Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Happy Father's Day 2016.

Happy Father's Day! I am so grateful for the Godly grandpas, dad, father-in-law, and my own husband as a father that I have in my life as examples. Parenthood is such a weighty responsibility and I am so thankful that these men have embraced that responsibility with loving devotion.

I always dreamed about watching my husband play with our children, and it's more than a dream come true to watch Kley play with Norah. I know several people this year that are experiencing sadness on this day and I grieve for them, and that also reminds me to be so thankful for the gift that I have in my family, especially in Kley.

Kley, thank you for loving Norah and I so well. It is our greatest earthly gift. Thank you for pointing us back to Him through the way you love us.

Despite this picture, Norah was actually very excited to give Dada her card!

We had a big family get together in the afternoon, and Mary has a bounce house! So fun!

Norah loved getting to see Aunt Elizabeth!

And can you believe we got FOUR good pictures of Norah smiling? Amazing!

I love this one!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Norah- Twenty Months.

Norah is 20 months! What a big girl you are becoming! It is a joy to watch your personality develop and shine through. You are sweet and caring- you met some babies this month and were so gentle and loving to them. You love seeing your friends (in small group settings), and playing with/around them. Along with showing such sweetness, you've also developed a little sass in throwing more intense tantrums. They don't happen too often, but you have a loud, angry, forced scream when something really sets you off.

Poor Norah was sick again twice this month with pink eye and food poisoning. I feel like we are just adding every sickness possible to the list in the last six months. The pink eye wasn't a big deal, but the food poisoning set you back a few days, including vomiting 12 times one night and a trip to the ER to make sure you weren't dehydrated. Thankfully everything turned out fine and you are better now!

Schedule/Eating: There are definitely no complaints about Norah's schedule, we can actually rave about it! Norah consistently sleeps through the night (except when sick) from about 10-9, and takes about a 2-2.5 hour nap in the afternoon at 1:30. She is a pretty good eater. I wouldn't say she eats a ton compared to other kids her age, but is growing and at the top of the charts, so is obviously getting enough! Her favorite food is still cheese, and noodles are a recent favorite. We used to have to encourage her to take more bites, but recently has been eating more- in quantity and in independence.

Developments: Norah likes stacking things and knocking them over. She can identify many animals and some sounds. She understands that books and other things have letters that mean something. We have practiced a few letters, but she says that everything is letter A, sometimes Y. We've been practicing colors and she can repeat them, but are working on identifying. She loves to count and knows a few numbers (basically 1-9), but says them in random order and 2, 5, 6 are favorites. She understands the concept of two and know when she is holding two things. Her hair is getting longer and she gets annoyed if it's in her face, and she also likes my hair to be out of the way if she is laying her head on my shoulder. She is also starting to poop on the potty more! She's done it several times near the end of the month. Sometimes it's my noticing cues and asking her, and a few times she's brought it up on her own.

Words: We have lost track of all the words Norah is saying. Kley sometimes says that I can understand her better than he can, but I reassure him that's only because I'm with her more. Norah is starting to say words more clearly. She understands quite well and is a pretty good listener. I can trust her not to go into the street or to touch things she shouldn't. It's fun to watch her start to differentiate things, like she loves to point out cars vs. trucks. Sometimes she associates the wrong word with something, but it's so cute, like whenever someone is mowing, she shouts out, “lawn!” over and over instead of mower. Sometimes we call her a parrot because she repeats everything (careful what you say!). Her recent favorite things to say are, “Don't cry.” to her babies, “Wow, amazing!” whenever she likes something, and “Funny!” when she thinks something is funny or others laugh. She loves to say Marley (the neighbor's dog), and observe whatever he's doing. Her favorite words are probably Dada, Mama, dog, car, bye, and outside.

Favorites: Norah's favorite job is to throw things away, especially when she gets to go into the garage and throw something into the recycling. She loves to look at books and watch a nursery rhyme video on our phones whenever she can grab them (we are trying to be careful about limited screen time). Wheels on the bus is still her favorite for sure! She absolutely loves to go outside and wants to go out all the time. She loves swimming, in her own little pool and the big pool. She even loves the water slide this year! She's also had fun in her water table and the sprinkler. She still loves the swing, but not for as long as she used to because she wants to get up and climb all the playground equipment now. She climbs up and goes down the biggest slide at the park with no fear! She also loves to sweep (both inside and outside), help water the flowers, play with her baby, and play in her sandbox.

We love you, Norah! You're the best baby in the world and we're so glad you are ours!

I love how when she says, "Cheese!" really loudly she also closes her eyes.

A picture to prove that she really does love sweeping. (Though she does it upside down because it's easier to push that way, so she doesn't really actually sweep anything. Ha.)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sickness reflections.

I mentioned in my last post that Norah and I had food poisoning last week (wow, what a terrible thing), and I am so glad we are over it. Health is something I take for granted far too often. I am very thankful for a healthy family. Our bodies truly are miracles, each one a work of art!

Saturday (actually two Saturdays ago now that I'm posting this) I woke up in the night to Norah crying/whimpering. I looked on the monitor (I've heard other moms say they ditched their monitors and never looked back, but I am a lover of it!), and instantly saw that she had thrown up. Lovely. I went into her room and felt so terrible for her- she had a confused look on her face like, "What is the world is happening? What is all over me? Look at this. This is awful." I was equally feeling the awfulness, as I am not a vomit person. I will take snot or poop any day, but I just can't handle vomit. I was going to try to clean it up by myself, as Kley had to wake up for early to play on the worship team at church, but the smell basically blew my head back as soon as I opened the door. (I know you really want all these details). Anyways, let's just cut to the chase and say that I woke up Kley, we took shifts throughout the night, and poor Norah threw up 12 times that night. She was so tired after awhile that she would fall asleep on our laps and just wake up vomiting. After the first few times, she just quietly whined that she wanted to be all done over and over. It was the saddest thing.

Somewhere in the night I got it too, but not near as bad as Norah. Kley was so helpful in taking care of Norah while I laid in bed until around lunch when I could finally stand again. I felt better pretty quickly after that, but it took Norah a couple days.

On Monday morning I ended up bringing her to the ER, just to make sure she wasn't dehydrated. She had barely ate or drank in the last two days (and what she did mostly came back up), and she hadn't peed in 14 hours, or pooped in days. Thankfully, everything turned out fine and she perked up while actually in the ER. She finally started drinking and eating a little, which was so good. Monday morning she was laying on the floor, literally staring off moaning, and Monday lunch she seemed much more like her normal self. I've never been so excited to change a wet diaper in my life.

Anyways, I feel like this sickness grew me as a mom. My greatest take away is that I am so thankful that Norah trusts me (and Kley), and views us as a necessity and a comfort. I remember how much I looked to my mom to help me when I was sick while growing up, and now I understand as a mom myself how scary/sad it is to watch your baby to be sick and not know how to fix it or if you can fix it. I was really scared walking into the ER, not knowing what would happen, but Norah didn't know that. She held my hand and nuzzled her head into my shoulder and trusted that I would protect and comfort her. There are many times as a mom where I don't know what I am doing, but Norah thinks I do. Even if I can't physically fix it, I am so glad that I can be there to comfort.

Parents have a special comforting gift when their kids are sick. I thought my mom knew everything when I was young, and now Norah thinks I know everything. I prayed out loud over her body as she was throwing up, that He would bring healing. What a great opportunity to show our kids our dependence on Him (we definitely don't have strength to do this life alone!) and that we are surrendering to His sovereignty. Being there tells her that I see her, I will help her, and she doesn't have to go through this alone. And that's exactly what I want to teach her about Jesus too- He sees you, He will help you, and He will never leave you alone.

Norah, I am so glad you are healthy again!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Toddler summer items.

Summer is such a fun time for all the great outdoor activities! Here are a few summer toddler items Norah has:

-Step2 Duck Pond Water Table- There are so many fun looking water table options out there, it was so hard to pick one. I eventually just picked this one because it was a little cheaper than some other options. Norah has used it several times and has enjoyed it. I don't know who likes it more- her or me, water tables are just so fun!

Verdict: Yes. This water table is fun, but I'm sure there are other options out there that are good too- just having a water table in general is a summer must-have!

-Banzai Wiggling Water Sprinkler- This sprinkler looks so fun! I thought this looked more toddler appropriate because it has small, low sprays of water over a longer distance vs. traditional sprinklers that have a big, high burst of water. Norah enjoyed it! She liked running through it, and also grabbing individual wigglers and using it like a mini squirt gun. It's nice that you get wet, but not soaked.

Verdict: Pretty good. It's nice that you can adjust the level of the sprays by the water pressure (you can just have small streams for more cautious children, or if you turn the water on max it sprays a lot higher). The only problem is it's hard to keep it level. There are always a few that are spraying in weird directions or into the ground. I also thought that the water streams would be constantly wiggling, but they aren't. 

-Hawk's Nest Play Set- Norah's grandparents were very generous and got her a swing set for the backyard, and it was set up just in time for summer! She enjoys swinging often. We modified it a little bit by swapping out the rings for a baby swing until Norah gets older, which was a great decision. The big swings are also nice though, because they are very adjustable, so you can put them pretty low to the ground for beginners. We also left off the monkey bars portion, for now, because our yard isn't huge and Norah wouldn't use them for a few years anyways, and just filled in the hole with wood planks that matched.

Verdict: If you can afford it, swings sets are fun, but if you can't, hopefully you live close to a park! We have enjoyed this swing set so far and would recommend. It's very sturdy!

-Intex Fun Ballz- Norah doesn't have this exact set, but there are tons of companies that sell balls like this. I think these are great for outdoors, because you can use them for many things, and it's not a big deal if a few get broken or lost. We have put them in the pool (as pictured below), or they are always a hit to just set out in a big bucket when friends come over. What kid doesn't love throwing balls?

Verdict: Sure, fun to have, but not a must.

-Toysmith Pro-Ball Set- Again, Norah doesn't have this exact set, but something very similar. They are great because they are realistic looking, but small enough for tiny hands. I also like that they are rubber, instead of foam, so little pieces can't break off.

Verdict: Yes.

-Step2 Naturally Playful Sand Table- I love this table! There are a lot of water/sand tables combined, but I personally wanted them to be separate, and I'm glad we did. There are times where I will let Norah play in the sand, but I don't want her to get all wet, so it's nice to have them differentiated, and then it can be two different activities instead of one! I love that it's raised, so animals can't get in it easily (it also has a great lid with elastic hooks that attach to the bottom to prevent that as well), and so Norah doesn't sit in it and get sand up in her pants/diaper. Another plus is that it's heavy enough to stay put, but it's not so heavy that you can't move it to different locations (when filled). She also has the Little Tikes Sand Tool Kit that she enjoys (though the tables does come with a couple toys too). 

Verdict: Absolutely, I really love it!

-Intex Swim Center Clearview Aquarium pool- We got Norah's old summer pool out from last year (she had this Intex sunset glow baby pool) blew it up, sat her in it, and really noticed how much she's grown because she was huge in that tiny thing! The top ring also didn't hold air anymore, so it was definitely time for a new pool. The baby pool served us really well last summer, but this year we ordered this new pool and it's perfect. It's the next size up after the really small baby/toddler pools and it's just the right size. It's bigger, but not huge, and there is room to move and fit her friends when they come over. And the ocean animals are super cute! The only downside was that the water is hard to get out.It was definitely a hit when we blew it up and I bet we will use it a lot this summer!

Verdict: Absolutely.

Also, two summer basics every toddler should have are bubbles and chalk! Big paintbrushes are nice too- Norah loves to have a small bucket of water and a brush and just paint the sidewalk or house with water. Such an easy activity! 

Happy summer!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Strawberry picking.

Over the weekend, Norah and I got food poisoning (Kley ate something different so he was fine, thankfully), and it was awful! Poor Norah got it the worst and threw up 12 times in a 6 hour period. We felt so bad for her! She was a trooper though. It took a few days for her to get fully better, but today was the day and we ventured back into the world.

We had a wonderful morning with Gramie! It was a beautiful outside. We started by bringing a meal to Kley's cousin who recently had a baby, and it was absolutely precious to watch Norah hold her. She had never seen a baby that small, and she just kissed her, leaned her head over to rest her cheek on her face, and gently patted her. She cried when she had to give her back. It was so cute!

After that we headed to Getting's Garden to pick strawberries, and it was such fun! Norah loved all of it. She was mesmerized by the tractor ride, and loved getting to eat strawberries!

Norah definitely ate more than she picked.

Norah allowed me to do the majority of the work, while she stood there and waited for me to put one in her mouth. How gracious of her. You can't see it in the picture, but she is signing "more."

My new favorite picture of the two of us! Also hard to see, but her mouth/nose/chin is covered in red juice with a huge smile.

Norah was proud to pick a couple herself!

They also had some animals there too. Norah looked at a safe distance.

What a fun morning! It's so much fun to watch Norah experience everything for the first time. Norah, I love being your mom so much!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Family love.

We were in Des Moines for a few days last week and really enjoyed spending time with family! It's always a joy to see them. It's a huge blessing to have Godly parents/siblings- their support and encouragement means so much. It's so fun to watch that blessing now be passed down onto my own daughter.

We enjoyed walks, balls, and beanbag toss games outside!

Love that Norah was holding their hands!

Saturday morning we hit up the Farmer's Market, and it was a lot of fun to walk around and sample good food!

We had some delicious fresh watermelon- my favorite!

Norah loves her grandma!

We also had a bridal shower for my sister, Karlie, while we were here. So glad we were able to be there and celebrate Karlie! Only one month until the wedding!