Dear Claire: 16 and 17 Month Updates

(I've been writing monthly updates to my daughter, Claire, documenting all the changes that come with the passing weeks. You can catch up on past letters here.)

Dear Claire--
Well, I'm consolidating two months into this update: your 16 and 17 month updates. Time got away from me, but, as you'll see, it was spent having a lot of fun!

Over the past two months (June and July), you:

- Have added to your speaking arsenal: "Oh boy!" "Hat" and (much to your GP's delight) "GI Joe." When it comes time to eat something, you also like to say, "Mmmm!" and after drinking, sometimes you'll go, "Aaah!"
- Love to dance. Sometimes if we ask you to dance, you'll start slowly spinning in a circle, like a little ballerina! And one morning, you were sleeping and heard your daddy's alarm go off. It's a song, and you usually will dance to it. But this morning, you were still sleeping but still managed to put your fist in the air and do a couple fist-pumps along to the music before drifting back to sleep! You have also started nodding your head along to the beat. Thanks to your love of music, we finally found a video that will keep you occupied (usually when it comes time to make dinner in the evenings), and that's sing-along videos from Baby Genius. When you see us load up Netflix, you get really excited and start pumping your hand in anticipation because you know what's coming next!
- Went on your first family vacation. We went to Breckenridge, Colorado and made a little day trip to Vail. You stayed on East-Coast time, which meant we were up every day around 5 or 6am, but that gave us time to tip-toe out of the suite we were sharing with family and go explore the town at sunrise. We found some cute coffeeshops and a couple of playgrounds that you enjoyed running free in.

- Enjoyed your first encounters splashing and playing in the pool in our neighborhood as well as the resort pool on vacation. Sometimes you are timid about it and other times you love getting to splash. (Especially when Daddy took you down the water slide on vacation!)
- Love push toys as well as toys that other people will push you around in!
- Blowing bubbles!
- Have started taking to carrying purses or bags around with you wherever you go. You have a couple that are your favorites, including a brightly colored garden-tool-holder bag, an adorable little floral-print chain purse I held onto for years in hopes of someday having a girl, and a little vinyl pink pouch that has a carabiner on the end.
- Are still fascinated by people watching and love engaging with people anywhere we go. You love saying hi and I love watching how a small little girl can light up a stranger's day with a simple smile and acknowledgement. To an introvert, it's so impressive and admirable.
- Are getting adept at helping mommy when she asks you to "Clean up your mess!" (Because you are forever making little messes!) You don't seem to mind though, and sometimes enjoy the clean-up just as much as making the mess! You still love to throw things away (I fished out a handful of felt toys from the trash this morning).
- Recently took up coloring with crayons and splashing in the kitchen sink in the morning.
- Graduated into size 4 diapers, which gave us the chance to try out Walgreens' exclusive baby-care brand Well Beginnings brand for the times when we need disposables. They've proven tto be pretty soft and quite absorbent. We haven't had a single leak with them and no diaper rash, thanks to the fact that the inner liner features natural botanicals, vitamin E, and aloe to soothe your baby’s bottom. We've also enjoyed their sensitive wipes (moisturizing and clean up messes well with few wipes needed) and baby bodywash that is tear-free, soap-free, dye-free, paraben-free and hypoallergenic (making it milder than baby soap) and smells nice and fresh! We haven't had any need for the electrolyte drink, but it's great to already have on hand when the need arises. (Thanks to Walgreens and Mom's Meet for the opportunity to add these essentials to our baby-care arsenal!*)

All in all, it's been quite the summer for you, and with the leaves starting to change already, I'm looking forward to all the changes this next season will bring for us, too!


* I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetsSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinon on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.


Riding in Style: Getting Around the Neighborhood in the Zuzu Stroller

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for GB. I received a gift card to purchase a GB stroller to both facilitate my review as well as thank me for my participation.

I've mentioned before Claire's love for being outside. Multiple times a day, she grabs our hand and pulls us to one of the doors to go out and play. And recently, shes started pulling us to her stroller to let us know she'd like to go for a nice long walk.

That's one of the things I love about our new neighborhood. it has lots of walking trails that weave in and out of woods, greenspaces, playgrounds and even around a lake. It's a nature lovers dream come true!


That is, so long as you have a stroller that can withstand all those outings! That is why I was excited to get to review the new GB Zuzu stroller, available exclusively through Babies R Us.

It's a lightweight travel stroller that includes a lot of features normally only available on a more full-size model—making for the best of both worlds.

After putting it together, Claire was eager to hop in and go for a test run (well, walk) with it. Immediately I was impressed by how soft and comfortable the handles were. Our sidewalks can be really uneven, which was problematic for our old stroller, which couldn't even make it over the bumps without you stopping to lift it. This stroller however took the bumps like a champ. It made them almost imperceptible, and I didn't have to stop once. Also, it is very light weight so it's easy to push for long distances, which I appreciate for how often Claire wants to go on walks, sometimes!


As for her, Claire seemed quite comfortable riding in the stroller although she did un-Velcro the strap cushions and pull them off about halfway through. I liked that I could check on her by unzipping the canopy and peeking through the mesh to see how she's doing. It does have a nice size basket beneath where you can stow any belongings or toys. However, there is no tray for mom or child to put things like keys or beverages, which I enjoyed on our other stroller.

Finally, it folds up into a surprisingly compact size to make for easy travel or storing. It's not quite a one-handed operation (at least not for me yet, after having only used it for about a week), but the stroller is small enough as it is that I don't foresee having to compact it down all too often for that to be an issue. It fits fine in the trunk of our car when laid down on its side. Additionally, while this does not affect me, I was impressed that it also is compatible with select Graco® and Chicco® Infant Car Seats.

If you ask me, it's a pretty well-rounded stroller. Although it lacks a couple of features of more full-size strollers, you get that in exchange for a really lightweight and compact-able item that I personally think is worth the difference. I anticipate lots of long walks in my future!

And if you'd like a snapshot critique, here are my thoughts, in bullet-form:

Pros of the Zuzu Stroller
  • Handles are really comfortable
  • Stroller is lightweight, making for easy pushing for mama!
  • provides a smooth ride; our sidewalks can be quite uneven and it took the bumps without a hiccup
  • Large canopy to keep the sun out of child's eyes, but also features a zip away window in the top of the hood so that you can still see your child
  • Good-sized basket underneath
  • Folds down into compact size easily
  • Can customize the recline and leg-rest angles to fit your child's size and needs
  • Gender-neutral color and silky soft cushioning
Cons of the Zuzu Stroller
  • Does not feature any kind of beverage holder
  • Does not feature tray for child
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