Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter 2016 (part one).

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter! What a wonderful celebration we have in that Christ died for our sins and rose again!

We got to see lots of family this weekend, so it was wonderful! My brother and sister-in-law came for the weekend, and my dad ended up coming up as a surprise too! We took Norah to a local egg hunt and to see the Easter bunny. She wasn't too into the eggs, but more into just watching all the other kids.

She has recently learned to furrow her brow and it's so funny. "What is going on?" she says.

The reality of this is sad that Norah was so scared, but the pictures are hilarious. Norah was absolutely not a fan.

This one is even more funny. Get me out of there! (Don't worry- she recovered quickly and actually enjoyed looking at him from a distance.)

Bunny ears!

(Norah took a face tumble on the driveway, so she looks a little beat up.)

We all went to Le Mars for ice cream (it's the ice cream capital of the world!), and they had this photo booth where we took advantage of taking an embarrassing pictures that Norah will be sure to hate when she gets older. We love it, however.

And we took a good one, too.

Claps for Uncle Keaton and Aunt Rose coming!

Grandpa and Keaton. Grandpa wanted to share "The Avalanche" so they had quite a bit of ice cream! My grandma is the biggest ice cream fan you will ever find.

The whole bunch.

Norah with her great grandparents! She actually gave both of them a hug before we left, which was so cute.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Interesting links.

7 Netflix documentaries worth watching- I have not watched any of these, but looks interesting!

Simplifying Childhood- I had seen several people post about this article, so I finally read it and I'm glad I did. It said that affluent children show some of the same coping mechanisms to feel safe as children in war zones, because they are exposed to too much (of everything- information, activities, etc.) and they don't know how to process. The article talked about protecting/simplifying childhood and fighting for down time/free play.

Sea World Announcement- Have you seen this? Wow. We weren't really in the know about orca breeding until we watched the documentary Blackfish about a year ago, but Sea World just announced that this is the last generation of orcas they will have because they will no longer breed them. I saw a FB video about this announcement that ended with, "We heard you." Interesting!

2 kids share Easter story- You need to watch these two kids share the Easter story. It's amazing and beautiful.

Crazy things kids have done- I pray my children don't do these things. Though, the first one (carving "I love my dad" into the car with a screwdriver) is my favorite and hilarious, yet bad.

Top 10 funny baby videos- This is not my top 10 list, just one I found, but who doesn't love laughing babies?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Norah- Seventeen Months.

Norah, we tell you regularly that you are the best baby in the whole world and it's true! You are growing and we are really enjoying seeing your thought processes being displayed more. You are learning new ways to communicate often! She is still wearing size 4 diapers and 24 month/2T clothes.

Schedule/Eating: Norah has officially switched to one nap (at the end of the month). I'm sure there will be a day here and there where she takes two if we are on the go or something and they are shorter, but you are a one nap girl now! The transition went smoothly. I did panic a few times and wonder what to do, but if we are patient and just follow your clues, you know when you are ready. It was a few months of transition, but more and more you started to take one. If we laid you down for a second, you would usually not sleep, and if you did it would take you a long time to fall asleep and then we would have to wake you and you wouldn't fall asleep at night quickly. All in all, Norah is an awesome sleeper! She sleeps from about 10-9 at night and from about 1-3 in the afternoon. Sometimes it's a little shorter, sometimes longer.

Norah got hand, foot, & mouth at the end of the month (poor baby), which made her loose her appetite, but it's starting to come back. Sometimes Norah eats pretty well, and other times needs encouragement. She's not really picky, but sometimes will like something and other times not. Her favorite food is cheese, and she loves to get snacks out of the kitchen jars (usually pretzels, teddy grahams, or goldfish).

Teeth: 14th tooth- top left canine on 2/24.

Developments: It's so much fun to watch Norah play and to see her thinking come out in what she is doing. She loves to play with her baby and will take her for walks and put her in her high chair to eat. The other day we were playing with pom-poms in the basement, and Norah started going upstairs and was babbling about something. I didn't understand what she was saying, but she went right to the cupboard and took out a mixing bowl and brought it back downstairs. About two months ago, she was playing with pom-poms in the kitchen and I let her put them in those bowls. She remembered that and wanted to do it again! She knew exactly where they were and how to get it. We were so impressed! We regularly say that Norah is advanced. (I know we are biased parents, but of course we think you are the smartest!) Seeing her thinking come alive and watching her understand is so neat. She is a pretty good listener!

Words: Norah is getting better at communicating all the time. She regularly signs eat, more, up, please, and bath. New words she learned this month were down, water (wah-wah), dog, car, and walk (along with the many she already says like baby, ball, bye bye, dada, grandpa (ba-pa), hi, up, hot, please, wow, belly button (bah-bah), Daisy- my parent's dog, and Ainsley- a friend). She's also gotten better at saying different family names (like Karlie, Kayla, Brett, and she said Biz-beh for Elizabeth once!). She understands a lot of what we are saying and the sequence of events, like going outside means getting shoes on, etc.

Favorites: Norah wants to be up on our level to see what's going on. She's always liked being held, but now wants to sit up on the counters, whether that's in the bathroom getting ready or in the kitchen cooking. (And she especially likes being on the counter in the kitchen to sneak treats!) Norah loves her Bitty Baby doll, going outside and walking around, flipping through books, balls, and listening to Daddy play guitar in the basement/going down her slide. She likes to put on/play with my chapstick, give her friends hugs, wipe things, and stir things, which involves a lot of loud playing with measuring spoons and bowls. We love you, Norah!

These are probably the worst photos of Norah I've ever taken, but it's what we got- sometimes it happens! She was in a really grumpy mood today. She's recovering from hand, foot, & mouth and has a cold on top of that. So, you can see her rash on her face and her nose running- a lovely sight. Also, she is totally wearing her "let it snow" shirt one more time because it's snowing here today. Boo.

This is her newest face she makes whenever she isn't sure about something. It's hilarious.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Airplane tips for flying with littles.

Hello! We recently got back from sunny and warm Arizona. (Though, it is feeling more like spring here in Iowa now so I am not complaining at all!) I researched a lot before the trip about plane tips for traveling with young kids, so I thought I would share about our experience now that we've done it.

I didn't get any pictures on my real camera of Norah on the plane, because on the way there I was frantically trying to buy milk for Norah before getting on board, and on the way home we almost missed our flight because of long lines. But, we made it both times and it went well! Thankfully Norah did great. She got a little restless at times, and also refused to sleep even though she was so tired, but we can't complain. She was overall very happy and played well on the plane. I was worried about her ears hurting/popping, but it didn't seem to be a problem. 

Here we are getting off the plane. You did it, Norah!

Here are a few flying tips we discovered:

1. Choose what time of day to fly that works best for your family. I know you don't always get your exact preference, but you can choose to an extent. I read on several blogs that they recommend taking red eye flights with young kids because they will sleep, but that personally sounds terrible to me. I would much rather fly during the day (hopefully over a nap time, but Norah didn't sleep on the plane anyways), so we can keep her night schedule as consistent as possible. I would rather have a messed up nap than a messed up night. But that's just me, you have to choose what works for you!

2. Make sure you have something to drink/chew for take off and landing- this helps with the ears. Thankfully, we were able to buy milk at the airport on the way there, and on the way home they let me take her milk through security without dumping it out. Yay! Norah also enjoyed eating the snack mix the flight attendants handed out. (I had other snacks, but this new and exciting snack was way better apparently.)

3. Try to have everything you will need, or think you will need, during the flight in a reachable place, so you aren't trying to grab things from overhead storage. 

4. Since Norah is under 2, she could have been a lap child, but Kley's parents were very generous and got Norah her own seat because they wanted her to be as comfortable as possible. We checked her car seat, because they are so large (wider than the airplane seat), even thought we could have taken it on board. My mother-in-law got her the Cares Airplane Safety Harness. It was better than nothing and I'm glad we had it, but I think it would work better on a bigger child. Norah was on the very low end of the weight limit, and since there wasn't any strap between her legs she kept sliding down. Also, the strap that goes around the seat would loosen as the trip went on. But, I do think this is a neat product and if you travel a lot I think it would be great. Norah has at least one other flight planned in the neat future, so we will use it again.

5. We had a copy of Norah's birth certificate along, but we were never required to show it since Norah had her own ticket. Not exactly sure why, but I will for sure always bring it just in case. 

And now to my favorite part- airplane toys you should definitely bring! This is what Norah loved on the plane:

1. Hot Wheels Cars- These were so entertaining, and great that they are small! Norah loved driving them around her seat/on the armrests, and just taking them in and out of the container. 

2. Travel Magna-Doodle- So perfect for scribbling/erasing and repeat, repeat, repeat. And no mess!

3. Crayola Mini Twistable Crayons- I like the twistable crayons better than regular because they are just easier- less breakable, less waxy, and less actual crayon for them to put in their mouth. (Norah has done so great with not putting things in her mouth that aren't food, but crayons must just look delicious to her.) The mini ones are nice for travel because they are smaller, and thus more portable. They also sell them in this nice travel case with paper if you like that!

(I put the hot wheels cars and the crayons in those plastic containers that the crystal light packets come in. It worked perfectly and they are such a nice size!)

4. Coloring books- To go with the crayons, obviously. Also, those coloring packs that you can get in the dollar section that comes with a small coloring book/crayons/stickers are awesome. 

5. Ipad- We don't let Norah use the Ipad too often, but it can be great during traveling. A separate post on my favorite apps later!

6. Touch and feel books- Any favorite touch and feel/lift the flap books. Or bring a new one for a surprise! This is one of Norah's favorites.

7. Magnet books- There are lots of magnet books out there, but Norah has Magnetic Farm and Magnetic Noah's Ark. I love them because they close tightly shut so none of the magnets can fall out, and they are also small enough to fit easily in the diaper bag. Some of the magnets are small though, so if you have a young one that still puts things in their mouth you'll have to be careful. (They are from Lee Publications.)

8. Alex Toys Touch and Feel Alphabet Cards- I got these just for this trip as something new. They weren't her absolute favorite like some of these other items, but they were still nice to have! The images are bright and colorful, and the touch and feel part is neat. The box they come in is a nice carrying case for them with a velcro flap.
9. Also, bring a slinky and a flashlight. My MIL brought those and, for some reason, they were awesome. That crazy slinky gave us minutes of entertainment several times, which is a big deal on a small plane. The flashlight she brought had several different settings (like where the handle could light up too and/or blink), and Norah liked that as well.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

I haven't forgotten about my favorite one of them all.

Since Norah was born, I have posted/blogged about Norah much more than Kley, but I haven't forgotten about my favorite one of them all!

Kley, you have many wonderful qualities and I am so thankful to be married to you. It is truly my biggest earthly blessing. 

Thank you for:

Getting on the floor and playing with Norah
Always being able to make both of us laugh
Reading the Bible after supper
Being more in-the-moment and not getting wrapped up in to-do lists like I can
Doing an amazing job of not speaking in anger or frustration
Willingness to help
Eagerness to listen
Doing the dishes/giving Norah a bath every night
Working so hard so I can stay home
Caring about your clients- I like hearing about what you do and your heart for it/them
Telling me that you love me

These are just some of the things. I am grateful for you, I appreciate you, and I love you.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Arizona trip (part 4).

(This is the last Arizona post. I promise.)

Our week in Arizona has been wonderful- can't believe it's almost over! It's been so fun to enjoy time together and do fun activities!

We had a little Bananagrams action one night.

Kley, Elizabeth, Brett, and I took a Segway tour of Old Town Scottsdale and it was so much fun! It did take a bit to get used to the Segway and I was much more timid than Kley while riding, but I loved it. Such a unique experience! I'm so glad we did it. And Old Town Scottsdale was so great to see! What a beautiful town.

In the afternoon we took Norah to MacDonald's Ranch. I'm glad we went and it was fun, but I wouldn't say it was my absolute favorite. Norah was a bit young for it. Also, a few years back Kley had an allergic reaction to a horse (we thought), and it was definitely confirmed today. He didn't even touch the horse and he was sneezing up a storm after. No more horses for Kley!

This was a fun place to go and it was set up like an old western town. I think their big specialty are trail rides, which would be fun for older kids. For younger kids, they had a petting zoo, pony rides, and a game area. We stayed for a little over an hour and that was the perfect amount- I don't think you could spend a super long time there. But, it's free (besides a tip for the pony ride), so that's awesome!

Norah and Daddy!

Norah didn't mind looking at the animals, but didn't want to be too close and definitely didn't want to touch.

We didn't think Norah would actually ride the pony, but she did! Brave girl. You could tell she was scared, but she warmed up a bit by the end. Way to go, Norah!

For supper we went back to Old Town and ate at Grimaldi's Pizza, which was delicious.

Then we went across the street to the Sugar Bowl, which is a classic old ice cream parlor. Would recommend both places!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Arizona trip (part 3).

We went on a short hike and took Norah with, which didn't turn out too well. Thankfully the trail wasn't too long and it was pretty flat, because Norah wanted down! Oh well!

Views from the trail.

In the afternoon we went to Butterfly Wonderland. Norah was so intrigued by the butterflies flying all around and loved looking at them/wandering around the greenhouse. There was also a little 3D movie about butterflies, and Norah sat so still for a few minutes and didn't take her glasses off, which was amazing! It only lasted about 5 minutes, but she was staring so intently at the screen.

Norah's face watching the butterflies fly around her!

They were everywhere and it was so pretty!

For dinner we went to Fogo de Chao, a super nice Brazilian steakhouse that is Kley's absolute favorite. Glad we got a family picture with everyone!