by Jennifer Pebbles
My daughter Maggie will be 3 years old this coming March. I love watching her grow into such a vivacious and funny little girl and I’m lucky that I’m able to work from home so that I can participate in her colorful life, especially during the holiday season. If Maggie had her way, every day would include as much Wonder Pets, craft time, yogurt and berries as she could handle before hugging our dog goodnight. She is a joy and we have so much fun together. Here are the things we are “into” right now:
Sometimes we think we live with two dogs, instead of a dog and a toddler. Maggie loves animals, especially puppies, and often runs around barking and sniffing. In fact, she named our “Elf on the Shelf” Ruff Ruff and the only gift she asked Santa for was a stuffed puppy. It doesn’t matter if it’s squishy, wiggly, wooden or plastic; animals are always at Maggie’s side and the stars of her everyday adventures.
2.) Exploring Food and Making Eating Fun:
We are pretty lucky to have a toddler who loves broccoli, Greek yogurt, blueberries, rice, fish and chicken…but we are still trying to encourage her to try at least a bite of everything we serve her at mealtime, whether it’s spaghetti and meatballs, or a turkey and cheese sandwich. Sometimes it’s a battle royale to get her to taste something she isn’t familiar with. As luck would have it, one night my husband brought home Thai takeout that included a few sets of chopsticks. We gave her some basic instructions and let her have at it, and instead of whining and inspecting all the new food, she dove right in so she could use her new sticks! Now, if we’re having a hard time introducing food, we give her a new utensil to eat it with, or skewer it on a stick and suddenly food becomes less of a fight and a lot more fun.
3.) Sharing Living and Play Spaces:
We live in a 3-story townhome in North Bend, with the third bedroom on the entrance level and the other bedrooms on the top level, leaving our main living area in the middle to act as our adult living room and playroom for Maggie. Sharing our spaces can be difficult at times, but I try to keep things as clean and organized as possible, and when I can, shop for toys that are as beautiful to look at as they are exciting to play with. Cubbies and baskets are key to my sanity, and we’re okay with making our décor as colorful and modern as her space is to distract from the double duty, and don’t mind staring at a stuffed giraffe over a glass of Cabernet.
4.) Tea Parties:
Maggie LOVES a good tea party. She loves being fancy, setting the table with her tea set and faux flowers, and she’s happy to party with just Mom and some stuffed animals. Sometimes we have a tea party in our jammies, and sometimes we dress up. Hot cocoa is perfect “tea” for this time of year, especially when paired with treats from our local bakery.
5.) Arts and Crafts:
Being a crafter by trade, I have exposed Maggie to all kinds of creative tools and products. By the time she was 10 months old, she was pulling sheets of letter stickers out of my craft boxes with shrieks of delight. Some of our favorite craft activities are coloring with markers, playing with sticker books, making simple projects from craft kits, and practicing cutting with craft scissors. When we can combine all of these into one activity, it’s a surefire winner.
1. Chronicle Creative Creatures; 2. P’Kolino Britto Colorful Markers; 3. Chronicle Giant Play and Learn book; 4. P’Kolino Little One Art Easel; 5. P’Kolino Britto Art Journal; 6. P’Kolino Chalk Table and Stools
6.) Elf on the Shelf:
I have to say, I was really excited that Maggie is old enough now that we can finally participate in the new tradition of the “Elf on the Shelf.” As mentioned before, Maggie chose the name “Ruff Ruff,” and every night Ruff Ruff reports to Santa about how Maggie has behaved during the day, and then he gets into all kinds of shenanigans. I use Pinterest to look up ideas that other Moms have shared to try to make things as low stress as possible. So far he’s left notes, TP’d the Christmas Tree, turned the milk green and told Maggie how proud he and Santa are that she’s listening to Mommy and Daddy and eating her dinner.
7.) Photography + Simple Memory Keeping:
I was an avid scrapbooker BEFORE I had Maggie, and while I had great intentions of making an amazing baby book and recording all her milestones and first year memories, I soon realized that my time and energy bank accounts didn’t have the funding for such an undertaking. Thankfully now, I have an iPhone with an amazing camera and a bunch of apps to make memory keeping almost effortless. Instagram is great for social sharing, PostalPix will print your photos and mail them to you, and I am starting to use the Project Life by Becky Higgins system of pocket pages and inserts to work on a scrapbook that’s modern and Mommy friendly.
Maggie loves books even more than Tea Parties AND yogurt combined. I recently introduced Maggie to the wonder and joy of the library, and my Mom takes her a couple times a week to trade out her books for new favorites. Mo Willems books are a big hit in our house, and so is Olivia, and she loves her “Frosty the Snowman” book. I brought Maggie this M. Sasek book from my NYC trip, and can’t wait to see what other books Santa will be bringing her this year.
9.) The Big Girl Bedroom:
Our daughter sleeps in our closet. But judge ye not! It’s a large walk-in-closet turned into a mini-room! We recently converted the crib to a toddler bed, but as Maggie grows, she needs more room and places for her toys and treasures, so we’re moving UP! We found a great inspiration photo on Pinterest, and my Dad is coming to build her new bed. We’re so excited to decorate and paint and fill her new room with big girl fun!
1. Oopsy Daisy Happy Hippo; 2. Oopsy Daisy Lyrical Lion; 3. boon Grip; 4. Oeuf Classic Hutch; 5. Oopsy Daisy Backyard Birdhouse 6. DwellStudio Picture Frames; 7. P’kolino Clothes Tree; 8. fatboy Marimekko; 9. 3Sprouts Bin
10.) Holding On and Letting Go:
This is the age where Maggie is determined to do everything herself, but still wants to crawl into my lap to snuggle, and the light left on at bedtime. It seems like yesterday she was still just a baby…because she was! She is definitely dipping her toes into the pool of independence, and loves being a “big girl” and pretending to be the “Mommy,” so she can make the rules. We, however, are not quite as ready as she is. And I know that’s something all parents can understand.
Jennifer Pebbles is a Seattle area blogger and graphic designer. You can find her at blog.studiopebbles.com. She is an avid “pinner” on Pinterest with 150,000 followers who gather inspiration from her boards filled with DIY projects, style, décor, kids’ activities, toys, recipes and graphic design. She is married to John Pebbles, owner of Madrona Paintworks and besides their daughter Maggie, are parents to a 109lb Chocolate Lab named Drake.
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