Portland Trip Pt. 2

  • Oregon Zoo
    • Be prepared for crowds. We went on a day when apparently all the schools had a field trip there. Kids were literally climbing over Maggie’s stroller and pushing her aside to get pictures on their iPads.
    • The best zoo I’ve ever been to. Hands down. We never saw the same exhibit twice on our way through. Very well designed and most of the fun creatures to see were active.
    • It was lightly raining the day we went, but there are lots of indoor areas and we toughed it out like Portlanders have to do all the time.

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Seriously the only pic I took at the zoo. But isn’t it a good one?

  • Portland Children’s Museum
    • Admission is free on the first Friday every month after 5pm, we obviously had to take advantage of this deal.
    • Lots of exhibits and it was well worth the short drive.
    • Maggie was a little young to enjoy it, but we adults liked showing her how everything worked.

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  • OMSI
    • Honestly, I was a bit disappointed and thought we had wasted our time and money until I found the little kids’ area (a huge room devoted to different exploration exhibits for kids under 5 years old.
    • This was right up Bear’s alley. He loved the “big kid” exhibits and was in awe of the expensive equipment they have there.
    • Be ready for lots of kids here too.
    • There are a ton of food trucks set up just over the river from here, so that’s where we ate afterwards.

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  • Rose Garden
    • Free! (Always a fan of free things)
    • Beautiful collection of the most varieties of roses I’ve ever seen
    • We took a stroller, but I wouldn’t recommend it. There are a lot of stairs we went down and it was kind of awkward to handle in the rows of flowers. I’d take a carrier if I had to otherwise we just let Maggie roam free.
    • There’s a neat trail going behind the park if you’re up for exploring!
    • Not much parking so plan on walking a bit

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Where we ate: 

  • Tasty & Alder
    • family style meals
    • up to an hour wait on Sundays to get your name on the waitlist
  • Blue Star Donuts (because, when in Portland)
  • Pelican Brewery (as mentioned above)
  • Henry’s 12th St Tavern
    • the patio is considered a bar, so no under-agers allowed (even 18 month olds, apparently)

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  • Salt ‘n’ Straw (make sure you try as many flavors as you want, so you can make an informed decision about your choice!)

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  • 10 Barrel Brewing
    • we had a really long wait and unfortunately had to leave early because a certain toddler had jetlag and was overtired and causing a huge ruckus.
    • the waitstaff was awesome and did what they could to help entertain her while we waited.

 

There’s not much I would do differently next time – I would probably try to get a room with a little more space (fitting a pack n play and stroller in the room was a tight squeeze), I would schedule a day to find an awesome park (Portland really lacks for good kid-focused parks, in my opinion. At least in the downtown area, but maybe that’s normal for a city). We took a flimsy umbrella stroller which did the job until we found my dream double stroller off Craigslist to take home, it was actually nice to have a really small stroller because our room was tiny. I took a bunch of small toy animals and puzzle toys and they worked really well to occupy Maggie most of the trip. We used public transit most of the time, walked, or hitched a ride with my sister, only renting a car for our solo waterfall road trip. It worked out pretty well and we got around a lot.

If you’ve done Portland with kids, feel free to comment with some helpful tips or fun areas you’ve explored!

Maggie Grace at 18 Months

We’ve finally hit it. The last of the monthly ages. 18 months is generally where people stop referring to their child’s age by months. Next she will be 2 years old and I don’t even want to think about that.

This stage has been the most challenging, fun, amazing age yet. Her development from a year old to now is jaw-dropping when I think about it. She definitely is more developed in the physical area than the language area. She walked just before her first birthday, spins, dances, goes down slides by herself, jumps, barrel rolls, and climbs on EVERYTHING. Seriously, I’m pretty sure her purpose in life is to get a broken leg before she hits 2. She is very tactile and has to touch whatever she sees. She also has some stellar fine motor skills like screwing bottle caps on. We’re just starting to get past the stage where everything goes in the mouth, which means bring on the play-doh and more crafts!

Her language has sped up like crazy in the past two weeks, however, and she is signing and speaking words I didn’t know she knew. So far, she signs for: more, please, thank you, all done, love you, and help. She says “mama, dada, baba, banana, go, car, cracker, up, cheese”, and of course her own versions of “leia” and “jackson”. She knows about four animal sounds and every time we ask her what a cow says, she says Leia. I think we mixed her up somewhere on that one.

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She enjoys music, playing with other kids, snuggling, doing what mom says “no” to, swimming, and her baby dolls. She has now been on eight plane rides and has been to both coasts. She takes a 2-3 hour nap everyday and used to sleep fairly well for her (waking up only once a night) until we hit the 18 month regression.

I don’t usually write monthly posts like this, exclaiming over where my kid is developmentally and such, but it’s been six months since we’ve seen extended family, so I figure this would catch everyone up on what she’s like now. She just got to see her aunt and uncle again (it had been over a year!) and I know she loved showing them what she can do.

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I know we’re a bit late on her 18 month birthday, but we were in Portland and I honestly didn’t even care to think about blogging while enjoying vacation with my family. Anyways, that’s Maggie for now!

Transitioning My 15 Month Old to a Floor Bed

We finally did it. We had planned on waiting until the baby was almost here or when she was closer to two year old, but we’ve never been the types to hold to a plan, I guess.

We splurged on ourselves and upgraded to a king-size mattress (co-sleeping parents, rejoice), but knew we wanted to save our queen for Maggie’s room so guests could still have a place to stay over after the baby comes. A way to keep a guest room, but not really considering we host someone maybe every two months for a weekend.

So we jumped the gun and moved Maggie’s crib to the new baby’s room and moved our old mattress on her floor. This all happened in one day and needless to say, this pregnant lady was emotional about her baby moving out of her crib so suddenly.

Maggie played in her room and watched as we set up and organized her room to accommodate  the new bed. She was excited about the change and loved being able to get up and down from it. Her first time sleeping in it was a naptime. I did a similar routine as we always had – rocked her while she drank her milk, read a story, and then laid her down. For the first week, I tried this, but she kept waking up at her normal times at night (12-1, 4-5) and I would give in and sleep in her bed.

Finally, one night Bear said that I would have to get strict about her sleeping alone soon. He was right; she would have to learn to sleep in her own bed for the whole night eventually. So I changed things up…

I moved the rocking chair into the new baby’s room and instituted a snuggle time instead of rocking her. I put on her sound machine, gave her the milk, snuggled her while she drank (usually reading as well)…and something miraculous happened…she handed me the bottle, grabbed a couple pacifiers, and turned over. It was like she was ready for sleeping and wanted me to leave. That may be heartbreaking to some parents, but to a mom who struggled with her daughter’s sleeping patterns for almost a year and a half, I celebrated. And even more miraculous, she slept through the night (well, woke up once but i just found her pacifier for her and she went right back to sleep).

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I honestly believe that switching Maggie out of the crib at this age was the key to her sleeping well. She goes to sleep well every night (even if she cries a bit, I tell her “it’s bedtime, go to sleep” and that does it), she sleeps through the night almost every night (HALLELUJAH), and sleeps til around 8-8:30 (a full HOUR longer than she normally slept). We haven’t had any issue yet with her playing with her toys at 3 am, but I have had to tell her to stop playing and get back in bed at the beginning of naptime once or twice. Overall, I think it helped her not feel so confined and alone.

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I do have some work to do to finish my plans for her room, but turning it into a toddler-friendly free space (Google Montessori bedroom, if you can’t picture it) didn’t actually take that much work.

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Switching your 15 month old to a floor bed may not be for everyone, but it certainly worked for us. And we take whatever works.