Saturday, January 31, 2015

House Tour- Living Room.

Welcome to our living room! (You can see our other rooms here.) I apologize that these pictures aren't the best; I was taking them quickly. I love this room. I love that we got my grandma's piano, I love the sectional couch and have always wanted one (we were able to buy it with the money we got from selling items the previous owners left), and I love Norah's newborn photos! I also love the blue aspects on the curtains, pillows, and above the fireplace.

The sectional is from Homemakers, the fan/light is from Menard's, and the couch pillows are from Target.

The chair was recovered and was an old one from my in-laws. The blankets, lamps, and blue pieces above the fireplace are from Pottery Barn.

The lamp and curtains are Pottery Barn.

The bookcase and end table are also from Target.

I love the fireplace!

The game chest is from my in-laws old house, the TV Kley just got for a great deal on cyber Monday, and the TV stand is from target.

Here is what is looked like DURING the moving process, after we had already painted everything.

Here is what it looked like BEFORE. We removed the curtains, painted all the walls, got a new light fixture, and painted the fireplace.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Recent reads, the library, and feeding happenings.

I haven't blogged about books in awhile, and at first I thought it was because I'm doing a bad job reading, but I don't really think it's been that bad. I know some people read tons of books, but since Norah has been born (she is 14 weeks today!), I have completed two books and am in the middle of two more. I'd say that's pretty good for 3 months!

On a side note, I am super excited to read a lot with Norah. I love books, especially children's books. I am also excited because I went to the Orange City library last week and was much more impressed with their children's section than I thought I would be. I was more pumped than most people to get a library card, I think.

During Norah's first weeks of breastfeeding, when I felt like that's all I ever did basically, I read these two books. They are both fiction novels, and a lighter/quick read than some.

Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers- This was a long book, but I enjoyed it. It was my first Francine Rivers book, and I would read her books again. Probably not all the time, but would definitely enjoy reading another. She is a Christian author, so it was nice to read a book with Christian elements and a redeeming, pure storyline. It's about a girl named Abra who was abandoned as a baby and was found/adopted. As she grows up, she strayed away down a bad path, and it's about her choices and how they led her to the Lord. 

The Fault in our Stars by John Green- Since this is now a movie, I had to wait for about 4 months to get this from the library, as all the teenage girls are clamoring for it. I actually saw the movie first, which I don't recommend doing. I like reading the book first. The book was very similar to the movie, I thought. I enjoyed reading it and liked their funny/witty banter between each other, although it's very sad also. In case you haven't heard, it's about two teenagers who have cancer and meet at support group ad fall in love.

Also, as another side note, I am also enjoying watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix during Norah's feedings.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

House Tour- Kitchen.

Hello! I have been wanting to post pictures of our house for a long time, but kept waiting because I didn't want to post anything until it was "done." It's still not completely done, but I figured it would be awhile before it was, so I might as well just start! 

I will start with the kitchen, because that was basically finished first because we did the least to it. Thankfully, the previous owners redid the kitchen about 10 years ago, and they did a good job! I was very thankful for this, because many houses on the market had older, or even original, kitchens. I really wanted a modern kitchen, so I am very grateful for this! We didn't have the money to redo a kitchen right away, nor did I want to. 

Another reason I really love this kitchen is because it's HUGE! There is so much storage space it's incredible. It has more cabinets than a lot of houses, which is so nice (and definitely way more than our tiny apartment!).

The only thing we did in the kitchen was paint. They used to have stripes around the banner above the cabinets. We have a new light fixture coming, to match more of the bronzed finish of our other new light fixtures, but the one they had wasn't that bad. We also replaced the dishwasher, because it was broken, and got a new sink. We should get a new microwave, because the one there is really old. The handle snapped off one day, and it's so old that they don't sell parts for it anymore. It looks like it was broken previously, and was hot glued back on. Oops.

Overall, I am super pleased with the kitchen! Here is what it looks like NOW:

I also like the small bar at the end where we can fit two barstools. (We replaced the bar stools- the ones there were really clunky and 90's looking.)

I love our new kitchen-aid mixer, magic bullet, and fiestaware containers! (We went through two blenders already and they both broke. Now we have the magic bullet and I love it way more than a blender.)

I love having our decorations be sentimental. The vase is from a trip to Cancun, the cup/spoon was a gift from my brother from Spain, the frame is from a former influential teacher who passed away, the glass canister was a wedding gift from my grandma, the Bible verse displayer is from my mom, and the ring holder was painted at my bachelorette party.

I also love having recipe books displayed, and the fun letter D was a birthday gift from a good friend (and it lights up!).

We also now have a mini-keurig, which is so nice!

Here is what it looked like BEFORE:

Here is what it looked like DURING the moving/update process:

(You can see the other rooms of our house here, if you want.)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Norah- Three Months.

Norah is three months! Her personality is really coming alive! She has grown so much over the last month. It’s so fun to watch her develop and be able to engage with us more. She is such an integral part of our lives and sometimes it’s hard to remember ever living without her. She is such a joy!

At 9 weeks, Norah started “talking” back to us with little coos. That has only increased over the weeks, and now she will have a minute long “conversation” with us back and forth. At 9.5 weeks we heard her first short giggle. We have heard a few more since, but she isn’t actually laughing yet. Those little giggles are the best!

Norah has been an awesome sleeper the last month. We are incredibly thankful that she has been sleeping through the night since 8 weeks- what a blessing! She has been sleeping in her crib since 11 weeks. We waited to try the crib until after the Christmas travels and to give her time to adjust to the new house. We were worried she wouldn’t like sleeping flat on her back, since her bassinet was curved, but she has done well! Usually she sleeps from approximately 10:30pm-9:00 am. Yay! She usually takes a couple naps a day that are about half an hour.

She eats about every 3-3.5 hours now, and nursing is still going really well. Recently Norah doesn’t like to be burped and will push back and cry. She still burps/spits up, but not as often as she used to. She is getting stronger! She can push back with her legs, hold her head up strongly, and sit up when propped against something. She can also roll over onto her side. At 10.5 weeks, Norah started wearing all 6-month clothes. Norah had her two-month checkup later than normal, because of Christmas/moving, at 12 weeks. She weighed 14 lbs. 9 oz (90th percentile), was 24.5” (94th percentile), and head circumference was 16 in. (88th percentile). What a big girl! We are thankful she is healthy. The doctor detected a heart murmur, so she has to have an echocardiogram coming up, but she said most clear up on their own. They are just checking to make sure, so hopefully those results come back normal!

Norah enjoys car rides, stroller rides, taking a bath, sucking on her blanket and fists, listening to Daddy play guitar, hearing her toys rattle, and being held. She will sometimes grab toys and sit for books. We love you so much, Norah! Being your parents is such an honor.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

When Dad's in Charge.

When Dad's in Charge

I read this today when I woke up, and it was a great article for me to read. I encourage you to read it!

At one of my baby showers, the women there went around and gave me their best parenting advice. A dear friend talked to me about the dad, and said to try to resist telling him that he's doing it wrong. Just because he does things differently doesn't mean it's wrong.

I think it's one of the best pieces of advice I've been given. I love Kley so much, but we are also very different people. I am type A, love to make lists, love to get lots of things done, love to be organized, love to be clean, etc. Kley is not made that way. It's great that we balance each other out, but it also brings my faults out at times because I can be nagging or telling him to do things my way. Sometimes, mainly a lot of the time, I just need to let things go and let him do it his own way.

She talked about micromanaging her husband in the article, and I don't want to do that, but fear that I do far too often. I can picture the scene she describes- with clothes on backwards, dishes not put away, messy smears all over, and that would bother me. It wouldn't bother Kley. I like how she talked about him challenging and engaging the kids, and giving them his undivided attention. Kley is so good at that. Too often I try to get things done and keep things neat and I can miss the moment. Kley takes advantage of that in a more seamless, carefree way than I do.

Kley is so good at giving Norah attention and really loving her. He may not be the best at cleaning up or keeping things in order exactly like I would, but that's okay (and I need to remind myself of this post the next time something bothers me!). I have no doubt that Kley loves her, cares for her, and engages with her.

I'd much rather have that than perfect order.

So, huge thanks to you, Kley, for loving both Norah and I so well and providing a great and much needed balance to our marriage/parenting. You are the best.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bedtime routine.

I just looked through pictures of Norah's almost three months of life so far. Sometimes I look back or look at her and still can't believe that she is here and that she is ours! It sort of feels like she just got here and that time is flying, but it also feels like she has been here forever because I can't believe I ever lived without her!

When Norah was first born, I spent way too much time reading online about different baby aspects- scheduling, feeding, etc. I still do sometimes, but have calmed down a lot, thankfully. It wasn't good, because it just made me feel uncertain and worried. I compared myself and Norah to other people and it made me wonder if we were doing things right.

That's silly, because there is no one way to parent that's the "right way." Every parent is different and every child is different. Yes, there are things that are good for every baby or suggested for every baby, but you have to learn what works for you and how to tweak it to fit your family.

All that to say, it feels a little weird to type my own baby advice now, but I want do to it to document Norah's life/what worked for us, and hopefully it helps somebody. For Norah's first month, she did not sleep well at all. It took a long time to get her to sleep- usually she didn't fall asleep until around 2am. She mainly didn't want to sleep alone; even if we would lay her down in a deep sleep, she would wake up. I will never forget those first weeks of taking shifts together- Kley staying up with her from 10-12, and me from 12-2.

Once we started doing a nightly routine before putting Norah to sleep, she started sleeping much better. Tons of people gave us advice when we talked about her not sleeping well, and they were all well-intentioned and I appreciate that, but you just have to take what works for you. For instance, Norah hated being swaddled. She has always slept with her arms up and likes to have them out. I don't know how many times people kept telling us to swaddle her, but it was a lot. We tried and tried and she never liked it, so we just stopped doing it!

Below is the nightly routine we do with Norah, and it has significantly helped her sleep better. She knows the routine now, and it helps her calm down and get ready for bed. We do the same thing each night, and try to do it at relatively the same time. (Norah goes to bed kind of late for a baby, but we are okay with that. We start the routine around 9:15ish and try to have her in bed around 10:15ish. We like doing it that way, because then if we have something at night it doesn't totally throw her off, and also because then Kley can see her more at night. She sleeps later in the morning, which is fine because I am so thankful to be able to stay home with her, so we can be flexible like that!)

Norah's Bedtime Routine
-Bath- She LOVES bath time and being in the water. (We only use soap a couple times a week, so her skin doesn't dry out.)
-Lotion- You'll have to experiment what works best for your baby. After trying a few kinds, we like Aveeno Baby Lotion best for Norah. It keeps her skin moisturized and less dry than with other brands.
-Feed- She usually nursess much longer during this feed than during the day, which we both enjoy! It's calming for her, and I like letting her feed for longer if she wants. I always let her nurse for as long as she wants, but she chooses to nurse longer at night. I know it won't last forever, so I'm trying to enjoy the nighttime cuddles as much as I can!
-Sing a song- We sing her "You Are My Sunshine" every night. My mom used to sing that to me when I was little.
-Check diaper to make sure we aren't putting her down wet.
-Lay her in her crib
-Turn on music- We have a lullaby song on this small sound machine toy she has that's timed that we play every night to signal sleep.

We are so glad that this has helped Norah sleep better, and we are appreciating more sleep also! I encourage you to try to develop a routine if you haven't yet- whatever works for you!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Great weekend with college friends, and a surprise visit from my mom!

We had a fabulous weekend because our great friends, David and Jacquie, visited us from Minneapolis! We went to college together, and it was so good to see them. Reconnecting and just talking/being together was so nice. Norah also really took to Jacquie and gave her many coos and smiles! It was absolutely adorable.

We filled the weekend with eating, showing them around Orange City, sitting by the fire, playing Ticket to Ride, talking to Norah, and just being together! We are so blessed by their friendship and treasured our time together. Friends are the best. 

Also, after they left on Sunday, my mom showed up for a surprise visit! A family friend came into town for a visitation, and my mom tagged along for a surprise! What a good weekend seeing lots of people we loved.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Two month appointment and the time I cried at her shots.

Norah had her two month appointment at the doctor yesterday. (Even though she is almost three months. She is 12 weeks today! I can't believe it. We weren't sure whether to have her two month in Des Moines before we moved, or wait until we got to Orange City. I am so happy that we waited, in the end. She couldn't get in to the Orange City doctor until yesterday, which worked out great because then the Christmas traveling was over and she had time to get adjusted to our new house).

Norah did so great! She was super happy and cooing/smiling and the nurses. It was so cute. She is up to 14 pounds 9 ounces! She is a big girl, in a good way! She is about 90th percentile on everything- height, head circumference, and weight. I wasn't surprised by that, since she was almost the exact percentages she was at her two week appointment, and I knew she was growing. She is already wearing all 6 month clothes, and even a couple of those are getting a little snug.

Two month appointments mean shots, and I was so nervous. I thought it was horrible and I cried. The nurses were really nice, and said that I must be a first time mom. Ha. Norah did great and only cried for a minute, and has been fine since! No reactions, thankfully.

Here are some pictures of her from the other day. Pretty much every time I get the camera out it turns into a mini photo shoot, because I am trying to get good ones, and I also love capturing all her facial expressions. This time I couldn't get any smiles. Oh well.

Also, the doctor said that Norah is doing really well, but she does have to have an echocardiogram soon to check on a heart murmur to make sure everything is okay. Praying those results will come back fine! The doctor didn't seem concerned and said that most heart murmurs go away on their own, so hopefully that is the case with Norah. Other than that, she is healthy and growing strong! We are so thankful for her!