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Arden is 18 months old!  Crazy toddler alert!



Arden is now a confident walker and working on running.  Turns out she might have struck out on her own a little earlier, but she had a persistent respiratory infection which was probably causing her ears to be congested.  As soon as we started an extended round of antibiotics at the end of June to kick out the infection, she was off to the races!  This coincided with a trip to Idaho to visit Grandma and Grandpa DeShazer, so they got to witness the developments.

gMa and gPa Sunshine flew in for a visit in July, and were here for some firsts – first fireworks, and they also got Arden her first wagon, which gPa assembled with some “help” from Arden.  We went to the Saginaw Children’s Zoo along with Uncle Jeff, Aunt Amy, and cousin Nathan.  A couple of days later she got to ride in the Kid’s University float for the Cornfest Parade.  It was a hot day, but she liked waving at everyone and ringing her cowbell.

We’ve had some garage sale and swap shop successes this quarter.  I found a play kitchen at a garage sale while I was running with Arden in the jogging stroller.  She loves it!  I made a matching play refrigerator over Labor Day weekend that she likes just as well.  I also found a play set with swings, a little climbing fort and slide on our company’s swap shop.  She climbs right up the little ladder and swings in the “big kid” swings.

Along with walking and running, she also enjoys spinning, somersaults (parent-assisted), and climbing, sliding and swinging on her play set.  She likes to boogie down and entertains her friends and caregivers at daycare with her creative dance moves – she does a really cute “booty bounce”!  It’s fortunate that the dogs and cats are all very tolerant of her, as she likes to lay on whoever has the misfortune of standing still long enough for her to catch them.  If they aren’t in the proper position, she’ll grab on and try to drag them to wherever she wants them to be.  We’ve been working on “pet nicely”, and sometimes it sinks in better than others.  She also discovered that it’s fun to play spin the cat when Poe was lounging on the office swivel chair.

We started potty training “light” at one year, and in August we tried an intensive Potty Weekend.  The concept was to have her be bare bottom during the day for the entire weekend, but by the end of day one it had dissolved into a pee-on-the-floor free-for-all, and we went to training underwear for days two and three.  Much better.  She had one day where she didn’t have any accidents until bedtime, including keeping a cloth diaper dry for two trips out of the house.  Since then we’ve used the training unders some more, but she hasn’t done as good keeping them dry.  I think I’ll give a training weekend another shot in a little bit and see if it sticks more as she gets older.

We had a play date with Arden’s friend Ethan to LeCronier’s Baby Acres, a local petting farm.  Arden had a ball with all the animals, though she was so fixated on the kittens in the beginning that she hardly noticed the more exotic animals like chicks, goats, sheep, piglets, bunnies, chickens and peacocks.  After a little while she caught on that there were other animals, and even formed an odd attachment to one particular chicken.  He/she was not so keen on being caught by a screeching toddler.  She even went on the barrel train ride and rode in a barrel painted like a sheep.  Ethan was not so fond of the ride.

Arden had her first visit to the dentist.  Dr. LeBlanc looked in her mouth at all 12 of her teeth and said everything looked fine.  She did pretty well, but is not a fan of anyone looking in her mouth.  Her favorite part was the kid’s play area. 

She’s using a fork and spoon at meals with pretty good success.  She’s a proficient “scooper”, but needs help with “poking”.  Sometimes she cheats and uses her fingers while still holding the fork.  I guess that counts as using it.

Arden had her first pony ride on Sweet Pea, my cousin Angel’s pony, at our annual chicken BBQ family reunion this year.  Arden had a ball, but she was laughing so much it made Sweet Pea nervous.  She also got her first hay ride that day.


When you embark on the journey to parenthood, it comes with a mile-long list of things to purchase.  Some of them are necessities (crib, clothing, medicines, etc.), and some of them are just nice to have. 

Some things that work for someone else won’t work for you and vice-versa.  I won’t get into the obvious ones like infant swings, Boppy, or jumpers.  Here are a few of my favorite things discovered through my parenting adventure:

  1. gDiapers – An earth-friendly diaper system, they’re the best of cloth and disposable.  And they’re adorable.  And my daycare will use them.  And my daughter rarely gets diaper rash.  And I could go on.  We can’t flush the diapers because of our “nonstandard” 80+year old plumbing, but we do compost the pee diapers. 
  2. Mommy Necklaces – Nursing necklaces, or just think of them as child-proof necklaces.  They’re super cute, come in a wide variety of color combinations and several styles, and have a breakaway clasp for safety.  Fashion you can wear without fear of destruction from your little darlings.
  3. Hooter Hider or nursing cover – It does the obvious job quite nicely, but it also works as a shade for the stroller if baby falls asleep on a sunny day.
  4. Aden + Anais swaddles and sleeping bags – LOVE THEM!  Arden did really well with being swaddled, but in the summer I didn’t want her in flannel, and when she got bigger it was difficult to swaddle her securely in the smaller ones.  These are so soft and lightweight, and big enough to swaddle older or bigger kids (I could swaddle her at 18 months if she’d let me).  Now we use them as her warm weather blankets.
  5. Cedarworks playsets – I don’t have one, but I have a serious playset crush on these.  I think I’m going to set up a savings fund so I can get one when Arden is old enough to play on one.
  6. Bravado nursing tanks – I messed around with inexpensive and ill-fitting nursing bras from chain stores.  Then I was show the light of Bravado.  (insert harp music here)  Super comfy and the tank is great so you’re not showing everyone your post-baby belly while you feed said baby.

Hope something here will make your life easier.  Do you have any parenting products you can’t live without?  Post a comment.


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