Saturday, August 29, 2015

Creating a "yes" environment.

I feel like the title of this post is sort of cliche, and I know I've heard that term from some teaching class/training somewhere, but it fits.

Before Norah started moving, I had the extremely naive thought that I would just "train my children really well so they don't get into anything they shouldn't." I logically knew that wasn't truly possible, but a part of me still dreamed it could be.

Now Norah is crawling and pulling herself up on everything. Her favorite thing is to empty things or take something apart. So, needless to say, we have had to rearrange a few things.

It's easy to dream about the future when you haven't experienced it yet, and it's also easy to look back on your past thoughts and think it's crazy that you used to think a certain way. Funny how God works and uses your experiences, isn't it?

So, Norah has two different toy areas, outside of her room. One is in the living room, and one is in the office/den. Her living room area is close to the TV stand, where we had some DVDs sitting out on the little shelf underneath, easily within reach. It's also not close to, but in the same room, as the fireplace. Her toy area in the office/den is close to a bookshelf, where I had books on the bottom.

Silly me for thinking that would work. I went through a few weeks of trying to keep Norah away from those things, and redirecting her back to her toys often. Way more often than I wanted to. Children are incredibly perceptive at a very young age. Norah knows that by trying to pull off the books/DVDs, she gets my attention, which is what she wants.

She is 10 months, so she doesn't really understand what "no" means yet or why I wouldn't want her to play with something. So, this week I rearranged those two problem areas, and it's been a beautiful solution for the both of us. It's way more of a "yes" space than a "no" space.

Not that I am against saying no to your child. There are certain situations in which that is perfectly acceptable, and even needed. For instance, our fire place. Norah does the same thing- try to crawl up and touch it- because she knows it gets attention. I can't move the fireplace, and I don't want her to ever think it's okay to touch it (even when it's not on), because she doesn't realize when it's on or not, and I don't want her to get burned. That's a situation where I will say no and move her away every single time.

But, on the other hand, those two areas with the books and DVDs don't have to be "no" areas. Could I have left it the way it was and continued to redirect her away? Sure. And if that's what you want to do in your own situations, that's fine. For me, it's worked so much better for both Norah and I, to recreate the space. It's more usable for her, and it was a pretty simple fix to turn the "no" area into a "yes" area.

Mom/teacher friends, what have you done to make a "no" area a "yes" one?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Surprise at the fair!

My best friend, Stephanie, lives in DC and she is home working/visiting family in Des Moines for a week. At first, we didn't think we would be able to see her, but Norah and I ended up rearranging some plans and making it work!

We drove down Sunday morning and met up with our families at the Iowa State Fair and surprised her! It was such a great surprise and an absolutely beautiful day at the fair. Unfortunately Kley wasn't able to come with, but other than that it was a perfect day!

Norah is never lacking attention!

We love Stephanie!

The crew.

Aunt Kayla feeding Norah.

Norah is super pumped for the fair!

Norah wouldn't cooperate for a picture, but she gave Stephanie a present in letting her hold her without crying. 

Sky Glider.

Norah seeing a goat with Uncle Keaton.


A bad picture of the butter cow.


(Norah was a trooper! She had a rough time going to sleep, but other than that was perfect! She didn't cry once at the fair and handled short naps and long car rides so well. Way to go!)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Five years.

August 14 was our five year anniversary. Most times I can't believe it's already been five years, and I think that's a good sign. For the most part, they have been extremely wonderful years and I can't wait to have many more.

Kley, you are the best partner for me and I am so glad that God hand picked us to be together and always knew we would be. In some ways we are similar and in some ways we are very different, and I am so thankful that both of those things unite us and also balance us. 

There are so many things I could say about you, and I think that's the highest compliment- I could go on and on about how great you are, how you are a good husband and father, and how proud I am to be your wife.

This last year has been full of many changes- graduating law school, quitting my job, moving, buying a house, and having Norah. It was/is an adjustment sometimes, but it is good. I wouldn't have it any other way, and I am so glad that you are a constant and we got to do all those things together.

I love you, Kley. Happy five years. You're the best.

Five years ago on our wedding day.

The day Norah was born.

The most recent family picture, on our anniversary (at my sister-in-law's wedding).

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Norah- Ten Months.

Norah is 10 months! Sometimes it’s hard to notice how much she is changing because we see her everyday, but other people comment often that she is looking so grown up, and when we look back at pictures, we can definitely tell! Norah, you are growing up so, and it’s such a joy to be able to watch it unfold everyday.

Norah became even more active this month! She can crawl more quickly (at lightning speed, we sometimes say), and is into more things. She has always been inquisitive, curious, and attentive to details, but now her physical capabilities are catching up to that. Norah can pull herself up easily and quickly on almost anything, and she loves to stand up. She isn’t making attempts to walk yet, but wouldn’t be surprised if that comes soon! Norah learned that knobs are there for a purpose this month, and loves to open any drawers or pull things off shelves she can reach. She loves to use her pincher grip and touch/examine almost everything.

Norah’s language is also developing rapidly. She really tries to copy what people are saying. We have thought we heard dada, hot, look, and goodbye (she didn’t really say those words, but made good attempts to say them after she heard one of us say it). She sometimes signs up or more, but that’s about it with sign language.

Norah will eat pretty much anything, which is great! She is a good eater. She doesn’t really like carrots, and will often spit them out, and didn’t like mandarin oranges either. Other than that, she has eaten everything. She still eats mostly baby food for her meals, but is getting much better at eating solid foods. She shows lots of interest, and eats small bites of what we are eating at meals/snacks, in addition to her regular meals.

Norah still nurses four times a day (wake up, mid-afternoon, late afternoon, and before bed), and eats three meals (yogurt for breakfast, vegetables/protein for lunch, and fruit for dinner, with milk and cereal mixed with the food). She takes two naps a day, right after lunch and again late afternoon. Her first nap is usually about 2 hours, and the second about 1.5 hours. She sleeps from about 10-8:30 at night. We are thankful for a good, consistent sleeper!

Norah got her 7th tooth this month, bottom left lateral incisor, on August 9. We noticed her chewing on toys directly on that spot, but other than that it was a pretty easy tooth to come in. Norah’s favorite trick this month is “so big.” She loves it! She also gives high fives and kisses. She used to wave, but doesn’t really do that anymore. Norah’s favorite things are being held, taking a bath, following mommy around, crawling, and emptying every drawer/shelf/toy bin she can get ahold of.  She especially loves swinging! We love you so much. Norah!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Brett and Elizabeth's wedding!

Brett and Elizabeth are married! (For those of you who don't know, Elizabeth is my sister-in-law.) It was a wonderful day and everything turned out so nice! All three of us were in it, so it was a big day, but it was so fun and we were honored to be a part of it! I was the matron of honor, Kley was a groomsman and did the music (during the ceremony, and did a few songs with cousins at the reception), and Norah was the flower girl!

Unfortunately, we didn't get very many pictures because we were in it, but here are the ones we got.

Bridal party getting our nails done! 

Rehearsal pictures.

Norah loves her Aunt Elizabeth!

Getting ready.

Tables at the reception.

Head table.

Bride getting ready!

All three of us walking down the aisle. Kley and I got to walk together, which was special, and it was also our five year anniversary!

Elizabeth walking down the aisle. She looked so beautiful!

Kley singing some worship songs during the ceremony.

It was such a beautiful, God-centered ceremony. My favorite thing that the pastor said at the end of his message was that "we can love each other rightly, because Jesus loved us perfectly."

Our family!


Dessert table.

Guest book table.

In the entryway, they had the neatest display of "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" using a lot of things from their grandparents' weddings. It was a very special touch!

Mother/son, father/daughter dance.

All in all, it was such a wonderful day! We are so excited for you, Brett and Elizabeth, and we love you so much!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

An Ordinary Feast- A Simply Tuesday repost.

I read this post entitled An Ordinary Feast this morning from this blog that I follow, and I thought it was so good that I wanted to repost it.

She's talking about how it's simply Tuesday, because the book Simply Tuesday comes out today, and about how it's thunderstorming there and she's not getting anything done that she wanted, but she's trying to soak up the feast that is before her of watching her kids enjoy (or try to enjoy, in the midst of the we-are-sick-of-each-other-and-being-cramped-up-inside-from-the-rain fighting) their last few days of summer.

Sometimes I feel like that too, like I am not getting done what I wanted or accomplishing any tasks with tangible results, but I'm glad to know I'm not the only one that sometimes gets caught up.

I want to slow down and enjoy the moments. Norah won't be a baby forever, so it's completely okay if her toys are strewn all over and she just wants me to lay on the floor so she can climb all over me.

In fact, isn't that what my life's all about? That's pretty amazing, and I wouldn't trade being a human jungle gym for anything else.

(By the way, have you heard of Simply Tuesday? I have heard several different people mention it, along with blogs I follow, so I am excited to hopefully read it soon! It sounds really good- check it out!)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Wedding dresses with Karlie.

Norah and I made a quick trip to Des Moines earlier this week to watch my sister, Karlie, try on WEDDING DRESSES! It was a wonderful time and I am so glad we were able to be a part of it. 

Karlie, you will be the most beautiful bride! Can't wait for all the planning and festivities to come!

The crew (from left to right)-Amy, Erica (best friend and her mom), Nancy (future mother-in-law), stunning bride-to-be, mother of the bride, sister Kayla, sister-in-law Rose, and Norah and I!

(She found one and it looks amazing!)