Monday, March 30, 2015

Big Feelings.

I Wish Someone Would Have Warned Me About These Big Feelings

I read this when I was up with Norah last night and it's super good. Being a mom sure has big feelings with all sorts of things associated with it!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

TV shows/Favorite Netflix finds.

Hello! Here is a little update from my last posts about TV shows we are/were watching.

1. We are still watching Grey's Anatomy.

2. We finished Parenthood and it was awesome. We recommend.

3. We watched the comeback short season of 24 and were just as disappointed with the ending as we were with the last ending. Still glad it came back, though.

4. We finished How I Met Your Mother. The final episode sparked quite the talk! Crazy.

5. We are still watching New Girl. We fell away from it for awhile, but now are back and think it's so funny.

Currently we are watching Bones on Netflix. We love it. (Also, I recently just learned that Zooey Deschanel, the star of New Girl, and Emily Deschanel, the star of Bones, are sisters. Wow.)

Also, here are a few of my favorite Netflix finds recently. Sometimes it's hard to find good stuff on there, so I like to share the hard to find gems.

Blackfish- A very interesting documentary about killer whales and Sea World, specifically about the whale Tilikum, who has taken several lives. It explores the topic of whales in captivity. 

Take Me Home- A movie about a guy named Thom who is having trouble making ends meet, and starts driving a taxi cab in New York illegally. He ends up driving Claire, a woman who just found her husband is cheating on her, across the country to her dad's funeral in California. (Also, the main characters in this movie are married in real life! Thom is Joel from Parenthood, which is originally what made me want to watch this.)

Chef- A movie about a chef who gets a horrible review, ends up loosing/quitting his job and opening a food truck. Kley and I just watched this last night and were pleased! It's language heavy, but other than that is a pretty good movie and actually has some good redeeming relationship aspects, which can be hard to find in movies these days.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Morning run with Norah.

Norah joined me in the stroller on my morning run, and I snapped the most adorable shots of her bundled up before we left. I always think she is cute, but these are super cute.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Never stop learning.

Lately, I have definitely not been praying as much as I should or want to. Back when I used to teach, I prayed in the car on the way to work everyday, and I really liked that "tradition." Now, however, I don't have a morning commute anymore. A lot has changed in my daily routine, with moving, having Norah, and not working, and my prayer life has suffered.

I want to change that. There are those times throughout the day where you offer up little, short prayers for whatever is going on, but I need to find that time that's the same, everyday, where I know it's time to pray and that I do it so much it becomes instinctual. I will be working on that.

On another note, I have been doing pretty good with reading the Bible everyday. I'm not perfect and don't want to come across as that way, but when you are consistent and make something a part of your habits and routine, it's a lot easier to do it.

Awhile back I went through a phase, for about a year, where I did my daily devotionals/reading on my phone, through the Bible app. You can get great devotionals there, so I am not meaning to say anything bad about it, but it didn't work the best for me. I missed actually holding the Bible and feeling the pages. I am also a huge highlighter fan, so I missed that aspect as well. So, I ditched my phone and went back to the actual Bible, and it was a good decision. For me.

Usually, when I read, I gravitate toward the New Testament. After spending awhile doing that, I decided to go back to the Old Testament. I have been enjoying learning/remembering new things, because there is always something you can learn! I feel/felt like I knew many Bible stories, including many from the Old Testament, because I taught them at preschool for a long time.

Teaching Bible stories to children is so incredibly important, but that should also not replace revisiting those stories on your own time as an adult. There are many details that get left out, usually on purpose, because a young child simply cannot understand some aspects.

For instance, I never told my preschoolers that when the flood came and God saved Noah's family, that all the other people died in the flood. They wouldn't have been able to understand why God did that or would let that happen. I didn't mention that after David, with God's help, hit Goliath with the stone from the sling, that he cut his head off after. Wow! There are aspects like that that I purposely left out, because they wouldn't have been able to understand.

On another note, there are aspects that I left out because I had to tell the most simplified version to the kids. If you include too many details, they get lost quickly. You have to be quick and direct with your point and the main thing you want them to take away. It's been great to revisit those stories and remember all those details I left out before. For instance, I have been reading the account of Moses in Exodus. Did you know that when Pharaoh finally let them go, that there were 600,000 men? Just men! That's not even including all the women and children. I also had forgotten about the angel of the Lord leading the Israelites by day with a cloud in front of them, and a pillar of fire by night. Also, when Pharaoh changed his mind again and pursued the Israelites, along with many of his Egyptians, that the angel of the Lord left them from the front and physically moved to be behind them, and the cloud blocked them, making darkness on one side and light on the other, to confuse the Egyptians and protect the Israelites. I also enjoyed reading Genesis again. There are so many details from that book I had forgotten too.

I am so glad that God is big and that He is real. These stories I am reading really happened. God takes care of His people and provides for them. It might not always be in a way we can see or understand (that's very clear from so many people's stories from the Bible!), but He is there and ever faithful.

I am so glad that God is forgiving and that no matter what we have done, we can go home to Him and His grace will always cover us.

I am so glad that I had the opportunity to teach at a Christian school and that I was able to teach His children about Him for three years.

And, I am so glad that Kley and I have been entrusted with Norah and we can teach all these things to her as well as she grows up. What a blessing.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Norah- Five Months.

Norah is five months! Every time I write she is a month older, it seems like the month was shorter than the last. Time flies when you’re having fun! I feel like I keep waiting for a “boring” or uneventful week where I will have nothing to write about, but Norah is growing and changing so fast. There’s always something to say!

Norah had a few ups and downs this month, but thankfully mostly ups. At 17.5 weeks, she started waking in the night again and wanting to eat. She was usually up once, but occasionally twice. Waking up once isn’t too bad, but we are hoping for sleeping through the night again! At 17.5 weeks, she also started shaking her head and splashing a ton in the bath. We discovered how tactile Norah is this month also- she loves to hold onto something soft, and that definitely helps her fall asleep too! She is always grabbing her blanket, burp rag, or my shirt during feedings.

For a few weeks this month Norah went on a rolling over strike and went right to trying to sit up. She would crane her head up and lift her legs when laying down in attempt to sit up. Now, she has started rolling over again, and rolls really fast! At 4.5 months she started to be able to roll from tummy to back, but didn’t like it at first and got really mad. It’s still not her favorite, but is able to roll all the way over now. Norah also discovered her toes this month and enjoys trying to pull her socks off. Being just in her onsie is probably her favorite because then she can easily get her legs up to suck her toes! Norah also enjoys drinking and eating like mom and dad, or wanting to anyways. She will suck on the rim of a glass and likes to lick our food/silverware.

Norah had her 4-month appointment and did really well. She didn’t like the shots, but handled them well and thankfully does pretty well afterwards. She weighed 16 lbs. 13 oz. (84%), was 26.25” (93%), and head circumference was 16.75” (85%). The doctor gave the okay for rice cereal, and we started that before bed on March 13. Norah liked it right away! She likes eating from a spoon, and is quickly getting better at swallowing and getting it all in her mouth. It’s been fun to watch her enjoy it!

We also set up some of Norah’s new toys this month on February 28, more of her bouncy and sit up toys. She loves them and enjoys being up and active! She will play with them for a long time. Another new thing this month is teeth! Norah has two bottom teeth already! We felt the bottom right one on March 1st, and then the left one on March 7th. Norah had about 4 days where she wasn’t herself and was pretty fussy, but other than that she has been handling it well. The biggest adjustment with that has probably been for mom, with her biting when eating! Ouch! That was rough for about a week, but is getting much better. She eats about every 4, sometimes 4.5, hours. Norah has gone on a bottle strike and refuses to drink from a bottle, but will sometimes take milk through a medicine dropper, on the rare occasion mom is gone. Thankfully we are starting solids and she likes spoons!

Overall, Norah is a very peaceful girl and is very pleasant and content. She doesn’t fuss much and enjoys being with people, especially mom and dad. Norah did much better this month with being comfortable being around other people. She enjoys “talking” and has gotten much louder! We have also noticed her hair thinning and lightening. She has become much better with fine motor skills and is able to grab toys, objects, and faces. Another new thing is that Norah has become a thumb sucker. From about 20 weeks, she started sucking her right thumb. At the end of the month, at 21 weeks, she started wearing size 3 diapers and 9-month clothes!

Norah, being your parents is so fun and we are honored to care for you and watch you grow! You had lots of milestones this month, from teeth, to rice cereal and bouncy toys! Your favorite things are pushing the music buttons on your bouncy toy, splashing in the tub, going for stroller walks, smiling at dad when he comes home, being held, sucking your thumb, eating cereal, and grabbing/sucking on toys! We love you!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A beautiful adoption story.

Jacob Chen- Adoption Story

This video is a little long, but it is beautiful and so worth watching.

This couple had been struggling with infertility for nine years, and this video is about them getting to adopt their baby boy. I cried. The way the dad relates physical adoption on earth to our spiritual adoption into God's family is so touching and well-spoken.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The cereal adventure begins.

We have started giving rice cereal to Norah! The doctor okay'ed it at her 4 month appointment and she has been enjoying it! She was 16 lbs. 13 oz. (85th percentile), and 26.25" long (97th percentile). Our girl is growing up!

Here are some shots of the first bites:

(Also, Norah was sleeping through the night for awhile, but then quit again. We were hoping the rice cereal would fill her up a bit more before bed so she would sleep longer. This week she has slept through the night twice! Yay!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Conversation portraits.

Norah has taken to grabbing/eating her toes and having super cute babbling conversations. Here are some shots of her mid-conversation with some great tongue action.

I'm so glad I get to be her mom.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Baby Items- Bath edition.

Welcome to the bath edition of my best baby items blogs! (Here you can see my other editions.) I know there are a ton of best baby item lists out there, but it's so fun to write and it's nice, though sometimes overwhelming, to hear opinions on products before buying. So, here is what we have experienced with bath items so far:

4moms Infant Tub- We got this at a shower from my mom, thinking that it would be completely marvelous. Honestly, we used it a couple times and promptly returned it to the store. It's nice that it has a seat for baby and a water thermometer, but there's not a good way to keep the water warm. It cools off very quickly, since there isn't much water in it to begin with, and there's no way to put more in without the water hitting the tub and splashing baby in the face. (Norah got super scared and started screaming when this happened.) I'm sure there are good baby baths out there, but we never got another one once we returned this. We just lay her in the bottom of the tub with a little water and she loves it. Bath time is, thankfully, one of Norah's favorite things- she loves the water and splashing!

Verdict: No, not worth it at all.

Update: Norah is 8 months and we never used a baby bath for her, other than the few attempts with this one. It worked fine for us. Norah is very closely supervised while in the tub, and she loved just laying (or now sitting) in the tub. She loves bath time!

Aveeno Baby Bath Products- I LOVE Aveeno bath products. They have kept Norah's skin so soft, moisturized, and smooth. I would highly recommend. They are expensive, about twice as much as Johnson's, but I think it's worth it (and they last a long time, so you don't have to buy a lot). 

-Baby Wash and Shampoo- The bottle says "lightly scented," which is vague, but it smells light and fresh. I love it.
-Baby Daily Moisture Lotion- Smells nice, works great- moisturizes all day and isn't greasy. Norah had dry skin when using Johnson's at first, and Aveeno took away all of that.
-Baby Soothing Relief Moisture Cream- A little thicker- more intense for dry skin. Still could be used for everyday, though.
-Baby Calming Comfort Lotion (Lavender and Vanilla)- Haven't personally tried, but looks good!
-Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream- Haven't tried, but heard great recommendations.
-Baby Natural Protection Lotion Sunscreen- Will definitely be buying this for summer.

Verdict: Yes.

Update: Still love Aveeno and use many of their baby products. It's now summer and I love the sunscreen and face stick also!

Johnsons Baby Bath Products- Great for some, but not for us. We ended up returning all the Johnson's products we got (which was a lot), and trading for Aveeno. Norah had some dry skin/small eczema spots when using Johnsons, and Aveeno cleared them right up.

Verdict: No- not bad, just didn't work for us.

Here are a few other things Norah has tried:

Munchkin Dandy Dots Bath Mat- We had this, but ended up returning it just because we never felt a true need to use it. But it looks fun! So do these dots!

Munchkin Foam Letters and Numbers- Norah loves these! We used them all the time in the water tub at school too, when I taught.

Munchkin Bath Crayons- I have heard that these are super great.

Basically all bath animals or squirters I have found have holes in them. I was told that any bath toy with a hole can grow mold in it, so you are supposed to hot glue the hole shut. I did that for a long time, but now I just quit gluing them because Norah would bite the glue out. Oops.

These two towel sets are my favorite- the JJ Cole and Aden and Anais brands. They are thick, plush, and wash super well. Some baby towels are so cheap and thin. Norah had a Chicco towel that we have already donated away because it was thinner and didn't wash up well. My mom got a towel pack as a gift, I don't remember what brand, that was so thin it felt like tissue paper.

JJ Cole Hooded Towel Set- I love these towels, and they are a good price as well.

Aden and Anais Towel Set- She got this as a gift and we love it, although it's more expensive. After a year of washing, it has held up the best though!

Bath time is one of our favorite times of the day!

Update: Still use both kinds of towels everyday and love them. I would say the Aden and Anais ones are holding up a bit better, but both are good.

OXO Bath Toy Bin- We have this toy bin and I love it. It's the perfect size for all her toys and it's never once fallen off. There are also small holes in the bottom so wet toys don't get stale/moldy sitting in there.

(All opinions are my own from personal experience. No one is sponsoring these posts or products.)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Growing up with Norah.

Norah is growing and changing so fast! She can now roll all the way over, and is even getting TWO bottom teeth! We have set up some of her new sit up toys and bouncers, and she is enjoying them.

Here are a few of her first time trying out her bouncer toy:

We also set up her high chair. She hasn't eaten any solids yet, but we wanted to set it up anyways because it's coming soon, and we wanted to get her used to it and to establish family meal times. Here are a few of her first time in her high chair:

Norah, we love you so and it's so much fun to watch you grow.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Family time.

My sister (in-law) Elizabeth is spending her last semester of college doing an internship with Magnificent Mile in Chicago. Two weekends ago she was able to come home for a few days! It was good to see her and spend the weekend with family.

Here is some grandpa/daddy time.

Love the way she looks at him.

Aunt Elizabeth.

And her fiance, soon to be Uncle Brett.

Families are the best.

Also, Elizabeth and Brett are getting married August 14 (our anniversary!), and while she was home, and asked if I would be her matron of honor. So special! I am so excited and so honored!