bee’s picks: books for the first 18ish months

(originally posted on November 20, 2014)
assuming her favorite book reading position.

assuming her favorite book reading position.

the first eighteen-ish months of bee’s life were cram-pack-filled with library visits. not necessarily because i am a tiger mom forcing full language literacy by the age of two, although, maybe there was a little of that. but mostly i was going stir crazy from the minute bee began to move. during the early days we’d attend story time. then while bee plopped herself down by the board books, i’d thumb through the stacks for an hour to pre-read books before filling my tote with as many books as my arms would bear. nowadays with the two, we’re lucky to make it on time for story time (in our neighborhood you have to be at least fifteen minutes early and wait outside in the rain) and i pull books as quickly as i can to half-fill my tote before bee unleashes a full-scale-toddler-rage on the stacks.

but because i was afforded those early days, i wanted to share a few of bee’s favorites that you won’t find on the top sellers list. not all books that i’d choose for her, but she has very definitive taste. i’m sure book choices have a lot to do with gender and temperament so file these under girl who loves animals and would not sit still except for a good story on mom’s lap and/or a truly spell-binding lift-the-flap engaging book.

0+ months

  • ‘Pet Tails’ Book by Anne Wilkinson > our favorite crinkly chew toy book.
  • Global Baby Girls (Global Fund for Children) by Global Fund For Children > babies love to look at babies. we got this regularly from the library and bee used the book like a baby doll.
  • Happy Baby Animals (Soft to Touch) by Jo Douglass > we scored a collection of these from a neighbor and another from our doctor. ohsu hands out a book for every visit for the first two years to encourage reading! they might not look like much, but they are ideal first books and bee still picks them out to ‘read’ to herself. she also refuses to hand them down to her brother, so i might have to pick up a new set.
  • and even if they can’t follow a plot, it’s a great time to endear characters. this was a favorite chew toy.
  • plus i have to recommend having one book they can go to town on eating. this was ours, but I don’t think the story line matters much.

6+ months

  • Llama Llama Zippity-Zoom by Anna Dewdney >> this series was a surprise (to me) hit. this was a favorite to get from the library, but i have to warn against the llama llama red pajama book at an early age…it’s all about fretting when mom leaves..not an idea i wanted to instill. quickly returned that one.
  • Dear Zoo: A Lift-The-Flap Book by Rod Campbell >> we found this only recently, but i imagine it would be a good one to have early on. animals + flaps = win.
  • Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks From A To Z (Shape Chunky Book) by Richard Scarry >> why aren’t more books this teeny? it’s by far a favorite and a great book for car rides around that tricky stage of 6-18 months.
  • Dr. Suess’s Sleep Softly Book >> this was our every day before bed book for a solid nine month stretch. still hasn’t lost it’s magic.
  • First 100 Words (modeled below by will) by Roger Priddy >> a necessity. get a big book with real photos that you can point and name. though i am sure bee has it memorized, it gives her so much confidence to be able to ‘read’ all by herself with this book she’s enjoyed for years now.

12+

  • Who is the Beast by Keith Baker >> one of daddy’s as a child, this was one of the first ‘story’ books that captivated bee’s attention.
  • Beep, Beep, Let’s Go by Eleanor Taylor >> kind of lame, kind of awesome.
  • Busy Gorillas by John Schindel >> at this age, this was a huge hit from the library. she could not get enough of the photos of gorillas; it was a bit of an obsession. there’s one about kitties, too. everyone wins.
  • The Belly Book (I Can Read It All by Myself Beginner Books) by Joe Harris >> i remember being super surprised with how well bee took to this advanced book right around fourteen months. there’s a page where the kids get sick from eating too many treats that she just couldn’t get enough of. i was so surprised that she understood and was so happy we’ve had this and other dr. suess early reading books on our shelf at such an early age. highly recommend this one. her other favorite around this age…
  • Would You Rather Be a Bullfrog? (Big Bright & Early Board Book) by Theo Lesieg
  • ABC Zooborns! by Paul Boyle >> would love to have owned this book. the only thing babies love to look at more than other babies, is baby animals. this has no less than 26 of them.
  • Sesame Street Elmo’s Favorite Places (Lift-the-Flap) >> grandma got us this one before a train ride. occupied us for at least an hour every time we busted it out at this age. it was also the first book that bee would ‘play-read’ independently for an extended amount of time and the first book that she memorized all the words. i think this might be the most read and loved book we own.
  • Airplane Flight!: A Lift-The-Flap Adventure by Susanna Hill >> good for getting a toddler pumped about an upcoming flight. we brought this on the plane with us and read it over and over.
  • Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann >> maybe this is a best seller. it’s a classic. also recently loved 10 Minutes till Bedtime.
  • Sandra Boynton board books are pretty much impossible to avoid at this age. bee’s favorites: Blue Hat, Green Hat, Doggies, and The Going to Bed Book
and i almost forgot. bee and i are in complete agreement that this is the very best book to ready yourself for a new baby. i bought it the day i found out and we read it nearly every day for nine months.

and i almost forgot. bee and i are in complete agreement that this is the very best book to ready yourself for a new baby. i bought it the day i found out and we read it nearly every day for nine months.

i hope this inspires you to become a true star parents and put these books on hold, show up to the library, and cram them in your tote bag before your budding-toddler can say ‘boo’…or ‘no’..as they are wont to do. we had our fair share of crummy books, so i don’t want that to happen to anyone. like one about anna eating all the cookies instead of sharing (and i won’t tell you how much bee actually loved this one) and one about a baby being a burden on everyone…seriously. i also highly recommend looking at the bestseller list and paging through the library online catalog to reserve them all. we’re on a wait list, but every time we show up one or two is waiting for us. and while we’re at it here’s another good list.

and speaking of libraries, here’s a few of bee’s favorite things:

the albina library has the best storytime teacher and the best regular showing (aka, the best friends of bee)

the albina library has the best storytime teacher and the best regular showing (aka, the best friends of bee)

the northwest library has an awesome teacher as well and a great, big room for the 'class'. also the best selection of books seems to wind up here. and the best selection of toys.

the northwest library has an awesome teacher as well and a great, big room for the ‘class’. also the best selection of books seems to wind up here. and the best selection of toys.

the hollywood library has the second best selection of toys and second best story time.

the hollywood library has the second best selection of toys and second best story time.

oh and the albina library has pajama story time, too!

oh and the albina library has pajama story time, too!

the award for best seating in a book store goes to green bean books, which also has a really awesome story time. so does a children's place. dang, i live in the best neighborhood ever.

the award for best seating in a book store goes to green bean books, which also has a really awesome story time. so does a children’s place. dang, i live in the best neighborhood ever.

and don't worry, will. we'll get to your favorites soon enough...

and don’t worry, will. we’ll get to your favorites soon enough…

once you start reading them. instead of eating them.

once you start reading them. instead of eating them.

Advertisement

TWO!

(originally posted September 24, 2014)
city tractoring...

city tractoring…

sporting her birthday dress that came two days late.

sporting her birthday dress that came two days late.

she’s TWO! and i don’t capitalize for just any old milestone. this is a big one. the transition from toddlerhood to…a little more of toddlerhood. right? she can’t be considered a kid just yet. it’s just too soon for a mom to handle that one. but the distinction from one to TWO feels like a lifetime of difference. i’m over two weeks late in posting this partly because i am crazy busy with juggling bee’s ever increasing demands with those of a newborn, but also because i find it impossible to capture the essence of bee at this age in five hundred words or less. so i’ll just start with what we did on the big day and go from there.

we celebrated with a full day devoted to bee. roller coasters, story time, cookies, no nap time, play kitchens, grandparents, balloons, swings, slides, and cake. toddler heaven.

she started the day by reading library books to her brother in his bassinet. totally on her own. i just realized she opened to the page with babies in their cribs and is pointing it out to him here. this is too much for my little mama heart to handle.

she started the day by reading library books to her brother in his bassinet. totally on her own. i just realized she opened to the page with babies in their cribs and is pointing it out to him here. this is too much for my little mama heart to handle.

she chose the front seat of the roller coaster and put both hands up in the air after watching the much bigger kids  before us. no fear.

she chose the front seat of the roller coaster and put both hands up in the air after watching the much bigger kids  before us. no fear.

she craves the new…it has always been this way with her. not satisfied with routine. we always have to have a fresh stack of new books from the library each week. art supplies are only interesting the first few times (although she’s getting better about that) and when we circle the block to go to the closest playground she protests, no, new! if all slides have been conquered, the magic is gone. to wit we have explored all the parks and school playgrounds within running distance (which amount to over twenty; another reason to love ne portland) and have biked or driven to dozens more.

so a trip to the cooney island of the northwest, oaks amusement park, for chipper’s preschool rides, was in order on this special day to top our daily routine.

she unknowingly ceded the front seat of the car, thinking that her place is naturally in the back.

she unknowingly ceded the front seat of the car, thinking that her place is naturally in the back.

would this rocket fly today with machine gun artillery for toddlers? this speaks to how classic these rides are.

would this rocket fly today with machine gun artillery for toddlers? this speaks to how classic these rides are.

daddy and grandma were on hand to hold the baby and help bee onto the rides. not an occasion to attempt by myself with the two minis. she scales the highest slides when she catches me nursing will and knows i won’t be able to lend a hand to help. i’ll call out to wait for me and she’ll give me a sideways glance with a clear message that she takes that as a dare.  **word of caution to new parents: this is what you get when you run to parks daily at seven months. will is going to stay strapped to me in the ergo until he is five.

party planning in her future: of all the 30+ colors available, she picked out white and black balloons. and coordinated what i thought to be pretty well-matched party napkins and pirate plates.

party planning in her future: of all the 30+ colors available, she picked out white and black balloons. and coordinated what i thought to be pretty well-matched party napkins and pirate plates.

maybe she's just showing off her new kicks here. more likely, taking advantage of the situation and putting her feet up on the table because she knows how to push mom's buttons.

maybe she’s just showing off her new kicks here. more likely, taking advantage of the situation and putting her feet up on the table because she knows how to push mom’s buttons.

bee is a very adventurous eater. she’ll slurp the juice out of an oyster and doesn’t grimmace when i add broccoli, kale or beets to smoothies. sushi, coconut water, and seasnax are favorite treats. but then she will only eat a tomato if plucked freshly from the vine. and she will find any hidden potato (mashed, cubed in soup, drizzled with butter) and immediately discard the contents from her mouth. but for today, we went with pizza and chocolate milk, because DAIRY! her favorite. whipped cream, hot cocoa, cold milk, ice cream. all her favorite things.

naming body parts never gets old. 'eyes!'

naming body parts never gets old. ‘eyes!’

tea for me!?

tea for me!?

when putting bee to bed these days, she repeats what she has heard nightly: mommy will pat you, okay? as a command to me pointing at her back mommypachyouk? i’m starting to think she believes it’s one word meaning something closer to love than just back pats. since birth she has been somewhat indifferent to (read: hates) my singing. but lately she’s eased up as i make up new words to her favorite elmo radio tunes. she’s even started to request “song” at bedtime – likely fishing to delay bedtime. i’ll bite. i sing a good night roll call to her family and all of her lovies in her bed and when I run out of objects she says “more more” and starts singing goodnight to anything around her that I left out – her pajamas, windows, and diapers. the latter makes her giggle with such glee. how does a not even two-year-old know that’s funny?

and now just a whole lot of pictures of bee in her happy place.

and now just a whole lot of pictures of bee in her happy place.

hi little piggy. over and out.

hi little piggy. over and out.

super mellow will’s super speedy birth

two months young

ladybug nature school

> 20 months + > 150 words = 1 proud mama

(originally published May 12, 2014)

this is a few days late, but my big little bee is 20 months. quite a milestone we’ve made it to.

i know of moms who could blissfully rock their newborn for the rest of their lives and others who are so glad when their kids have gained some independence. but for me, i just don’t think it gets any better than these early months of toddlerhood. my ‘job’ as a stay at home mom in the last few months is closer to play now than work. so what better time to throw in another baby to the mix, eh?

but back to bee…

i did the completely overly-analytical-mom-thing and counted up her words today and if you take into consideration all her mastered spoken words (money, boo-boo, cookie), sounds (meow, beep, wee-o-wee-o), names (mama, betsy, elmo), almost the right words (bobby = broccoli, popies = popsicle, and easta = Easter), and signed words (more, hurt, friend), she tops out at nearly 150 (this was the count at exactly 20 months..she repeats almost any word we say now just a week later)! which is positively crazy to me considering the list was closer to ten words just three months ago and maybe twenty just two months ago. she can count to five and regularly points out when she sees two of something. and if it’s more than that she usually opts to just say ‘all’. as in, I want all the things.

looking at her first chosen words gives a nice glimpse into what’s most important to her: tatoo, peace, nike, candy, mine, beer. whenever she says ‘hey’, she also says ‘daddy’ for reasons unbeknownst to us and she also has one word that she says constantly that we have yet to translate: ‘cobby’. she spits that one off on repeat whenever she’s talking to george, or dolly, or her rubber duckies that have become constant companions outside of the bath, so i can only presume that it’s a filler word. and she has also adopted my filler sounds: ‘hmmm’ and ‘k’, and says them constantly to herself as she’s playing independently. it’s funny what you don’t realize about yourself until you have a little mockingbird following you around.

speaking of independent, i recall reading some different approaches to parenting. one of which calls for encouraging independence by placing your baby on a mat and timing their ability to remain engaged with their toys, then gradually increasing the amount of time each day. luckily i never did this, because encouraging independence is the last thing i want to do right now. it comes so naturally to her; not surprising given both of her parents’ personalities. cuddles are few and far between and i have to keep her very engaged in an activity for her to not become bored with me. her favorite word is still ‘go’, but she also says ‘home’ so much that i think it’s sinking in that home is also a happy place.

her favorite activities of the moment are pay-do (play dough in which she directs me what to make for hours on end), pool (tupperware tub filled with water in the backyard), see-ides (slides), ings (swings), and tea parties.

oh man, the tea party. i have been working so hard to get to this stage of development where we can play pretend (otherwise knows as mommy doesn’t have to buy any toys or art supplies and we can be entertained in doctor waiting rooms). she has no conceptual idea what tea is. has never seen a tea cup in my memory. and yet, she got it instantly and offers me tea and cookies with a striking regularity. bee hosts tea parties made out of play dough, in the bath, dressed in tutus with stuffed kitties, with kitties on a page of a book, with kitties on a magnadoodle, and even over skype with her grandparents. but mostly just a simple party with mom and bee’s little hands. just as the japanese tea ceremony focuses not on the drinking itself, but about aesthetics of the ritual and preparing a cup from your heart, bee just gravitates towards the process of pouring and serving and captivating the attention of her guests. just as her dancing and chalk drawing are forms of self-expression, this make-believe tea thing really does seem to be a performance art. and i could sit back and watch this all day. and i’m lucky. because it’s exactly what i do.

now for my proud mama moment…

hello hot spell! time to don white stockings!?

(originally posted April 30, 2014)

‘it is too hot for april’ said no portlander ever. until me. i normally love myself a good early spring heat wave. but add an eight month pregnant belly, a toddler who must constantly be in motion outdoors, and a prescription for panty hose – ‘hold up, what?’ you say. that’s right. this girl has doctor’s orders to wear prescription strength (did you know they came in that?) thigh-high stockings that span the color spectrum from catholic-primary-school-nun-beige to toddler-snow-white-costume-white – with nothing in between. i always wanted to grow up to be like sr. jerry, but i did not imagine this would be the first way i emulated her. this pill would be so much easier to swallow in sweater layering and thick sock february, but how is it possible to pull these off in shorts and flip flop season? maxi-skirts are the answer in case you find yourself in this pickle. but that doesn’t solve the fact that i’m supposed to be staying off my feet until i heal and/or the baby is born, which is completely laughable with a high-energy toddler and a three-story house, along with vegetables to be chopped for dinner, laundry washed, and a host of nesting errands to run.

how does one go about getting a prescription for geriatric fashion you may ask? step one: get pregnant. step two: pop a blood vein. step three: cry your way to the ER (actually labor and delivery because the ER won’t see pregnant ladies). your tearing eyes will not necessarily be from the pain. more likely because this is the stupidest reason to have to spend the entire night on the labor and delivery floor. then go through tests to make sure you and your baby are not going to die from a blood clot as you make mental lists of who should attend your funeral. pass all said tests. breathe a sigh of relief and there you have it – your prescription for teeny-tiny tights. that is all. no drugs to take; no special stretches to perform or specialists to visit. just put on some panty hose, elevate your legs, and pray for the best.

this whole thing has just been the pits. and then the sun comes out to mock me and my new-found style mandate. so here, now, are some unrelated photos for posterity and the fact that looking at them brings me joy as i sit right here and sit. i just noticed her tongue is sticking out in every one….

bee wants you to see: matching!

bee wants you to see: matching!

bee's sweet new milk-drinking spot on her reproduction bertoia kiddie chair. too big today, but i bet tomorrow she'll be tall enough for it at the rate she's growing. a lady at the library referred to her as godzilla next to her teeny mouse-sized son. not appreciated.

bee’s sweet new milk-drinking spot on her reproduction bertoia kiddie chair. too big today, but i bet tomorrow she’ll be tall enough for it at the rate she’s growing. a lady at the library referred to her as godzilla next to her teeny mouse-sized son. not appreciated.

crazy hair. crazy eyes. crazy personality. that is my baby.

crazy hair. crazy eyes. crazy personality. that is my baby.

and betsy, too.

and betsy, too.

save me mama, with your shirt.

save me mama, with your shirt.

weekending on the plateau

(originally posted March 20, 2014)

some might think disneyland is the happiest place on earth, but at this age, grandma’s house gives mickey a run for his money. i am certain bee gained a pound for each day we visited, because i can hardly lift her now. she got the requisite ice cream, cookies, butter-loaded pancakes and showering of attention. and she ate it up. all of it.

the three hour trip north with a car-seat-hater couldn’t have gone more smoothly. we headed out early to stop at the vancouver library (only fifteen minutes closer to our destination, but at least it was heading in the right direction). this place! so under the radar to us portlandians. i liken it to a free mini-kids-museum with an entire floor dedicated to wee ones with way more than books to entertain.

after almost two full hours of serious play, we hit the road full of dreamy expectations that nap time would eat up at least half of the remaining time, but no-such-luck. she dozed for around twenty minutes and then perked up to say ‘uh oh’. i think she had dropped her mango slice that she remembered clutching while nodding off. maybe i should’ve stuck with a more sleepy pandora station, but i had to keep my pregnant body awake, so avett brothers it was. that could’ve done it, too. luckily that same impossible-to-devour overly-hardened dried mango slice entertained her for a full hour, but a second stop was necessary around tacoma to get some wiggles out. so after another pit stop at wapato park for the slides, swings, and off-leash doggie area, our travel north continued with nothing particularly consequential, which is just as i hoped.

and now for some action shots at the vancouver, washington, kiddie-playground library, because i forgot to take pictures of the next three days….

hey! lookie what i did there. and i didn't even see what was behind her when framing this shot. awesome.

hey! lookie what i did there. and i didn’t even see what was behind her when framing this shot. awesome.

b is also for 'boat' to climb into.

b is also for ‘boat’ to climb into.

the one place where this outfit does not stand out. so much color she almost blends right in.

the one place where this outfit does not stand out. so much color she almost blends right in.

so many things for busy toddler mitts

so many things for busy toddler mitts

wheels for spinning.

wheels for spinning.

i asked her to tell me a joke, she knock knocked on the window. no joke. so that's something.

i asked her to tell me a joke, she knock knocked on the window. no joke. so that’s something.

planning to plan for baby number two

(originally posted March 10, 2014)

escaping the monotony of daily routines, especially during the doldrums of a portland winter, always gives me the pause i need to do some actual thinking. especially when a hammock and a beach are involved. and mostly i am thinking about how life is going to change in three short months. the nesting instinct is taking over my brain, but this time around i have the benefit of already owning most of the baby gear i will need along with the experience to know that a newborn needs close to nothing. bee and i, on the other hand, will need some coping mechanisms.

i also have the benefit of knowing that in those first few months there will be no time or energy for thinking. so rather than spend hours online researching the best bpa-free baby bottle (it turns out they’re all terrible), for the rest of my pregnancy i’ll focus my energies on some other logistics:

1. fitness plan

with bee, the stars couldn’t have aligned more perfectly. she was born in the late summer so we hibernated all winter with a scattering of short bundled up walks. by the time her neck was supposedly strong enough for a stroller run, my abdominals were equally ready and the springtime weather perfectly cooperated. though i think i actually probably cheated and started running closer to five months instead of the suggested six…but it was slow, i told myself. i signed up for the hood to coast with my work team so i had the perfect motivation to run every morning. while working i would often run the three or so miles to work and back – complete with my madela pump and milk for bee on my back. when i stopped working around the same time the sunshine picked up, a morning run fit perfectly with bee’s nap schedule. we’d wake up, eat breakfast, then head off to the park. by the time we got home she’d be ready for a nap and i could shower and be ready to start the day around ten am. then we’d usually walk to another park mid-day, another nap, and sometimes a third park adventure in the early evening. i could repeat that schedule for the rest of my life. but then winter arrived and bee’s naps shortened to one and a second baby popped into my belly and it has all gone downhill.

this time around i know the stars aren’t going to align on their own and i need a plan in advance. the baby will be born in early summer so we’ll be at stroller-running age just as the rains and cold weather hit. this time of year is already mentally challenging for running, let alone squeezing two babes into a double stroller with snacks, dipes, toys, and books just to make it around the block with screaming and tears and winding up back at home. that’s how i picture it anyways. so before the baby comes, i’m going to visit some gyms and figure out a solution that will work for everyone. i won’t likely sign up for the hardest leg of a 24-hour relay totaling 18 miles, but i want to set some sort of goal so i always have an end-point in mind. maybe even just a 5k next spring. or a sprint-triathlon if i feel particularly ambitious. i’ll also need to fill my body with proper fuel, which leads me to…

4. nutrition plan

i’m not generally a freezer-meal-lover and especially when i had a newborn nursing, all i craved was something fresh, full of vegetables, and filling. and LOTS of it. i anticipate this will be even more pronounced in the summer with the new baby. one of the best gifts i received was from my bicycle-loving coworkers in the form of a weekly delivery from soupcycle. not only was the food so fresh and filling, but the gift of not thinking about what’s for dinner is better than anything i can conceive.

so instead of stocking my freezer, i’m going to research a csa that will provide me will easy ingredients (the last one we got was terrific, but would throw in a lot of curve balls like celeriac and mushrooms i’d never heard of). though i enjoyed the challenge pre-baby, inspiring and unique ingredients are more likely to end in tears of failure. i will just need what i already know (and by i, realistically, i mean my husband) and can throw together for lunches and dinner easily for a hungry mom and picky toddler. speaking of toddlers, i’ll need a…

2. plan for bee

although i plan to keep the summer very simple and flexible, bee is getting to an age where she needs social and physical interaction beyond what our backyard can offer (which is currently limited to brief squirrel sightings and puddle stomping). i’d like to find some weekly activities for her as well as some easy entertainment to have in the backyard. and if the going gets really tough, an exit strategy, aka daycare. hoping to put that off as long as i can.

to make the summer shared with a new baby special for bee, i’m currently thinking ballet lessons or soccer classes. plus maybe more balls, hoops, sandboxes, tricycles, and a Popsicle-maker (who knew that Popsicle is a proper noun?). we have a garden store four blocks away that i envision visiting often and i’d love to start some seedlings with bee. perhaps i should read a book on gardening with a wee one. which brings me to…

3. reading plan

there are so many opportunities for reading with a newborn. and by that, what i mean to say is that you are up at all hours of the night with a crying baby who will only be soothed by being held, bounced, rocked, and shushed. and since you have a little baby you can’t put down along with insomnia at the anticipation of her waking in less than an hour even if you can manage to set her down, you might as well read a book or two on your iphone.

with bee, my sleep-deprived self gravitated towards one genre: baby sleep. i had a very narrow focus of breaking the cycle of no sleep and cracking the code to infant sleep patterns. only in hindsight do i now realize there is no getting out of it. babies be babies. they need to be held. and so you’ll do some nightly reading. you will be too mentally exhausted to choose any books, so here’s where i think a list might come in handy. in the next few months i’m going to make that list. i suspect i’ll stay in the non-fiction realm as i typically do, but maybe since my brain will be so zonked it will be a good time for some easy fiction beach reads. i’ll prepare for both scenarios accordingly. so far my list is lonely at one:

all joy and no fun: the paradox of modern parenthood

suggestions appreciated. and last, but not least…

5. what to wear plan

having a new nursing baby makes dressing in anything beyond yoga pants, a nursing tank, and a robe seem laughable. but having a toddler that needs to get out of the house makes this attire *possibly* inappropriate. i’m going to have to get creative and do some shopping before the baby comes (since trying on anything in a dressing room with two littles is out of the question).

with bee, there has never been an age where my hands are free to lace or buckle complicated shoes as we’re making our way out the door. so high on my list are some easy-to-put-on park shoes for daily walks. also high on the list are some shirts suitable for both nursing and being seen by the general public. and maybe i’ll even buy myself a nice new pair of fancy yoga pants, because, let’s be honest with our future selves.

kona, hi with a big baby bump and a bee

(originally posted March 10, 2014)

the last time my belly reached these proportions, we found ourselves enjoying the most luxurious of all vacations on the amalfi coast. we were certain that this was the last vacation of our lives. and in a way, it was. we now have a little bit more responsibility, a bit more weighing on our minds, and a little nugget of energy to entertain.

so lucky are we portlanders to be a direct flight away from the paradise of hawaii. it was the perfect prescription to a portland february.

there were flamingos, dolphins, and waterslides at the hilton waikoloa. it was a kiddie-paradise and the closest bee has come to disneyland. it was too much. so we headed north to...

there were flamingos, dolphins, and waterslides at the hilton waikoloa. it was a kiddie-paradise and the closest bee has come to disneyland. it was too much. so we headed north to…

mauna lani, where we found a retreat the whole family could enjoy. still had a pool and beach for bee without the chaos that you'd expect to find in the mega-resorts catering to kids.

mauna lani, where we found a retreat the whole family could enjoy. still had a pool and beach for bee without the chaos that you’d expect to find in the mega-resorts catering to kids.

bee and i had a wonderful rhythm to each day starting with a nature hike in the adjacent waipuhi and hopeaia fishponds while daddy braved the hot highway pavement clocking mileage like a true athlete.

bee and i had a wonderful rhythm to each day starting with a nature hike in the adjacent waipuhi and hopeaia fishponds while daddy braved the hot highway pavement clocking mileage like a true athlete.

we're athletes, too. we walked and we stretched.

we’re athletes, too. we walked and we stretched.

and we'd snack break to watch the fishies jump.

and we’d snack break to watch the fishies jump.

then it was serious sand time. i never got a picture of her smiling on the beach, because she was far too busy with very important tasks to be bothered with smiles.

then it was serious sand time. i never got a picture of her smiling on the beach, because she was far too busy with very important tasks to be bothered with smiles.

post-afternoon nap, we'd slather bee in sunscreen (a new favorite activity of hers) and head to the pool with hopes that bee hadn't slept through the afternoon popsicle hand-out. she made a new best-friend, stella, who taught her how to play make-believe and lose at a bunch of games.

post-afternoon nap, we’d slather bee in sunscreen (a new favorite activity of hers) and head to the pool with hopes that bee hadn’t slept through the afternoon popsicle hand-out. she made a new best-friend, stella, who taught her how to play make-believe and lose at a bunch of games.

the valets let bee feed the koi a couple times.

the valets let bee feed the koi a couple times.

dining with a toddler is so easy when this is your view. we absolutely loved the canoehouse on the mauna lani property. not cheap, but nothing seems to be when you're surrounded by resorts. storing yogurts and pb+j supplies in our room made us feel a bit less bad about the cost of dinners.

dining with a toddler is so easy when this is your view. we absolutely loved the canoehouse on the mauna lani property. not cheap, but nothing seems to be when you’re surrounded by resorts. storing yogurts and pb+j supplies in our room made us feel a bit less bad about the cost of dinners.

i was thrilled to see some healthy kids options on the canoehouse menu. not-so-much can be said for the rest of our outings. maybe she was having a growth spurt or all the play burned excessive calories, but i've never seen this girl chow down so much food in her life. we also discovered that bee loves poke from da poke shack (rated the top restaurant in america by yelp reviewers).

i was thrilled to see some healthy kids options on the canoehouse menu. not-so-much can be said for the rest of our outings. maybe she was having a growth spurt or all the play burned excessive calories, but i’ve never seen this girl chow down so much food in her life. we also discovered that bee loves poke from da poke shack (rated the top restaurant in america by yelp reviewers).

our second favorite dining spot was the lava lava beach club. probably bee's number one choice, for obvious reasons.

our second favorite dining spot was the lava lava beach club. probably bee’s number one choice, for obvious reasons.

her first hula lesson. mesmerized, but not sure how to contribute.

her first hula lesson. mesmerized, but not sure how to contribute.

the days filled with sun, sand, nature hikes, shelling, swimming, and chicken nuggets exhausted her. a nice postprandial brother cuddle.

the days filled with sun, sand, nature hikes, shelling, swimming, and chicken nuggets exhausted her. a nice postprandial brother cuddle.

new words mastered during this trip include pool, hi, and tiki(!!!)

new words mastered during this trip include pool, hi, and tiki(!!!)

lighting of the tikis was our nightly cue that bee's day was over and it was time to put her to bed in her crib in the bathroom. she loved her room and the little crib they had there. possibly even more than her own at home.

lighting of the tikis was our nightly cue that bee’s day was over and it was time to put her to bed in her crib in the bathroom. she loved her room and the little crib they had there. possibly even more than her own at home.

nightly music and hula dancing on our way to bed.

nightly music and hula dancing on our way to bed.

she's truly never been happier in her little life. and dad and i were pretty darn happy, too. looks like we're not done vacationing after all.

she’s truly never been happier in her little life. and dad and i were pretty darn happy, too. looks like we’re not done vacationing after all.