Tag Archive: baby p

Jeff and I love museums! So much so that during our week in Branson we toured more museums than we saw shows!

One of the museums was right down the road from our resort and was probably the most impressive one of all – The Titanic Museum.

Before we went into the museum, I knew the following about the Titanic.

1) It sank.

2) There was a movie (Titanic, obviously) that came out when I was in 9th grade. One of my friends saw it EIGHT times in the theater and I swore I would never watch it if only to keep myself from becoming like that.

2.5) To this day, I still haven’t watched the whole movie.

3) I have watched one bit of the film. Gaelic Storm plays in a scene. They’re an incredible Celtic band that I’ve gotten the chance to see live. Here’s the best clip I can find on YouTube.


Isn’t that great? So this was pretty much the extent of my knowledge of the Titanic.

Heading into the museum, I wasn’t sure what to expect!

Even before we got into the Museum, it was cool…

The museum is shaped like the Titanic and an iceberg!

Unfortunately, we were expressly told that we could not take any photographs in the museum.  That was sad (although I could see the reason – preserving the artifacts) – so any further photos are ones that are on the Titanic Museum’s website.

We entered the museum (baby on my hip) and were each given a boarding pass featuring an actual passenger on the Titanic and a audio device that resembled a phone. Throughout the museum, there were identification markers that gave us a code to input into our handheld player. By holding it up to our ear, it was like getting a personal tour of the museum at our own pace.

There were also docents throughout the museum that provided some very in-depth answers to questions! Entering the museum just ahead of us was a tour group of college aged men and they had quite the range of questions. I was impressed by the knowledge that the staff had about the museum.

Oh yes, the museum. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the actual collection and I was completely blown away by it! Actual items from the Titanic were on display. Letters and cards that had been mailed, photographs of the ship and the passengers and even a deck chair fished from the icy seas.

Many of the displays remarked “This is one of only two menus/pins/letters/etc to survive.” Every gallery was well organized and everything flowed well together. It wasn’t just a tourist attraction in a tourist-based town, every item was well preserved and displayed very carefully.

Half-way through our tour, we got to walk up a replica of the Grand Staircase:


Jeff enjoyed the portion of the exhibit where he could pretend to shovel coal with a weighted shovel. He also was impressed by all the historical details provided in all of the displays.

At the end of the tour, we got to watch a video of the submarines and remote vehicles that found the Titanic wreck. We also passed a memorial wall where we could find if our boarding pass passenger lived or died.  April of 2012 marks 100 years

Here’s our pros and cons from the visit:


  • Handheld audio players let us wander around at our own pace and listen to the parts we were interested in.
  • Lots of details were provided in the artifact displays.
  • A few hands-on exhibits such as shoveling coal, platforms representing various slopes on the ship as it was sinking, and seeing how long you could hold your hand in ice water that represented what the survivors suffered through.
  • There are actually two mascot dogs representing the doggie passengers on the ship! They live at the museum and have full time staff who take care of them. We got to meet Molly on our way out of the museum. She was adorable!


  • We weren’t able to take photographs during the tour. There were a couple of staged areas like the bridge and a simulated outside view that would have been really neat.
  • At the end of our tour, our photo was taken by a staff member who advised us that we could purchase it in the gift shop. We were unsuccessful in locating this and the staff member on duty was busy chatting with a friend (possibly an off-duty staffer).
  • The museum is really geared for teenagers and adults. That’s not a bad thing, but parents with small children may want to bring something to keep them entertained. It’d be great to have an audio tour geared towards children.
  • Jeff stated it would have been really cool to be out on the roof of the building (if it were outfitted like a ship). He also wanted to see a life-sized engine.
  • There were a few knowledge-check quizzes, but I would have liked to see more educational or interactive exhibits.

Really, it’s hard to call those cons! Suggestions, maybe.

Taking Miss P, who was just a year old, through the museum was a bit of a challenge. She loved the dog and some of the exhibits, but she just did not have the patience for most of it. Jeff and I took turns entertaining her.

I would totally go back again! We really enjoyed the whole experience and I’m sure on a second trip I would learn even more.

Over the next week or two, I’ll be writing about our other experiences on our trip! Once those are up, click the “Branson” tag on this post!

(Full disclosure here: The museum graciously hosted us for the day in exchange for our feedback on our visit. All our opinions are always our own.)

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(or How To Homeschool Your Baby)

The summer has just flown by. The leaves are turning colors and we turned on the furnace for the chilly nights. (and it snowed last night!) And my little baby is crawling like a speed demon, pulling herself up to standing and chewing on EVERYTHING! Seems like it was just yesterday that she was a cuddly little lump that would snuggle with me all day long.

Fall/Winter also means it’s back to school time! I’ve previous confessed my addiction to back to school sales and Jeff just shakes his head as I make a detour in the store to stock up on notebooks, lined paper and crayons. And markers! And glue! And pencils!  Some of it is justified as Jeff is taking classes but some of it is stocking up for the future. It won’t be too long before Miss P is coloring and drawing!

It may be coming from my homeschooling background, but I’m finding that we’ve already started teaching Miss P in a lot of different ways. The first time we took her swimming in our pool over the summer, Jeff laughed at me and pointed out that I was trying to explain buoyancy to a 7mo old child. (For the record, she loves the pool!)

We discuss the weather when we’re looking out the window. I got to explain the importance of jury duty when I was called to serve in October (Sadly, there were no trials for me to participate in). There have been fire station tours and history lessons.  We talk about toys floating or sinking when Miss P takes a bath.

Our upcoming vacation to Branson is filled with museum visits and educational stops like Silver Dollar City where we’ll be able to watch craftsmen. A huge thank you to some awesome family friends who travel to Branson often – we’ve gotten great info on what to do!  I’m still trying to convince Jeff that we should drive an hour out of our way to see Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home at some point.  Miss P and I have been reading the Little House series every night at bed time for several months now.

Everything turns into a learning opportunity and I suspect that when we actually start “homeschooling” that it won’t be such a large leap from what we’re already doing. Maybe a little bit more structured, maybe a little bit more organized but not much different.

Now if you’d excuse me, I have some more educational things to plan for our vacation!


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I was the oldest of three sisters growing up in the late 80s-early 90s. As a family we always had a Saturday night tradition: bath night.

Saturday night was the one night a week where all three of us would take a bath on the same day to ensure we were clean for church the next morning. My parents formed an assembly line to get us all in and out without too many problems. My mother would help us in the bathroom, supervise the bath time if needed and help our youngest sister get dressed and such. Once we were clean and cozy in our pajamas, she sent us out to the living room to our father. He was in charge of combing out our long hair and blowing it dry.

This was my favorite part of Saturday nights – sitting on the couch with my father. Not only did we get our own time with him but we also got to watch a tv show: The Lawrence Welk Show!

While it now may be the subject of great SNL parody, this show helped introduce me to amazing music. Week after week, I heard country music, jazz tunes, energetic polkas and show tunes. There was even Jo Ann Castle who was one of the most amazing pianists I’ve ever seen:

After Miss P’s bath tonight, we were playing together in our family room while the football games were on TV. (If you follow college football, you’ll know that there was a huge rivalry game between Michigan State and University of Michigan. All I’ll say is Go Green!) I was surfing channels to find something a tab bit more calming before bed and came across PBS… and the Lawrence Welk show.

I put it on right away and all the memories of our old traditions came rushing back. I’ll have to admit I got a bit nostalgic and misty-eyed when I realized I was starting the tradition with my daughter now.   I was thrilled when she crawled up into my arms and we just sat and listened to the music together.

If she grows up to prefer more classical music over the Bieber-pop that’s popular now, I’ll be a very happy mother.

If you haven’t experienced the Lawerence Welk show (or you just want to re-experience it) Here are a few more videos!

Good night!

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I’ve always felt I was cut out to be a mother. It’s come (mostly) naturally, and I love it. Nothing has seemed weird or out of place to me and I’m quite comfortable doing all the embarrassing things that come with the territory. 

Recently, I was out with Miss P and had to stop at the grocery store for just a few items. Unfortunately it just happened be around the time that Miss P prefers to nap. I opted not to carry her diaper bag, instead deciding to juggle my pocketbook, keys and a couple of toys instead.  I strapped her into the cart seat and tried to get through my short list as quickly as possible. We weren’t in the store for five minutes before P had a meltdown and started screaming. So out of the cart she came into my arms!

Of course there was now no way I could juggle a pocketbook, keys and a wiggly baby. In the grand MacGuyver tradition, I hooked my keys to a couple of plastic toy links and over the waistband of my pants (which had no pockets!). The pocketbook was stuffed under the blanket in the cart seat and we spent the rest of the shopping trip dancing and singing down the aisles. There was snot on my shoulder and a set of plastic links swinging from my pants. 

As we were waltzing through the frozen foods, I caught sight of us in the glass doors of the cases and had to stop and laugh.

“I’ve arrived as a parent.”  I thought.  Only the love of a parent could cause a normally sane person to cavort down the grocery store aisles at 2pm humming nonsense like “Oh Miss P! Don’t cry! We’re going to get some broccoli now!”


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We’ve just finalized details of our first vacation as a family. We’re headed to Branson, Missouri this winter!

I always wondered how my plans would change once we had a kid in tow and it turns out they haven’t at all! Jeff and I love all the educational and family friendly museums, shows, and tours like we always have.  It’s so exciting that I get to share this with Miss P now too. She’ll be almost a year old when we go, so she’ll be able to be really engaged in the different things we do.

I think a lot of it has to do with my background of being homeschooled. We were encouraged and supported to love and explore education and that has really stuck with me! Once Miss P is older, we have a trip to Washington, DC planned to visit all of the Smithsonian museums!

Before we booked our trip, I thought of Branson just as a place that has lots of music and shows (and Lawrence Welk… but that’s another story). Now that we’ve started researching – I am amazed and excited by all the things we can do! There’s a medieval castle being built by hand, a Titanic musem, a body parts museum and a water park at our resort! You can even take a tour in a duck. (No, seriously. It’s a duck.)  As I’m making the list of things to do, I’m afraid I’ll have to start narrowing down our list so we’re not running around all day.

I’m already starting on a packing list, figuring out how everything will fit into our car for the 12 hr drive. What do I need to know for this first family vacation? Got any great tips for traveling with kids?

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Every parent thinks their baby is the smartest baby EVER. Your baby rolled over better, crawled faster and walks better than any other baby EVER.  There’s a girl at work like this – every time she asks me about what Miss P was up to, her baby somehow managed every feat about two months earlier.

When I was expecting Miss P, I read a lot of books and blogs about everything from diapering to breast feeding to actual feeding of babies. I formed opinions on everything and was resolved that things would go according to my textbook plan. Now I hear you veteran parents laughing and you know what’s coming next…

Things didn’t work out the way I planned.  We didn’t end up cloth diapering exclusively.  We haven’t taught Miss P how to use a potty yet (it’s called elimination communication and in other parts of the world is perfectly normal for babies).  The world hasn’t ended because we took a different path – and that was hard for me to accept at first.

But back to the topic at hand. One thing I had never heard of before was this notion called “Baby Led Weaning”. Basic premise is that you skip all the jarred baby foods and dry cereals that you mix with juice and food to make it even palatable.  When baby is ready, you simply start feeding baby foods that you would eat yourself.  It was a very interesting notion to me.

I remembered the times I’d fed my nephew as a baby and I could barely stand the smell of some of the jarred food that I was feeding him.  Some of it was even unrecognizable. If you had given me an unlabeled jar, I would not have been able to identify what was actually in it! (Side note: this was actually a game at my baby shower. Brilliant game, but really eye opening. What do “mixed veggies” actually look like? Mud.)

Jeff thought it was a little bit crazy when I first showed him the idea but we filed it away as something to consider later on. As Miss P got older and started to be interested in the food we were eating, the topic came up again. By this point, we figured that maybe we’d try it in another month or two.  But Miss P had other ideas. One night while we were eating, she was sitting in Jeff’s lap and eying his mashed potatoes. He thought it’d be funny to offer her the spoon to see what would happen. That smart little girl pulled the spoon to her mouth and fed herself mashed potatoes! We were both in shock. Babies aren’t supposed to know how to do that! They just open their mouths like guppies and we shovel in the food!  It was really that moment that cemented the idea of BLW (baby led weaning) in my mind.

Since then, P has been exploring all sorts of fun foods! We started with bananas, then avocados on toast. Steamed carrots weren’t far behind that! We’ve only been on this journey for just two months since we didn’t start till Miss P was about six months but it’s been amazing how smart my baby is! She knows how to feed herself. She picks the carrots first out of the peas and carrots mix we snack on. If she can’t get something chewed just right, she’ll spit it out.

This is watermelon and probably one of her favorite foods so far! You’ll see a little mesh feeder in her hand. Some “purists” (or as I call it, know-it-alls) say using a mesh feeder defeats the purpose of BLW. I respectfully disagree! It gives Miss P the ability to feed herself sometimes the more slippery and messy foods. Watermelon and regular melon works great since the mesh feeder has a handle.

Bonus use for the mesh feeder = ice cubes. As Miss P has been teething, a couple of ice cubes in the feeder let her chew and suck on the cold cubes without me being worried about pieces being broken off. She refuses regular ‘teething’ toys that you can chill.

Before I give you more thought about how awesome BLW has turned out to be for us – let me address something that I’m sure my mother and many other old school parents are freaking out about. Just because I’m feeding Miss P things that we would eat doesn’t mean I’m feeding her blindly or stupidly.  I pay attention to what she eats and am careful she’s not eating anything that would be a hazard to her. I don’t leave her alone with food, either. In our experience, she hasn’t once had a problem eating anything we’ve offered her. That doesn’t mean I get lazy!

I am loving baby led weaning! It’s been such an awesome process for our family. We don’t stress about packing special food when we go places since most restaurants have some sort of fruit or veggie on their menu. We’ll let her taste what we’re eating too. She’s not a fan of sweet potato fries, although I’m hoping she’ll like them some day!  In the next few months, we’ll start introducing her to meats too – so that’ll be a whole new range of experiences for her!

Baby led weaning is inexpensive. No bottles or jars or packages to buy. No special containers to mix and transport food.  Not only is it good for my budget, it’s also good for the planet and my sanity. I can share our dinner with Miss P so I’m not spending extra time making a second meal. She’s experiencing flavors and textures that we eat all the time so that as she grows, it won’t be battle to try new things (that’s our hope at least!).

And my baby is darn smart! She can manage foods very well on her own. We were at a family reunion over the weekend and everyone was confused by this eight month old baby who quite competently fed herself.  She’s also quite brilliant at grabbing your hand that the food is in and guiding it to her mouth.   Because we’ve been feeding her this way, we’ve only used a spoon to feed her a few times and that has been in the last few weeks as we’ve introduced applesauce. As we were sitting together tonight, Miss P kept grabbing for the spoon when I offered it to her. Rather than sticking her fingers in the applesauce, she pulled it to her mouth and got all the contents of the spoon into her mouth and not on her face!  I think we’re getting close to letting her try using a spoon by herself as long as we pre-load it for her.   Never would I have imagined that a baby could do these things without being taught or traumatized. Apparently we’re not giving our children the credit they deserve.

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Something Good 7/15

Happy Friday!

It’s been a little quiet around here the last week and a half. Miss P has had a rough time going to bed at night, so we’ve been doing lots of extra cuddles. I’ve got some great stuff on deck, but the baby cuddles have come first.

What’s good in your life this week?

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First off, congrats to Adrienne and Amy (who blogs at Peppermint Mocha Mama) for winning my 100 Post giveaways! I appreciate all our readers!

You’ll notice I’ve been quiet all week. Didn’t even post a Something Good this Friday!  It’s been a long week for us:

  • Miss P got her first tooth last Sunday and has been working on another all week. This has resulted in a mostly unhappy baby that is desperate for cuddles. Since she’s now tech-savvy, it’s hard to sit down and write without her wanting to add her two cents (and maybe Skype with Grandma!)
  • The teething/cuddly attitude has P refusing to be social. We went to a graduation open house on Sunday and she refused to even look at most of our relatives. Except our rock-star nephew… she gave him a smile!
  • Had another awesome Movie Night on Saturday night! We watched the Three Amigos, ate walking tacos and played cards till the wee hours.
  • It’s been raining. And raining. And raining. We opened our pool last weekend, and it’s done nothing but rain and be miserably cold (50-60F) all the time. At this rate, it’ll warm up enough to swim the week before we close it again.
  • Question: How does such a tiny baby manage to create more laundry than two adults?
  • Miss P has just started eating foods (although that doesn’t explain the above question) and she’s loving them. I need to write up a post about it, because we’re going about food a little bit differently than the rest of the United States (The current popular ‘name’ is Baby Led Weaning)
  • Did I mention it’s raining a lot? Even yesterday it was sunny for a bit, muggy in the evening and then poured so violently in the middle of the night that I had to leap out of bed and shut all the windows because it was raining into the house!
  • I love living in Michigan, but this weather! We skipped spring all together, had a few days of summer and now seem to be living in a perpetual fall.  I wouldn’t mind a couple of weeks with nice sunny 75F days…


This post started as a Monday post, and now it’s a Tuesday post. Story of my life lately!

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Happy Friday afternoon! We take time on Fridays to look back and remember the good this week.

I had a great post planned about how I finished my first 5k since P came along, how I managed to finish with a time comparable to what I had run before she was born, how I did it while pushing her in a stroller. But this morning, something even better happened.

We slept until 8am. Lately P has been getting up even earlier than I wake for work, often between 5:00-5:30am. I’ve been so exhausted the last few weeks and it’s caused all sorts of problems. I work Saturday so I had today off and it was so nice to slowly wake up to her chatting away in her crib with the sun fully out. No alarms, no pre-dawn rushing around or trying to get a baby back to sleep. The whole day has been great. I have more energy, I don’t fall asleep while driving and I don’t drift off in the middle of a conversation.

It’s the small things in life that we need to celebrate.

What’s good in your life this week?

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This morning, I’m running (walking) in my first 5k of the season. It’s a family-friendly event, so walkers are invited to bring their strollers. Miss P will be participating in  her first 5k! I’m very excited!

I saw a quote last night that I feel like should be framed in large print on my wall. “No matter how slow you run, you are still lapping everyone on the couch.”  I’m keeping this in mind as I slowly jog (and walk… walk… walk)!

In other news, remember the fantastic Shakespeare group Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company? They’re up for a $5,000 Pepsi Refresh grant to help put on fantastic theater for our area. PCSC has just been informed that if they can win a grant, an nameless donor will MATCH the $5,000!!  $10,000 can do a lot of good.  We have to make it into the top 20, and as of this writing our ranking is at 41. Could you help us by voting? It take one minute of your time!

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