Favorite things to do with our 6-month old

and guess what? They don’t cost a thing.

Photo 2

-Tickle her hair while she drinks her bottle. She used to do it herself while nursing or drinking her bottle, and now that she can hold her bottle, I tickle her hair for her.

-Take Bell for a walk. This has been a little trickier since it’s been very hot, but we still manage to take her later in the afternoon (or Tom or myself will take Bell at night) most days.

-Walk around the outdoor mall. This one is *usually* free, save for the overpriced coffee or coconut water I might pick up, or if I see a wicked sale. Most of the time, it’s just window shopping, air-conditioned change of scenery, or a chance to meet up with friends.

-Go in the backyard and look at the trees, plants, lizards and birds. Liv will laugh at the lizards scurrying by, and loves looking at the hummingbirds (we have a feeder) and the mama bird who lives in the bird condo Tom built on one of the pillars.

-Swim! We don’t have a pool, but are lucky to have family and many friends who do. She loves to kick her legs and splash in the water <3

Photo 3

-Read books, sing songs and play with toys. We have a pretty fun book collection and I love reading to her… sometimes she babbles and reads along with me 😉 Her absolute favorites are the animal ones that you can touch and feel the different fabrics. As far as the songs and rhymes go, she still loves her made-up songs, and my rhymes are about the same caliber. Our “little piggy” has had tofu, shrimp, chicken, sandwich, but not roast beef – that just seems unnatural to me.

-Big blanket time. I’ll put out a large blanket and she can practice crawling around (she has reverse down pat, but hasn’t figured out how to put it into drive), sitting up at her little table or shaking toys around. Most of the time I’ll play with her, or if she’s really into something (she LOVES her puzzle table), I’ll sit by her and read a book or magazine.

-Eat! Solids are still as fun as ever, and I love making her food or putting bites of our food into her mesh feeder. She had her first taste of super garlicky broccolini the other night at nana’s birthday dinner, and went CRAZY for it! It was on Tom’s plate and she had just woken up from snoozing in her bucket, so I asked him to share some with her. She was chomping on her feeder like she couldn’t get enough, and when I finally tasted the broccolini I realized why: insanely garlicky and pretty salty. It wouldn’t be my first choice for her since it was so potent, but she adored it, and didn’t seem to have any probs from eating it.

-Sleep! I’ll usually use nap time to catch up on blog or computer stuff, but on the rare occasion that my post is already done, I’ll curl up and snooze when she’s sleeping. I wish we could cuddle and nap together, but she’s pretty mobile and I’d worry about her falling.

-Play fetch with Bell. My nana taught Liv this one, and she thinks it’s hilarious. She’s still learning “gentle hands” when it comes to Bell because for now, that means grab a chunk of Bella’s hair and pull. Poor Beller. She takes it like a champ, and soon forgets when she gets Liv’s food leftovers.

Photo 1

-Tackle her dad. We make a dad pile every night when he gets home from work.

Liv and dad

Things I’m excited about this fall:

-Nicer weather and new workout schedule. We waited until Livi was old enough for a jogging stroller before ordering one- Tom and I are excited to take her for runs in the morning. It will be nice to be able to get in a workout during the day instead of at night when I’m pretty zonked from the day’s activities. When she’s crawling around, she’ll also be able to play in the play area in the parents’ gym on base.

-Upcoming holiday season. I can’t wait to teach her about all of the different holidays, especially because I think she’ll be able to kind of understand what’s going on. It’s going to be amazing.

Things that are challenging:

-Cooking. Since I make dinner fairly close to Liv’s bedtime, it’s at the point where she wants to be held until she goes to sleep. She’ll be happy in her babysitter balance watching me for about 15 minutes (sometimes I’ll have to sing the “Livi” song or dance to distract her) so cooking is a frenzy. The bonus: I’ve stopped wasting time and have been forced to get more creative (or more boring? haha) with our meals.

-Watching her grow. Since she was born, my favorite time of the day has been rocking her to sleep. When she was itty bitty, she cried if she wasn’t being held. I’m glad I lived it up, because now that she’s older and trying to move, sometimes she doesn’t want to be held. Before naps, I’ll usually rock her for a few minutes before I put her in her crib, now she pushes up on me, gives me a huge gummy smile and then grunts until I put her in there to play with her doll until she crashes out. Now, night time bed ritual seems to be the only time of day she’s super snuggly. When she falls asleep rocking at night, I hold her for as long as I can, stare at her perfect little face and take a mental picture.

They have this sign hanging one of the nursing rooms at our pediatrician’s office:

Photo source

As someone who had a lot of postpartum anxiety, I felt like I needed to be doing something all the time. I think it’s a huge reason why they put me on bedrest – I can’t sit still. The family would sometimes hold Livi after a nursing session, and while I definitely wasn’t ready to be working out, I felt like I needed to clean, cook, do laundry, all of the normal things that help our house function. At one point, I felt like a light was shining in the living room where the baby and family were, and everywhere else in the house was dark and crumbling apart. So many people told me to enjoy every second of Livi’s youth because it goes by so quickly. I’m glad I decided to listen and slow down, because it’s true. One second, they’re snuggly and sleepy, and the next, they’re crawling around in reverse and shaking their doll around while they talk to her. I’m always been someone who is grateful for life and for each day, but she’s taken that to an entirely different level- every morning I wake up to her little songs and coos, it’s a good day <3

What’s your favorite free thing to do with your kids?

Something you’re looking forward to this fall?

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  1. Michelle on July 21, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Ok ,you got the water works started over here. My little girl will be one in September. The time flies by! As for Fall I am looking forward to her enjoying all the things she couldn’t as a newborn. Apple picking and Halloween 🙂 Enjoy the next six months they will fly too!

  2. Julia on July 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I’m a mom to two littles… 6 week old boy and 2 year old boy. We love going to the zoo (not free, but basically is for the amount we go – membership is so worth it!), a local dairy farm with a free petting zoo, the mall which has a playground, the outdoor mall, playdates, and all the places we love to go like mexican bakeries (yum!). The most popular stop besides the zoo for my little guy is Costco or watching Curious George on Netflix. It does go fast, but I figure that’s okay. I want to enjoy each stage and not mourn the passing stages.

  3. Mer on July 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Awww…my mom has that same sign hanging in our house from when we were little!

    • Nicky on July 22, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      we had that too!!!

  4. Danielle@cleanfoodcreativefitness on July 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    So sweet!!! Livi has gotten so big already I can’t believe it!!! She is the cutest though! I love what fabulous parents you and your husband are!!! Such a great example for someday in the future 🙂

  5. Averie @ Averie Cooks on July 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Yes time flies and even as it’s flying, I’m wondering…am I doing enough to savor these moments, am I relishing in every possible second that I can? Overthinking is my middle name 🙂 Glad you’re savoring, relishing, and enjoying every possible second (me too!)

  6. Sarah on July 21, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I love that sign! It is so true. But so hard sometimes to live by. I always end up feeling like there’s something else I should be doing.

  7. Donna on July 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    As a mother of three kids, it goes by fast so enjoy every little moment. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I type this as my almost 15 year old daughter just came downstairs in a Hollister romper and omg I just realized she’ll be in high school this year…I swear she was crawling yesterday! Soak it up! And Liv’s eyes….MELT.MY.HEART!!!

  8. Leslie W on July 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Dang, girl! :*)

    I like the one that says, “If you’re coming over to see my house, make an appointment. If you’re coming to see us, come on in!”

    • Jaime on July 21, 2012 at 5:37 pm

      or, “Please excuse the mess– The children are busy making memories.”

  9. Amy on July 21, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Love this post… my son is 19 months old today and now he says “Mommy, kees” (kiss). It’s just too much! I love just tickling him and chasing him around. He’s such a boy!

  10. Kaila @healthyhelperblog! on July 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Such a sweet post gina! Olivia is absolutely adorable and I can tell from your writing how much she means to you. Your bond is so special!

  11. Suzi @ Confessions of a Fitness Instructor on July 21, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    That is so cute that she’s figured out crawling in reverse but not going forward! Babies are so adorable, and Livi is especially so 🙂

  12. @pluvk on July 21, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I love these Livi posts! My husband and I are getting closer and closer to the “having babies” stage of our marriage, so it’s wonderful to hear about other parents’ experiences. Since we’re not blessed with children – yet! – we relish the time with our niece and nephew. Our nephew will make one in a few months, and we can’t figure out where the time went! 🙂

  13. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy on July 21, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    how fun! what a great mom:)

  14. Amy on July 21, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    We love to sing, play games, read, go for walks and just have fun. Today while driving to look for rentals where we’re moving to the 3 year old and I played a game where he hid his whole body except his head and I’d shriek that it was a floating head, then he’d reveal another part of his body and I’d say Oh good there’s a hand (or whatever it was) and list each body part he’d reveal starting with the floating head until he covered up and we started again.

    This fall I’m looking forward to being back in my hometown so I can take my kids to the Friday night football games at the high school and the Saturday afternoon football games at the U of I! I spent so many years planning my get away from central Illinois, 7 years ago I finally did get away. Now we’re headed back because the cost of living there is so much cheaper than where we’re at now and there are more services there for our oldest who is on the Autism spectrum and the younger two who are being evaluated for disorders on the Autism spectrum.

  15. Sara on July 22, 2012 at 3:40 am

    I have nothing to say except Livi is soooooo adorable that I can’t stand it! This is seriously the best age. They are interactive but not yet full on with trying to assert their free will. Please enjoy it, it’s such a short and sweet phase. At about 13 months the **battle of wills** begins and lasts – oh – 20 years or so?

  16. Melissa on July 22, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Liv is absolutely the cutest.

    Thanks for your honesty about your challenges and post postpartum anxiety…(and everything else) I have learned a lot from your blog!

    My mom used to have this poem on the wall….. it’s a tear jerker! Or maybe I’m just a sap!

    “My hands are busy through the day
    I didn’t have much time to teach my little girl what to me was work but to her was play.
    And when you’d come to me with your baby dolls and ask me to rock them back and forth, I’d say, ‘Not now I’m busy dear.’
    Tuck you in all safe at night, kiss your cheek and hold you tight.
    Tiptoeing softly to the door, I’d glance at you again once more.
    God’s little angel, my own delight- I wish I’d stayed a minute more.
    For life is short the years rush past; a little girl grows up too fast.
    No longer is she at your side, her precious secrets to confide.
    I now remember all the times you’d ask to help with little chores, ‘Can I put daddy’s clothes away?’
    No goodnight kiss, no prayers to hear, now that belongs to yesteryear.
    My hands once busy now are still, the days are long and hard to fill.
    I wish I could go back and share the little things that say, ‘I care.’”

  17. Amy Perkins on July 22, 2012 at 10:31 am

    We love taking our kids (9 and 3) out on our boat:) It’s just the four of us and there is no TV, cell phones, iPad, etc to distract us from just enjoying our family. Only tubing, wakeboarding, swimming, laughing and cruising. I’m also excited for the future when we take their teenage friends out wakeboarding…..I will love knowing our kids are having fun, but still safe with us on the lake. Not totally ‘free’ per se but the boat is paid off…lol

  18. Ali on July 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I think its funny you’re talking about fall. Summer in our area really run July5-Sept 30 so we’re just getting into the swing of Summer!

  19. kim@hungryhealthygirl on July 22, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    What a sweet sign! Liv has such beautiful eyes.

  20. chrissy on July 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Livi has such great eyes!!! What a cutie. I’m looking forward to a trip to Brazil in the fall!! I’ve never been to South America, so I’m even more excited! Jeez, I need to plan a trip to antartica to make it to all seven contintents by 30….or not:)

  21. Karyn on July 22, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Just wondering if you could pass on the titles of the books you used to get Livi on a sleep schedule. I am a first time mom of a beautiful baby girl whose sleeping schedule, or lack thereof, needs a make over. Thanks for any suggestions you can provide.

    • Fitnessista on July 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      yes! the baby whisperer and healthy sleep habits, happy child. definitely read the baby whisperer first!

      • Fitnessista on July 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm

        congratulations on your baby, too! xoxo

      • Karyn on July 23, 2012 at 9:43 am

        Thanks! After the night I just had I will pick them up today!

  22. Maddy on July 22, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Livi is such a pretty littl miss cutie pie. Thank you for sharing these photos. I love walks to the park with my son and husband (when can join us). It sounds so simple, but I’m glad my son is still at the stage where he doesn’t mind holding my hand as we walk and chat. We often see bunnies and adorable dogs with their owners along the way and we even sometimes see ducks and deer. I also get a kick out of seeing my son with his friends and all the goofy jokes they have with eachother.

  23. Kelli on July 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Well, I have (give or take) 6 weeks to go until I meet my baby! So for now I am still enjoying the rolls & occasional punches, I think he is out of room for many kicks. This fall I look forward to my 3 month maternity leave from work & all the walks we will take, wearing him in a wrap while I do daily activities, seeing his first smile…..all of this of course after we see his cute face for the first time, something I am so excited about! My husband & I will be so thrilled to meet him, so I guess that is at the very top of the list!

    Olivia is so beautiful! I’m impressed that she is crawling so soon. I saw she’s now figured out how to go forward, that is great. I hear this phase is when things get kinda crazy trying to keep them out of trouble!

  24. Roselyn @ A Balanced Fit on July 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I am the master of finding free things to do with my kids. We’ve got a community pool that’s free for residents, so we go there. There is also free movie day on base and our library has some free activities to do in the afternoons. My kids are older and out of school for the summer, so I have paid for them to go to day camps, but found some around here for practically nothing. This fall I’m looking forward to being outside and not sweating…and the kids’ soccer season! 🙂

  25. Becca on July 23, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    I’m sure you’ve answered this somewhere else, but I can’t seem to find it. What pills did you use to help your supply??? I’ve been mostly pumping and can’t seem to get more then an ounce out per breast 🙁 I tried the tea but can’t stand the taste!

  26. Melissa on July 24, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I love getting on the floor and playing with my son, whether it be building towers with his cups and knocking them over, playing with Play Doh or playing in his kitchen!

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