Saturday, January 31, 2009

Comcast Day At the Naples Zoo

Every year, Comcast has had a "Comcast Day At The Zoo" and has given out free tickets to the Naples zoo for employees and their families. Last year I took Shaylee and invited my friend Peggy and her daughter, Olivia, to go with us since Nils had to work. This year we were fortunate enough to have it fall on both of our scheduled days off. So after Kindermusik class, we headed to the zoo. The zoo is pretty much the same from last year but definitely growing.
They recently introduced their newest addition, the Fosa. The fosa (formerly spelled fossa) is the island’s largest mammalian predator and is so quick in the trees that about half of its diet is lemurs. Less than 40 of these rare creatures are found in the nation and Naples Zoo is the only zoo in the Southeastern United States where you can see one. The new exhibit features themed naturalistic rockwork replicating the striking tsingy limestone formations seen in Madagascar. The tsingy rock surrounds the glass viewing areas for guests to get clear views. As agile as squirrels in a tree, the fosas can jump to natural oak trees and vertical poles, run along an elevated catwalk, play on the ropes, and climb through custom structures.

The fosa looks like a dark brown, short-legged cougar, albeit much smaller and stretched out. Fosas weigh around 15 to 30 pounds or more and measure around 5 ½ feet long. Fosas live in forests ringing the coast of the island. Like Madagascar’s more popularly known lemurs, fosas are endemic to Madagascar meaning they can be found nowhere else. This also describes about 90% of the island’s mammals and plants along with over 95% of its reptiles and over 99% of its amphibians. The diverse life on Madagascar resulted from over 160 million years of isolation from both mainland Africa and people who only arrived about 2,000 years ago. They were truly the main attraction.

There is also several other exhibits going in, such as that of the Florida black bears. They are still under construction but we look forward to next year's Comcast Day at the Zoo and hope that they will all be finished by then.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Family Update

Nils has made excellent progress in quitting smoking. He hasn't smoked since his quit date of December 11th! That's over a month ago! Hurray! He is still waiting to here back regarding the technical supervisors position at work though. He has gone on his second interview which could be a positive sign! So we are continuing to cross our fingers that he will get it.

Other than the obvious 27th birthday trip to Disney coming up, my mind has been swimming with the ideas of going back to school part time to earn my associates degree in business management. Nils and I both work for Comcast which offers a tuition reimbursement program which we are BOTH looking to take advantage of. Nils said we are going to have to see how much federal student aid we qualify for since it is doubtful we could afford to put us both through school. Today we met with the admissions administrator for Rasmussen College but I am thinking Edison State School (formerly known as Edison Community College) is more affordable for us. Even though Comcast reimburses up to a certain amount tuition per year, we still have to pay up front and the price per course hour is HUGELY different between Rasmussen and Edison. Everything is still up in the air right now but definitely on our minds.

Shaylee is doing awesome with the potty training- as long as she doesn't have anything on her bottom. As soon as she has a Pull-Up or training underwear on, its like she has forgotten the whole potty training concept. But we are taking it day by day, she understands what she needs to do and she'll figure out how to pull the pants on and off by herself soon enough. Her little potty training book fills up fast with stickers- more on the days she is home with us or at G.G's and less on days we are out and about since she is still having to wear Pull-Ups.

Kindermusik this semester has started off....well....chaotic. The class consist of all new students which many have very different personalities than Shaylee. There is one little boy that insists on throwing things, mainly wooden dowel like instruments which I just know are going to hit someone one of these days. I am a bit discourage on how his mother doesn't seem to step in enough. She also has another son that participates, a baby, so she tends to pay more attention to the younger baby and less on her toddler. LOL, there is a definite difference between boys and girls! Boys are so much more rough and tumble than the girls!

And there is a little girl, probably right around or just under Shaylee's age that is still learning how to share but seems to be having a hard time with it. Our past couple classes were especially tough as everything that Shaylee picked up to play with, that little girl would grab away. Shaylee in turn would do the same right back. This resulted in a few tussles and lots of tears. I understand where they are coming from- they are both strong willed little girls and I know that some of the reasons why Shaylee would hold on to something tightly without really playing with it, isn't to be spiteful or anything- she is just afraid that this little girl is going to tear her away from it again. Shaylee is usually very good with sharing things, surprising since she is an only child that does not attend daycare where she is around other children often enough to learn this. So she clung onto quite a few things in class today, unwilling to share either, afraid that if she didn't hold on tight to the instrument/ stuffed animal/whatever she would lose them.

Then there is a family of three children that has a infant boy and two young girls- one about Shaylee's age and one that is older. The older girl and Shaylee hit it off great but the girls like to run around the classroom which in turn has Shaylee wanting to join her friends and adding to the chaos. Not that this is bad or anything but when you have four or five children running around, they are not really paying attention to the instructor (God bless her, she has so much patience with them!) I am always on my toes in music class that's for sure! Not only looking out for Shaylee's well being but also making sure she is not causing harm or being mean to the others as well. But it is a new semester and I am sure that once these other families get into the groove on what is acceptable behavior (no throwing or running or hitting, etc) and the kids get to know each other better, things will get better. Shaylee loves the class and we love that she gets to be around other kids and music. And for that we will stick with it.

Cayman has started the Dog Obedience Club of Lee County's Beginners course, a Christmas present from Nils to me and he is doing... okay. The problem I am having is he is the smallest (shortest too) dog in the class so many of the techniques the trainer is showing apply more to medium to large dogs, ones that's heads are even with your hand when it is down by your side. One of the hardest lessons to teach him is the "Halt". This is where, when at a heel, when you stop walking the dog is suppose to sit. He understands the sit command but only seems to follow it if you are directly in front of him. The Halt requires the handler (me) to be on the side, with him on my left. So we are struggling with that. Otherwise he is doing as well to be expected after only three classes. I know I need to start working with him more at home, but with my birthday trip coming up and everything else, it seems to be put aside which shows when we are in class.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Disney Dilemma Solved

Last night I was not able to fall asleep till almost 3 am with a major Disney dilemma on my mind. The problem was that Shaylee always wakes up around 1 or 2 in the morning for a "warm milk". Its been one of those things we just haven't been able to break her of since she was a newborn (she has always woken around that time for a feeding). Well, our hotel room does not have a microwave or fridge which will make getting her a warm milk at 2 am impossible (and I really doubt that our resort will have room service available that late anyhow). So what on earth would we do?! We can't deny her of her warm milk- we have tried in the past and it ain't pretty. She would cry for it then throw a fit and the more of a fit she throws, the more she wakes herself up, and then the more impossible it is to get her back to sleep. I doubt I can wean her from this in a week and I don't want to be that family next door to other residents in the resort with the screaming toddler. I thought long and hard..... and came up with a baby bottle warmer! So I picked one up from Target this afternoon and am going to test it out tonight. I just need to keep a cup of milk on ice in our little portable cooler until its ready to be heated. I think that might solve the Disney dilemma!

Naptime Is Coming Easily Now

Shaylee is finally getting into a nap time routine. Our previous method had been that she would sleep when she was tired or wanted to sleep which has in many occasions turned into passing out at 5 pm when her scheduled bedtime should be around 8:30pm, which totally threw her bedtime off. So we have been making a huge effort the past two weeks we have had her all to ourselves while G.G is recovering from her knee surgery to make sure she is in her (our) bed no later than 1:30 pm (although the average has been about 12:30) in a dimly lit room with soft music playing and not to have her nap extend past 2 1/2 hours from when she drifted off. We simply tell her that "it's time to rest our bodies so that it can grow." The word "nap" has always been so negative to her- it meant that she had to break from the fun and she was not having that! So by explaining to her that when we sleep or rest our bodies they grow big and strong so we have play more and run faster on the playground, it seems more positive. It's been working ever since! She even seems to be able to tell when nap time is getting close because now she tells us its time to rest her body. Nap times have been easy and Shaylee is a lot better behaved, less meltdowns in the evening, which has made things easier on everyone. I guess this is just another one of those things where Mommy (and Daddy of course) know best!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I Survived Chucky Cheese

This evening was suppose to be Nils and my company holiday party but we decided the whole idea of getting dressed up (I had nothing to wear) and braving the chilly night air while fighting to find parking was not at all appealing so we decided to brave something bigger- Chucky Cheese. The restaurant opened over the summer and we had talked about taking Shaylee many times but put it off after the horror stories of how crowed it was all the time. Apparently there is no "slow" or quiet time of day for Chucky Cheese, the only one in our area. But we decided it was now or never.

The word "chaos" is the best one I can come up with for the place. Its loud, crowded (the line to enter was out the door) and the pizza was so-so but Shaylee had fun. With our purchase of a large pizza, we were given tokens and all the rides and games take one token each. Shaylee's favorite games were of course the basketball hoop shots. I think we spent a good 10 tokens just in that game alone! All the games issue tickets that can be redeemed for prizes- I think we had about 90 or so tickets so Shaylee was able to pick out a gumball machine quality pink spider, stickers, rubbery frog and purple barrette. Even dispite the pushing, shoving, loud environment, we had fun. I can finally be one of those proud momma's that exclaim that they braved and survived Chucky Cheese!

Kindermusik: Fiddle Dee Dee

This semester in Kindermusik is called "Fiddle Dee Dee". I have mentioned Kindermusik in previous post but I realized I have not really gotten into the "meat and potatoes" of what the class is all about. Toddlers push for chances to explore alone, then cling to our sides, relishing the special moments we share together. A desire to investigate urge them forward but a need for their parent's comfort is at the core of their enormous potential to learn. Its a delicate time that can help prepare them for the independence of preschool.

For Shaylee's particular age group, 18 months to 3 1/2 years of age, is called "Our Time" and it focuses on their healthy emotional development as their confidence, curiosity, self-control, and communication begin to take shape. "Our Time" truly provides our time to share as parents with the most important little ones in our lives. The class offers us a full hour to share in singing, dancing, instrument exploration, and movement. Then the fun doesn't stop there but continues at home with a take home kit complete with a double disc CD, two storybooks, a parents participation guide, and an instrument for each semester.

And here is more interesting stuff on Kindermusik I found online:

Instrument exploration nurtures her self-esteem and facilitates her discovery of textures and sound. Language skills are fostered with singing, sound imitation, rhyming, and object identification. Creative dancing to different musical "moods" affirms her urge to move. The anticipation and rewards of listening are introduced, and with turn-taking activities, social skills begin to blossom. FIDDLE DEE DEE

Creatures of the animal kingdom, whether furry, web-footed, hoofed, winged or whiskered, are the subject matter for Fiddle-dee-dee. Fiddle-dee-dee takes its name from the beloved folk song about the fly who married the bumblebee. The theme of "fiddling around" is present all semester long. Included are recordings featuring a range of "fiddle" playing styles from classical violin to folk style fiddling and other relatives of fiddles, such as the sitar of India.

On the At Home CDs, you'll hear a an emphasis on the stringed instrument family, with instruments such as the mandolin, banjo, lute, classical and folk guitar, harp, string quartet and double bass. The Home CDs include music representing many cultures. Bangara Dance is a traditional Punjabi folk dance of north India. The Japanese selections for rocking—Komoriuta (lullaby) and Usagi, Usagi (Rabbit, Rabbit) –are presented in Japanese as sung by a Japanese mother and child. French is heard in two songs—the French Canadian Ah! Les jolis papillons (Oh, The Pretty Butterflies). Alle Meine Entlein (All My Little Ducklings) is a favorite German folk song. There also are three classical recordings (including a comic operatic cat duet) and many Anglo- and Afro-American traditional folk songs and rhymes.

And, of course, there is the original home instrument, a pair of Fiddlesticks! Sporting the bright stripes of a bumblebee, the one-of-a kind Fiddlesticks can be rattled, rolled, tapped and otherwise fiddled with to create fun sounds and play possibilities. The animal theme of Fiddle-dee-dee ties in nicely with musical themes. Animal sounds, which are so appealing to children, naturally prompt imitation and provide abundant active listening and vocal play material. And in the context of moving like animals we are easily able to focus on movement concepts such as high and low, smooth & bumpy, fast and slow.

The songs are chosen for their singability to aid young singers in finding their singing voices. A favorite animal song is Sweetly Sings the Donkey. Simple rhymes such as Bazoo, Bazoo, Butz are a fun part of this curricula.

Two literature books feature adorable, whimsical artwork. Animal Serenade features the cut paper art of Andrea Everbok and snippets of familiar folk songs. This Little Piggy Played the Fiddle is a new version of the familiar toe-tickle rhyme and features music- and movement-oriented little piggies delightfully illustrated by Carol Dee Jung.

Fiddle-dee-dee Home Materials

Included in your home materials is a pop-up box in the shape of a dog house for carrying your home materials, a home activity book with songs to sing and activities for home, two literature books, two CDs, and a pair of Fiddlesticks.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Shaylee's 1st Dentist Appt

Yesterday, Shaylee had her very first dentist appointment and it went really, really well! The office, Barkley Pediatric Dentistry, truly caters to young kids with its fun underwater decor and movie pit where Shaylee's favorite shows were playing.

First the hygienist took x-rays of Shaylee's teeth, asking her to open big and bite down like an alligator. I couldn't believe she sat so still! Then the hygienist cleaned, flossed and provided a fluoride treatment to Shaylee's teeth. And again, she was perfect! I though for sure she would start squirming, or worse, start getting upset but even the hygienist said she was a perfect patient, even better than some of the older kids they see. I think a lot of it came from us talking positive about the doctor and dentist and Shaylee having watched the latest episode of Jon and Kate Plus 8 where the sextuplets went to the dentist.

When the actual dentist came to examine Shaylee's teeth, she said that there was no cavities (thank goodness!) and that all her teeth have come in nicely. She does, however, have an open bite in the front which means the front teeth don't touch the bottom and there is an open space and a cross bite on the sides in the back which means the bottom teeth stick out further than the top.

I nervously asked if the pacifier had anything to do with the open bite and the dentist assured me that the main culprit was the actual shape of her mouth but the pacifier should most definitely be something she is weaned off of. I had tried to have her give them up at Christmas, "leaving them for Santa to give them to all the babies" but she threw such a fit about it, especially at bedtime, that I reluctantly gave in. The dentist recommended poking holes in the pacifiers so that when she sucked on them they would lose their shape and not satisfy her. Then I also don't look like the bad guy, LOL! I know she'll ask for another one and I'll make sure I can keep handing her an altered pacifier so she eventually figures out they are all like that and will hopefully not want them.

As far as the cross bite is concerned, the dentist isn't concerned since she is so young and still hasn't gotten her last set of molars which come in around age 6. If its still a probably, their is a spacer retainer thingy that will help push the teeth on the top out further so they line up with the bottom teeth.

Shaylee did such a good j0ob that she got a prize from the treasure box and got to bring home a little dental goodie bag with a travel sized toothpaste, a new Dora the Explorer toothbrush, Crayola flossers, and stickers. I am so relieved that Shaylee is not only an excellent patient but had a good report. She goes back in 6 months for a recheck.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Karl Drew Community Center Playground

Since G.G (great grandma) has been recovering from knee replacement (which went well and she is already doing physical therapy and walking with assistance), I have taken time off work to be with Shaylee and found that the best thing to do is discover all the local play grounds! I really, really like the Karl Drew Community Center one best. Its brand new (this is the playground where Shaylee first swung on a swing- see the video on
Anyhow, its got this awesome fake grass that I had to take my shoes off and feel with bare feet to see if it was real or not! So here are some great photos of that playground:

The end to a perfect day of outside fun is finger painting before naptime!

G.G's Surgery and Miramar Playarea

Yesterday I was home all day with Shaylee as my grandmother (we call her G.G since she is Shaylee's Great Grandmother) went into surgery for a knee replacement. G.G normally watches Shaylee while Nils and I are at work and we pay her what we would normally pay a sitter or a daycare center. The one on one attention has definitely shown to be beneficial for Shaylee! She is so smart! Anyhow, the surgery went well and we are hoping she has a speedy recovery.

While G.G is recovering from her operation, this week I have Shaylee again all day today and then Nils, who is off on Thursdays and Fridays, will have her those two days. Then next week, since G.G will be home but still in recovery, I will have Shaylee on Monday thru Wednesday and Nils will have her for that Thursday and Friday again. I know it sounds really strange for a parent to say but it seems strange not going off to work and having Shaylee all to ourselves all day long! There is not a whole lot to do around here that doesn't cost money but the playgrounds in the area are ample! And free!

Yesterday we went to the Miramar Shopping Center Play area and McDonalds for lunch then came home to do a craft project and watch "The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning" before naptime. The Miramar shopping center play area is super cute- its beach themed! I absolutely love the sandcastle! What's really nice is that there is actually two play areas-one for the younger kids and one for the older. The photo at the bottom is taken on the older kids playarea. It has more to climb and slides. Unfortunately part of the bigger kid area was under construction but Shaylee didn't seem to mind; she was having so much fun walking back and forth across the "wiggly bridge".

Today we are going to check out the newly remodeled and improved playground at the Karls Drew Community Center. Its been under construction for months and months and since its the closest to our home, we have been waiting and waiting for it to be finished. Other plans for today include fingerpainting and continueing to work on going on the "big girl potty".

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Happiest Place On Earth

During 2009, Disney Parks are giving everyone free admission on your birthday so to celebrate my turning 27 years of age, we are taking a family trip to the Magic Kingdom! We already booked our stay at one of the budget Disney Resorts- the All Star Movies Resort and have reservations at the 'Ohana where we will be served by the Disney characters Lilo, Stitch, Pluto and Mickey for breakfast! How exciting! Nils and I were originally going to go, just the two of us, for some alone time but I could not imagine going to the Happiest Place on Earth without my baby girl! So we will be leaving on Tuesday, January 27th after I get home from work, spend all of my birthday the 28th in the Magic Kingdom, and head home on the 29th. Shaylee keeps asking every day if we are "going to Mickey's house" yet and I don't blame her, I am super excited too!!!
mickey Pictures, Images and Photos

Project Potty Train

Well, we are officially into day 6 of Project Potty Train and Shaylee is doing GREAT!!! Our method of training is simply letting Shaylee run around the house without any bottoms on and when she feels the urge to go, to go to her potty on her own and do her business. We tried off and on to have her wear her big girl under ware but I think the feeling on having something on her bottom makes her forget the whole going to the potty to relieve herself concept. She is more aware of the fact that its unacceptable to potty anywhere other than her potty and it only took one poopy and one pee-pee accident for her to realize that without bottoms it goes right on the floor (or on her bed in the poopy accident!)

When she goes in her potty she gets a big smiley face sticker and when she tries without making in the potty, she gets a smaller smiley for trying. The only problem is that in the 6 short days we have been potty training, we are using way more big smiley stickers than the small one and of course there is more smaller ones to a pack than the large smileys. Oh and when she poops, she gets two big smileys and I mark that them as so. Look at all those stickers!

Today was the first day she woke up this morning with a dry Pull-up. She even woke up from a good three hour-ish nap with a dry Pull-up!!! Since she was progressing so well with the potty training, I rewarded her with a little electronic keyboard since she has been talking about wanting a "plan-o" which is Shaylee-nese for "piano". She is getting so big!

With potty training comes other good hygiene lessons such as how to wash your hands after using the potty and how to brush your hair and teeth by yourself. Shaylee still needs help with these things, especcially her hair but she really loves to brush her teeth. She wants to brush them everytime she is in the bathroom which is fine with me! The more the better!