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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.

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Arden's play refrigerator

I am super-geeked about this project.  Arden loves it already, and I am pretty darn pleased with myself for making it for her!  Super-hubby Dave has been busy with major outdoor projects for several recent weekends (fence installation, garage demolition), so I decided that Labor day weekend would be my DIY weekend.  I was inspired by Brittany on Mommy Words post for a DIY Play Kitchen.  I found the same plans on Lowe’s that Brittany used.  

First, to get a little time without “help” from Arden.  The win-win solution:  A hike with Daddy!  

Gearing up for a hike with Daddy

  1. I had the plywood cut at Lowe’s.  Since I don’t have a table saw, this seemed like the easiest solution.  They didn’t even charge me a cutting fee.  I had to cut the 1x6x8 board for the rails, stiles, toe kick, and cleats using a skill saw.

    All cut and ready to go

  2. Construction of the box.  The plans called for actual cabinetry construction with pocket screws.  I didn’t think this required that level of craftsmanship, so I glued and nailed the box together, and then glued and nailed the rails and stiles, etc. to the box.  Much quicker and in the end, way easier to fudge the inaccurate cuts (Lowe’s, not mine of course!).

    Completed box

  3. I filled in the gaps, nail holes and the rough ends of the plywood with wood filler, then sanded everything down.  Arden had since returned from her hike with Daddy, and was now “helping”.  Good thing she wasn’t around for the sawing and hammering!  Sophie the dog also got into the action by repeatedly stealing one of the sanding blocks and running away with it.

    Arden "helping"

  4. I painted the cabinet light blue to match the garage sale find kitchen play set I already had, and put the 12″ deep wire shelving onto the cleats.

    Arden using her partially complete play fridge

  5. I attached the doors to the cabinet using flush mount self-closing hinges.  Arden “helped” some more.

Now for some of the things I did that I think are really cool:  

  1. I attached a Closetmaid spice rack to the inside of the refrigerator door to act like the door organizers.

    Spice rack as a shelf doors

  2. I made handles out of dowels painted with stainless steel spray paint to match the kitchen play set.

    Dowels for handles

  3. I primed the refrigerator and freezer doors with magnetic paint before painting them the darker blue to match the kitchen play set.  Now she can attach magnets to her completed refrigerator!  I love it!

    Magnetic primer

So, here’s the completed project with the kitchen play set I was matching it to.  The scale is a little bit off, but I like the size of the play fridge for Arden.  

Complete play kitchen

Good luck!  This was a pretty ambitious project for me, but I think it was totally worth it and turned out really well.  Please feel free to comment with any questions.