Running from the Law: September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Favorite Apps for Toddlers - 12-16 Months

When I mentioned last week that Mac is really starting to like the iPad, I got a couple emails asking for recommendations for our favorite apps.  I figured there are probably other moms out there looking for toddler-friendly apps for their kids too, so I put together a list of Mac's favorite apps.  I am not claiming that any of these are educational or will teach your kid anything (some of them are just downright stupid and/or obnoxious), but Mac seems to love them!  These are toddler-approved and have worked at entertaining our little one (even if it's just for a minute or two before insisting we go back OUTSIDE!).  

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Play at Home - Mac is just now getting into this one.  Now that he understands his nighttime routine (brush, books, lights out, etc.) he loves helping Daniel go to bed.  And he likes the music portion of the app, but only for a few minutes.  I think he'll really start to like this one more over the next few months.
Peek-A-Zoo: Toddler Peekaboo at the Zoo - We absolutely love all the versions of this app (Peek-A-Zoo Train, Peek-A-Zoo Underwater, etc.).  They are a little pricey (at $3 each), but worth it, in my opinion.  Mac has played them all to death and loves them.  Easy for little hands to operate since he loves tapping on the screen repeatedly.  It's also helped him learn animal sounds and become familiar with lots of different animals.  There are free "Lite" versions of these too, but the full versions are much better.
Forest Flyer - This is one of Mac's absolute favorites.  Not really educational or anything, but he loves making the bird fly around and do funny things.  She sings and dances and swims.  She also burps and farts, which is totally inappropriate and totally HILARIOUS to a toddler.  He cracks up and has her do it again and again and laughs hysterically.
Kids Construction Vehicles - This is the most popular app we have right now.  Mac will play this over and over and over.  This one has 10+ different construction vehicles, with narration telling you what each one does.  There are actions each vehicle does when you tap on it and it identifies different parts of each vehicle.  The narrator (Truck Driver Jeff) is horribly obnoxious (you can turn him off), but Mac loves him.  My husband now imitates the voice around the house while he's doing things, which is hilarious.
Peekaboo Barn - This app started it all.  This was the very first app he really got into around 12 months.  He loves tapping on the screen and watching the animals appear.  He loves the noises.  It's a great classic app that I don't think he'll outgrow anytime soon.  
Kids Vehicles: City Trucks & Buses - This is the city version of the Construction Vehicles app (above). Different vehicles, same obnoxious narrator.  Mac LOVES it.
There's a Lion in My Backyard! - Ryan is convinced that I downloaded this one to teach Mac how to speak with an adorable British accent.  Although that's not quite true, I wouldn't mind if Mac started talking like this because it's so stinking cute.  This app also has great illustrations and cute animals to find.  We love this one.
The Wheels on the Bus - This app does it all.  There's a free "lite" version, but it's worth it to buy the full version so you get the full song and all the games.  There's a matching game, a train, puzzles, driving game,  math game, coloring book, etc.  The whole app is bright and loud and will give you a giant headache after a few minutes, but Mac is obsessed with it.
PBS Kids - I think this might be the greatest app ever made.  It's totally free and (as long as you have a wifi connection, you can watch all your favorite PBS Kids shows.  Over 1,000 videos of Curious George, Daniel Tiger, Cat in the Hat, Super Why, etc. Mac is still not all that interested in just watching a show (he wants to touch the screen and interact too much right now), but I think he'll really love this one in a few months (once he has more of an attention span). Right now we do play the intro song to Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood a hundred times a day.
Peekaboo Fridge - Similar to the Peek-A-Zoo and Peekaboo Barn app (above).  This one goes through all kinds of food items.  There's a dance party at the end and then you put them all to bed, which Mac loves.
Moo Baa La La La! - We love the book, we love the app.  I hate the narrator (so boring), but Mac doesn't seem to mind.  It's great because you can touch each word to hear it and touch the illustrations to make all the animals on the pages move.  
Toddler Jukebox - I love this app.  It's got tons of classic kid-friendly songs like Row Your Boat, Twinkle Twinkle, Bingo, Old MacDonald, Farmer in the Dell, Working on the Railroad, Wheels on the Bus, Miss Mary Mack, If You're Happy and You Know It, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, ABCs, Itsy Bitsy Spider, etc. Mac loves the songs, although it's hard to keep him from pressing all the buttons and pausing the song or changing them.  This one's great to just put on and then lock the screen and listen.
Fisher-Price - Laugh & Learn Animal Sounds - This app is adorable.  It has two different versions, one with just the animal and their noise, followed by a song.  And the other tells you information about each animal and then they send another song.  It's cute - I find myself singing the songs all day long. 
Free Animal Sounds - Tons of animals, tons of variety, tons of fun.  You can sort by different categories (farm, dessert, jungle, ocean, insect, etc.). Mac loves this one.
Watch Disney Jr. - Disney on demand.  Similar to the PBS Kids app (above), Mac is going to love this in a few months, once he "discovers" shows (maybe...hopefully).
Drum Kit - Not necessarily a kid's app, but it makes great noise and Mac can bang the shit out of it and sound like a rockstar.  Ryan has Mac play the drums while he's playing the guitar and they sound like a two-man band.  (Where's my tamborine?)
Kid Car, Trucks and Construction Vehicles Puzzles - Perfect for little fingers learning how to drag the puzzle pieces where they should go.  When you finish each puzzle, you get to pop balloons (the best part, obviously).
If You're Happy and You Know It - By the same people as The Wheels on the Bus app (above), it's cute illustrations, catchy songs and Mac LOVES it.  After this weekend, I am so over this one and am considering deleting it from the iPad because I can't handle it any more (that's how much he likes it).
Bubbles - Touch the screen to make bubbles.  Touch the bubbles to pop them.  Genius.  So simple and so entertaining.

So that's my round-up. 

What apps do your little ones love?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Baby Mac - 16 Months

Dear Baby Mac,

Another month has slipped by, turning you more and more into the man you will become than the baby you have been.  Your personality is undeniable these days and I am amazed that such a tiny being can have such strong opinions and such defined traits at such an early age.  I always thought that as a parent, I'd be responsible for shaping the person you become, and while that is partially true, you have taught me that you are already so much your own self and I'm merely here to guide you in the right direction.  There are moments where I look at you and see you as an adult - you truly are 16 months going on 16 years.  Those glimpses into the future not only make me insanely proud of you, but scare me because I'm not yet anywhere ready to move beyond the baby days.  Time is moving faster than I ever thought possible and each day brings new words, new tricks and new adventures.  I am fiercely trying to hold on to every single moment and soak you up as much as possible, but time seems to have a way of moving us along and before I know it another month has come and gone.  

I know I say this every month, but 16 months is such a wonderful age.  You are just absolutely amazing these days and your dad and I are feel like we've won the baby lottery with you.  First of all, I'm completely biased, but I think you are seriously the most beautiful child I've ever seen.  The combination of my blonde locks and your dad's big brown eyes kills me.  No one in your life can say no to those eyes (it's a problem).  You have us wrapped around your little fingers and you know it!  As much as I thought you looked like your dad as a baby, you are looking more and more like me everyday and make so many of the same faces/expressions that I did as a child.  It's the most surreal feeling to look at you and see myself (or my brothers) in you.  Although you did get your height from your dad (still 90th percentile).  This month I feel like you are finally starting to fill in a bit.  You feel more and more substantial every day.  Probably because you're such a good eater (most days).
You are still incredibly active and never seem to slow down.  You love nothing more than to be outside playing, either in your car, in the swing, with rocks/dirt, in the sprinkler or with the neighborhood kids.  You still won't sit still long enough to watch even 2 minutes of TV.  Your favorite thing in the whole wide world right now though is to drive.  You are obsessed with driving, whether it's a car (real or not), a tractor, a bike, a golf cart, a lawn mower or anything else with wheels.  You love steering wheels and pushing all the buttons. You know how to insert the key and know that you have to push on the gas pedal to make things go.  You can operate the radio, the windows, the moonroof and the wipers.  If it has a horn you can honk, you're in heaven.

Although there are a few indoor activities you are starting to get more interested in.  My favorite one is reading.  You absolutely love your books and we have to read the same ones (in the order you choose) each night.  Right now your favorites are: Moo Baa La La La, Little Blue Truck (original and city version), Dear Zoo, Llama Llama Nighty Night, Pat the Bunny, Goodnight Gorilla, Yummy Yucky, Rocking Babies, Brown Bear Brown Bear and the Very Busy Spider.  You are also more interested this month in the iPad and we've downloaded tons of apps about animals and trucks/tractors/trains. You love the Peekaboo apps and a Toddler Jukebox app that plays all kinds of kid-friendly songs.  You also love your play kitchen that you got for your birthday and make delicious wooden meals for us and the dogs.  
You're still really interested in how things work.  You are obsessed with pushing buttons to see what they do.  You insist on buckling yourself into the swing and the wagon and will sit there forever trying to figure them out.  You are fiercely independent and love to explore the neighborhood on your own.  I think you've surprised almost all of our neighbors by showing up in their backyards or front steps or in their garage.  Our house is apparently the least interesting place on the whole street and the only place you don't want to be.  You love the neighborhood kids and desperately want to be one of the pack.  Anytime there are kids outside you bang on the door and insist that we go out and play.  They're all so nice to you and treat you like their own little brother.  I'm so happy with where we live right now and just love the little community on our street.
You are also crazy about music.  Kindermusik classes started again and you love to sing and dance around the room.  It's been so much fun watching the kids in your class grow up together.  There are probably 6 kids in your class all about a month apart in age (including your BFF Bella).  I really need to invite them all over for a playdate sometime soon.  You've also rediscovered your dad's guitars.  You love plucking the strings and playing music with him (much more than just listening to him play).  You're very helpful.  And anytime you see a piano, you insist on playing and dancing.  I think we need to get you a kid size keyboard and your own guitar so you can play along-side daddy.  Hell, I'll get a tamborine and we'll have a family band and tour the countryside!  
You are also so incredibly funny and demanding and wild!  I joke with friends that you're half little boy and half wild animal.  You're a tiny tornado that destroys everything in your path.  You love screaming at the top of your lungs and do it whether you're happy, sad, excited or frustrated.  You still don't say a ton of words (although mama and "ALRIGHT!" are new this month), so you still use signs and various screams to get your point across.  You climb everything and as soon as I turn my back for a second you're on top of the counter or half way up a bookcase.  You get stuck in crazy spots like under chairs and halfway through the cat hole in the door to the basement.  You are usually pretty darn happy, as long as you get your way.  You hate hearing the word no, but you sure love to use it back to us when we ask you to do something.  When you don't get your way, we better watch out!  I think the terrible two's have started early.  Man, can you throw a tantrum like an old pro - lay on the ground, arch your back, throw your head back, kick and scream and hit and bite!  Where the hell did you learn how to do that?  It's crazy and also kinda hilarious.  
So, basically, you're just amazing.  You truly are the light of my life and the best part of everything.  I adore spending time with you and even your meltdowns make me proud to be your mama.  You are such a fun child to be around and you really do make everyone around you smile and adore you.  Thank you for being you, wild child.
Your mama

Amazing things you do:
  • Eat with utensils
  • Make animals noises (elephant, giraffe, lion, tiger, cow, camel, snake, dog, cat, horse)
  • Climb up and down stairs without help
  • Go down the slide all by yourself
  • Buckle a seatbelt
  • Point to all your body parts (nose, mouth, ears, eyes, hair, head, feet, legs, hands)
  • Pee on command
  • Blow bubbles with the wand
  • Know all the motions to The Wheels on the Bus
  • Say "GO CARDINALS" every time you see the Cardinals logo or a red bird
  • Sing and play the guitar 
  • Open doors and drawers and cabinets
  • Move the slider on the iPhone to unlock it
  • Asks us "HOT?" when anything is remotely warm
  • Pretend to be asleep and make snoring sounds
  • Blow kisses
  • Tell us when it's time for your nap
  • Fart and then laugh hysterically

Favorite things:
  • Sage
  • Music
  • Reading
  • Cookies/candy/ice cream
  • Screaming
  • Driving 
  • Puppy (lovey)
  • Throwing the ball
  • Climbing on the kitchen stools
  • Take Me Out to the Ballgame
  • Helping in the kitchen
  • Blowing bubbles
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Dancing
  • Slides
  • Swings
  • Rocks
  • Horses
  • Banging on the fish tank
  • Climbing
  • Feeding the dogs
  • Farting
  • Pushing buttons
  • Turning lights on/off

Monday, September 23, 2013

Egg Fashion Show

I was looking through some photos this weekend and came across a slew of pictures that I took at a fashion show for the grand opening of Egg by Susan Lazar boutique in Ladue last September.  (A WHOLE YEAR AGO.  That's how behind I am at blogging.)  Anyway, I was there because one of my very favorite kids, Miss CeCe was in the fashion show as a mini model, so of course Mac and I had to go watch that spectacularness.  
The fashion show itself was downright adorable.  From the purple runway to the charismatic kid emcee to the cutest little kid models you've ever seen.  It was stinking sweet.  All the kids (and some of the parents) were decked out in clothing from the store, that they got to pick out themselves.  Some of the kids were a little reluctant to go down the runway on their own and needed a little help from mom or dad.  
I mean, those mother/daughter duos make me want a little girl SO BADLY so we can dress alike and enter fashion shows and do each other's makeup and share clothes and go out to fancy lunches and... Ok, I'm getting ahead of myself here.  Anyhoo.  Some of the kiddos had encouragement from a sibling.  
I mean, these sisters just made my ovaries explode.  And is there anything cuter than these little brothers and sisters walking down the runway together?  Kill me now.

Of course there were a couple kids that didn't want to cooperate, but were good sports nonetheless.

And then there was Miss CeCe.  She needed no help or coaxing.  Just being the center of attention was enough for her.  She rocked the runway, of course, with her signature high bow.  America's Next Top Model?  
There were also a couple standout models.  This little girl has that model unimpressed face down to an art and is rocking an awesome spiky side pony.  Nailed it. 
And this is my friend Brooke's cousin's son, Neddy.  He didn't want to walk down the runway by himself, but once his mom was carrying him, he loved being the center of attention and waved to everyone.  Is he not the cutest thing you've ever seen?
All the kids had a great time and it was fun watching all the parents and grandparents play paparazzi and bring the little ones flowers and gifts, like it was a real theatric performance.  Of course we were no better and bribed CeCe with a toy and a giant rice krispie treat at lunch.  We know what we're up against.  Win win. 

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Wendy's #6SecondsFlat

Maybe it's the nerd in me (or maybe I should have gone into marketing or something), but I think it's fun to see how companies are using social media in new and creative ways.  To me, Twitter has always been a very "business-friendly" space, whereas Instagram has really always felt much more personal.  Maybe it's because you can't really link to websites on IG?  Or maybe because so many more companies are on Twitter?  Who knows.  So when I was contacted by Wendy's about helping get the word out about their #6SecondsFlat campaign on Instagram via video, I was intrigued.  

The premise of the campaign is to record a 6-15 second video telling Wendy's what you think of their new flatbread sandwiches.  Then post it on Instagram or Vine, tag Wendy's, use the proper hashtags (#6SecondsFlat) and you could win $6,000.  They are hand-picking their favorite videos to be featured on their website.  However, the winners of the $$ will be chosen at random (meaning your video doesn't even have to be good to win (hallelujah!)).    
First, I love Wendy's because I have a big ole' soft spot in my heart for the Dave Thomas Foundation, which helps foster kids get adopted by forever families.  I worked a little bit with this foundation when I was a junior board member at a local charity that helped families adopt foster children.  It's a really great foundation and has done a lot to promote adoption-friendly workplaces and enact legislation making it easier for families to adopt.  Did you know that Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's was adopted?  
Second, I love Instagram and the new video feature and was really curious to see what people came up with.   Some of the first few videos I saw were pretty good and clever.  Some, not so much.  My video (which you can watch here) was rather terrible and falls into the very bad category.  Mac (or his voice) makes a unintentional cameo in the video - you can hear him screaming in the background and pounding on the back door while I sat outside at the picnic table and took video of my food (such a blogger).  Yet, videographer I am not.  I think I'll stick with my camera in "picture" mode.
Third, the Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken Flatbread only has 370 calories, which is less than some of the crappy frozen "lean" meals I've been eating these days that taste like cardboard.  I am determined to lose the rest of this baby weight before getting knocked up again, so this was music to my ears.  We don't eat fast food very often (although I love it and wish I could eat it more), it was nice to find a fast food sandwich that was good and lighter than most.  Bonus points that it was actually really good.  So good I've even been back and picked up another one.  Next time I order it I'm asking for extra honey mustard to dip it in though - I'm just not sure you can ever have too much honey mustard.  
So, who does't want to win $6,000 for eating a freaking sandwich?  
I mean, it's like the easiest thing ever to post a quick video on IG, so why not.  
Go HERE to check out some of the best videos.
If you want to submit your own, make sure to tag @Wendy's and use the hashtags 
#6SecondsFlat and #RFTL6.  

Good luck!
(If you win, will you buy me a Frosty?)

**Thanks to Wendy's for sponsoring this post and for the opportunity to try the Smoked Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken Flatbread Sandwich.