Abracadabra! Having Magical Autumn Fun Creating Abby Cadaby the Pumpkin!

Last year, it was Marshall from Paw Patrol, the year before it was Super Grover. This year when I asked my daughter how she wanted to decorate her pumpkin, without hesitation, she said, “Abby Cadaby!” She then excitedly went through the shopping list without taking a breath. “Mommy, we’re going to need pink paint, brushes, purple and pink yarn for her hair and google eyes just like Super Grover had when we made a pumpkin to look like him.” Just this past weekend we had such a fun time at Shadybrook Farm selecting our pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, and shortly after arriving home my four year old wanted to get started right away and bringing pumpkin Abby to life.

When Quinn was two, she needed quite a bit of assistance from me to make sure the paint got on the pumpkin instead of everywhere else. Two years later, she  sat beside her nana, who was decorating her own pumpkin, held the sponge brush steadily in her little hand and barely needed my help at all. My job was mainly to adhere the eye balls and yarn hair with the hot glue gun because we established that part was a job for an adult.

Since this pumpkin is probably double the size of the Super Grover one, I’m not too sure if we’ll do a full-size Abby, but I have a feeling that Quinn will be successful in persuading me to give Abby a body, outfit and even her magic wand, especially since we won the contest at my college for our Super Grover Pumpkin.

Selecting pumpkins together is a fun autumn activity, but decorating them together is a certainly a magical experience that I will always cherish and hope that my daughter does too.

All the best,

Tanya

My Little Pumpkin at the Patch: Fun at Shadybrook Farm

Though she struggled and let out a little grunt, my daughter’s eyes were filled with joy as she attempted to carry her huge pumpkin she selected with her daddy. After searching for about fifteen minutes or so, she beamed and said, “That’s the one I want!” It sure was a big one, much larger than the ones she’s selected in the past few years. Since Quinn was one years old we’ve been taking her to Shadybrook Farm to pick out a special pumpkin to decorate and to have a little autumn fun. It’s now a four year tradition we all look forward to doing, and yesterday was no different.

Even though there was major overcast and cloud coverage, the weather was perfect: not too cold and not too hot with the sun peeking through the clouds on occasion. We enjoyed the hayride, and this year Quinn eagerly navigated through the pumpkin patch with a pep in her step alongside her dad, nana and me not too far behind her. After selecting her pumpkin, we enjoyed some treats, did many of the activities and headed home ready to decorate our pumpkins.

Yes, we could have simply went to the local grocery store to get a pumpkin, but having this family tradition and experiencing family togetherness is definitely a better and far more memorable experience.

If you live in the Philadelphia area near or in Bucks County, I urge you to consider taking your family to Shadybrook Farm to not only pick your pumpkins but your apples too at a nominal fee. We actually paid half priced by bringing in non-perishable canned goods. There’s so much to do for children and adults of all ages. I’m sure you’ll have a great time just like my family does every year.

All the best,

Tanya

My Little Girl’s Baby: Bring on the Dolls & Their Accessories!

My daughter excitedly put on her nightclothes and quickly rushed to the mirror. Hugging her little baby doll, she smiled at me, “Look, Mommy! We’re dressed exactly alike!” Up until a few weeks ago Quinn occasionally played with her dolls, but for the most part she and Grover have been inseparable. But ever since that moment of Quinn and her baby wearing the same nightclothes (a gift courtesy of her Nana), she’s become immersed in the idea of being a little mommy to her little baby.

She’s requested a little toothbrush so they can brush their teeth together, wants to know if we can find more outfits so that they can dress alike again and wants to bring her along in addition to Grover on car rides. With this in mind, she most recently asked, “Mommy, can we get my baby a car seat so that she’s safe just like me?” She also asked for a baby carrier too so they can walk around together. I guess I knew this day would come eventually. It’s cute watching her tend to her baby doll, but I have a feeling that once she finds out about the American Girl Dolls that this is going to be one costly next few years, but it’ll be fun and worth seeing that big smile on her face.

All the best,

Tanya

Cricket Anyone? Exploring Nature with My Little Girl

As I worked on some course materials, I faintly heard, “Mommy…Mommy…Mommy;” then it got louder. “Mommy…Mommy…Come Quick! Hurry!” My daughter was outside being Daddy’s assistant while he did some yard work today. Though her shout did not sound panicky, it had a sense of urgency, so I dropped what I was doing and came running out to make sure everything was okay. “Look what I’ve got on my work glove, Mommy!” she proudly signaled with her eyes yet barely moving her body.

From the porch, I couldn’t see what it was, but as I got closer I noticed that it was an insect perched on the finger of her little gardening glove.” Daddy and I were working and found a cricket, Mommy! He wanted to sit on my glove since he’s my friend.” I said, “Don’t move Quinnie. I’m going to get my camera,” and when I came back he was still there as though he had no other place to go and was simply awaiting his photo shoot. After snapping a few pictures, Quinn and her daddy gently slid the little guy off of her glove back to nature.

I was truly impressed with how gentle and unafraid she was. It reminded me how much I embraced nature when I was younger and how I enjoyed examining insects. I just love when fun learning experiences can be up close and personal and for free too. As an afterthought, I wish I grabbed her little magnifying glass so that we could have examined him even closer. Well, maybe next time.

All the best,

Tanya

The Balancing Act of Riding a Bike with My Little Girl

The other day, I took my four year old out to practice riding her bike. As she pedaled down the sidewalk with me following closely behind her, a woman coming our way smiled at Quinn and then at me. After complimenting Quinn on her helmet, she turned to me and said, “May I offer some advice?” Before I had a chance to say yes, she said, “You really ought to get your daughter a balance bike. That’s the way my three kids learned. After using the balance bike, they went straight to riding bikes with no training wheels.” I just smiled and thanked her for her advice, and my daughter and I continued on our way.

This woman was actually the second person I encountered in the past few months who suggested that I invest in a balance bike for my little girl. While I’ve seen these bikes advertised in circulars or on the Toys ‘R Us website, I’ve actually never seen a child using one outside. Also, I learned using training wheels and transitioned to using a ten speed bike by the time I was six.

My daughter loves her Disney princess bike so much, and she’s getting better and better at coming to a complete stop as we approach an intersection and is steadily improving with steering the handlebar. I’m not too sure if I want to change over to a balance bike for selfish reasons; it will slow us down. Also, I’m not sure Quinn would like it since she enjoys being able to pedal her bike to meet her daddy at the train station. Plus she has a trailer bike attached to mine which has pedals too.

Did you learn how to ride a bike using training wheels on a traditional bike or learn using a balance bike? Which type of bike did or do you prefer for your child? Even though I feel like my mind is made up, I’m willing to consider the balance bike if it will benefit Quinn in the long run. Please share your thoughts. Thanks.

All the best,

Tanya

A Beautiful “Hairy” Situation: The Bond Between Mother & Daughter

My daughter smiled and said, “That’s the one I want, Mommy!” as we scrolled through my hairstyles for little girls board through Pinterest. It was an intricate one, somewhat new for me, but I was up for the challenge. What a difference a few years makes! I recall when Quinn would squirm and fuss about getting her hair done. There were times when we had to complete it in two, sometimes three separate segments so that we both could have a break. I even wrote a blog post when she was a little over one year’s old about our hair battles. I even did one when she was three on little girl hairstyles. Now, my four year old is far more patient, even when we may be going into the second or third hour of completing her hairstyle because she knows she’ll have a carefree hairstyle requiring little maintenance.

While it can be time-consuming at times, especially when Quinn squirms a little as I detangle or part her hair, I enjoy bonding with her. It warms my heart to see that big smile on her face as she looks in the mirror and says, “I love my new hairstyle, Mommy!” She’s then ask, “Can you take a picture so I can see how the back looks?” This most recent time she insisted, “Mommy, may I please wear a beautiful dress to match my beautiful hairstyle!” “Sure,” I told her as I smiled to myself knowing that my four year old approved of her new hairstyle courtesy of her mommy, and Pinterest too.

All the best,

Tanya

The Hair Woes of a Four Year Old: It’s Natural Right?

“Mommy, I want long, straight hair like Sophia*!” my four year requested. “Why do you want hair like Sophia’s?” I asked. “So I can shake my head and my hair can go side to side just like hers,” she responded. Trying to reassure her that her hair is just fine, I told her, “Honey, everyone has different types of hair you know. Some people have straight hair, some people have curly hair, some people have long hair and some people have short hair.” She quickly retorted, “Yes, but Emma* has long, straight hair too, and so does Rylie*. Why can’t I have long, straight hair too like them? Can you make my hair just like theirs when you wash it tomorrow?” I thought to myself, “Wow, what a request!” Then I told her, I’ll tell you what, we’re going to find a really cool hairstyle just for you, and you’ll have some of your hair down so you can fling it side to side too.

I recall when I was younger wishing for long, straight hair and being so excited when Easter or Christmas came along because it meant I would get my hair pressed and straightened. I also recall my hair breaking off quite badly as a result of straightening it too much either by relaxer or by flat iron as a teenager and young adult. But now that I’m older I’ve come to embrace the versatility of my hair. I can wear it in its natural state: curly, braided, twisted or just in a ponytail, which is great since I exercise a lot. If I desire, I can flat iron it straight and still have it be healthy. One way is not necessarily better than the other, but the choice should lie with the individual and what she is most comfortable with. I never want Quinn to feel like her natural hair is not good enough and that she must conform by wearing her hair straight.

Has your young daughter or even son had some hair woes? Wanted it long, short, straight, curly, maybe a different color? How do you address it?

Please share.

All the best,

Tanya

*Names changed to protect children