Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day Care Changes

We have been extremely lucky to have Nora in an at-home day care with one of our neighbors and friends. She has been going there since I went back to work in November 2011 and has really come to love her time with Miss Laura and the kids.

However, our time has come to an end at Miss Laura's house. And although this change has been pretty sad for us, we are thankful that her first year and half in day care was with people who have loved and cared for Nora in such a wonderful way (see how I typed that without crying? Progress!). 

Here is a picture of the day care crew on Nora's last day. 

June 2013

Our new day care is in a center (rather than in a home) and we have gone from part time to full time (part time isn't an option at this particular location). We really like the combination of learning and play and especially love the outside time that she gets. They also offer, without any issue, meals that support our lifestyle (this is not true everywhere).

Drop off is still quite stressful; I hope that what everyone says is true and that it will just take time for that to be an easier time.  It has been an adjustment for both Nora and Mommy, but we have gotten positive reports about her time during the day. So now we be patient and trust that the drop off stress really is fleeting (they say she calms down in just a few minutes) and that Nora will grow and learn and have fun with new friends. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

1st Oreo

The Bendon side of the family has a long sweet-tooth history. Among our favorite cookies is the Oreo. And Nora has had her first one when Gam Gam and Aunt Mary Anne were in town. Of course, she loved it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Family Visit!


Great Gam Gam and Aunt Mary Anne drove all the way to Illinois to visit little Nora. It was really a wonderful few days together.

In addition to lots of fun around the house, like reading books, playing with weeble wobbles, and chalking outside, we took a few trips out and about.

One day we ventured to the Bloomington-Normal area to visit their Children's Discovery Museum. Nora had a fantastic time, as is evidenced by this picture:

So happy!

The museum had so many things for Nora to experience. Her favorite part was the water table. She also enjoyed the train table, pizza kitchen and delivery truck, the paint room, the music room, and the cows in the agriculture area. She even gave one of the faux-cows a kiss on the nose. Aunt Mary Anne and Gam Gam got in on the fun, too.

Pizza Delivery with Gam Gam 

On another day we headed to the Children's Prairie Farms, a little park in town where you can visit a variety of farm animals. There are sheep, goats, pigs, horses, ducks, and bunnies. The bunnies were Nora's favorites and she even tried to get them out of their cages. "Bunny out!" she kept proclaiming. Once we were in the area with the bunnies, it was pretty difficult to get her to look at any of the other animals.

There was one particularly special (and huge) bunny for us to visit. Nora couldn't believe how big this bunny was. It was really fun and sweet to see Nora get so excited over all the animals that she got to see. She was calling out to them and was just so genuinely amazed to see them. It was so darn sweet (did I say that already?)!

The Finnish Giant

Bunny out!
After our trip to see the animals, we all went out for some Italian food to celebrate Jeff's and my wedding anniversary. It was a delicious meal with wonderful company. None of us can believe that our exciting trip to Las Vegas was 12 years ago. It was nice to share our memories of that trip.

Anniversary Dinner 6-9-13 
One of Nora's favorite, favorite, favorite things to do is to swing so one night we walked down to our neighborhood park for a little bit of playground fun. Nora enjoyed having each of taking turns pushing her and got a big kick out of Gam Gam and Daddy swinging next to her. What a bunch of kids! :)

Nora says, "Higher swing!"

We were all so happy that Great Gam Gam and Aunt Mary Anne made the trip out. We really do enjoy living in IL, but it is difficult to be far from family. I'm so appreciative of this time that Nora got with Gam Gam and Aunt Mary Anne! And I know she loved it, too. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Talky talky talky

My favorite word that Nora is saying right now is "Almost!" As in, we are almost home or almost done with something. It's so stinkin' cute. I also love that when we pull into our driveway she says, "Hooome." It's what I would say when we got home and now she it's her job to alert us of our return to the house. She also likes calling out to you by saying, "Where are you?" which kind of sounds like "Whereareyouuuuu?" all smooshed together into one word. When she says, "Listen" she puts her hand up to cheek or ear and gets real still.

Nora is also working on more sentence type contruction. The other day she said "Closed eyes birdies" when referring to sleeping birds in a book.

More to add to the list:
Mommy kiss
Daddy kiss
Nora kiss
Turn this way
Mommy open please
Socks and shoes
Thank you Stell (Stella, the dog)
Here you go Stell
Eat food
Eat water mouth (to drink)
Nora hot food (and then blows on it)
Nora sit down on mommy lap
Mommy's lap
Up top Daddy's head
Nora do it

Friday, May 31, 2013

Then and Now: May

Then and Now: The Food Edition! 

We are pretty lucky that Nora has (generally) been a pretty good eater. She certainly has her favorite foods, such as hummus, bananas, tofu, blueberries (boo-berry), and pasta (passsa). She has also been very, very good whenever we go out to eat, usually giving away lots of smiles and eliciting some "Aw, so cute, so sweet!" comments. I really enjoy the time that we have together over meals and am genuinely disappointed when we have to eat separately due to schedules. 

2012: In the high chair, eating spring time risotto

May 2012

2013: In her Minnie chair, enjoying mango al fresco

May 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013


Nora loves flowers. Whenever we see one, she shouts "Fwower!" or "Nora fwower!" (which means she wants to pick the flower). When we walk around the neighborhood, she often likes for us to pick the dandelions which she calls "yellow fwowers."

So we got an idea. Jeff was getting ready to plant some flowers at the house so we decided to help Nora plant a little "toddler" garden with things she can pick and smell without "hurting" anything (like the tomatoes Daddy is trying to grow). Of course we picked some yellow flowers to plant along with pink ones and some lavender for Nora to smell.

Daddy taught Nora how to pour in the soil, pat it down, and create a hole for the plant to go into. Daddy did the actual planting while Nora played with her trowel. It was a fun for Nora and continues to be so as we make sure to take care of our plants by watering them. Then there is the fun of picking them and putting them in water in a little cup and having them to look at when we sit at the kitchen table.

the supplies are ready
using the trowel on the soil
smoothing out the soil before putting in the plants 
making a hole for the plants 
planting the flowers

Watering Daddy's plants

Friday, May 24, 2013

Weekend with Gammy (last month)

Every April(-ish), I have a four day work retreat in the Chicago that coincides with one of Jeff's work trips. For the past couple of years, Gammy (or Gam) Wells has come for the weekend to be with Nora.
Kitty cat pictures on the iPad

It was a great weekend! Nora and Gam played, read books, and were out-and-about town going to the grocery store and running errands. They also took a trip to Toys R Us and Nora picked out her very first baby doll. Her favorite thing to do with her baby doll is to have "Mommy rock" her (I'm Mommy, ha ha). 

Minnie ears and books

Nora didn't get to have all the fun though. I was able to enjoy the family time when I got back from the retreat, which I really appreciated.

April 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

1st Ice Cream

Ice cream has always been a Bendon family favorite. I remember enjoying a bowl of Philadelphia Vanilla topped with a little honey with my dad as a kid. 

So the time had come to introduce Nora to the chilly and sweet deliciousness that is ice cream. We all enjoyed an easy-to-make homemade banana ice cream (dairy free, even). It was a hit! Next up, chocolate (of course!).

Sunday, May 5, 2013

So Much Talking!

Nora's language is really blossoming! So much so that we are getting to a point where it's really challenging to keep track of it all. Here are some words and phrases that we've been able to capture...

Nora do and Nora do it
Mommy get it
Baby Gam (Graham) spoon (Graham is a boy at Nora's daycare)
Oh no Stella bark
Right there (when asked where something is, where something goes, where it hurts)
Lay down
Nora bite spoon
Nora's jammies
Mommy here you go
Yummy tummy (this makes me giggle)
Nora soap hands
More planes
Tweet tweet (birds)
More tweet tweets
Many many fwowers (flowers)
Cock a doodle doo
Nora site down (also Mommy, Daddy, and Stella sit down)
Lily, Evan, Amelia, and Graham (kids at day care)
Outside (said over and over and over and over and.....)

And poop. Yes, Nora has learned to say poop and seems to understand what it is. She likes to pat her bottom and say poop, regardless of if she has indeed pooped. I do look forward to the time when Nora only tells us she pooped when she  actually has (and when she tells us before it happens for potty training).

Friday, May 3, 2013

Little Einsteins

We don't watch tv very often but if we do Little Einsteins is a favorite. She especially likes the episodes where animals are involved such as "He Speaks With Music", ""Super Fast", and "The Blue Footed Booby Bird Ballet."

Nora now joins in on the cute interactive portions, including "Blast Off!" We love it when she says, "Pat pat pat" followed by "Blast off!" as she throws her arms up over her head. We don't have a video of this yet, but here is a clip of it from the show.

Even better is when the group has to go SUPER FAST! Nora repeats the "Shake your whole body!" part and then goes into the "Blast off!" with her hands over her head. We even act that when the show isn't on.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Then and Now: April

It's fun to see the difference in Nora as she grows and I especially love comparing pictures from one year to the next. Here is Nora last April (2012) when she was just beginning to stand while holding onto something. 

April 2012

And here she is this April (2013), on the move and running around in her pjs and birthday crown. I can't even imagine what next April will bring.

April 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


The spring-time weather we have been hoping for hasn't been consistent enough to be able to spend very much time outside so we are trying to get creative indoors. In addition to playing with our toys, we've started to get crafty!

We started out with crayons and stickers, or as Nora calls them, "sticks." Her favorite way to play with the "sticks" is to peel them all off and put them all on Mommy and Daddy.

It's still a little early for Nora to play with the manufactured play doh, but I found a recipe for "chocolate" play doh that I can whip up on the stove in 5 minutes. It smells wonderful and tastes terrible, but at least if Nora tries to eat it it's just flour, salt, cocoa, etc. She likes it when we make "baby rocks" (tiny balls) and when we chop it with her little tools.

Playing with "chocolate" play-doh 
Each month we get a box from this company called "Citrus Lane"that contains a collection of products to try out. This month's box contained a paint with water book. I remember having one of those as a kid and just loved it. Although Nora's attention span with this particular craft was a little short, she still had fun and kept saying, "Paint, paint. Mommy, paint."

Painting with water
On the few days we have been able to spend a little time outside, Nora has had fun scribbling with her side walk chalk. She says, "Daw. Nora Daw. Mommy Daw." and it just makes my heart warm (as I stand freezing in the windy Spring air).

"Daw" with side walk chalk

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Talkin' About Talking

Nora's language continues to develop, which I am enjoying so much! She's moving from two-word combos to short sentences. Some of the little phrases we often hear include:

"Daddy (Mommy, Stella), where are you?"
"Thank you Mommy."
"Excuse me Mommy."
"More berries please."
"Daddy, spin Nora."
"Stella, outside."

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sick Day

Nora caught a bug that Mommy picked up from a work trip. This is what the first sick day looked like for our poor little girl:

Even books made Nora sad when she didn't feel good.

Sick day snuggles watching Little Einsteins

Sleepy baby

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Yes, blog posts have been few and far between lately. This weekend I'll be back to catch you all up on life with Nora. For now, will you accept my apologies with this.....

Outside fun on 4/9/13

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Then and Now: March

Here are two of my favorite pictures of Jeff and Nora and they were taken almost exactly 1 year apart from one another. Look at the difference!

March 2012

March 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

1 + 1 = 2 Words

Nora's language continues to develop and I just love it! She is learning more words, puts two words together now, and has become quite the little mimic. We definitely have to be mindful of what we say these days. For example, sometimes we have to tell Stella "No." Nora will hear this and think that she should then say "No, no, no!" to Stella. It's kind of cute and funny, but we do want her to learn what is for Mommy and Daddy to say and what is for Nora to say. And to not walk around hollering "No, no, no" to random dogs. :)

Some of Nora's favorite two-word combinations:
Mommy In
Daddy In
Stella outside
Nora seat or Nora sit (and Mommy seat, Daddy seat)
Sit down
Up please
More please
Mommy up
Daddy up
More fruit
I know
Oh man
Huppo-G (her Hippopotamus and Giraffe lovies)

Some new words that are showing up in Nora's vocabulary:
Toot toot

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

No, Nor, Nora

Nora has learned to say her own name. At first, I totally missed that she was saying "Nora" because it can sound like she is saying "no." I was really confused, too, because she was saying (what I thought was) "no" at times that didn't make sense. Finally (and probably to the relief of Nora) I got it! And I was so excited that Nora was saying her own name that I'm pretty sure I squealed like a little kid on Christmas morning.

It still sounds a bit like she is saying "no" or "Nowr" but she knows who she is and what belongs to her so the context works! :)

Feb 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013


in a bin with applesauce
Playing with Nora is really a lot of fun. We read books, dance to music, have tea parties with her stuffed animals, draw...and we go "In!" If it is possible for Nora to get in it, she will. If a bin or basket has toys or hats or anything in it, she'll empty it out so she can sit in it. Sometimes she'll enjoy a snack while sitting in a bin or under the chair. Sometimes she'll bring a stuffed animal or some toys in with her. Sometimes the toys get a bin all to themselves.
"Mommy In!!"and "Daddy In!!" is often heard around the house and Nora doesn't quite understand that we are too big to fit in the places she can fit into. But it sure is fun to watch her find find new places to turn into seats and play things.

in a basket

cheerios under the chair

She loves doggie so much!

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Happy Valentine's Day from Nora and her very first balloon, courtesy of her Daddy and 1st Valentine!

18 months and 2 weeks

18 months!
That is half way to 2 years old.
I don't know what to say about that so for now I'll say nothing. :)

For us, 18 months has brought with is toddler behavior. Although Nora really is a very cheerful and fun child, she has definitely begun expressing frustration when she has to do something she doesn't want to do, like getting her diaper changed or putting on her coat. Although I don't like seeing Nora get so upset and although it takes a lot of patience and effort to get out of the house and settled in the car at times, we just keep changing diapers and putting on coats and getting buckled into car seats and dealing with tears.

It's not all a fight for toddler independence though!

Nora's sense of humor is blossoming and it is so fun to watch and hear her laugh at something that she finds funny. These days, Jeff and I will do anything, no matter how goofy, to get that giggle going.

Sweet smiles
Along with the giggling, we love hearing all the new words that she is learning. I'm doing my best to keep a list of each new one, but sometimes I can't keep up! This past week she has really enjoyed saying "handle" and "I know." We learned handle at the indoor playground and Nora learned "I know" from me. I have a little mimic and I'm reminded on a regularly basis that I need to watch what comes out of my mouth.

She is also starting being able to climb on chairs and stools more independently. This is both exciting and terrifying. For Christmas, we got Nora her very own arm chair. Not only does she like to climb all over it, she also turns it into a bit of a fort. When it's time to play this way, Nora tips her chair over and yells, "IN!" Below Daddy is "in" with Nora and they are spelling out her name, which is embroidered on her her chair.
Nora still loves getting outside whenever we can, but those days are few given the winter season. To get out and about we have been venturing to the indoor playground, Barnes and Nobles (they've added a toy section and Lego table), and we still have lunch with my co-workers on Tuesdays. Sometimes we head to the library for story time, too.

So the consensus on 18 months is that it is exciting, exhausting, and exhilarating.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

18 Month Teaser

Halfway to two years old
Some quick stats and then a more complete post will come later (when it isn't 10:45 at night!):

Weight: 25.7 pounds
Height: 30.75 inches
Clothing: 18 month and 18-24 month
General status: healthy, happy, active, adorable, sweet, (did we say active?), and starting to embrace her status at "toddler" (more on that in the next post)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

More Words

We have a chatty Nora on our hands! I know that is very surprising given how talkative her parents are.  :) We really do love hearing her speak and are occasionally blown away when she says a new word. Last week's surprise-to-mommy-word was "purple."

Here are some more words that she is using:

Belly button
Apple sauce (this is adorable - applebaba is how is sounds when she says it)
Bark bark
Choo choo
Hot dog
Minnie (for Minnie Mouse)
Milk (sounds like "moe")

Enjoying some applebaba.

For the first list of words that we posted, click here.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Snuggling makes the flu almost bearable
Sweet Nora had the flu last week...straight up influenza. It was sad to see her so out of sorts, uncomfortable, and without her usual cheerful energy. She was easy to upset, wanted to be held almost constantly, and didn't sleep well over night. 

Our pediatrician and nurses were wonderful and we were able to get Nora on some medicine that helped quite a bit. Lots of napping, reading books, and snuggling on the couch while watching The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse also helped to get our little girl back on a healthy track. I'm so thankful that I was able to work from home for the week so that I could be with Nora. 

Flu Day 1-4
One week later, we are now back to playing with our toys, giggling, running around, and eating with enthusiasm! :) Hoorah for healing medicine and bodies!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Favorite Things

You know how Oprah has a list of her favorite things that she thinks everyone in the world needs? Well Nora has her very own list that we want to share a few with you...

Bunny! Dolly! 
Over the past month and a half or so, Nora has really started to enjoy playing with her stuffed animals. It is so cute how she calls for them, hugs them, and points out their eyes and nose and mouth. Here is an adorable video of Nora playing with a super cute dog she got for Christmas:

Hot Dog
It isn't often that we let Nora watch television, and if we do it is generally Little Einsteins or The Mickey Mouse Club. There is a song at the end of every Mickey Mouse Club that Nora loves. And I mean L O V E Sssssssssssss. The Hot Dog Song! Nora walks around the house saying, "Hot dog, hot dog, hot dog" and is always trying to get us to play it on our phones for her.

Take a listen, I dare you. (And our apologies when you can't get it out of your head).

Nora continues to love her books. Usually the first thing she asks for when she wakes up is "book." The Sandra Boynton books are always a hit, especially ones with the hippopotamus ("hippobobo" as Nora says). Right now she is also enjoying the books "I Am Small" and "Goodnight Moon" and "Pinkalicious" (she asks for it by saying "Pink Pink!").

Going outside can change Nora from cranky to smiley in a moment! She loves taking walks in the Bob (yes, I still can't get enough of that awesome stroller), going to the park, exploring our back yard, and playing with the rocks in our front yard. An added bonus? Her love for being outside gets Mommy moving, too.

Come on. Let's go outside! I'm waiting.