Friday, September 29, 2017

Fall Festival 2017.

We went to the Fall Festival this weekend (and my parents and grandparents were able to come too!), and we had lots of fun. It was at a local garden center and they had a bounce house, obstacle course, petting zoo, face painting, scavenger hunt, pumpkin painting, and a corn pit. A kid's paradise, right? Norah loved it!

I didn't get many great pictures, because I was either holding babies or feeding babies. It's the effort that counts!

There was debate in the family of if Norah would be able to make it over this wall. She did it!

I don't know why I continually try to take pictures of them inside of a bounce house because they always look terrible, but I can't stop.

Go, Norah, go!

This is Kley, Norah, and Ellory, if you can't quite tell. Lucy was off in the distance with my grandma.

Petting zoo! Notice how Norah's sitting way in the corner. "I will look, but do not come near me."

Corn pit!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Lucy and Ellory- Seven Months.

Lucy and Ellory are 7 months! For some reason they seem older than usual this month, like they are over half a year. We've entered the “upper months!” We say frequently that they are such sweet babies. For awhile in the beginning it seemed like they would be babies forever, but now it seems we are seeing their baby days fly away all too quickly. Ellory is calm, even-keeled, and happy almost all the time. When she gets mad, she can get really mad, but it doesn't happen often. She is quick to laugh and thinks many things are funny. Lucy is a little lover and also the biggest wiggle worm and is almost never still. She loves to be held, and especially after picking her up when she's crying/whining, she almost instantly stops and wraps her tiny arms around your neck and gives the biggest hug and sloppy kiss. Lucy has the biggest open wide smile. Ellory shakes when she gets excited and Lucy kicks her legs. Ellory's laugh and Lucy's tiny hands on the back of my neck are two of my favorite things!

Teeth: No teeth this month for either one. They love to chew on their teething rings, so maybe more are coming. In the last week, Ellory has been biting/sucking on her bottom lip.

Feedings: Both are good nursers and we thankfully haven't had any problems with that. As always, Ellory is very serious about her milk and will down her bottles quickly and would take more, but isn't as much of a fan of solids. She got much better over the month, but is much slower than Lucy. We've discovered that it works better to go at her pace, which is very leisurely and allows for a thumb suck between almost every bite. Lucy does pretty well with her bottles, but sometimes is a little picky about it, but she will down her baby food quite quickly.

So far, they have had carrots, green beans, pears, yellow squash, and zucchini. They liked the last three better than the first two. I mix their food with a little of my milk and some cereal. They are having one bottle a day still, for some supplementation, of about half my milk and half formula, and we give them 2 extra ounces of formula before bed because they want it.

Feeding schedule: Nurse at 8, 11, and 1:45, bottle at 5:15, baby food at 7:45, and nurse/bottle at 10:30.

Diapers/Clothes: Wearing size 2 diapers, but almost out of them, and switched to 9 month clothes on September 10 at 28 weeks.

Sleeping: We are very thankful for good sleepers! They sleep from about 10:30-7:45, wake up to nurse, and then go back to sleep for a bit until about 10. If we have something in the morning, we sometimes just keep them up or wake them up if needed and they do fine with that. They take a really good afternoon afternoon nap from about 2-4:30, and have two short catnaps for half an hour at about lunchtime and early evening. Ellory has been crying in her crib at night more often and needs a few extra cuddles before falling asleep (she probably just wants to take her turn when Lucy is sleeping because she demands more cuddles when she's awake!), and Lucy has been waking up first in the morning more often.

Developments: Both girls are rolling experts and roll over frequently. Lucy is such a wiggle worm and spends the majority of her time on her belly. She's a tummy sleeper and even tries to turn over during diaper changes. Girl loves her belly! Lucy also learned to scream (not like a crying scream, just a loud, high pitched noise scream) and loves to do that to try to get attention. Ellory is about 50/50 sleeping on her back and tummy. I would say they are doing “supported sitting” right now. They are definitely not sitting independently, but we've been practicing a lot and sometimes will sit for a couple seconds. They can sit for a bit longer when they use their arms to prop themselves up. Lucy first did supported sitting on 8/24 and Ellory on 8/29 at 26 weeks. They also discovered their toes at 26 weeks and have been grabbing them, and Lucy even eats them sometimes (8/29). Both girls also learned how to spit this month (Ellory on 9/9 and Lucy on 9/12 at 28 weeks) and enjoy doing that. They both started going up on all fours at 29 weeks, Lucy more in a plank position and Ellory on all fours with her knees and hands. Ellory has even been rocking back and forth!

Favorites: Some favorites for both are swinging, being outside, chewing on anything they can get their hands on, trying to drink out of our cups, watching Norah, and splashing in the tub. They've both started to grab the pages of books. Ellory loves her milk and Lucy loves her baby food. Lucy loves to be held (or at least within vision of you when down), and Ellory loves to suck her thumb. They both smile often, but Ellory laughs more and Lucy “talks” more. Ellory still likes to face outward more when being held and Lucy likes to face inward. We set up their bouncer activity seat (at 29 weeks), but both only like it for a couple minutes. They went for their first wagon ride this week (just laying down in it), and they liked that.

What sweet babies we've been blessed with! Lucy and Ellory, we love you so much!

(Proof that Lucy doesn't stay still.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Norah recently.

I haven't done an update on Norah in a bit, so I thought I would do one again. Norah is one of my favorite people. She's growing up so much, yet sometimes is still so little, and is also becoming quite funny too. She is very entertaining to be around!

It's hard to summarize exactly what to say, because I have so many snippets of things, which I suppose is perfect anyways, because that's how two-year-olds are, right? Just jumping from one thing to the next!

Norah's current favorite toys are play-doh and legos. Her most frequent builds are high towers, airplanes, rocket ships, and diving boards. Her favorite play-doh activity is cutting it into small pieces with her play knife. That, and making anything small and round/long, like hot dogs, snowmen, pancakes, sticks, etc. She enjoys coloring with markers. Her favorite color is blue, and frequently her pictures/creations are full of mostly blue. She likes to take glow sticks into the bathtub and turn the lights off. She loves to be outside- always has- and likes to ride her pink trike the most. She loves to swing, and basically walk around leisurely with her bucket and fill it with whatever rocks, leaves, or sticks catch her eye. She likes to have her nails painted and help bake things, specifically with the stirring and taste testing! She loves to dance to Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling!" She loves to jump off of everything , piggy back rides, and for us to hold her hands and "help her hop." She is shy in public if people talk to her and separation anxiety is still a thing for her, but is getting much more brave than she used to be with talking to people and will even do a "watch me do this!" and does some sort of trick or dance move to show off. She did so well at her dentist visit and first hair cut this summer. She is very excited for Halloween this year and talks about it often, even more than her birthday coming up. She changes what she wants to be all the time, and often says she wants all of them when we ask her what costume she wants.

She mentioned several times that she wants to be a mom when she grows up. She is the best sister and loves to get Lucy and Ellory toys, climb in their cribs when they wake up, talk to them, hold them, and is their biggest cheerleader. She still praises them every time they roll over, even though they've been doing it for weeks. She had a couple rough weeks with the transition to big sister, but since then has done incredibly well.

She does well with counting and we've heard her get to 16 and then go back and forth in the teens. She knows most shapes- circle, star, heart, diamond, triangle, but still gets mixed up with square and rectangle sometimes. She will have occasional mix-ups, but is pretty consistent with all her colors. We are working on letters. We've been practicing her name, and she will "write" in lines and make a separate mark for each letter in her name. (Makes my teacher heart so happy!) She likes to read books and has a few favorites memorized. She is very meticulous and organized. She likes routine and definitely notices when you do something different. She is a good cleaner, of her toys and even likes to help vacuum, dust, or wipe things. She loves to put things in boxes or bags and doesn't like if you mess it up or try to clean it before she's done with it. She likes to put change in her piggy bank and play with her cash register.

Most of the time, Norah is a very good listener. She is old enough now to understand consequences and knows what's expected of her, but she still has moments of testing and trying, like any toddler. She's recently gotten into the asking why phase, but not in a curious way, but in a challenging authority way. She's also recently started asking what we are going to do everyday. She has been doing really great with going to the bathroom and hasn't had an accident in a long time. She is good about telling when she needs to go, but still needs reminders if we are out of the normal or doing something really fun, like on a playdate or a trip or something. She is getting better at going independently. Most nights she sleeps through the night, but occasionally still wakes up crying, but usually just takes a hug and a bathroom trip and goes right back to sleep. She still sleeps about 10-9 and naps about 1:30-3:30. Her favorite foods are macaroni and cheese, cheesy pretzels, goldfish, cheese sticks (see a theme at all?), oreos, donuts, and still loves milk. I wouldn't say she's a picky eater, but she just doesn't eat a lot compared to other kids.

Norah, you are incredibly special and we love you so much. She wants us to give her a zerbit before bed every night, and I always tell her than I'm so glad she's my daughter, and then she thinks it's hilarious to say that I'm confused and that she's the mom and I'm the daughter. She's been asking intriguing questions about Bible stories and songs, and it's so sweet to see her understanding. She will ask who the characters are in the pictures, what happened in the stories again, and will even pick out lines from worship songs and ask what they mean. She kept asking what "our hearts will cry" meant in a song for a couple weeks. She has started to pray independently sometimes, and her favorite thing is to thank God for bounce houses, and even reminds Kley and I sometimes that we forgot to pray for that.

The other day we saw a fancy old blue car, and she asked if we could just "go to Walmart quick and pick one of those up." You're the best, Norah!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Recent reads 9/12/17.

1. The Five Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell- I had asked for this book for Christmas and was really excited to read it, as I love The Five Love Languages: The Secret to A Love That Lasts book. If you don't know anything about love languages, I would highly recommend you reading it. Basically, the five love languages are quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, and physical touch, and everyone receives and gives love differently. My top love language is definitely quality time. I was interested to read this from a mother's perspective, because I already can see that Norah's tops are physical touch and quality time. Honestly, it was a good book, but I was hoping that it would be a little more different than the original book, but quite a bit was repeat information for me. They did give examples specific to children of different ways children might display the love languages, which was nice, but I wished it would have been a little more revelatory to me instead of a repeat of sorts. It was still a good read though, and I'd recommend it, especially if you haven't read any of the other love languages books.

2. The Blessing of Humility by Jerry Bridges- Our life group at our church went through this book, and it was a good one. It was about the beatitudes (sermon on the mount from Matthew 5:3-10), and each chapter was about a different part of it. It really expounded on the meaning of the beatitudes and dove in deep to their meaning, which was great. One part that I really remember/that stuck out to me was the chapter about truly being convicted about your sin and mourning over it. The chapters were in depth, but also short, so it worked well for a group study. I'd recommend!

3. Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel- A women's Bible study I'm in just finished up this book, and it was a good one too, great to go through with other moms and to be able to discuss together. He says that children's three basic needs are a secure love, significant purpose, and strong hope, and that children need the freedom to be different, to be vulnerable, to be candid, and to make mistakes. It was a good book, but our group mentioned a couple times that the whole idea of grace based parenting was a little vague and we would have liked more practical tips about it, but overall we liked it. There were some things he said that we questioned- I wouldn't say disagreed with persay, but just made us talk/think- but it was good to be able to discuss those things together and see everyone's different perspective on it. He did a good job of interweaving teaching and stories together. I don't feel like I learned anything revolutionary or life changing, but it was a good read and a good reminder of the core basics of how children need to be loved. I would recommend. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Pumpkinland 2017.

I caught these two cute pictures as we were getting ready in the morning. Love when they are all sitting together and when Norah puts her arm around them!

Norah has been waiting for months for Pumpkinland to open again, and the time has come! Every time we drive past, she points it out and ponders about what the donkeys must be doing. She loved the donkeys so much last year. (You can see her first two times going here and here.)

Some classic pictures by the pumpkins. 

This little pumpkin stand is too cute!

Kley being a great baby-wearing dad. Lucy basically wants to be held 24/7, so the carrier works nicely sometimes!

They have a little playground area of these houses/slides, and Norah had to explore all of them, of course.

Checking out the geese and goats.

Trying to get a cute one of the girls on this little bench.

Norah loved watching the goats and donkeys eat the hay and thought it was so funny they were up inside it.

Riding the horse swing. We said it was the biggest swing she'd ever been on and she loved it!

We brought a picnic lunch there and it was a really fun time as a family! Love spending time together, and watching your kids have fun is the best. (And I don't know what was so captivating to make both Lucy and Ellory look at it, but funny!)

And, to top off the fun, grandma even showed up while we were there! (She was coming up for the weekend and happened to arrive while we were there.)

We had a great time and I'm sure we will be back several more times this season!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Lucy and Ellory's 6 month/family photos.

We took some 6 month photos of Lucy and Ellory last week, and my good friend Heidi came along too to help and take some family shots. My goal was to get one decent one of each of the girls, the girls together, and a family shot- trying to keep expectations low with young kids, and I'd consider it a success! All in all, this was about 20 minutes and we just snapped a bunch (100+), and hoped for the best. Here are some of the best ones!

I was trying to get a shot of Norah holding her Minnie (for an upcoming birthday invitation), but she had to bring her baby along too.

These next three were the best of the three girls together, out of so many options. Basically as close to perfect as you can get with three little ones, I suppose!

The twins weren't super happy in the beginning, but sure rallied back hard and took some super cute ones!

Sometimes it's still surreal that we have TWO babies!

This was my favorite shot of the night! Love my family!

The best big sister around!

While it's stressful to get everyone ready and during the actual event, I'm always so so glad we did it and tried. And just trading with friends is a win because then it's free- I've helped take Heidi's family photos, and now she helped me!