Sunday, June 30, 2013

Favorites: Apps

In the rose colored glaze of pregnancy I swore I'd never succumb to this screen driven culture with my children. We were going to read and build and explore our imaginations all day long. After a year and a half, we do read, and build, and explore, and then I have to make lunch, or be on a plane for hours, or just have a quiet moment. For those instances, I have to confess, the iPad is my savior. Lately, I've even begun to justify it - it's educational, and fun, and she's reading, and learning. But I'll call it plainly - my crutch. She loves it, I love it. We are a modern family.

Here are the goto apps of the hour:

Endless Alphabet 

By far the app of the moment. Chiquita loves being able to match the letters but she also has the patience to watch the animation/definition afterwards. I love the cute characters and great vocabulary. Yay for spelling with monsters!

Petting Zoo 

The app that started it all. Besides a couple of sad fireworks apps, this was the first one I downloaded specifically for the chiquita. There is a lot to like in this one: music, animation, animals, and it's totally interactive. Leeloo really enjoyed it when she was first getting acquainted with the iPad.

Toca Boca 

We have a bunch of these apps. They are not only faves of the chiquita, but her brothers love them too. Occasionally I even catch D playing them after the kiddos have lost interest. It must be the great characters and their reactions. Either that or all the different options and combinations you can come up with. We have:

Toca Hair Salon 2 In which you can cut, style, wash, buzz, color and primp the hair of all sorts of characters.

Toca Fairy Tales In which you can design outfits for fairy tale characters. Leeloo likes that you can layer patterns on the fabric and not just have to choose one color. She also likes the masks and hat choices.

Toca Kitchen Monsters In which you can choose food, prepare it and feed it to monsters. Simple? Yes. Straight forward? Yes. Fun and adorable? Absolutely.

Toca Doctor In which you play simple little doctor games. Fix a broken leg, zap cavities, follow the digestive tract. We only have the free version, so I'm sure the is even more fun and enjoyment to be had.

PBS Kids

Leeloo loves this app. I mean LOVES. She can easily use it to surf favorite shows like Curious George and Caillou. I know, I know, a year and a half and she has favorite shows? It's a fact jack.

Another Monster at the End of this Book

This is a wonderful interactive story with Elmo and Grover. Not only do the words appear comic book style, but some pages add tasks to add the kids to the story.

BeBop Blox

This is from the same company as Endless Alphabet and Another Monster. It's very well done, interactive and fun. It took a bit for the chiquita to understand, but now that she does she loves to watch the little blocks pile up to make a shape.

Lazoo: Squiggles

There are lots of drawing apps, but this one switches it up a bit. After each scene is complete there is a "Go" button to animate it. There are a series of different scenes as well as blank screens and stickers. Lots of options to make Leeloos sribbles come to life.

Sago Mini Soundbox 

Balls that bounce, multiply, hatch into animals, and make sounds while you touch them. Another simple app that is entertaining for at least ten minutes (an Ageternity in toddler time). 

Agnitus: Games for Learning

This is one of the newest apps we have. Most of it is too advanced for the chiquita, but that doesn't stop her from trying. It's a cute app filled with shape, color and memory games. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Daddy's Day

The majority of my gifts are photo related. It's what I love to do and those who I love have to suffer through it (haha).  So naturally my first thought for Father's Day was a picture of the kids for D's office. After two shoots, many outtakes, and some photoshop, I finally got a shot that was framable. Happy Daddy's Day D! We <3 U!

Monday, June 10, 2013


I'm trying to move past the convenience of taking smartphone pictures. It is so handy but the quality is never that great - especially if you like to go back and edit like I do. However, lugging the digital cam is annoying too. Maybe I should stop complaining and just take more pictures :)

The chiquita thinks she's a big kid at the park. She climbs up to the tallest slide and goes down. She also decided yesterday that she could swing on the big kids' swing all by herself! A year and a half. Crazytalk.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

One and a half

This morning at breakfast the chiquita banana ate a full kid's meal. One scrambled egg, bacon hashbrowns, avocado and wheat toast. The whole time she was giggling and saying "mmm, yummy!" It was fantastic and only one smidgin of the joy that she is at a year and a half.

Our days are a haze of the park and grocery stores. She loves water and the sandy beaches. She smiles and waves at everyone and is so very excited to see animals. The neighbors down the hall love how she squeals at their pet bulldog, "doggie! doggie! doggie!" she exclaims!

She is such a busy and curious girl. All day she plays and dances and sings and smiles. There is an absolute light that radiates from her and commands attention from so many strangers.

Her brothers may occasionally get jealous of her toys, but they still adore her and play every chance they get. They love to show her off and are so proud to introduce her as their sister. And she is equally thrilled with them. They are her own private jungle gyms, her comedians, her protectors. She has learned to quietly say goodbye when they leave and she jumps for joy when she hears them return.

Food is great fun. She is a snack-o-holic, eating all day long. We let her try everything, even the salsa when mama makes it spicy. Occasionally she makes a face or spits it out, but her palette is impressive. I'm sure there will be a day when asks for chicken nuggets and macaroni, but right now she's at my mercy.

Leeloo is so excited about the world that she doesn't want to miss anything. She is never really happy about having to sleep. Sometimes we're lucky to have a three hour nap during the day, but our night time ritual starts at eight and sometimes lasts until ten. Luckily she sleeps in (but so does mami).

Our house is overflowing with things. Most recent purchases (from a Craigslist shopping spree) include a mini play kitchen and a Tonka truck (which I have always wanted!). I swore up and down that I would never spoil her with material things, and here she is, spoiled with everything! I can't help it. Hopefully I can teach her generosity and kindness and help her to appreciate everything. If she becomes bratty and overindulged - I am in for it!

A year and a half! I am so lucky and thankful. I am savoring every second of our lives and enjoying it all.

At breakfast this morning - look at that empty plate!

She love to dance and spin (note the awesome Tonka truck!).