Thursday, April 30, 2015

Swinging up and down.

Sometimes I let things pile up in my mind until I burst and have a cathartic cry, which isn't always the healthiest. (Having a cathartic cry can be, but not the piling up.) Like this afternoon. I love Norah so much and wouldn't trade her for anything, but being a mom is demanding, and I was feeling down about how selfish I was feeling. I know that I am not a bad mother and I do try my best, but at the moment I was feeling pretty awful. I wish I could be joyful constantly about meeting Norah's needs and serve her completely selflessly 24/7. Who wouldn't wish that? But, sometimes I grumble and complain in my heart and I don't like that. I need to remind myself that all I can do is daily surrender it to Him and try my very best. I'm definitely not perfect, but striving to be more selfless and joyful in my calling! We both wanted a baby so badly and are so grateful that she is here, but sometimes (more like far too often) in the moment my selfishness creeps in.

I also debated about leaving that entire above paragraph out and just writing the happy stuff below, but I also want to be real. 

Then, this afternoon we went to the park and Norah went on her first ride in the swing. It was absolutely beautiful outside and it was great to talk to Kley about things and enjoy time together. Also, Norah was adorable in the swing. She liked it! I hope to make many park trips this summer.

We also had a congregational meeting at church tonight, where we were officially accepted as members. Everyone prayed over us and it was really neat. And Norah did really great during the meeting. Always a plus!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Spring walks, Orange Leaf, and Stephanie!

Norah and I were in Des Moines for a few days last week, and it was fun! We went out for lunch, enjoyed the spring sights on several walks, had some ice cream, hit the mall, and enjoyed time with family and friends! Always love being "home!" (Des Moines will always be like home to be, even if we don't live there, since I grew up there.)

Norah all bundled up for a walk.

Walks with Aunt Kayla, Grandma, and Grandpa. It was gorgeous outside.

Ice cream treats!

Grandpa and Grandma sure do love Norah. 

Another highlight of the trip was seeing Stephanie! She was home for a few days from DC. We love you, Aunt Stephanie!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

College friend visits/Norah meets a new friend.

Last week my good friend, Jackie, was able to come visit with her son, Daniel! They currently live in Wisconsin, so it was such a treat to have her, since we don't see each other often. It was super fun for our kids to meet for the first time. (We were freshman roommates, and now we both have a kid. Wow.) It was also fun for her to see our new house/town!

Thanks for coming to visit us, Jackie and Daniel! We loved seeing you!

Norah also tried to hold Daniel's hand a few times, which was super cute.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Norah- Six Months.

Norah is six months- half a year! She is growing and changing almost everyday! She is such a happy baby and is such a joy! We love having you around, Norah, and being your parents is one of our biggest blessings!

Norah started out the month with getting quite good at rolling over. She can roll consecutively and never is in the same spot you left her! She is gaining strength all the time. She loves to kick her legs, practice standing up, and is now sitting up all by herself (mostly) at the end of the month. Norah first sat up on April 12 on our bed. She can sit up better on softer surfaces than hard, like the couch or bed, for small increments. She is still practicing, but is off to a great start! She can’t yet go from laying down to sitting up, but she definitely tries!

Norah started sleeping through the night again at 22.5 weeks, which is great for all! She wakes up around 8:15-8:30 and eats. She usually takes a short morning nap and eats baby food at 11:30, and then nurses again around 1:30-2:00. She takes an afternoon nap, and nurses again around 5:30 and takes an evening nap. She eats baby food again before bed around 8:30, takes a bath, nurses, and goes to bed around 10:15. Her eating schedule is pretty consistent, but naps still vary a little. She usually takes 3-4 naps a day, about 45 minutes.

Norah’s eating was a big change this month! Norah started the month eating rice cereal twice a day, and at 22 weeks we started adding fruits and vegetables. She has had pears, carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, and plums. Norah is a great eater and almost always eats all her food! She sometimes pulls a face like it’s sour, but will keep eating it. I usually mix the food with cereal to make it a little more bland. (Also, with eating solids, her BM’s have drastically changed! They are much more adult like, and you can definitely tell when she is going because she makes grunting noises and gets red in the face!)

A new trick Norah learned this month was spitting. and she responds to her name. Norah loves to grab onto toys and reach for them. She also loves grabbing zippers/jewelry, sucking her thumb, and grabbing her toes. Norah smiles a lot and is starting to laugh more. She enjoys reading books, going for stroller walks, rolling over, trying to sit up, splashing in the tub and playing with water toys, being held, and spitting. Her two bottom teeth have come in more, but doesn’t have any other ones yet.  Not much makes her upset, but she doesn’t like getting dressed or being alone.

Norah is getting better at going to other people, but still gets overwhelmed if too make people are around her at once. We brought Norah to the nursery for the first time at 25 weeks, and she did great! We worried that she would scream and it wouldn’t last long, but when we picked her up she was happy. Way to go, Norah! We also began teaching Norah sign language this month. She has yet to sign anything back, but that takes time. We are teaching her mommy, daddy, up, more, eat, milk, all done, bath, and thank you so far. It will be so great when she can sign what she wants back!

Norah, we are so glad you are here and that we get to be with you everyday! You definitely make the world brighter, and you are our sunshine (as we sing the song to you each night)! Happy half birthday- we love you!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Contentment- Jesus Today.

Kley and I are reading Jesus Today by Sarah Young (author of Jesus Calling) as part of our devotionals. There are those times where you read something and feel like it was written just for you, and this one was that for me on the day that we read it.

I call you to lead the life that I have assigned to you, and to be content. Beware of comparing your situation with that of someone else- and feeling dissatisfied because of the comparison. It is also harmful to compare your circumstances with what they used to be or with fantasies that bear little resemblance to reality. Instead, make every effort to accept as your calling the life I have assigned to you. This perspective helps take the sting out of even the harshest circumstances. If I have called you to a situation, I will give you everything you need to endure it- and even to find Joy in the midst of it.

Learning to be content is both a discipline and an art: You train your mind to trust My Sovereign ways with you- bowing before My mysterious, infinite intelligence. You search for Me in the details of your day, all the while looking for good to emerge from trouble and confusion. You accept the way things are without losing hope for a better future. And you rejoice in the hope of heaven, knowing that indescribably joyful Life is your ultimate calling!

Let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. -1 Corinthians 7:17 ESV

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.    -Philippians 4:12

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?" For from him and through him and to him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! -Romans 11:33-36

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Baby Items- Food edition.

(Here you can see my other editions.)

Norah has started eating solid foods! A few weeks ago she started rice cereal, and recently/so far has tried pears, carrots, sweet potatoes, and apples. It's going well!

We have the Beaba Babycook Pro Baby Food Maker to make Norah's baby food. (They also have a double one!) I am making all of her food myself. I know that can be a tough decision to make for some (buy vs. make), and you have to choose whatever is best for your family. Personally, we chose to make Norah's food because it's more cost effective, I know exactly what's going in it, and I am thankful to have the time to make it. (Even if you are a parent who works outside the home, I still strongly think you can make your own baby food if you really want to. It really doesn't take that long.) I am not against buying baby food- sometimes I will buy it for traveling, but for the most part I have chosen to make it.

Getting a special baby food maker is not really a necessity, but it's super nice to have. We a thankful to have received this as a gift at a shower. I love it because you can cook/steam, blend, and even defrost/reheat right in the same machine. Yes, you certainly could cook the food in a pot and blend it in your regular blender, but if you can afford it, it's really convenient to be able to do it all in one. 

Verdict: Yes, if you can afford it, or just get a NutriBullet instead (but the downfall with that is you cannot actually cook the food in it). 

Update: Still use this often and love it. Though, the older Norah gets, the less I use it. I used it a lot before Norah turned one, and I made a lot of food in advance and freeze it. Now that Norah is older and eats more finger foods, I usually just make her food in our NutriBullet whenever I need to blend something. I absolutely love it and use it all the time, whether it's for Norah or to make smoothies for us. We went through two blenders that both broke, and now have a nutribullet and I will never go back!

I also have the OXO Tot Baby Blocks Freezer Storage Containers and I love them. They are the perfect size for storing individual food portions (and also for storing breast milk, if you choose to mix smaller amounts of breast milk into your baby's cereal/food). I started with two packs, already bought a third, and have already wished for a fourth. 

Verdict: Yes (or get something similar).

Update: Still love them and use almost daily.

When I have a surplus of food, I freeze the extras in a regular ice cube tray, which works fine too. I just like the storage containers because they keep it more fresh and are better for freezing longer.

Norah has some of these OXO Tot Bowl Sets,

OXO Sippy Cup Sets (with training lid),

Norah has not used the sippy cups yet, as she is still a little young for that, and we have not used the bibs yet. Since we are feeding her, she doesn't get too messy, so we just has fabric bibs. I'm sure we will use the more heavy duty, plastic bibs once she starts feeding herself!

I have been happy with everything but the silverware. I like the cups and bowls, but honestly think that any cup or bowl would work just fine. I don't like the metal silverware because it's too hard, and I don't like the rubber silverware because it's too soft. Norah just sinks her teeth into the rubber and wants to bite on it instead of eat. Plastic spoons are perfect for her at this stage. These First Years Infant Double Ended Spoons are my favorite.

I also really love the First Years Take and Toss Bowls. They are durable and also incredibly cheap. 

First Years Take and Toss also has a variety of sizes of cups and silverware. I just discovered this variety pack! I really like this brand because it's so affordable, and it lasts. You'd think that maybe it would be cheaply made for costing so little, but I have ran mind through the dishwasher numerous times and they are still great!

We also have the Munchkin Plates,

Munchkin Suction Bowls, Which I think will be super nice once Norah starts feeding herself, so she can't fling it to the floor!

 Munchkin Snack Catcher, Which will be great for traveling/not making a mess, hopefully!

All the Munchkin products we have have been cheap, but also nice and durable.

So, I have had experience with OXO TotFirst Years, and Munchkin, in regards to their feeding items, and have been overall pleased with all three!

Update: I ended up donating away the OXO cups because I didn't like the little parts inside to clean, and Norah didn't like the hard tips. I also did not end up liking the fresh food feeder. Everything else is nice! In my personal opinion, the OXO tot items are not worth the money, and they are larger so they aren't as easy to store, but they are nice quality. Norah liked their silverware better as she got older. First Years is probably my favorite because it's the cheapest, yet durable and incredibly easy to store because they stack together so well.

Since Norah didn't like the OXO sippy cups, we have been using the Nuby sippy cups and the Munchkin sippy cups. We have the Munchkin ones with the handles, which are nice to have when they are younger, but aren't necessary. (We also just bought these Munchkin sippy cups too, that are a little bit bigger, both in spout and cup size.) Sometimes we have problems with the Nuby cups leaking if the plastic tip isn't in just right, so I would say the Munchkin ones are my favorite.

Update: We ended up getting rid of the Nuby cups because the leaking kept getting worse until it just wasn't worth it anymore.


Also, Norah has a Chicco Polly (now discontinued) stand alone high chair. I can't believe how fast things change, because the one from her registry isn't coming up on the website anymore. We debated between a stand alone one and a compact one, but we went with this and I really like it. No complaints. It's fairly easy to wipe clean. Sometimes I wish it were easier, but I think the pads make it more comfortable than high chairs that have no pads at all. 

Update: We used the above Chicco high chair until Norah was about 15 months. I like it and we are definitely still keeping it for our next babies, but now that Norah is feeding herself more it was getting hard to clean the pads after every meal. There are so many nooks and crannies and it was so hard to clean! I would recommend this chair for younger babies so you don't have to clean the pads. I had read reviews about the Ikea high chair, and heard that people liked it, so we ordered one for Norah and I love it. So easy to clean!