Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Lucy and Ellory- Thirteen Months.

Lucy and Ellory are 13 months! It's crazy that we are this far already. This last year was such a dichotomy at times- so hard, yet so good; tiring, yet also joyful; long, yet short, etc. I think our whole family grew a lot this last year for the better. We are busy busy, but we are in a good place. Watching Lucy and Ellory grow up is a blessing and it's so fun!

Stats/Doctor visits: Very thankful to not have any doctors visits this month- we've been healthy!

Teeth: No teeth this month.

Feeding: The biggest news with feeding is that we are done nursing! Right before their birthday, we started weaning. First, I quit pumping for their afternoon bottle time (before starting to wean, we were down to morning nursing, before nap nursing, late afternoon bottle/pump, and before bed nursing). Then, each week I cut out a nursing session until we were done, so it took about a month. Overall, it went very well! Lucy and Ellory both like whole milk and haven't had any issues with it thankfully. At first, we mixed a little of my milk or formula with whole milk, but now they are down to just whole milk and that's it. They now have sippy cups when they wake up, followed by breakfast right away (usually yogurt or a puree and some cheerios), lunch, sippy cups before afternoon nap, a 7-8 oz bottle when they wake up, supper, puree for bedtime snack, and 7-8 oz bottle before bed. They have their sippy cups during each meal also. They still have a few bottles (with whole milk), because I didn't want to completely cut out both nursing and bottles at the same time, and we are still giving them a little time to get used drinking more from cups. They handle it well, but don't drink very much out of cups yet compared to bottles, so we wanted to make sure they were still getting enough milk. We are trying to lessen now heating up the bottles (they still like the milk better warm).

For solid foods, they eat pretty much everything now! Whatever we eat is what they eat. It's always a big mess to clean up afterwards, but they like it. Ellory is more selective and doesn't eat as much as Lucy, but Lucy eats anything and everything and lots of it! They need bibs now for all the messes, but Lucy usually always rips hers off. They are on a “normal” breakfast, lunch, dinner schedule now, with a bit more milk and a bedtime snack thrown in.

Diapers/clothes: Wearing size 3 diapers and 12 month and 12-18 month clothes. They are now wearing a size 4 diaper at night, because they were starting to leak out pretty regularly in a 3, and switching to a 4 at night helped a lot.

Sleeping: Yay for good sleepers! When they were nursing, they used to nurse in the morning and then go back to sleep, but during weaning we tried to cut that out. For awhile they still woke up early and had a bottle instead and then went back to sleep, but for the last two weeks they've been sleeping all the way through the night and skipping that milk session entirely. Now they sleep all the way through from about 10:30-9:45. They take an afternoon nap from 1:30-3:45ish, and an evening nap from 7-8ish. Having a consistent sleep routine is great for all of us! Lucy seems to need a bit more sleep, probably because she's moving more, and she's usually the first to sleep and last to wake.

Words: Lucy says dada and a lot of baby talk. Ellory is saying a few words! She says dada, mama, Norah, baby, bath, and bye-bye.

Developments: Lucy's biggest development is walking! She walks more and more everyday. She took her first steps right before their birthday, at 12.5 months was taking 10+ steps, and now is almost full time walking. She loves walking and is quite content with her new abilities! It's so sweet to watch her tiny body walking around. She's still a little wobbly, but does quite well. Ellory is not interested in walking yet, and will just sit back down if we try to get her to walk. Lucy is more active for sure, so maybe she'll be into sports, and Ellory maybe will be our speech/music girl. Ellory loves music and dancing. Outsiders wouldn't know that though, because she is very shy and hesitant in new situations and with anyone non-family. Lucy was usually more outgoing in public, but both have had more separation anxiety lately and like to stay close to Kley and I. (We tried to take them to the nursery at church for the first time, and it didn't go well, which didn't help the separation anxiety issue!) On February 28, the week after their birthday, we switched to their convertible car seats, which also meant putting their big girl seats on the stroller too. They handled it fine and like their seats! It's a bit more work now loading all three into the car, but it's not too bad because it's also getting nicer outside, so we walk more places now. They are starting to try cause and effect type things, like building a tower and knocking it down, and matching things, like shape sorters or puzzles.

Favorites: Lucy loves being on the go, walking and climbing. Though, now that she is walking more, she isn't climbing as much as she used to. Ellory tries to wink if you wink at her, and she loves to put any baby blankets or the kitchen towel over her head and play peekaboo. Both girls love to give kisses, high fives, and recently they started doing “so big,” which is adorable. Lucy likes to spit and scream (like just scream for fun because she can make the noise). They both like to take baths, be outside (Lucy especially gets excited when we put her coat on), dolls, play down the basement, see what's in the fridge or dishwasher if they can sneak in when it's open, and Ellory is especially fond of the instruments. We try hard to keep the bathroom door closed, but they love to unroll the toilet paper if they can get at it. We love you both so much!

They weren't in the best moods for these pictures and not very smiley, so this is the best we got!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Date night movies.

The times where Kley and I get to sit and watch an entire movie are quite rare. We stay pretty caught up on our favorite TV shows after the girls go to sleep, but to have 2+ hours for a movie is rare. Then, when we finally get a date night or time to watch a movie, we are so behind on the times of what's good that we waste the precious time trying to decide what to watch.

So, to prevent this conundrum from happening to other people, here are some movies we've enjoyed that are actually worth watching. (Because it's so disappointing when you finally get time to watch a movie and then it's not even good!)

Seven Pounds (Drama, Romance)- A man with a fateful secret embarks on an extraordinary journey of redemption by forever changing the lives of seven strangers.


*This is a movie Kley and I randomly picked off the shelf in the movie store back when we were dating. We loved it, but I will forewarn you that the beginning is very odd- it gets better!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Favorite toys great for both babies and toddlers/preschoolers.

I'm pretty sure I say this every time, but I love doing toy reviews. I was a preschool teacher before we had kids, so my inner teacher can come out again when I do these posts. I always think it's helpful to hear good recommendations from others too before buying something. Currently, my daughter is 3 and a few months and our twin girls just turned one. So, given those ages, I was actively searching for toys for their Christmas lists that would be good for both ages! Sure, there are some of Norah's smaller toys we can save for special times for when Lucy and Ellory are sleeping or something, but in general, all the toys with little pieces are put away for now and we need solid, durable toys that can withstand a lot of wear and drool and teeth marks, yet can still be fun and educational for Norah too.

Here's some of our favorite toys that are excellent for all young ages! (All of these are just my own opinions.) Almost all of my favorite toys, when you are including babies in the mix, are made of thicker, durable plastic- not wood.

Melissa and Doug Combine and Dine Dinners- Blue- The girls got these two food sets for Christmas, and we all love them so much. I love how realistic they are and they also come with a fun (and durable!) menu for restaurant play. Norah loves to make meals with them. They are hard/quality plastic (not like some of the cheap play food where a kid bites on it one time and it's forever squished in with white indent marks on the plastic from their teeth), and there are no small pieces. I also love that there is a variety of healthy food group choices, with a few treats too. I would highly recommend these!

Learning Resources New Sprouts Deluxe Market Set- This is another food set we have that is perfect for multiple ages. I love that it's easy to wash too when I rotate toys. 

Learning Resources Smart Snacks Alpha Pops- These are made of durable plastic as well, and are perfect size for little baby hands to grab onto, yet they are also great for preschoolers because you match the uppercase and lowercase letter. Norah isn't to the letter matching level yet, so if you have an in between you can match them by colors. Or, if you have an older child, you can use them to spell out words too.

Learning Resources Jumbo Magnetic Uppercase Letters- I have a magnetic board hung low on one of our hallway walls that's right outside our kitchen, and I love having a little extra play space in an otherwise empty area. These magnets are great! Perfect for practicing phonemic awareness/phonics/letter identification/spelling for preschoolers, and yet big and strong enough to be manipulated by baby hands too. So many magnets are so small, or wooden (so babies can suck the paint or sticker right off and leave teeth marks), so these are perfect!

Lauri Foam Object Magnets- This is another magnet set that all my girls enjoy and has proven to be durable. These ones are fun because they are softer foam! (It looks a little hard to tell from the picture, but none of them are too small for babies. A few they could probably shove in their mouth if they really wanted to, but none are too small to swallow or choke on.)

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn A to Z Smart Pad- This is one of my favorite things the girls got for Christmas. It's great for all ages. It has engaging lights and fun songs for babies, and it's actually quite educational too for older kids. There are shape activities, and lots of letter activities that either ask you to identify the letter, sound, or object sound. I've been impressed with how long all three of my girls have played with this! It doesn't provide any open ended play, but for a battery operated toy it's pretty great. 

Edushape Easy Grip Soft Foam Sensory Puzzle Blocks- Norah got these as a baby gift, and they are still used often 3+ years later, so I'd say they are a winner. They can be used in lots of different ways to build, and they are big/soft for little hands too. They are good teething toys too- all my girls have loved to bite on them, and they are super easy to clean.

Mega Bloks Deluxe Building Bag- I feel like mega blocks and lego duplos are such classic toys. They are great for open ended play with lots of creative options. We also have this Deluxe All in One Box Lego Duplo set that has been a long time favorite as well. Both of these sets have been good for all my girls- the lego duplos are obviously smaller than the mega bloks, so the mega bloks are better for the smallest hands, but my girls haven't had any issues with choking with the lego duplos. (This Lego Duplo Baseplate is really fun too and gives a nice foundation!)

Kid O Learn to Make Patterns Stacker Toy- A lot of stacker toys seem to be made out of wood, and we have had a couple different kinds and have already donated them away because they just didn't last and the paint chipped or the wood split. This one is fabulous and has stood the test of time. It's lightweight, plastic, easy to manipulate, and babies can just practice one to one correspondence of stacking them on, while preschoolers can practice matching/patterning. 

Fisher Price Little People A to Z Learning Zoo- This is really fun for everyone, yet also educational for older kids because you can practice matching the beginning animal letter to the letter on the mat, animal sounds, and initial sounds.

Fisher Price Little People Animal Friends Farm- Another fun one that's great for all. All three of my girls love these animals, and Norah loves arranging the animals in the barn. We also have this extra Little People Farm Animals set and the Little People Tow n' Pull Tractor set. The barn and tractor make animal sounds and and the tractor also plays music.