Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Lucy and Ellory- Nine Months.

Lucy and Ellory are 9 months! They seem so much bigger now that they are crawling and have 6 teeth. They are the best babies! Ellory is calm and content almost always, but can get pretty mad when she's rarely upset. Lucy is curious, more dramatic, and always on the move. Both are happy and smile and laugh often. Both can crawl with the same ability, but Lucy crawls more.

Stats/Doctor visits: Both weren't sleeping very well, so we took them in to check for ear infections on 11/18 (38 weeks), and Ellory had an ear infection in her left ear. Ellory weighed 17 lbs 14 oz (47%) and Lucy weighed 16 lbs (16%). At their 9 month wellness check on 11/22, Ellory was 18 lbs 6 oz (55%), 27.75” (56%), and head circumference was 17.5” (68%). Lucy was 16 lbs 4 oz (18%), 28” (66%), and head circumference was 17.5” (68%). I think the scales are a bit wonky, because the numbers fluctuate because they don't lay completely still so they just pick one in the middle, so it seems crazy that in 4 days between being weighed that Ellory gained 8 oz.

Teeth: Ellory got her top left lateral incisor on 10/28, her top right tooth on 11/1 (35 weeks), her top left tooth and top right lateral incisor both on 11/4 (36 weeks), so she had a huge teething week! Lucy got her top right lateral incisor on 11/12 and her top left lateral incisor on 11/13 (37 weeks).

Feeding: Both are good eaters! Lucy still eats baby food a bit better and Ellory drinks her bottle a bit better, but both are doing well. They have had many foods now. This month they were eating mixtures of apples, pears, bananas, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, strawberries, corn, peas, and zucchini. They aren't picky and have eaten it all! They also tried strawberry and banana baby yogurt and liked that too. They have tried puffs, a bit of muffin and mashed potato and handled it okay, but still gag easily. They still nurse at 8, baby food at 11, nurse at 1:45, bottle at 5:30, baby food at 8, and nurse/bottle at 10:30.

Diapers/clothes: Wearing size 3 diapers and 9 month clothes (with a few 6-9 month or 6-12 month thrown in). It still fits them well, but I can tell that they are growing because it's not as loose as when they started wearing 9 month.

Sleeping: On normal nights, they are awesome sleepers. Yay! They've had a few spouts of night wakings, but that was either when they were teething or had ear infections. Sometimes they would fuss and put themselves back to sleep, but otherwise nursing usually helps and they fall right back to sleep. If someone wakes in the night, it's usually Lucy, but Ellory did too when she had an ear infection. When they are healthy, they sleep all night and it's incredible. They nurse and have a bottle about 10:30 and then go to sleep, and are up at 8ish to nurse again, but they to back to sleep until about 10. They take 2 naps a day, unless they wake up early and then take a short late morning catnap. They take a good afternoon nap from about 2-4:30, and then a short half hour nap about 7:15.

Developments: On 10/25 (34 weeks), Lucy went from laying down to sitting up. The biggest development has been crawling! At 35 weeks, they started actively crawling, and now are pretty quick and can crawl anywhere. Keeps us on our toes! They have the same ability, but Lucy definitely uses it more as she's quite curious. Lucy also pulls herself up to stand frequently now (first time on 10/30 at 35 weeks) and is often found standing! Ellory has only pulled herself up to stand once (11/14 at 37 weeks)- she's just content to sit on the floor with her toys. They are sitting up strong enough that they sit in the tub and they love to splash and play. They laugh and talk to each other and it's the cutest. Ellory pays a bit more attention to Lucy than Lucy does to Ellory. They love to pull out tons of toys from the shelf and put everything in their mouth.

Favorites: Lucy's favorites are crawling, pulling herself to stand, baby food, getting into whatever she can get her hands on, trying to get into the bathtub, being held and climbing all over mom and dad.

Ellory's favorites are toys, milk, neck tickles, tipping backwards (when being held), baby dolls, splashing in the tub, being held, and sucking her thumb. We love you so much girls!

My pictures went a bit crazy. Somehow one of the girls wiped something on the lens and all my pictures of Ellory were blurry and I didn't realize until after. Oops. So this picture would have been adorable. 

Then Lucy kept grabbing her feet.

And the pictures together didn't go so well. Ha.

Since the pictures on my big camera didn't go so well, I uploaded the ones from my phone, because those went better!

Other than the together ones- those still didn't go well. :)

Friday, November 24, 2017

A day in the life.

These pictures aren't the most amazing, but I had to share anyways because I made the effort to take my big camera out. Norah loves to play with her baby dolls and is so sweet to them. Here she was preparing her "four babies that are three months old" for a trip to the store. She put each one in their seat, strapped them in, and even packed a diaper bag! She was so proud.

Lucy and Ellory are usually smile quite easily, but not today. Still cute anyways!

I'm so thankful to be able to stay home with my girls!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Foster care update.

We haven't done a foster care update in awhile, basically because there isn't a ton to update. In case you don't know the back story, we took the PS-MAPP class (what you need to take to become licensed for foster care/adoption) last summer. After the first weeks of class, we found out we were pregnant, and near the end of the class we found out it was twins (surprise!). This definitely changed our original timeline of how we thought this would look for us!

We are currently just on the respite care list, which is providing short term care for children already in foster care, so basically like helping out current foster parents. This happens if they go out of town and are unable to bring their foster children with or the foster children aren't allowed to travel, if there is a crisis or emergency in the family, etc. We haven't had too many calls for it, but unfortunately have had to turn a few of them down, either because Lucy and Ellory were still so small, or because we were gone or had family visiting.

But, a few weeks ago, we dove in and did it! We were asked, and didn't have a legitimate reason to say no, and felt the Lord nudging us to do it. We thought we would give it a try and see how it goes, so we could have some real experience rather than just talk. We had a 6 year old boy and 5 year old girl for three days, so we had 5 kids! It was crazy and loud, but we made it. It was surprising how hard it was as times, and it was also surprising at how good it was at times. 

I feel like I could write a book about it, but I won't because we are still processing feelings and what the next steps are with this for us, and also for their privacy I don't want to share intimate details. It was neat and scary all at the same time to see lots of the things we talked about in our training right before our eyes. It was interesting to see how it affected Norah, both in positive and negative ways (but the positive outweighs the negative overall). It's hard to share attention, toys, space, with kids who don't know anything about your family's rules or routines, but Norah still talks about them with fondness. It's such a real lesson for her too, to practice living out loving others.

Basically, foster care is messy and hard, yet beautiful too. It was exhausting and demanding, but also incredible to serve Him and love on kids who desperately need it in such a tangible way. It was absolutely worth it, because I overheard the boy ask Kley why we pray and he got to share about Jesus with him. He said that no one had ever told him about Jesus before. It still brings tears to my eyes.

What do we know now? We don't have a lot of definite answers, but we are glad we did it and would do respite again. Not all the time, but sometimes. We don't feel ready for a long term placement, but we will keep praying and talking and see in awhile when our girls are a little older. 

(This is a really neat article I read about foster children needing the church!)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Favorite diaper/entertainment bag items for toddlers and preschoolers.

Hello! Doing kid posts are one of my favorite things. I am so thankful to stay home with my girls, but I also loved being a preschool teacher in my former days.

I still carry a diaper bag because I have 8 month old twin girls, but I also have an older daughter who just turned three. So, I said "diaper bag" in the title because many people who have preschool aged children also have younger kids too, but I also said "entertainment bag" because Norah (my oldest) doesn't need a real diaper bag, so basically when we go on a car trip or to church she has her own little fun bag. I keep a few entertainment items in my real diaper bag for day to day outings (such as if we have to wait awhile at the doctors office, etc.), but she has her own little backpack for bigger/longer outings.

Here are some of my favorite diaper/entertainment bag items for toddlers and preschoolers!

1. Smaller play-doh jars- This is probably Norah's favorite- she loves play-doh. I like to keep one or two of these smaller jars in her bag (simply because they are easier to carry and store than the bigger ones). Play-doh entertains her during church for awhile each Sunday. She does a pretty good job with not making a huge mess of it (explaining expectations beforehand helps!), and I only let her play with one color at a time so they don't mix. I've heard some parents say they really don't like play-doh, but I don't mind it too much. I never bring any tools either; I just save those for at home.

These next items (2-5) fit perfectly into the clear plastic Crystal Lite containers. They are my favorite for storing smaller things. I take the wrappers off so you can see what's inside, and the lid snaps on tight.

2. Hot Wheels Cars

4. Jumbo Crayons (or regular crayons- but jumbo are nice for toddler hands)

6. Any sort of small notebook, paper pad, coloring book, etc. This Disney bulk set looks fun!

7. Stickers. Norah loves stickers. I always hunt the dollar sections for those big books that give you about 500 stickers for $1. (I've found, from my experience, that most cheap glittery stickers are much harder to peel off.)

10. Boogie Board- Norah got this as a birthday gift last year, and it's very cool and in my diaper bag almost constantly. It's just a coloring board, sort of like the previous Magna Doodle, but you just press the dot to erase. It's neat because it's amazingly thin, so it's perfect for storing. Norah uses it frequently (her favorite thing is to trace her hands on it). Also, if you lose the pen, you can write on it with any other sort of stylus (even your fingernail!). 

11. Dot to Dot for Tiny Tots Wipe Clean book- There are tons of fun books like this out there. We have a couple different ones, but this one is perfect for Norah's age (just turned three), because it's more tracing things, vs. some of our other ones focus more on letter writing/advanced things, which is great, but Norah isn't quite to that level yet. (It comes with a dry erase marker, but you could use any kind. I tried to bring a wash cloth with to clean it, but it doesn't wipe off that easy. I just use wipes to clean it and they work great and are super quick.)

12. Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Coloring- Whoever created this is a genius. It's perfect for coloring on the go because the markers only work on the special paper, so you don't have to worry about it getting on their clothes, car seat, church pew, etc.

12. Melissa and Doug Water Wow! coloring books- These things are incredible. I love them because you can reuse them over and over again. You just fill the pen with water and color away! The water makes things show up, and then just dries so you can do it over and over. Norah loves these! She loves to color on her skin with it too (likes the sensory feel of it I think), because it's the only time she's allowed to because it's just water.

We do not have these items, but they look cool too:

Travel Aqua Doodle- Similar to the one before, but just coloring with a water pen, so you can keep reusing when it dries.

Lite Brite- This would be better for an older child, but I want to get Norah one someday (once Lucy and Ellory get old enough to not eat the small pieces!). A friend had one at church and Norah loved it.

Also, remember Polly Pockets? My mom still has some of our old ones saved, I'm pretty sure, and that would be a fun travel toy for an older preschool child too!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Norah- Three year birthday presents.

Here's Norah's 3rd birthday present post! I always think it's fun to read about what other kids are enjoying, so here are some things she got for her birthday in case you have children with similar ages. (And, as I say in every toy review post- material things are definitely not what matters, but it's the love, affirmation, and time we give our kids that's the best!)

Trek 12" pink bike- We were debating if Norah should get a 12" or a 16" bike, and ended up with the smaller, which is good for right now. It fits her well for now, and for whenever she outgrows it, Lucy and Ellory (her younger twin sisters), will definitely use it! Norah loves riding it!

Razor Jr. Lil' Pop Scooter- Norah saw a boy online have a scooter, and she's been saying she wanted one ever since, which was a few months ago. She was excited to open this! She's already tried it out multiple times and likes that it lights up. She's still getting used to the turning, but she enjoys it!

White Doll Cradle- This is not the exact one she got, but she got a white doll cradle. She loves her baby dolls, so this was a great gift!

Learning Resources Pretend & Play Sliceable Fruits and Veggies- This has been a big hit. She's seen a few other people have something similar, and loves cutting it up, so she's played with her own set lots already!

Tinker Toy Essential Value Set- This is something I had when I was younger and wanted Norah to have too. More manipulative toys are always great!

If Jesus Lived Inside My Heart board book- I love giving a book for birthdays and Christmas, and I love this one!

Disney Frozen Elsa doll and Disney Frozen Anna doll (and Frozen DVD)- The Frozen craze has hit our house, and Norah is a big fan. She got the movie, and the Elsa and Anna barbie dolls, and they have been a favorite already!

Imagination Magnets- This will be perfect for travel! It closes with everything inside, and even has a handle for carrying. It will work for multiple ages, as the pieces are magnetic and easy to move around, and there are design cards with varying abilities. Fun!

Lego Duplo Minnie Mouse Bow-Tique- Legos are one of Norah's favorite toys, and her party was Minnie Mouse themed, so this gift was great!

Play-Doh Minnie Mouse set and Play-Doh Crazy Cuts- Norah also loves playdoh, so she has had fun with these sets already too! The Minnie set fit great with her party, and my good friend wanted to get her the hair cut set also because we both remember that being a favorite from our childhood!

Lightning McQueen Racing Car (and Cars DVD)- Norah had never seen the Cars movie, but saw a giant Lightning McQueen car in Walmart one time and said several times that she wanted one. This one is a smaller scale (thankfully- we don't need a giant car), but she thought it was great fun to drive around! She doesn't really understand the steering part, so it just crashes into the wall a lot, but she doesn't mind!

Lego Duplo Building Board- This is another fun add on to her lego sets. Nice to have a big, sturdy base for those towers to go on!