't have anywhere to rest her legs and they hurt just hanging down the seat.

She will stay rearfacing in both of our cars until the limits of the seat, 33 pounds for each of them. At the rate she's going, I expect her to be 3.5 or almost 4 by the time she reaches that point (unless she outgrows the seats by height first!)

Monday, June 9, 2008

What Color Cheese?

Scene: Lilypad Princess sitting at the table with her slice of pizza. Auntie La getting a drink, Lilypad Mom at the counter opening up the wings. I said something to Auntie La about the blue cheese.

LP: Blue cheese? (studies her pizza)
LP: It's not blue cheese, it's white cheese!

Thank you Nana and Auntie La!

Popsicle from the Ice Cream Truck
I don't think Lilypad Princess even noticed that I was gone for the better part of four days during my training. Nana flew out to watch her for three days and Auntie La came down on Friday night to watch her on Saturday. Lilypad Princess had a great time with them and the first thing she did this morning was start heading up the stairs to the guest room calling for them. She was very disappointed that neither one was sleeping up in the room.

Nana took Lilypad Princess to Little Gym, shopping, and out for lunch. She also taught her about the ice cream truck again, and LP enjoyed her first popsicle from the ice cream truck this summer.

Auntie La brought LP a new movie that they enjoyed together when it was just too hot to play outside. After it cooled down a bit, Auntie La not only brought out the sprinkler for LP, but played with her in it, getting as wet if not wetter than LP!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I Passed!

It was 4 long days, especially the last two, but I passed my course and am now a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.

The first two days were mostly classroom instruction and demonstration, with a couple of trips out to the cars to identify the different types of safety equipment and to learn and practice installations. Friday was half a day of instruction and half a day of hands-on skill assessments.

Today was our public seat safety check. It was 98 degrees out and the check was held in the parking lot. With the heat from the pavement and the sun, it had to be closer to 105 inside the cars as we worked on the seats. I was involved with 4 inspections, including 2 convertible seats, 1 infant seat, and 1 belt positioning booster. It was a great chance to make sure I felt comfortable with all kinds.

Hopefully what we did today will save one of these children from injury if they are involved in a crash. We replaced 5 or 6 seats that were not safe for the kids to even ride home in, and fixed the installation of many more that were not installed correctly. My first check this morning was a 10 month old who was already forward facing in his seat, with loose harness straps and the seat had too much slack. I felt really good watching him drive off with his parents, safely harnessed, rearfacing.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Back to School

Classroom instruction, textbooks, hands-on labs.

Tomorrow is the first day of my SafeKids Child Passenger Safety Certification Course. I'll be in classes from 8-5 Wednesday through Friday and then on Saturday I'll be helping at an actually seat safety check for my final exam. I am really looking forward to gaining more knowledge and experience to help not only keep Lilypad Princess safe in the car, but her friends and other children as well.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about types of carseats, what's the best for your child, how to install correctly, or just about anything else carseat related, visit Car Seat.Org - Carseat, Vehicle & Child Passenger Safety Forums. This is a discussion forum on car safety, child passenger safety, carseats and their safe installation. Members provide buying advice and help for choosing new vehicles and car seats. You can chat and blog about child seat issues with expert technicians and advocates.

Hollywood Studios, Disney World Day 2

We got to Hollywood Studios just after it opened. We headed right over to the Tower of Terror for Lilypad Dad and Auntie La, while I headed over to the Rockin' RollerCoaster for some FastPasses. Since the Beauty and the Beast show was about to start soon, we headed over to wait and got great seats. Lilypad Princess was fascinated by the show, I think we're going to have to start taking her to some local plays. She sat completely still, taking in every character and song.
Nana and I waiting for the show

LP waiting for the show to start
waiting for the show

Beauty and the Beast

When the show was over, Auntie La and I headed to the Rockin Rollercoaster. I don't think I have ever seen (or been on) anything that takes of that quickly! Once that was done we all met back up and headed over to Hollywood and Vine restaurant for the Playhouse Disney Character lunch. I was very pleasantly surprised by how good the food was, and LP was so excited to meet June and Leo. The characters (JoJo and Goliath as well as June and Leo, came by the table one at a time about every 10 minutes. There were lots of big hugs, signatures in the autograph book, and more hugs. Every 15 minutes the characters would gather in the middle of the restaurant to dance with the kids. Lilypad Princess danced around the tables in a conga line holding hands with Leo, and was taken from and to the table by June.

Cheese with Leo

Cheese with June


Dancing with Leo

Bringing June to our table

While Nana, PopPop, and Auntie La went off on one of the grown-up rides, Lilypad Dad and I took LP to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground. LP wasn't too sure of the gigantic grass, ant, film, and dog nose at first, but quickly got into the fun (ok, she never liked the dog nose). Her favorite part was climbing through the spider web, she wore out both Lilypad Dad and me going through it.

Honey I Shrunk The Kids playground

Riding the giant ant

Lilypad Dad got a chocolate cake during a snack break for everyone to share. LP liked the idea of the chocolate cake, but didn't actually eat any of it.

Yum Chocolate Cake