Monday, June 29, 2015

Norah's Father's Day gift 2015.

For Father's Day this year, Norah got Daddy a little golf set that they can play together! Realistically, they won't use it until next summer probably (or the fall), but I just had to get it. It was too cute- Kley loves to golf, so I knew this would be a special first gift for him!

Norah loves her Daddy, and I love him too!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Baby Items- Big toys/chairs/swings edition.

Hello again! It's been awhile since I've done a baby items post. You can view my other editions here, if you want. Here are some of the bigger toys/chairs/swings Norah has had/is currently using.

Birth-6 months (approximately):

1. Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper- We used this a ton for Norah and she even slept in it her first three months of life (mainly because we were moving/didn't have a crib in our apartment). I would recommend it. It's nice that it's cozy feeling for baby, and it's easily portable. It also has a vibration/music setting. (They have a newer version now that can rock by itself.)

Verdict: Yes- my favorite/most used newborn item.

2. 4moms MamaRoo swing- This is a newer version than the one Norah has, but it's very similar. This swing is like the Apple of baby items. It's amazing, but you have to decide if the money is worth it to you. There are 5 different motion and speed settings, and 4 sounds settings. You can also hook up your ipod to it. It works well until your baby can sit up unassisted. Norah is 8 months now, and we had to put it away because she could lean over and the undistributed weight made the machine make a crunching sound like it would break (it didn't, but she was getting too big for it). It's a great swing, but honestly it was not our most used item because it's not very easily portable. Norah really doesn't like to be alone, so we more often used the smaller, portable swings/chairs that we could move from room to room where we were. 

(I could see myself using this a lot more with our second baby, while I am trying to play with Norah. The different setting really are awesome.)

Verdict: Very cool, but could get by just fine with something cheaper/simpler.

3. Comfort & Harmony Cradling Bouncer- The picture is what Norah has, the link is to a slightly different one because hers was discontinued. We used this fairly regularly. It's easily movable from room to room in your house, but it doesn't fold up or anything for transporting outside your home. Norah liked it for the first few months, but as soon as she got more curious/active we didn't use it as much. 

Verdict: I liked it, but I wouldn't say that this particular seat was any better than any other. 

4. Skip Hop Alphabet Zoo Activity Gym- These mats are expensive, but I really like them. I love the alphabet, so this one was super cute. Norah got it for Christmas. This is perfect for about 2-5 months where they are curious but not mobile. It's great for laying on their back and also for tummy time. 

Verdict: Yes, I like it. 

6 months + (approximately):

1. Baby Einstein Activity Jumper Special Edition, Neighborhood Friends- Again, the picture is the one Norah has, the link is to the newer one they have. (Can't believe how fast things change!) Norah absolutely loves this and it's one of her favorite things. She loves to jump, pull on the toys, and push the music buttons. She loves to make sure she can still see us when she's in it, though, and doesn't love to be alone. She most sits in it next to the table when we are eating dinner.

Verdict: Yes! Norah has been using this since about 4 months, and is 8 months now and still uses it. It's one of her favorite things. (Once Norah started actively crawling, she didn't like it anymore and wanted to be on the move!)

2. Fisher Price Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat- Frog- My mother-in-law got this for Norah, and I love it! I would definitely recommend this; it's one of my favorite baby items ever. I personally like it way better than the Bumbo seat (although they have improved it a lot I think). Your baby has to be able to hold their head up and sit up with support to use this. Norah has used it since about 4.5 months and still uses it often (almost daily) at 8 months. I love that it supports them all the way around. When Norah sat in the Bumbo, she kept leaning forward (before she could sit up well on her own). I would definitely recommend. (They also have a lion seat with a tray!)

Verdict: Yes. It's a must.

Update: Norah is 14 months and I still use it occasionally. She's definitely getting too big for it, but it works for those times when I need her to be still for a minute (like if I'm putting things in the oven or something). It's stable enough that she can't move in it or tip it over. You can use it for so long- you should get it for sure!

3. Baby Einstein Sea Life Door Jumper- The link is slightly different than the picture because I couldn't find the exact one Norah has. Norah hasn't had this for super long, but I like it. We got it because she loved jumping in her Baby Einstein Activity Jumper so much that we thought she would love it. I wondered if it would be safe, but it seems very sturdy. If your baby loves jumping, this would be great. The only problem is it takes up a doorway. 

Verdict: Yes.

Update: Norah never really liked this, but I think we got it too late. She was already used to her other jumper, so she never took to this one. Hopefully our next kids will like it!

8 months + (approximately):

These next two items are Norah's newest toys, and she is loving them!

1. V-Tech Sit-to-Stand Walker- We ordered this as a more "grown-up" toy for Norah. You can sit on the floor and play with it, and also learn to walk! You can also take off the toy board and just set that on the ground too as a flat surface. Norah loves it- it's her new favorite thing! There are lots of different things to do on it. I looked at lots of walker toys online, and to me, this one looked most interesting/had the most to do. 

Verdict: Yes, would recommend, Norah loves playing with this!

Update: Now that Norah walks independently, she doesn't enjoy this as much anymore, but for a few months she played with it almost daily. She loved it!

2. Bright Starts Havin' A Ball Activity Table- I can't believe this is discontinued already! I also researched lots of activity tables before purchasing, and this one looked like it had lots to do on it, with a variety of things. I also thought Norah would love the ball aspect, and she does! Can't believe she is old enough to use this! She can stand relatively well with hands on something, but not by herself yet, so this table is perfect for now and for her to grow into. You can also take the table legs off and have it be a flat base on the ground. Norah is loving it! So many things to keep her entertained.

Verdict: Yes, would recommend.

Update: Norah really enjoyed this table for months also! It was a good purchase.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

With influence comes responsibility.

Before I blogged about my worries about raising Norah, but today I am writing about the great joy and opportunity it is. They kind of go hand in hand, right? You worry about your kids and love them all at the same time. Playing the "what-if" game is a dangerous thing. It's a daily battle of surrendering Norah back to the Lord, because she is really His and not ours. (How amazing that God would entrust us to raise His babies!)

Today my devotions were talking about being a good leader and how leaders have influence. It made me think about Norah and how much influence Kley and I have over her life. My favorite line from my reading was "with influence comes responsibility."

That is a weighty sentence, but when I read that, I was filled with joy. He always knew that I would be Norah's mom, and He chose ME, out of every woman in the world, for that calling.

Raising Norah is an enormous responsibility, but I am grateful for the influence I have over her life. There are so many neat experiences coming and things I want to teach Norah:
-Colors, numbers, shapes, etc.
-How to read
-Picking out books at the library
-Going to the pool
-Baking cookies
-Trick-or-treating at Halloween
-Celebrating holidays where she is old enough to understand what/why we are celebrating
-Riding a bike

I could go on and on. Also, things like picking out her prom dress and driving a car, but that's WAY to far ahead to think about yet!

Most of all, my biggest prayer is that one day we will be able to take part in watching Norah accept Jesus into her heart and getting baptized.

Being a mom is great.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Norah- Eight Months.

Norah is 8 months! People were commenting a lot this month about how grown-up she looks! People are also saying that her hair is lightening and that she looks more like daddy. What a big girl- she started wearing 12 month clothes at 7.5 months! Norah is such a sweet baby and is generally very happy. Being alone is what makes her most upset, but when she is with/near us, she’s as happy as can be!

Norah started out the month working on her two front teeth. We could tell something was happening, because she was drooling more and chewing on everything, but they didn’t start to come in until the end of the month. At 7.5 months, we could see them coming in before we could feel them. On June 14, we felt the top right tooth, and on June 21 felt the top left. The last week before she turned 8 months, she had a very sore bottom and loose BM’s from the teething.

We had our first sickness this month, and we are thankful she handled it so well! She had a virus for about 2 weeks, but was only really sick for a week. It started with nose running, eye drainage, and a low grade fever, then turned into a 101.5 fever with a bad cough/runny nose. We took her in to the doctor and she was tested for strep and ear infection, but they said it was just viral and would run its course. Thankful to be done with that! She did so well with being sick- she hated having her nose wiped, but other than that was pretty happy!

Norah is on a wonderful schedule; she does so well that it’s pretty easy to care for her, thankfully! She is such a good baby! Gramie always calls Norah a “dream baby!” She sleeps from about 10-8:30 or 9. She nurses 4 times a day (around 9, 2, 5, and before bed). She has vegetables/cereal for lunch around 12 and fruit/cereal for dinner around 8:30. She usually takes three naps a day- late morning, afternoon, and early evening- for about 45 minutes. She will occasionally take two longer ones. She is starting to eat a few actual solids. She can eat very small pieces of puffs, bread, or soft fruit, but still gags often. She is now getting much better at sippy cups! She still needs help tipping it up, but can actually drink from it now.

Norah is really interactive and curious. I love watching her when we go places because she looks around and takes everything in. Norah loves to empty buckets and throw her toys all over. She loves to be outside and go for stroller walks or to the pool! She can pull herself up to her knees, and so far has only pulled herself up to stand once on June 16. She can get on all fours and wiggle back and forth, and reach for something, but no crawling yet. She rolls around a lot and can scoot herself a little. She still enjoys taking a bath every night and loves to feel the water come out of the faucet. She is also still a thumb sucker. She reaches her arms out to be picked up and responds to her name. She can say “baba” and “mama,” but they are just babbling sounds. We are still doing some baby sign language words, but she hasn’t responded back yet. Her favorite toys are stacking cups/rings, phones (play or real- ha!), or music toys. She loves to grab jewelry and suck on necklaces, and is getting really good at giving high-fives! She hates getting her fingernails cut! We got her an activity table and walker toy this month, and she is really enjoying playing with those!

I wrote the first paragraphs this morning, the day before she turned 8 months, and just tonight she did so many things! She ate a serving size of bread during dinner without gagging once, she sat up by herself (from laying down to sitting) twice, and she signed her first word- up! Amazing job, Norah! We love you so much! Being your parents is the best!

(Norah was not in the mood for modeling today. These pictures don't reflect her usual happiness! She was grumpy, did not want to sit still, and all she wanted was to rip/crumple the sticker.)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Happy Father's Day 2015.

Today is Father's Day (or yesterday, since it's being published today). It's like Kley gets two first Father's Days, because we celebrated last year when we were pregnant, and now we are celebrating his first with Norah. What a special day.

Kley enjoyed breakfast in bed. (He loves breakfast foods and I don't make them near enough.)

We made it to church after a rushed morning (our church switched to one summer service at an earlier time), and honestly, my head was filled with worry. Sometimes my mommy brain goes overboard and I feel overwhelmed. We brought Norah to the nursery during the sermon, and it didn't go very well. I could hear her screaming from where we were sitting. 

Sometimes doing things that are good for your children are hard. I just want to cuddle her forever, but going to the nursery is good for her. I want her to be able to interact and be okay with people outside of our family. It's good for Kley and I to be able to listen to a sermon without trying to entertain her. Though, sometimes I have a really hard time concentrating because all I can think about is if she is doing okay.

I don't want to make the nursery volunteers deal with a screaming baby. Then, thinking about that made me overwhelmed with the rest of her life. Raising a child is a huge responsibility. A good one, but immense. What if she grows up to be ungrateful? Selfish? Rude? Mean? What if she goes to preschool and people think she is unpleasant to be around?

I certainly hope that doesn't happen, but I know that there will be temporary moments of that. Norah has a sinful nature, as we all do, and it's our job to teach her what gratefulness means, how to use good manners, how to interact positively with others. I want Norah to grow up to be selfless, caring, loving, serving, kind, generous, encouraging, and so many other things.

Needless to say, after my worries carried on through the sermon, the last song definitely hit home for me. "Lord I need you, oh, I need you. Every hour I need you....Jesus, you're my hope and stay." I definitely need Him every hour.

I told Kley about what I was thinking. One of Kley's biggest strengths is positivity and he is the best encourager. He always knows the exact thing I need to hear and is so good at making me feel better. He is so good at speaking His truth to me.

I tell you about my worries because it leads me to Kley- the best dad around.

I don't worry about Kley as a father at all. I have full confidence in him and I am so grateful to have a him as a partner to share parenthood with. 

He is so good with Norah. He is a natural father. He is comfortable taking care of her and he truly enjoys it. Norah loves him so much and it's so special to see them together. Kley can get Norah to laugh like no one else can, and when she sees him come home she almost shakes with excitement. 

I know that Kley will teach Norah right from wrong, will lead her towards Jesus, and will model Christ-like living.

Norah is a very blessed girl because she has the best daddy ever.

Also, I am very thankful for my father and father-in-law. Both are wonderfully amazing men and we are all blessed to have them in our lives. Dad, thanks for teaching me about Christ and investing time in me. I want to parent Norah like you parented me growing up.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

House Tour- Guest Bedroom.

Welcome to our guest bedroom! (You can view the other room in our house here, if you'd like.)

Having a guest room is such a special blessing, especially when you have family that lives out of town! We have already had this room occupied several times since living here. We love it!

Kley's parents gave us the headboard from their old house, and we got a new mattress/box springs. The two nightstands are from Target, and the two dressers are from Kraai Furniture, the local store in town. The two dressers are probably the biggest furniture purchase we bought ourselves for this house! We were very fortunate to get a lot of furniture from Kley's parents as they were moving/downsizing. I am glad we bought them- it makes the room look more complete. The chair is an old one we had in our apartment. We actually didn't have anywhere else to put it in the house, and it fit nicely in here, I think! Also, the bedding is from our room in our apartment- old from Pottery Barn.

We don't have a lot of art/decorations in the room, but what we do have I love. This giraffe picture above the bed is from my dad when I was in 8th grade. It's a Thomas Mangelsen, a photographer we both love. 

This is a painting my great grandma painted, and I love that it is one of the things I got from her. She passed away just a few days before Norah was born at 106 years old. She was a special lady!

Here is a photo DURING the move-in process. Somehow I missed a before picture. Oops.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Swimming with Norah.

While we were in Des Moines, we got to go swimming at the Groen's house! Stephanie and her boyfriend, Chris, were home for the weekend. It was fun to see them and to get Norah in the pool!

It was a humid day out and their pool was heated, so Norah loved it and just lounged in her floaty. So cute.

Norah and daddy- not the best picture, but the only one I got.

A typical scene when Norah is around- everyone staring at her. :)

Can't wait for more summer fun in the pool!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Rose's bridal shower in Des Moines!

We are in Des Moines for a week, and it's so nice to be here and see family and friends! One of the main reasons we came was for Rose's bridal shower. My mom, sisters, and I hosted and it was super fun. Rose is marrying my brother, Keaton, in July. Can't believe the wedding is almost here and my little brother is getting married!

It was a great shower and Rose got to meet a lot of the Des Moines friends. They will be living in Des Moines after they get married, which I am selfishly incredibly happy about because then we can see them when we visit.

My best friend, Stephanie, was able to come to the shower also, because she was home for the weekend from DC! Yay!

The Groen girls are like my sisters- Erica, Stephanie, and Whitney. 


All the Schut ladies.

My sisters/mom came up with some really neat decorations! They looked so good. I planned the games. We played "guess the love song" and wedding jeopardy. 

I think the shower was a success! Rose, we are thrilled to welcome you to the family!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Norah Instagram pics.