Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September in Pictures

Attending the grand opening of the new community playground.

Jonah started eating oatmeal, carrots, and avocado.

We got to visit with our west coast relatives and Jonah got to meet his great-grandma for the first time.

My kids were cute.

Mama got to love on Jonah.

We went to the zoo with friends!

Jonah turned 5 months old, and learned how to grab his toes.

Also, we learned the lesson on why babies cannot have blankets until they are older. (I only left the room for 30 seconds to grab something!)

Noelle became Zoe's personal trainer.

We kicked off fall with our first visit to Larriland Farm.

Jonah loves sweet potatoes!

We make many trips to various grocery stores for Whole 30 compliant foods.

Jonah's 3-6 and 6 month sized clothing still involve plenty of whales. :)

September was a little bit crazy with Luke's traveling schedule (he's currently away again), but God was good as always and helped me through!  We got to go to our first MOPS meeting, have some play dates, and saw some good improvement in Noelle's speech. 

Now onto my favorite month of the year!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

God's Grace

This past week has certainly been a very grace filled week.

Last Saturday Luke's parents were in a bad car accident (van totaled), and his mom has been in shock trauma the whole week with six broken ribs, broken collar bone, and fractured vertebrae.  At this point it's undecided when she'll be released, as they are also concerned about an artery.  Once they do another CT scan, they'll decide if she needs surgery, or can be released to inpatient physical therapy.

 Noelle and grandparents during her first Christmas

We are so thankful that they are alive, and that each day his mom seems to be feeling a little bit better and stronger.  His dad is dealing with a lot of soreness, but thankfully no broken bones or heart problems.

Luke and his sister, Lydia, have been going to the hospital every evening to visit and take things to his parents.  I'm definitely thankful that they are able to go, but it has made for a long week of evenings and doing bedtime by myself.

Jonah and Grandpa

The biggest challenge with bedtime is Noelle not understanding what being quiet means.  It seems that any small noise will keep Jonah awake, and even Noelle walking around is loud.  (Mom confession: a few times I've resorted to turning on a movie to keep her out of the room, but I figure, I gotta do what I gotta do.)

I also decided to attempt potty training this week, with the plan being to not go anywhere for 2-3 days, and letting Noelle walk around the house in either underwear or nothing.  The first day it was a pretty even amount of times that she made it to the potty versus not, whereas the second day she seemed to have more accidents.  And on the morning of day three, she insisted upon wearing a diaper.  I'll take that as a sign that she's not quite ready.

proudly sitting on her potty

I know she's capable because she put herself on the potty a few times when I was putting Jonah down for naps.  But if there's no desire, it just doesn't seem worth pushing it.  I thought those two days at home would be very frustrating for me because of cleaning up messes and being stuck in the house, but God was so good, and for the most part, I was able to extend a lot of His grace towards my littles.

So even though it's been a scary week with the car accident, and not an easy week with the kids (does that exist?), God was definitely present, and I am so thankful I can rely on Him and His grace to get me through.  It's not always easy to acknowledge His grace in the day to day chaos, but He is there and I'm continually learning that I can turn to Him even over potty messes and finding peace in Him about not being a perfect mom.

Jonah and mama while Noelle does her thing

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jonah: 5 Month Update

Time with this little man is just flying by!  It definitely goes by faster with a second child, just like the pregnancy did.  He certainly isn't the most easy going baby, but his cuteness sure makes up for it!

Height and Weight:  Using my super precise method of weighing myself and then holding Jonah and weighing myself, I got his weight to be about 13 lbs 6 oz, which is only 2 ounces more than last month. I'm hoping that my process of weighing him is just not accurate at all, and that by his 6 month appointment next month he'll weigh more.  He certainly feels heavier!

Sleep: His sleep is still all over the place.  Most nights he is up every 2 to 3 hours and then uses me to pacify himself back to sleep.  Then on occasion he has nights where he'll give a 5 or 6 hour stretch (which feels so amazing!).  Naps are usually pretty good.  On most days he'll give a twoish hour nap in the morning and an hourish nap in the afternoon.  There is the occasional day where he'll do more shorter naps.  He still doesn't sleep when we're out and about, and I don't see that changing as he gets older and more alert.

Eating: Nursing every 2-3 hours throughout the day, and of course mostly pacifying himself every 2-3 hours at night.  But it was fun this month because we started feeding him food!  We started with baby oatmeal, and it was fun to watch him catch on to eating off of a spoon.  The first few feedings especially took him a few spoonfuls to figure out the swallowing thing, and not just spitting it out.  So far for foods, he's tried carrots and avocado.  It's hard sometimes because he's so easily distracted, and or he's so over eager for the food that he leans forward in the bumbo and starts to eat that!

Diapers/Clothing:  Wearing size 2 diapers.  He still fits into his 3 month onsies, but most are short sleeved and it's time to switch things out for colder weather.  The long sleeved 3 month onsies fit length wise, but the arms are a little short.  I've pulled out all the 3-6 month and 6 month clothing that we have for him.  Most of it is a little bit big, but hopefully we'll get lots of use out of them for the fall and winter.

Social/Milestones: Smiling a lot more and tracking things that move, especially his sister. Something is ALWAYS in his mouth- fingers, burp cloth, toys.  He's also started grabbing his toes, but I haven't seen him get them all the way to his mouth yet.  Rolling everywhere and definitely can not be left on any raised surface (lesson learned the hard way).  Still prefers being outside and does well with bathtime.  He mostly only wants mom or dad to hold him.  I had nursery duty this past week at church and was technically in with the one year olds, so I left him in the infant room (which is just on the other side of a half wall from the one year olds), but that did not last long.  Thankfully it was quiet enough on both sides that I could just hang out with him for most of the time.

Likes: Nursing, mom, being held at all times, the outdoors. and being smiled at.  As long as one of us is holding him, generally he'll smile at other people smiling at him.  He's also pretty good at smiling for a camera.  Noelle still hasn't really figured that out.

Dislikes: Sleeping for long periods of time.  Sleeping when out and about.  Not having one-on-one attention.

Fun things we did: We had our first MOPS meeting this past month.  He stayed with the childcare people for a little bit, but I ended up holding him for the last part of the meeting and he did pretty well with not getting too fussy.  We went on a few stroller walks without the carseat attachment and he did well for the most part.  I think he likes being able to see things, and he was able to fall asleep in the stroller (yay!).  And of course his first trip to the zoo!

Jonah meeting his great-grandma and other west coast relatives was also really special this month.  I am so glad that my grandma got to meet him and spend time holding him.  And hopefully we'll make it out to Seattle sometime in the near future!

this is 5 months

Overall, he's been less fussy than he has been (though he still has his days), and I'm wondering if it has to do with the foods I've eliminated during Whole 30.  If that's the reason, we'll see how it all changes once I start reintroducing foods.  Or it could just be that he's growing out of it.  I just pray it continues to move in that direction!

Some pictures from the past month:

 sitting in the stroller

 hanging with daddy



 mornings with Jonah

 more smiles

hanging out in the ergo at the zoo

Monday, September 22, 2014

Riding a Lion and Feeding a Giraffe

This past weekend we hung out with the animals at the Baltimore Zoo along with our friends who are able to get tickets through his work (thank you so much Arthur and Kristina!).  Their daughter, Lillian, is 4 months younger than Noelle, and it was so fun seeing how much the two of them enjoyed seeing the animals!

When Noelle came down the stairs on Saturday morning, I told her that we were going to the zoo- and she was ready to leave right then!  I told her we still had a little while until we needed to leave and that daddy and Jonah were still sleeping.  But she just kept saying "Get dressed" and "Go!"  Luke and I were really curious what was going through her head, and what exactly she knew about a zoo.  My mom took her back when she was probably not even a year old, and the only other thing we have at home about the zoo is her book about Curious George going to the zoo.

Noelle sitting on the lion

Eventually we headed out the door and got to the zoo right as it was opening.  We met up with our friends, and headed down the path to see the animals.  Noelle loved seeing the big tortoise and did her turtle dance (she dances to a little song that one of her books plays for the turtle sound-hilarious!).  (I also won't go in to detail about what the tortoises were doing when we walked past them later- but as one mom explained to her child, "they're making babies.)

tortoise and rhino

It was fun going into the aviary and having the birds flying and walking around us.  One white bird sat on the railing of the walkway and sort of snapped at people as they walked by.  The girls had fun watching the cheetah pace back and forth, and make his purring/growling sounds, while we parents joked that he wanted to eat them. We headed over to the giraffe, and the girls got to feed him some leaves!  It was pretty cool being that close to the giraffe, and he certainly knew what to do and sucked those leaves right down.

watching the cheetah // feeding Caesar the giraffe

The rest of the group went to say hi to the lions and stop by some other exhibits while I sat and fed Jonah, and when I met back up with them, we watched the elephants for a little while.  The girls ran around that area for a bit, and now that they are getting older, it's fun to actually see them interact with each other.  Noelle even forced Lillian to hold hands with her- no idea where she gets that from!

forced hand holding did not last long

We grabbed some lunch, and then the girls rode on the carousel- which Noelle threw a fit about having to wait to do, and then about having to get off after the ride was over.  The last stop was the farmyard for a little bit, but Jonah was starting to get really fussy (the little stinker had been awake for close to 5 hours by then!) so we made a speedy departure for the car. 

howdy cowgirl // brushing the goats

Luke and I hadn't been to the Baltimore Zoo since we were kids, so it was fun to go back, and even more fun seeing it through Noelle's eyes.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Introducing My Daughter, the Klepto

First, let me start by stating my strong dislike for the shopping carts with the cars attached to the front.  I find them SO hard to maneuver, and if I'm trying to weed my way through a clothing aisle at Target with one, I'm definitely on the verge of knocking things over.

The first time I ever used one was at the grocery store, and when I was pushing it back out to the car, I could not for the life of me get it to go over the speed bump in the parking lot.  Plus, Noelle doesn't always last the whole shopping trip sitting in it, and without the car weighted down a little bit, it makes it even harder to navigate.  Turning the cart around in an aisle at the grocery store doesn't work without doing a 10-point turn, so if I have to backtrack, I just walk backwards.

I could go on, but enough of my complaining about the cart Noelle insists we get whenever she sees one (why must they place them right out front for all to see?!).

 she's also sick, so excuse her looking out of it

Today I discovered a new problem.  We ran to the grocery store to pick up a few things, checked out, and headed out to the car.  I got everything unloaded and then pushed the cart back to the front of the store.  As I was pulling Noelle out of the car (since she insists she can't get out by herself), I noticed a newly opened pack of Mentos.

Awesome, my child just helped herself to some candy in the check-out aisle.

With her minimal speaking, or maybe it's a lack of understanding, I couldn't figure out for sure if she grabbed them, or if they had already been sitting in the car when we got there.  Either way, I explained to her that we can't just take things, but that we have to pay for them, and in the future to make sure she asks mommy if she wants something.

and she's already eaten most of them

I'm not sure how much a 2 year old understands, but at least it's a lesson for me to check her and the cart when we get to the store and when we leave.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The 15 Minute Saga of Yesterday

It was actually a pretty good day yesterday.  Jonah slept until about 9:30 (giving an almost 3 1/2 hour stretch, which is longer than most stretches he gives at night), allowing me to make and eat breakfast, take a shower, and get Noelle ready for the day.

He woke up happy, and both kids cooperated while we picked up a few things from the grocery store. Since they were still in a good mood while we were out, I decided to finally check out the local boutique that sells used baby clothes.  I ended up buying Jonah some things, including an adorable sweater vest!

waking up a happy Jonah

We got home, I nursed Jonah down for his nap, and then got Noelle and myself some lunch.  Then she and I got to spend some quality time together:  I painted our fingernails, we ran back and forth across the front yard over and over again, and read some books together before Jonah woke up.

The three of us played around the house for a bit, and then headed out for a stroller walk.  We were blessed with another beautiful day of blue skies and sunshine.  Noelle took a short nap in the stroller as I expected, and Jonah was content for most of the ride.  When we got home, Noelle played with our neighbor for a little while, and I tried to put Jonah down for another nap.  He fussed for a bit, but eventually went down.

at least someone has finally learned to not entirely hate the stroller

Luke got home a little after 6:00, and said we would need to go drop his car off to get his brakes replaced, and then suggested we grab some dinner while we were out.  (I think he just didn't want the spaghetti squash I had cooked up.)  He said he would head out ahead of me, so that the kids and I didn't have to sit around at the car place waiting too long.

So now the saga.

Once Luke left, I focused on getting the kids ready to head out.  Jonah was in a mood where being held was the only option to avoid a complete meltdown, which meant I needed to get them both ready one-handed.  I put a little jacket on him, and was trying to figure out what to put on Noelle.  She had just eaten black beans by the handful and had them smeared all over her face and shirt.

She hates having her face wiped, but we got that out of the way with minimal crying.  I wanted to put a little jacket on her, but didn't want to put it over the black bean covered shirt, and for some reason suggesting the Hello Kitty jacket in her closet set her off towards meltdown.  My solution was to take off said dirty shirt, and put a long sleeve shirt on.  Which she also hates having anything go over her head, and me doing it one handed took too long and freaked her out.  I got it on her on the second try by sitting in the chair in her room and squeezing her between my knees to keep her still.

not from yesterday, but black bean love right there

I started to head downstairs, but she started fussing and pointing to her closet.  With no nap, she doesn't try as hard to use words, but mostly grunts and points so I had no idea what she wanted. Eventually I figured out she wanted one of her sweaters on over her long sleeve shirt, so I managed to wrangle that on her one-handed.

We head downstairs (her crying "uppie, uppie", so I carry them both), and I get Jonah buckled into his carseat.  He immediately starts crying.  Noelle starts saying some word I can't understand and pointing upstairs (granted, she does have a cold, so it's harder to understand her already hard to understand words), and she takes off back up the stairs.

I follow her up, and realize she'd been saying "Simmy", her way of saying Sammy, which is the stuffed animal dog I loved well during my childhood and hangs out in my closet.  I tell her, sure, we can bring "Simmy".  As we're heading back down the stairs (again, "uppie, uppie"), she peers in the bathroom, and asks "Daddy?".  I tell her we're going to pick him up. "Daddy?  Daddy?"  All the way out to the car.

                                                            also not from yesterday, but boy do we love Daddy

And finally we head out, no shoes for Noelle.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Little Stage

It hit me today.  As I was nursing Jonah to sleep for an afternoon nap. (I know, not supposed to nurse babies to sleep, but it's the only way!)

He's so little and so perfect.  He's my little baby and this time of littleness is flying by.  I find myself wishing it away all too often because he's been so difficult.  Telling myself it's just a stage that he needs to get through, and then hoping that he grows up and out of it soon.

I take for granted that he's so little, thinking to myself that we'll have a third someday who will hopefully be more easy going, and I can enjoy the baby stage more.  But I've already been blessed abundantly by two precious little ones, and that may be all the Lord chooses to bless us with.  And two is even more than I deserve!

I stare at his eye lashes and his arm draped across my chest.  His little nose and cheeks.  And his tiny
baby hands are just too cute!  And I start to feel sad about how fast it's going.  He'll be 5 months soon, and he's already changed so much.  I love them little and I don't want to wish it away.

Days and nights with Jonah are hard, but are so worth it.  This little one is so a part of me and fills my heart with so much love.  I want to hang on to these days and enjoy them as much as possible.  I know it will be fun to watch him grow and change, as it's been fun seeing Noelle grow so much, but I also want to hold on to how he is now, in this little stage.

It's like the classic line from Robert Munsch's book goes:
"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
as long as I'm living,
my baby you'll be."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

This Past Week

This past week was a special one for us!  My grandma and aunt and uncles from Seattle came to visit Maryland, and Jonah got to meet them all for the first time.  It had been about two years since they had last seen Noelle, so she was about 2 months old the last time they were here.  While we haven't been able to hang out with them a lot because of needing to put Jonah down for naps at home (high maintenance kid!), it's been fun watching them interact with both of the littles.

Jonah being held by his great-grandma (aka GG)

My dad grew up in Seattle and is the only one that moved to the East Coast so it's a rare treat to see our West Coast family.  I keep telling Luke we need to go out and visit since Luke has never been west of Texas. My one aunt couldn't make the trip this time and I know she would love to see the littles!

four generations- and as usual Noelle is too busy eating

We also had another speech therapy appointment this week.  At this point when I tell Noelle that her therapist is coming she gets excited, and this week she stood waiting at the window to watch for her.  This week they played with play-dough and read Good Night Moon, working on 2 syllable words and putting two words together.  We scheduled her 6 month assessment for October, and I'm definitely nervous about it. Some days I don't think about her speech much, but other times I realize how far behind she is and I worry so much about what the future holds for her.  It's definitely a continual lesson in learning to trust the Lord with the lives of my children.

waiting at the window

We had an absolutely beautiful beginning-of-fall day yesterday with clear blue skies, low humidity, and sunshine galore.  Jonah's been extra fussy the last few days (teething??), and I needed to get them out of the house.  So I strapped them in the stroller and we took off for a nice long walk.  Since I haven't run in almost 4 weeks, it was quite the workout pushing 50+ pounds around for over an hour.

Jonah crying and Noelle napping

And Luke and I finished off the work week with a quick date to Chipotle while Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Lydia watched their favorite children!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bedtime Routines

Our every day routine is always different and shifting as the kids grow, and especially as Jonah's feeding and sleeping habits change.

When we first brought Jonah home from the hospital, he slept in a bassinet in our room next to me.  And since I always knew I was going to get very little sleep, I always went to bed when he did.  Even if that meant an 8:00 bedtime.

Noelle in her Christmas pjs on Christmas morning

Since it always wound up being around the time of Noelle's bedtime, we ended up just letting her fall asleep in bed with me, and then Luke would move her to the crib when he came up to bed. Letting her fall asleep with me was partially for convenience, but I was also more emotional than I thought I would be about splitting my time between two kids, and most nights I liked having her as my snuggle buddy.

Once we came home from vacation in August, we decided it was time to transition her to her big girl room and into her big girl bed.  Well, let's just say one of us is still falling asleep with her every night.  And now it's in a twin size bed.  We've tried to leave her multiple times, but she just screams and screams, often to the point of puking on herself and her bed sheets.

Jonah's monkey pjs

At first it was me who would lay down with her.  I would feed Jonah and put him to bed (now in the crib in his own room), and then come lay down with her.  Often I would actually fall asleep and either wake up when Jonah cried to be fed, or just wake up on my own and make my way to my bed.  Jonah, however, is all over the place with his feedings in the evening now, and it will sometimes take nursing him on and off for an hour and a half before he falls asleep.  So now Luke either sits with her or lays down until she falls asleep, which since she's not napping anymore, is usually (but not always!) pretty quick.

Some evenings we're pretty blessed to get them down at a decent time and we actually get to spend some kid-less time together.  But for the most part, I'm still going to bed around 9 since Jonah has decided that multiple wake ups a night must continue.  Sometimes I really miss the days of watching endless Netflix and eating ice cream together!

love my littles in pjs!